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BLAKE WATKINS
Forest Restoration Coordinator
Trees Atlanta
• Landscape architecture, forestry, and urban planning majors are good backgrounds for work at a conservation organization. The Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at University of Georgia is a great place to study. Emory University also has a well regarded program.
• Volunteering is a great way to get your foot in the door in an environmental organization. Standard office skills and an understanding of office software are also useful.
• GIS (Geographic Information Systems) is becoming very important in Forestry jobs. Take classes that teach GIS software such as Arcview
Trees Atlanta has distributed more than 75,000 shade trees and cared for more than 100,000 since the organization was founded in 1985. Trees Atlanta uses a network of volunteers to complete this task. As forest restoration coordinator for Trees Atlanta, Blake Watkins, has an interesting perspective on green careers and good knowledge of Forestry in the Atlanta area.
EMILY THOMAS
Deputy Director
Georgia Conservation Voters
• Get a solid background in science. Take classes in environmental policy, biology, and political science.
• The best way to get into an organization like the Georgia League of Conservation Voters is through an internship. It might be beneficial to choose a larger city that has numerous internship opportunities.
• Savannah Tech's Photovoltaic Systems Program is one of the first in the nation. The school offers solar energy installation and repair training.
Georgia Conservation Voters works to elect leaders with conservation values. Emily Thomas, Interim Executive Director, explained that, like similar environmental organizations in other states, Georgia Conservation Voters engages primarily in political activities. They produce a legislative score card that rates Georgia state politicians on various conservation issues. They also hold a legislative summit to address upcoming conservation issues. Georgia is generally a conservative state where it is sometimes more difficult to enact conservation legislation. Emily believes that significant conservation change in Georgia will probably require federal legislation.
GISELLE SEBAG
Policy Fellow, Greenprints Program Assistant
Southface
• Inroads to green building: if you are interested in developing a career in green building, Southface is developing an online learning system. Their Basics of Building Science is a good introductory course, and is an introductory class now offered at no charge through its online training site, www.southfaceinstitute.org at this time.
• Southface offers talented researchers the opportunity to develop projects and conduct research using the 24/7 performance data it is collecting from its LEED Platinum 'Eco Office'. It expects much of this research will fall into uncharted territory, and may result in valid new building performance observations and opportunities that benefit the larger green building community.
• For professionals engaged in green policy and research, and careers that have elements in the growing field of sustainability, Southface moderates the monthly Sustainable Atlanta Roundtable, an excellent networking event.
Atlanta has a long history of producing strong non-profit organizations, and on the green building and sustainable design front, Southface is Atlanta's success story. As a state contractor for workforce weatherization training and one of 36 organizations authorized nationally to facilitate LEED certification of sustainable building projects in both commercial and residential development, Southface's staff of 70 has extended its influence across much of Atlanta's developing green economy. Their EarthCraft program has served as a model for sustainable homes and light commercial buildings, and has spread to organizations in several neighboring states. Its green building classes, offered at Southface's facilities, have proven so successful that Policy Fellow, Giselle Sebag, says, "sometimes we can't keep up with demand." Giselle also helps lead Southface's annual Greenprints Conference and Tradeshow, an excellent networking opportunity for the regional green community that brings together leading national authorities on sustainability in the "built environment" for two days each year in Atlanta. She says Atlanta's BeltLine, one of the largest-ever light rail projects in the country, will connect much of the city's sprawling landscape in the coming years. This development will likely spur new green building projects in both residential and commercial construction and renovation. Expect Atlanta to develop an excellent green job market as large-scale projects like the BeltLine ramp up in coming years.
COLEMAN WOOD
Communications Director
Georgia Conservancy
• Georgia Conservancy's Generation Green Program provides an excellent opportunity for young professionals to build hands-on experience, both in the field and through leadership opportunities on the Generation Green Board of Directors.
• The annual Georgia Conservancy ecoBenefĂȘte provides green-collar professionals an excellent opportunity to network with like-minded members of the environmental community.
• Georgia Conservancy hosts interns and is currently working to organize a formal internship program. Anyone looking to volunteer, whether through a formal internship or otherwise, can be sure to find an opportunity with Georgia Conservancy.
Georgia Conservancy has been instrumental in advocating for sustainable urban planning and environmental protections that are producing positive results across the state. Last year, the organization spearheaded advocacy for legislation that gives Georgia the most progressive water conservation policy in the country. In addition, their Blueprints program ensures that not only new urban development, but historic communities are included in sustainability planning. "Older cities lacked this planning mindset," said Communications Director Coleman Wood, "One of the easiest ways we can reduce carbon emissions is by getting people out of their cars."

Georgia's economic growth has recently been affecting its ports and coastal areas as much as its urban communities. The forthcoming widening of the Panama Canal has prompted ports such as Savannah to prepare for the arrival of larger ships by dredging the Savannah River and harbor to add the required depth. Georgia Conservancy has monitored the process, submitted comments regarding the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project, and will continue advocating for the protection of the health of the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge and its unique species and habitats.
Beyond Georgia's urban centers, Georgia Conservancy is working to extend the Conservation Easement Tax Incentive for the state's rural areas and open spaces. Wood noted that 90 percent of state land is privately owned, which makes this legislation key to promoting land conservation. The Georgia Conservancy has spoken with 400 land owners interested in conserving over 100,000 acres of land this year, and tax incentives for conservation easements help the organization work with land owners to find a mutual beneficial conservation solution.

As one of the larger organizations focused on environmental advocacy at the state level, Georgia Conservancy serves an important role in supporting the states growing environmental community as well as supporting policies that will lead to a sustainable economy and green job growth.
SANDY PICKARD
Business Manager
Solar Energy International
• Take classes at Solar Energy International. Workshops are offered in solar, thermal, green building, and even hydro technologies. Classes are offered in twelve locations around the US.
• Roofers can improve their skills by taking classes in solar energy installation.
• Solar energy installation and commercial size energy efficiency projects are the hottest areas of green technology.
Solar Energy International has been providing education in solar and other renewable energy technologies for 20 years. They have become one of the premiere institutions for accredited renewable energy workshops and offer classes in a number of locations.

Business manager Sandy Pickard highlighted the important work this non-profit does through their educational mission. Solar Energy International has expanded to include workshops in solar electric, solar thermal, micro-hydro, and wind energy. Classes are also offered online.
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