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Mutual learning: Green Mentor program helps mentor and mentee gain new perspectives and confidence

May 28, 2021

Molly and Maleen's headshots, separated by a tree trunk

Molly Hudson, Director Sustainability at Mosaic Forest Management, was surprised how much she had in common with her mentee, who is on a career pathway within BC Parks.

“Despite the fact that our jobs are different, we have a lot of the same interests and had lots to talk about,” said Hudson.

“I think we’re both kind of plant nerds,” added Maleen Mund, Hudson’s mentee.

Both Hudson and Mund live on Vancouver Island and love being outside, hiking, and camping. But because of COVID-19, they’ve never met in person. So every couple of weeks, they would Zoom to catch up and work through Project Learning Tree Canada’s Green Mentor program’s objectives.

The Green Mentor program connects youth (ages 18–30) directly to forest and conservation sector professionals. The program uses an industry-leading algorithm that matches people based on personalities, learning styles, goals, locations, interests, and existing skills.

Hudson said she pursued forestry because of her tree planting summers during university and her small-town roots in a resource-dependent community. Plus, she always loved being outside.

Mund’s background is very similar—her hometown was dependent on forestry and mining and she was also outdoors a lot growing up.

“There’s a small town, and then there’s living like 45 minutes outside of the small town,” she said. “I felt really connected with plants and animals.”

The 27-year-old pursued her creative talents like art out of high school, but then pivoted to environmental technology and geography, graduating from the University of Victoria in the fall.

Last summer, Mund worked for BC Parks as a Student Ranger Crew Lead in Black Creek. Her goal is to work for BC Parks seasonally as a Park Ranger.

“As long as I’m working outside and it’s something to do with conservation work, I’m pretty happy,” she said.

For Hudson’s Green Job at Mosaic Forest Management, she is responsible for forest certifications (Mosaic is certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Forest Management Standard) and for community relationships. Plus, she’s the lead for plants, wildlife, and ecosystem management because she’s a professional biologist. Hudson graduated with a biology degree and forestry diploma in 2008 from the University of British Columbia and the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

“I think the best part of the Green Mentor program was the unexpected learnings,” she said. “You know you’ll learn how to be a better mentor, but I also gained new perspectives and learned how to approach projects differently.”

Mund said the best part as a mentee was getting to know Hudson and having someone impartial listen to her.

“I think what I’ve gained overall from the experience is a lot more self-confidence in myself as a working professional. I’m really happy that we’re keeping in touch and the relationship didn’t end when the mentoring program ended,” she said.

Hudson thinks that more people should try out mentoring, no matter their age.

“People might think mentors should have 30 plus years of experience, and I don’t view it quite like that. I think it’s about building individual relationships and gaining mutual learnings. In practice, it’s not just a one-way handing down of wisdom to a young person, or me just giving advice to Maleen—it’s more than that.” she said.  “It’s us talking about life and work and goals, and really getting to know one another.”

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 forest and conservation leaders, recruit employees, and gain new perspectives. Learn more here!

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