October 20, 2023

Emily Prouse sitting on a picnic table with a dog.

By Emily Prouse

Designing and building mountain bike trails as part of my Project Learning Tree Canada (PLT Canada) Green Job brought together my passion for the outdoors and my love of biking down mountains. The fact that I got paid to build trails in the beautiful forests outside my hometown of Quesnel, BC, felt like a green “dream” job.

It’s the kind of dream scenario that I hope will help motivate my future students when I finish my Bachelor of Education degree. I believe that the more kids understand the limitless possibilities of working outside in a green job, the more motivated they will be to champion and conserve the natural world.

Over two summers, I worked with Westroad Resource Consultants, which manages timber harvesting, replanting, and trail building. Westroad is a great organization to work for because they are engaged with the communities where they live and work. Jim Kurta, the founder and owner, is also serious about encouraging more women, youth, and Indigenous staff to consider green careers.  

Turning a love of the outdoors into a source of creativity

I was amazed at the amount of trust and responsibility the Westroad team placed in me, especially in my second summer. Even new staff like me were expected to share our ideas and passion. It’s the kind of atmosphere you dream about when people ask you where you would like to work.

I learned how to rely on my time in the forest to help visualize where to build trails. When you spend enough time mountain biking, skiing, hiking, and camping in the woods, you start to understand how to work with the natural features of the landscape to find the best pathways.

Encouraging everyone to get outside

The other awesome part of PLT Canada Green Job was being with people who just love being in the woods and who want to share that passion. I was blessed to grow up in the interior of BC, where being outside comes naturally. The Westroad team emphasized what we called a “collaborative riding style.” The idea is to build trails that new riders will love, but that also have challenges that experienced riders can choose to keep things exciting. 

I think that a collaborative attitude can really help uncover ways to get kids to love the outdoors, and I want to carry it with me as I move into a teaching career. I will be graduating with a degree in First Nations Studies from the University of Northern British Columbia in April 2024, and then I’ll be working on a Bachelor of Education degree with a plan to graduate in the summer of 2025.

Motivating the next generation to go green for fun and their future

I’ve already worked as an educational assistant, and as a ski coach, so I know I love teaching. My goal is to show my students all the different pathways to living a fun, healthy life — and maybe even working outside in a rewarding green career.   

PLT Canada’s Green Jobs program is supported in large part by our employer networks with the Canadian Parks Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). PLT Canada is an initiative of SFI.


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