PUSH Buffalo has been given awarded a two-year, $120,000 environmental justice grant to support job training and environmental education outreach on green infrastructure and environmental stewardship.
“This grant will produce amazing results by combining good environmental practices with green infrastructure education and job training in a low-income community,” said Judith Enck, EPA Regional Administrator.
“This is a very impressive accomplishment by PUSH Buffalo, which does amazing work in Western New York and Buffalo. The EPA received 77 grant applications from organizations across the United States, and only 10 were accepted.”
Rahwa Ghirmatzion, PUSH’s deputy director, said the grant will be used to train local residents in ecology, native plant identification, habitat restoration and stewardship, and green infrastructure. A workshop will be held to teach workers, including people who are unemployed or chronically underemployed, the employable skills.
The funds will also be used to support a demonstration project at Silo City, fund an educational workshop led by Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper’s Young Environmental Leaders Program for youth in Buffalo’s First Ward and bring together Buffalo-area organizations to discuss clean water and job creation in the green jobs sector.
Enck noted the announcment was “timely” after it was revealed that Buffalo’s childhood poverty rate of nearly 54 percent is now second worst in the nation after Detroit.
Enck said one of the objectives was to create a pipeline of qualified workers and contractors in the growing fields of green infrastructure and restoration.
“One of the best pathways out of poverty is a good-paying job, and we’re excited at EPA that green infrastructure, along with the environmental benefits, is terrific for local job creation
PUSH, with more than 400 members, was founded in 2005, The not-for-profit has created a Green Development Zone on the West Side, where it has built 84 affordable apartments on 30 sites, and created 56 green infrastructure projects, including rain gardens, living roofs and urban farms. PUSH is currently working with the Buffalo Sewer Authority to create bioretention systems on 243 city lots.