Bridging the Gap Between Forestry Professionals and Young Adults
January 15, 2021
As a young woman just starting on her career path, Sky Jarvis wasn’t sure if she and her Green Mentor Ken Price, who has 25 years of experience, were a good match.
But talking about their mutual love of fly fishing broke the ice and helped establish their mentorship relationship.
Project Learning Tree Canada’s Green Mentor program connects youth (ages 18‑30) directly to forest and conservation sector professionals. The program uses an industry-leading platform with an algorithm that matches people based on personalities, learning styles, goals, locations, interests, and existing skills.
While Price, a member of the K’ómoks First Nation and the Manager of Partnerships for Mosaic Forest Management (a Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)-certified organization), and Jarvis may have different lived experiences, they were able to focus on shared goals and create a meaningful connection.
“Sky is already a leader at her age,” said Price. “She showed how age doesn’t matter if you’re focused on growing personally and professionally.”
In fact, their differences in experience contributed to the success of their mentorship relationship.
“Sky’s energy and enthusiasm are off the charts. She also brought a fresh perspective based on her experiences volunteering on conservation projects in Central America,” said Price. “One thing she suggested was that Mosaic Forest Management should consider biodiversity and Indigenous overlays of cultural sites in their geographic information system for managing timber harvest.”
Jarvis was pleased to learn that Mosaic has a process that integrates these values into its harvest planning and continual improvement in the way data is captured and utilized is an important objective within SFI and Progressive Aboriginal Relations certifications.
Jarvis is pursuing her Registered Professional Forester (RPF) designation, and Price has helped her remain on the path to success.
“It’s a six-year journey to earn the designation, so I will need to be patient,” said Jarvis. “Ken was really good about encouraging my enthusiasm, but he also kept things grounded and helped me take a methodical approach to getting my RPF.” Jarvis is on track to graduate from UBC with a degree in natural resource conservation science and management in 2021.
The position was supported by PLT Canada’s Green Jobs program, which offers employers a 50% wage match to hire youth (ages 15-30) for Green Jobs. Green jobs are typically involved in, but not limited to, jobs in the forest sector, parks, conservation, natural resource management, environmental education, sustainable food systems, climate change, carbon sequestration, species maintenance and recovery, water quality and quantity, and more.
The program is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy. Since 2018, PLT Canada has placed over 3,600 youth in Green Jobs.
Mentorship is another important way to inspire and help recruit the next generation of forestry leaders, especially as one-third of the forest sector’s workforce is set to retire in the next decade.
“PLT Canada’s mentorship program is one of the things that gives me hope about how the forest sector will grow in the future. We need more young people like Sky to help move things forward,” said Price. “We also need young people to see what modern, sustainable forestry is all about so they can see themselves in a green career.”
“Ken gave me an inside look at the forest sector and how I could imagine myself in a sustainable green career,” said Jarvis.
PLT Canada’s Green Mentor program connects young people ages 18-30 with Green Jobs professionals. The six-month mentorship program involves meeting up (in person or virtually) two or three hours a month. Mentees can expand their Green Jobs knowledge, goals, and network. Mentors can inspire the next generation of leaders, recruit employees and gain new perspectives.
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