Openlands Forestry Training Program

Openlands Forestry Training Program is a paid, 8-month program to learn professional skills in arboriculture while taking care of our urban forest throughout the Chicago region. The program consists of fieldwork, assisting with community planting events, classes and trainings, professional development opportunities and networking.

The tree care industry is in need of interested and skilled individuals to fill well-paid and desirable positions, that lead to long-term and successful careers. Openlands Training Program provides trainees with a foundation of knowledge and experience working with trained professionals, as well as resources for applying for positions post-program.

Jobs in arboriculture include:

  • Climber/Climbing Arborist
  • Plant Health Care Technician
  • Groundsmen
  • Sales Arborist
  • Utility Arborist
  • Municipal Forester

Trainees learn how to steward Openlands trees by mulching, weeding, pruning and watering, learning the benefits of our urban forest, what urban trees need, and how to communicate this information. By visiting the nursery, planting those trees, performing tree maintenance and then inventorying older trees, trainees experience the full cycle of urban tree establishment.

Trainees also complete Openlands TreeKeepers program and participate in the following certifications and trainings:

  • 100 hours of tree identification
  • Tree biology and physiology
  • Urban Soils Workshop
  • Extensive pruning experience
  • First Aid/CPR certification
  • Beginning Climbing Training from the Illinois Arborist Association
  • Feller I Chainsaw Training Certification from the Forest Preserves of Cook County

Applications for the 2020 Forestry Training Program have now closed. Check back in early 2021 to apply for next year’s cohort.

BLOG POST: Check out our blog post recapping the 2019 season!