Green Team Youth Program

Green Team_0.GIF The Groundwork Lawrence Green Team is a year-round program that offers part-time, paid positions for 50 Lawrence high school aged students each year to help learn about and lead local environmental and healthy community initiatives, grow food, conduct research, raise awareness, challenge their peers to do community service, and participate in hands-on improvement projects throughout the City of Lawrence. The program is intended to promote the protection and restoration of Lawrence’s critical ecological systems, natural resources, and public health by engaging teens in advocacy and service-learning efforts focused on the community's parks, gardens, waterways, and vacant open spaces. The Green Team program has dual goals - to prepare Lawrence’s youth for a lifetime of environmental and healthy community leadership, and to invest in our community’s future and capacity to improve its physical environment.



Last summer, 30 Green Team members took on a myriad of tasks rotating through three cohorts: "So fresh", "So Green" and "So Connected". Each group got to go on an overnight orientation camping trip at Harold Parker State Forest and went hiking, canoeing, or camping, at least one other day during the summer.


So Fresh

"So Fresh" worked on our urban farm and grew over 2,700 pounds of food for sale at Groundwork farmers markets and for donation to Bread and Roses.

So Green

"So Green" cleaned up trash in many parks, removed invasive species, worked on park maintenance with Department of Conservation Recreation, and completed trail work the Appalachian Mountain Club.

So Connected

"So Connected" worked on developing professional and communication skills, taught summer programming with Parks and Recreation, and assisted with outreach efforts. They also created and distributed a trash survey in the city as well as putting their results into a final report.










School Year

This school year, Green Team will be focusing on Food and Environmental Justice. During the fall, Green Team continues summer projects by caring for our urban garden and working the Farmers Market. They assist in the planning and carrying out of GWL events including the Spicket River Clean-up, Greenway 5k, and Glow Gala. Green Team attends multiple food justice workshops and makes presentations on the topic. During the winter, Green Team attends in-house seminars on compost, soil, garden planning, and food justice in preparation for spring planting. This is also the time of the year when the most intensive youth development work happens. Spring Green Team gears up with Earth Day, opening and prepping gardens, park clean ups, and planning for summer. Public speaking, writing articles, making professional presentations, cleaning rivers, pulling weeds, enjoying time together, hiking and camping are all part of life on the Green Team. Green Team is a support system, a professional stepping stone, and a family.




Green Team News


Jairo, 16, was first introduced to environmentalism through his biology teacher, Rebecca Veilleux. Jairo took the urban ecology class simply because he needed another credit, and the class seemed interesting. Jairo soon discovered that Ms. Veilleux had a lot of experience working on urban ecology projects as she was also a Green Team Youth Leader for Groundwork Lawrence. The class gradually piqued his interest and he thoroughly enjoyed the field studies, especially to Nantucket Island. His teacher appreciated Jairo's enthusiasm and encouraged him to apply for Groundwork as she knew he would like the type of work the Trust was doing.


Jerver Abrego has learned to think like the land in the Merrimack Valley, appreciate its hidden splendor and harvest its possibilities for restoring lives. The 24-year-old program coordinator for Groundwork Lawrence carried this enthusiasm to Lawrence from Yellowstone National Park, where, for eight days in August, he and five other local young people cleared trails, painted picnic tables and toured natural wonders. The awe he felt standing in the national park, which covers almost 3,500 square miles, inspired him to envision what Lawrence's remaining open spaces might become. He imagined what the valley looked like before industrialization spawned a mill-dominated cityscape in the 19th century, and thought about its restored splendor in smaller spaces.

Yellowstone National Park


What's Happening with Green Team


This project was supported in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which receives support from the state of Massachusetts and the National Endowment for the Arts.