Kim Zhang at Little Island Park in NYC in the summer of 2021.

Kim Zhang grew up in the Bronx but has spent most of her adult life working and going to college in Syracuse. Next week she starts a new job as the City of Syracuse Forest Technician, where she will once again work closely with Syracuse City Arborist Steve Harris (the two collaborated in the past when Kim worked for Cornell Cooperative Extension-Onondaga County on tree planting, community engagement and education, and the Save the Rain program).

Kim has a degree from SUNY ESF in Landscape Architecture and worked for six years in that field. She also has worked for New York Restoration Project on tree planting and community outreach, so Kim brings a myriad of skills and talents to her work. You can read about her educational and work background in a great blog post profile from 2015. We asked Kim about what she’s going to be focusing on in her new job with the City of Syracuse, where she and Harris and their community partners are going to be implementing the first phases of the City’s Urban Forest Master Plan.

“I’m looking forward to the public-facing aspects of the job—the community engagement, the planting and educational events, coordinating a stewardship program. I also will be working on building partnerships and finding funding so that the efforts can be sustained.” The Master Plan calls for a tree canopy boost by means of engagement with those who own large parcels of land, like land-owning individuals, churches, cemeteries, and vacant lot owners. Kim will be the point person for this broad engagement effort.

“I’d love to envision Syracuse revitalized back to its heyday in the early 20th century,” she says. “Urban forestry, green spaces in general, and smart landscape design are an important piece of that puzzle. It’s all going to be one step at a time.”