fbpx

News

PLT Canada highlights Indigenous voices in green careers in our forests and parks

June 19, 2020

cover of the green jobs guide and map of profiles

In celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day on Sunday, June 21, PLT Canada has launched A Guide to Green Jobs in Canada: Voices of Indigenous Professionals, which features the stories of 12 Indigenous professionals across the country.

PLT Canada’s guide highlights Indigenous professionals from across Canada – role models who have found success in green careers in forests and parks that align with their traditional values and love for the environment.

“Indigenous Peoples are Canada’s original forest and conservation professionals. Today, they shape every facet of the sector, creating even more opportunity for their communities and for the next generation of young leaders in the process,” said Paul Robitaille, Senior Manager, Indigenous and Youth Relations, Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). “Their work inspires us. By sharing their stories, we hope to inspire even more young Indigenous people to find a place for themselves in the forest.”

Lennard Joe grew up on a British Columbia ranch. He is a member of the Shackan Indian Band.

“I was in the bush all the time,” he said. “My love for nature grew from there.”

One day, Joe, a registered professional forester, noticed that none of the logging trucks going through the community belonged to them. From that realization, his community built Stuwix Resources Joint Venture, an SFI-certified company jointly owned by eight First Nations in British Columbia. Companies that are certified to SFI are committed to responsible forestry practices, respecting Indigenous rights, protecting water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, and species at risk. 

“Now, First Nations individuals, companies and communities are participating in and helping care for all that the forest has to offer,” he said. “First Nations are no longer just a stakeholder. Now we have opportunities to start influencing change at the larger level and creating an environment in which others can grow and succeed.”

Indigenous man in cap, plaid shirt and vest leans against a tree in a forest.

Lennard Joe, RPF, Scw’exmx, Shackan Indian Band. View Lennard’s story.

In addition to being a general manager at the SFI-certified Stuwix Resources, Joe sits on PLT Canada’s and SFI’s Board of Directors as a representative of the Scw’exmx Tribal Council.

Michelle Botham also works in the forest sector. But she got her first green job at age 42. She’s been working full-time at hme Entreprises in Thunder Bay since her Silviculture Summer Student job in 2015.

“Sometimes life takes you down a path you never expected. Take the knowledge and experience you gain along the way with you into your future roles,” she said.

Be it supervising tree planting, collecting field data or managing summer students, every day as a forestry technician is different, she said.

Botham is a member of the Lac Seul First Nation. She said she sees a lot more involvement of First Nations in sustainable forestry and thinks it will only become more attractive.

“I think it’s important for First Nations people to get involved in forestry for our children and for our future,” she said. “In my compliance role, I help guarantee our traditional values are being considered in forest management. As First Nations, we can take a leadership role and help make a positive change.”

Michelle Botham, in a hard hat and high visibility clothing, holding papers in a recently harvest area of the forest

Michelle Botham, Anishinaabe, Lac Seul First Nation. View Michelle’s story.

Hme Entreprises is a PLT Canada Green Jobs employer, and they work in partnership with Ondaadiziwin Forest Management, an SFI-certified organization, owned by the Lac Seul First Nation.

Since 2018, PLT Canada has placed over 300 Indigenous youth from over 80 different Nations in green jobs in the forest and parks sector and has helped contribute to the growth of the Outland Youth Employment Program which provides meaningful and rewarding experiences for Indigenous youth interested in building skills and a support network while preparing for a job in natural resources.

One of our greatest priorities is supporting opportunities for Indigenous youth and their communities,” said Kathy Abusow, CEO and President of PLT Canada. “There are so many paths and so many amazing destinations to discover in the forest and conservation sector. I hope this guide inspires Indigenous youth to pursue a career that they love that is meaningful to them and their communities.”

A Guide to Green Jobs in Canada: Voices of Indigenous Professionals will soon also be available in French, Plains Cree and Anishinaabemowen. The 60-page booklet reads at a high school level and was designed for PLT Canada by Design de Plume, an Indigenous-owned agency in Sudbury specializing in Indigenous communications. The booklet was also designed with accessibility in mind, and adheres to recognized standards, such as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Download the guide

or view the individual profiles

RELATED NEWS

Photo of Kaitlyn standing in front of a tree and photo of Jasmine sitting on the grass

A passion for environmental education drives this busy mentee-mentor relationship

Green mentor Jasmine Chou and mentee Kaitlyn Adam are busily pursuing their passion for environmental education. So busy in fact that fitting in time to build a mentoring relationship might have seemed like a stretch. “Before this, I was a mentee to Kathy Abusow [President and CEO of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and PLT Canada]. She is an extremely busy person with a million things to do. But when you realize even someone like her is still managing to make…

READ MORE

Two boys looking at the leaves on a tree

Earth Day activities: Inspire your students and make a difference

By celebrating Earth Day, you’re part of a community of over 1 billion people who take part in this holiday every year. Earth Day is about raising awareness about the importance of protecting our planet and taking action. Here’s a quick (3-minute) introduction to how Earth Day started and the impact it’s had:   Earth Day 2022 Earth Day will be held April 22, 2022 and the theme is Invest In Our Planet—because a green future is a prosperous future.…

READ MORE

World forestry congress banner

PLT Canada and the World Forestry Congress launch first global Green Mentor program

Over 100 mentorship participants from around the world joined the PLT Canada/World Forestry Congress (WFC) Green Mentor program kickoff on Jan. 11, 2022. PLT Canada’s first global Green Mentor program has been in development with the WFC since the summer of 2021. This cohort is an opportunity for young adults to connect with experienced forest and conservation professionals from around the world and grow their networks and knowledge of the sector.   Out of over 500 applicants, 102 participants from…

READ MORE

Screenshot of a Zoom screenshot

PLT Canada’s Green Mentor Program matches over 100 people in Canada’s forest and conservation sector

On Oct. 13, 2021, PLT Canada launched the October 2021 National Cohort of their Green Mentor Program. The six-month mentorship program supports 51 mentor-mentee pairs, and includes mentors from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative’s (SFI) network and mentees interested in breaking into the forest and conservation sector. At the kickoff webinar, a past green mentee, Kianna Bear-Hetherington, shared her experience in the program and gave advice to the new mentees.   Why is mentorship important? Mentorship is an important way to…

READ MORE

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER