This summer, HEC’s Environmental Health Associate, Paula Brooks, held a three-part environmental justice workshop for the Keep Indianapolis Beautiful Youth Tree Team (KIB YTT). Nearly 100 teens and young adults learned about the history of neighborhoods, the meaning of environmental justice, and green careers.

The KIB YTT spends seven weeks during the summer in Indianapolis neighborhoods tending to trees. During the workshop, Paula shared practical tips for the participants to engage with residents.

She also talked specifically about the environmental justice issues facing Indianapolis, including disinvestment and unequal allocation of public services. For example, non-white and lower income people often live in neighborhoods without safe sidewalks and crossings, less IndyGo service, or near major thoroughfares without trees to help filter diesel fumes and other pollution.

Our hope is that these students can be more effective in the neighborhoods they are serving and go on to be environmental justice advocates in their future pursuits.

The 2019 KIB Youth Tree Team