Tree Foundation of Kern

Community Project Manager

To work with communities to implement urban forestry grant programs

The busy work day of many community project managers demands flexibility and a broad range of skills including writing, organization, public speaking and people skills. Work often centers around the office, attending meetings and working with volunteers and other nonprofit professionals.

Working in a small office environment for the San Francisco-based California ReLeaf, Stephanie Alting-Mees spends much of her time on the phone and juggles several projects at once including mailings, newsletters and providing referrals to the public and community tree-planting groups.

"It can be someone calling about a tree in their yard to an organization that is a tree-planting group to someone with the city looking for information on urban forestry grants," Alting-Mees said. "The only time I might get out of the office is for site visits for our grant program and to attend tree planting events."

"It's entirely possible to come to it without a technical background," Alting-Mees said of her career. "Especially in working with volunteers, it involves a lot more people management skills and just a willingness to learn about trees."

Although project managers can work long hours including evenings and weekends, many find great satisfaction in their careers. "I have a lot of respect for people who get involved in what's going on in their town, and it's very gratifying to know that I can help some of those people through my job," Alting-Mees said. "We can help them see the bigger picture and see how their efforts fit it, and I think that's perhaps the value of our program."

Project managers may get involved with community and local government and assist in tree selection and planting procedures and may also work with contractors in carrying out urban forestry.

Some project managers, like Henry Garcia-Alvarez with the Sacramento Tree Foundation, also work extensively with trees in the field.

Garcia-Alvarez puts his master's degree in science and international agriculture development to use in the field monitoring and evaluating the care and growth of trees in community planting organizations.

Garcia-Alvarez considers himself a Social Forester and much of his work revolves around recruiting and training volunteers as well as developing educational curriculum for urban forestry programs.

"Urban forestry is one of those growing industries," Garcia-Alvarez said. "I enjoy having the luxury of offering resources to community groups based around trees."

Requires: 4-Year college degree or equivalent

Salary: Starting at approximately $24,000 per year, peaking at about $40,000