Community Environment

Five young adults will spend the next year working on conservation projects in Louisville thanks to a new grant from the civil service group AmeriCorps.

The approximately $75,000 grant is a small piece of more than $7 million AmeriCorps has awarded to fund 21 programs across the state.

The Louisville pilot program will engage the five AmeriCorps members in projects focusing on some of the city’s most pressing environmental issues including improving the city’s tree canopy and watershed protection.

“We’re partnering with TreesLouisville and Louisville Grows to make sure the tree canopy in Louisville is expanded this year. That is the primary part of their work,” said Lynn Rippy, YouthBuild Louisville executive director.

YouthBuild Louisville’s Urban Conservation Corps will manage the program and help gather matching funds for a total of about $150,000 for the year-long program.

The program is looking to recruit economically disadvantaged youth between the ages of 16 and 24.

The five volunteers will provide 8,500 hours of service, Rippy said. They’ll also engage another 200 volunteers to help plant trees and cleanup spaces, among other projects she said.

Some of their work will involve providing manpower for other groups working to improve the tree canopy like the Green Heart Project, Trees Louisville and Louisville Grows, Rippy said.

“So they’re going to be the boots on the ground for the tasks the community has already set in place for itself,” she said.

In return for their service, the five AmeriCorps volunteers will receive a stipend and a college scholarship.

YouthBuild is still accepting applications for the program, but the deadline is quickly approaching. For more information, visit the YouthBuild website.

Ryan Van Velzer is WFPL's Energy and Environment Reporter.