PLT Canada highlights voices of Indigenous Youth
Submitted by Mira Williamson, PLT Canada
Indigenous Peoples are Canada’s original forest and conservation professionals.
Project Learning Tree Canada (PLT Canada) has placed more than 500 Indigenous youth from over 80 different Nations into high-quality green work experiences—many of whom found placements in their own communities. By offering a 50% wage match to employers hiring youth, and career development resources (like career fact sheets, skill-building webinars, and mentorship opportunities), PLT Canada hopes to foster the next generation of forest and conservation leaders.
We wanted to show what that actually looked like, so we created a map that highlights the communities and experiences of Indigenous youth who worked in Green Jobs. Connecting with nature and supporting nature-based solutions through a Green Job can inspire young people to lead sustainable lives.
By sharing their Green Job stories, these young Indigenous people can inspire more youth to pursue green career pathways and support nature-based solutions.
One of the young people who shared their Green Job experience was Ashley King, a member of Gull Bay First Nation. She worked as a crew boss forest firefighter for the Ministry of Natural Resources. On base, she would make sure the crew knew the weather briefing, train for fires, and do public work around parks. Ashley liked working with helicopters, seeing sunsets and sunrises, and the feeling of accomplishment after a fire is out. She wants to stay in the forestry field and work as a pilot or with helicopters.
Another youth, Jordan Dubois from Sucker Creek Cree Nation, worked as a Student Ranger for BC Parks. He said the best part of his Green Job was the final assignment. They flew in a helicopter to a panorama ridge and spent the weekend fixing up tent pads and hiking down. Jordan studied Indigenous Land Stewardship before participating in the student summer ranger program and is now considering going back to school for fish, wildlife, and conservation. You can read more youth stories here.
In addition to the web map, PLT Canada offers a free 60-page booklet featuring 12 Indigenous leaders working in the forest, conservation, and parks sectors across the country. A Guide to Green Jobs in Canada: Voices of Indigenous Professionals is available in English, French, Anishinaabemowen, and soon Plains Cree.
About Project Learning Tree Canada
Project Learning Tree Canada (PLT Canada) believes in a society that values and benefits from sustainably managed forests and the great outdoors. It is committed to using trees and forests as windows on the world to inspire action and grow future forest and conservation leaders. PLT Canada is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy. Since 2018, PLT Canada has placed youth in over 3,500 Green Jobs. The organization’s environmental education and professional development services, which include high-value work experiences and an industry-leading mentorship program, support youth across Canada on their green career pathways, including those in rural, Indigenous, and urban communities. PLT Canada is an initiative of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). Learn more at http://www.pltcanada.org/.