RAY Tree and Climate Fellow

POSITION TITLE: RAY Tree and Climate Fellow

DEPARTMENT/PROGRAM: Tree Programs                                               

REPORTS TO: Bria Blitch, Tree Programs Manager              

STATUS: Regular, Full-Time                             

LOCATION: Palo Alto, CA             



In an effort to make the conservation and clean energy fields more equitable and accessible, the Roger Arliner Young (RAY)Fellowship Program aims to increase and facilitate environmentally-related career pathways for emerging leaders of color. The RAY Fellowship Program is a paid fellowship designed to equip recent college graduates with the tools, experiences, support, and community they need to become leaders in the conservation and clean energy sectors—one that, in our visions of the future, fully represents, includes, and is led by the diverse communities, perspectives, and experiences of the United States.

ABOUT Canopy

  • Our mission is to grow urban tree canopy in Midpeninsula communities for the benefit of all.
  • Canopy prioritizes tree planting and stewardship, education, and advocacy in communities where people do not have a thriving urban forest due to limited resources, competing priorities, historical development, and urbanization patterns.
  • Canopy’s Tree Programs team oversees the coordination between Canopy staff, City or School District staff, residents, and volunteers. We work closely with partners such as the Palo Alto and East Palo Alto Public Works Departments and local school districts. The department manages all aspects from project conception to implementation. This includes designing planting plans, selecting and ordering trees, recruiting and coordinating volunteers, and training Canopy Planting Leaders to supervise volunteer groups in proper planting methods.
  • Canopy’s work is guided by our four core values:
    • Excellence: We value evidence-based practice and continual innovation. To work effectively and maintain community trust, we invest in passionate, hardworking staff and Board Members who embrace and promote a culture of excellence.
    • Equity: We actively seek to engage and reflect the diversity of people living on the Midpeninsula, and to remedy local inequities in access to tree canopy and urban nature.
    • Collaboration: We actively share knowledge, experience, and resources with public, private, and other nonprofit agencies. We invest in strong partnerships to achieve greater collective impact.
    • Gratitude: We value, recognize, and celebrate the diverse contributions of staff, board, volunteers, donors, and partners who power Canopy’s success and create long-lasting impact.


The Trees and Climate Fellow will support community-based tree planting, tree conservation, and community engagement in Canopy’s service areas in the San Francisco Midpeninsula region. Canopy prioritizes partnering with communities where people do not have a thriving urban forest due to limited resources, competing priorities, and historical development and urbanization patterns, including East Palo Alto, Belle Haven, and North Fair Oaks.

20% of the Fellow’s time will be spent on volunteer recruitment and engagement. They will expand Canopy’s volunteer network of guest speakers, educators, and arborists to better reflect the diversity, lived experience, and languages spoken by local community members. 60% of the fellows’ time will support tree planting and care.  20% of the fellows’ time will support Canopy’s educational programming through the design and delivery of materials about the relationship between the urban forest and climate change.

The fellow will benefit the local community by increasing their involvement in the stewardship of trees in their community, providing access to climate and climate justice education programming, and ensuring that community members see their own lived experience reflected in Canopy’s expert volunteer network.


Community Engagement (20%):

In collaboration with the Volunteer Engagement Manager, Community Organizer and the Education Team, the fellow will:

  • Support the recruitment and engagement of volunteers for community tree planting and tree care events, Community Forestry School programming, and community outreach events
  • Support relationship development with volunteers from Canopy’s Branching Out communities
  • Develop and implement community listening opportunities in each of Canopy’s service areas and collect feedback to better help our current programming
  • Collaborate with Canopy’s Environmental Educator to grow the K-12 education volunteer cohort and develop strategies for continued engagement of volunteers
  • Collaborate with Canopy’s Adult Education Coordinator to increase local representation, diversity, and bilingualism in Canopy’s cohort of expert volunteers, including arborists, speakers, and volunteer representatives of Canopy
  • Collaborate with Volunteer Engagement Manager on registration and communication systems
  • Support the analysis of data and development of recommendations and strategies from Canopy’s citizen science project, the Great Oak Count
  • Support the development of the Teen Urban Forester alumni network

