In 2021, TNC partners in Oregon launched Connecting Canopies, an initiative that blends community input with climate science to expand tree cover in historically disinvested communities. To advance its 2030 goal of 40% or more healthy tree canopy in the Portland metro area by 2030, Connecting Canopies has now introduced a pre-apprenticeship residential workforce development program that works to engage and educate community residents around the health benefits of tree care and restoration.
This learning exchange, which is among the recipients of TNC’s new DEIJ Action Fund, plans to expand outreach efforts over the next five years, with a specific focus on local and regional municipalities, BIPOC community-based organizations, and other Oregon partners seeking environmental justice through more equitably distributed green spaces and a more diverse green movement and workforce.
“Connecting Canopies has become a great opportunity for TNC to build relationships with community-based organizations and earn trust within diverse communities across the Portland Metro Region.”
— Sergio Lopez, Climate and Urban Partnerships Lead, TNC Oregon
Climate and Urban Partnerships Lead, TNC Oregon
Sergio Lopez works to address issues of equity and inclusion in community green infrastructure throughout Portland, Oregon, seeking long-term solutions for climate disparities that impact community health. Prior to joining TNC, Sergio studied cultural anthropology at Portland State University. He currently serves on the board of the Portland Audubon, as well as a volunteer community disc jockey with Freeform Portland.
I am a first-generation individual that grew up in a low-income Spanish-speaking household. I spent my summers in my dad’s hometown in rural Jalisco, Mexico, and I didn’t learn English until second grade. Two decades later, I finished my Bachelor of Science degree in Cultural Anthropology at Portland State University and began my professional career. The combination of my heritage and education has led me to a passionate career that centers around people, culture, and environmental justice.
Connecting Canopies has become a great opportunity for TNC to build relationships with c-community-based organizations and earn trust within diverse communities across the Portland Metro Region.
The commitment and passion towards equitable work within our urban landscape. TNC is committed to working with our low-income and BIPOC communities in efforts to conserve our communities and health. The Oregon BU, as well as the North America Cities Network, have shown great support and enthusiasm in the work around DEIJ and Urban Conservation.