2023 Network Retreat Presentation: Growing Urban Tree Canopy and Youth Leadership in Watsonville


2023 Network Retreat Presentation: Growing Urban Tree Canopy and Youth Leadership in Watsonville

Speakers: Jonathon Pilch, Executive Director, & Yesenia Jiminez, Education and Restoration Specialist, Watsonville Wetlands Watch

Presentation Description:
When Watsonville Wetlands Watch began the Watsonville Community Forest Project in 2017, our goal was to increase urban tree canopy in the City of Watsonville from 7% to 30%. Since this time, we have refined our canopy goals and methods, learned many lessons along the way, and developed an effective youth leadership and training program called the Climate Corps Leadership Institute. This presentation will share lessons learned in developing a community-based urban forest program in Watsonville, youth leadership development, and how we are connecting this work to broader goals for equity and environmental and watershed restoration and conservation.

Speaker Bio for Jonathan Pilch:
Jonathan has worked in environmental conservation and restoration in the Pajaro Valley for the past 18 years and has served as the Executive Director of the Watsonville Wetlands Watch (WWW) since 2016. WWW is a non-profit agency that works to preserve and restore wetlands and watersheds in the Pajaro Valley and increase environmental literacy for youth and the community. Since 2017, WWW has run a community based urban forest project for the City of Watsonville, focused on providing youth leadership and training opportunities and developing an equitable and well developed urban tree canopy. Jonathan holds a degree in geography from the University of California Berkeley. In addition to his work in environmental conservation in the Pajaro Valley, Jonathan has enjoyed a variety of professional and volunteer environmental restoration and agroecology experiences within the US and Latin America and run a small family farm in Watsonville. He strives to develop environmental restoration and conservation projects that help to ensure positive community health outcomes.


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