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Engineering Promise

An early learning initiative to co-create with Black parents and Family Childcare Providers, culturally specific engineering design activities that they can do at home and in nature to help Black early learners develop engineering and science inquiry skills before kindergarten. The initiative involves training to reestablish Black parents as their children’s first educators.

Grounding Waters & Constructing Careers

Our flagship project-based mentoring programs for environmental science and green building. This programming uses hands-on training, multigenerational mentoring, and civic engagement to inspire Black youth to pursue careers in the green sector. Our approach uses a 4-phase WISE model, where youth:

  • Witness natural areas.
  • Investigate environmental issues.
  • Solve a community environmental issue.
  • Educate their community about environmental issues and environmental stewardship.

An environmental internship program for Black-identified high school youth in the Portland Metro region. Created and hosted by a collaborative group of community-based organizations including ELSO Inc., The Blueprint Foundation, and Friends of Tryon Creek.

Tappin’ Roots is a culturally specific community investment and restorative justice project. With monthly symposiums leading up to summer work with one or more of the hosting organizations, Tappin Roots seeks to train and empower the next generation of environmental and community leaders using:

  • Storytelling
  • Mentorship
  • Career exploration
  • Place-based learning
  • Healing practices
  • Civic Engagement
For more info, click here.

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A 5-week, paid, 120 hours (60 classroom and 60 field hours) environmental literacy and hands-on green sector skill development for Black and Native-identified community members, ages 18 & over, for whom higher education has not been a viable path to family-sustaining careers. 

The GWA will focus on training, apprenticeship enrollment, job placement, and job retention of Black and Native American young adults in the conservation, sustainability, and green building

To learn more, click here.


An urban forestry initiative that brings together BIPOC community members, private industry partners and representatives of governmental jurisdictions to change the way we plant and maintain trees and vegetation, with the goal to have an equitable region-wide distribution of trees and the public health benefits they provide.

Click here for more information.

The project will develop an essential building block for a just transition by creating new long-term data infrastructure that supports BIPOC communities in owning and implementing action to mitigate and adapt to climate change. It will address the lack of data surrounding the high levels of climate-change-related air pollutants in Portland’s Black, BIPOC and low-income neighborhoods. 

Relevant air pollutants include black carbon (BC, a short-lived climate pollutant (SLCP)), particulate matter (PM), diesel particulate matter (DPM), and other pollutants from transportation and industrial emission sources. After convening community input, we will teach Black youth and adult community members to make air quality monitoring sensors, install environmental monitoring devices, use resulting data for advocacy work, develop a local air model, and complete pilot projects identified by the community. An additional benefit of the project will be generating revenue through the Black community-owned data platform for data storage, analysis, and visualization.

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