Tree planting and conservation (60%):

  • Attend and support regular community and residential tree plantings and tree care events
  • Support Canopy’s Trees Team and Community Organizer in outreach, logistics, and planning required to facilitate residential and community tree plantings
  • Support Canopy’s Tree Care Team outreach, logistics, and planning required to facilitate tree care workshops and training sessions
  • Support Canopy’s Tree Team by helping fulfill tree care requests generated from the Palo Alto Digital Tree Health Survey or by resident request in one of the five communities Canopy serves
  • Support Canopy Tree Team in the maintenance of the resources and materials necessary to facilitate planting or tree care events at our shared yard space
  • Support Canopy’s Tree Team in measuring impact and tracking trees planted in Canopy’s Branching Out communities
  • Support the maintenance and care of Canopy-planted trees in San Francisquito Creek

Climate Education (20%):

  • In collaboration with Canopy’s Trees Team and Community Organizer, design public facing materials about the benefits of trees, including their impact on the climate. Share these materials with the public at community tablings.
  • In collaboration with Canopy’s Tree Team design tree care specific material that will be used for the website, at local events, and given to community members to foster ongoing tree stewardship
  • Attend community listening sessions and other local events to better understand the needs of community members.
  • Support the development of educational materials about trees for local parks


In addition to the responsibilities at the host institution outlined above, RAY Fellows will spend, on average, 2-4 hours per week (5-10% of work time) on the following:

  • Actively communicating and building community with their RAY Fellow cohort and previous RAY Fellows.
  • Meeting regularly with mentors both inside and outside the host institution.
  • Attending monthly professional development webinars, trainings, and other opportunities to build knowledge and skills as scheduled.
  • Developing a Personal Leadership Plan (PLP) in their 2nd year with the support of supervisor(s), mentors, RAY program staff, and their RAY Fellow cohort. The PLP will serve as a tool for self-reflection, planning, and assessing progress towards professional, personal, and leadership goals.
  • Preparing and leading an hour-long end-of-fellowship webinar highlighting their Fellowship experience.

RAY Fellows will also attend:

  • A 3-day Orientation Retreat in late Summer 2024.
  • A 3-day Mid-Fellowship Leadership Retreat in Fall 2025.


Eligible RAY Fellow applicants will:

  • Come from a racial/ethnic background underrepresented in conservation and clean energy and demonstrate a commitment to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Be no more than 3 years out of college and have a Bachelor's Degree by July 2024 (we are not considering individuals with graduate degrees at this time).
  • Have not had a full-time job in conservation or clean energy.
  • Have the ability to work in the United States and commit to the entire fellowship.


  • A college degree by the time of employment
  • An interest in the field of conservation.
  • Demonstrated capacity to work well and collaborate with others..
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills.
  • An eagerness to learn.
  • Bilingual in Spanish preferred


This is a two-year, full-time fellowship (one year with a one year renewal) starting on or after July 15, 2024.


The Fellowship is compensated and sponsored by Canopy, who offers a salary of $62,000, a competitive benefits package as well as training and professional development opportunities. 


  1. To apply for the RAY Fellowship Program, applicants must:
  2. Complete the online application survey on the RAY Fellowship Program website: https://rayfellowship.org/apply

Follow the instructions on the linked application webpage to submit a resume or curriculum vitae, one essay response, one visioning response, and one short answer response.

Applications must be submitted to the RAY Fellowship Program no later than April 5, 2024. Transcripts and additional writing samples are not required.

If you have questions please see our FAQ page and any further questions about the application process can be submitted to ray@elpnet.org.

Canopy strives to engage, celebrate, and reflect the rich diversity of the communities we serve. We value inclusion and equity in our programs, leadership, and hiring practices. Canopy is a fair chance employer and does not use the e-Verify background check service. We invite anyone to apply regardless of their history and welcome neurodivergent applicants.

Canopy is continually seeking to diversify its staff, particularly to broaden opportunities for individuals from demographic groups that are historically excluded in the sciences and in environmental advocacy.