Protecting Parks and Shorelines: A PLT Canada Green Jobs Spotlight

January 04, 2020

Calli standing in a forest holding a moose antler

Calli Burke with a moose antler she found while checking out a forest trail in Pigeon River Provincial Park.

By Calli Burke

My dream job is to work in environmental law enforcement. I’ve always wanted to work outdoors, and I really enjoyed the work I did supporting conservation officers and the police last summer.

My green job was with Kawartha Conservation, based out of Lindsay, Ontario, which is about 120 kilometres northeast of Toronto. Kawartha Conservation manages five conservation areas – natural areas that provide important watershed management services, and recreational and educational opportunities for families and youth.

One area in the Durham East Cross Forest Conservation Area was having real issues with people driving four-wheelers and trespassing in areas that are closed to vehicles. We partnered with Durham Regional Police to set up trail cameras so we could get licence plates and the police could issue tickets.

I have worked in security for several years, and the thought of following this path and one day being a park ranger and maybe eventually a park warden is super exciting.

I also had the chance to go out with Kawartha conservation officers to look for illegal construction on shorelines. At Kawartha Conservation, we call shorelines the “ribbon of life.” They are critical to the ecological health of lakes and rivers.

How we manage shorelines can make a big difference in important areas, like protecting water quality. If people build too close to the shoreline or they get rid of all the native plant species, it can cause erosion and sedimentation that impact fish spawning beds.

My green job also gave me a chance to work in areas outside of enforcement. I went out with biologists who were working on fish science projects. This was a chance to put some of what I learned at Fleming College in the Fish and Wildlife Technician/Technology program to use. It was also another chance to confirm how much I love working outside.

The other big lesson I learned last summer is, you can really get a lot more out of your green job if you ask for opportunities to work with different staff. It’s only because I asked about working with the conservation officers and biologists that I got those great experiences. I’d also say, don’t be afraid to offer ideas and suggest things to co-workers. It’s a great way to engage people and learn from their experience.

I’m not sure what the future will bring, but I do see a path opening for me. There are so many beautiful parks and forests in Canada. I’m sure I’ll land a great opportunity and start a great green career somewhere.

PLT Canada’s Green Jobs program is supported in large part by our employer networks at the Canadian Parks Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.


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