Trenton Climate Corps actively combatting climate change

submitted by Corinna Bisgaier, Director – Communications and Grants Management, Isles, Inc.

A team of local residents have been mobilized to learn about and work to mitigate the effects of climate change in the city. One of several Climate Corps initiatives around the country, Isles launched the Trenton Climate Corps (TCC) to make key changes in local communities to mitigate the effects of climate change and teach Corps members marketable skills in environmentally sustainable industries to aid in securing future employment. 

As a city that is both concrete-rich and surrounded by water, Trenton is set up to be disproportionately affected by the effects of climate change and yet there are also many opportunities for residents to get more involved and reclaim the future of their city.

From urban agriculture to tree-planting, storm-water mitigation, and neighborhood clean-ups, the TCC crew is working to improve both the short-term and long-term viability and safety of city-living.

Their work will help to mitigate the heat island effect that causes cities to be several degrees warmer than the suburbs and can be detrimental to the health of residents who are less able to afford home cooling. Similarly, with storms growing more and more volatile, improving storm water runoff systems will reduce the effects of flooding in the area.

TCC is also a job training and workforce development program. TCC pays the Corps members throughout their training, which consists of 12, 40-hour weeks where Corps-members learn new skills and then immediately put those skills to work.

Stephanie Sharo, the Climate Corps Coordinator described this program as, “More education based than a normal job, yet more job based than a school.”

The Climate Corps kicked off their working and learning together just over a month ago and has already completed three professional development certifications and developed agricultural skills that they are putting to use in local community gardens and parks. “By learning and working in the multiple disciplines of agriculture, forestry, stormwater, and energy, we are expanding our participants job prospects, but also their sense of stewardship,” says Jim Simon, Deputy Director, Community Planning & Development.

TCC is also working on creating a Geographic Information System (GIS) to document the species and health of trees throughout Trenton so that a future Corps cohort can work to expand the city’s tree population of native species.

Isles is planning similar projects with long term impact where projects grow and evolve over time, from one cohort to the next.

Community members are encouraged to engage with the program by volunteering, nominating local gardens to be revitalized, providing project ideas and or materials, and helping get the word out when applications open for the next cohort.

Isles plans to have two permanent Climate Corps members employed over the fall and winter before onboarding the spring and summer 2023 cohort. Applications for these two positions will go live at in August and other short-term positions will be released throughout the year. 

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