December 7, 2010

Finding a Forestry Job in the City

Last month, I posted about finding a less stressful job, and a reader named John left this question as a comment:

I need help transitioning into a less stressful job and enjoy the outdoors. Fishing, forestry something green. I have Bachelors in Printing Technology form Rochester Institute of Technology and am in my 50’s. I am located in Chicago. Can you direct me to an awesome career or sites?


John faces a number of challenges – being an older American in the job market, looking for a job outside of of his educational experience, and (I’m assuming), changing career paths. All of those things can be overcome with some hard work and dedication to the job search, so I wanted to instead focus on what I think is his biggest challenge – finding a forestry job when living in a big city like Chicago.

If you live in the mountains of Pennsylvania, like I do, you can find positions with the wildlife game commission, work at a large state campground facility, and more. In rural locations, you have options. In a city? Yes, there are still parks and campgrounds, but jobs are fewer an further between. So, let’s think outside the box. What kind of outdoor career options does someone have if they still want to live near a city?

  • Urban Forester: Because people want the illusion of living in the country, urban forestry is a growing field. Working as an urban forester will allow you to work outside inspecting trees for damage in public parks, working with urban landscape designers, and working with contractors to secure environmental permits within city limits.
  • Tree Planting: In many areas, reforestation efforts are occurring to help the environment reclaim areas where trees were once cut down to may way for urban development or in areas that were destroyed by forest fires. You can get a tree planting job more easily in the spring, but get your application in early to ensure a position.
  • Environmental Law Enforcement: Every city hires workers to ensure that people are following the law when it comes to the environment. From policing large companies’ pollution policies to helping citizens deal with wildlife properly, these jobs may not get you out in the woods, but they still deal with the great outdoors.

If you’re looking for a super stress-free job outside, you can also apply with your city or state government to work cutting grass along the highway when the weather warms a bit. In most locations, these jobs are offered by the department of transportation.

Sign up for our newsletter!