With time on their hands, residents from the Cedar Creek Corrections Center (CCCC) were recently given the opportunity to learn how to manage and care for trees through an arboriculture workshop. The workshop provided an overview of a career option available to offenders when they are released from their sentences. CCCC is a minimum-security facility tucked away in the woods of Capitol Forest.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) joined in this workshop to educate inmates on urban forestry and tree biology. Sarah Foster and Linden Mead from DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program illustrated how trees react to stresses and injury in predictable ways based on their biological growth responses. The offenders also learned how to prune trees properly and were given a demonstration on climbing and how to safely work in trees.
The offenders who participated in this arboriculture workshop are members of the forestry crews at CCCC and have already had some experience working with trees. A long-term goal is to follow this workshop with a series of classes to help prepare offenders for the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certification exam.
Why is it important that low-risk offenders participate in environmental sustainability projects? The hope is that these projects will improve behavior and deepen individual and institutional investment in sustainability. It works toward rehabilitating and re-establishing the inmates into society once their prison term has been completed.
Cedar Creek Corrections Center is involved in multiple projects that support DNR’s tree planting and wildland firefighting: recycling, composting, organic gardening, horticulture greenhouse, beekeeping, water catchment basins, low-flush toilets, energy conservation, and field crews.
Part of a bigger picture
The arboriculture workshop is part of an on-going project called the Sustainable Prisons Project. The Sustainable Prisons Project encourages everyone in the community, including incarcerated men and women, to become stewards of the planet. It’s a partnership between The Evergreen State College (TESC) and the Washington Department of Corrections. They work to bring science and sustainability to prisons through education, operations, and conservation projects.
Low-risk offenders are reducing their carbon foot print and learning how to become stewards of the environment.
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