Catherine Ducey was on a mission to find contaminants in Newfoundland’s waterways this summer But she didn’t stop there.
Thanks to funding from the CPRA’s Green Jobs Initiative, which is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Summer Work Experience Program, Catherine and her Green Team members from Conservation Corps Newfoundland and Labrador (CCNL) were able to take their conclusions and help towns learn what should be tested further. And, recommend ways to fix problems.
“I believe if we don’t ensure we’re taking care of our environment adequately, the future of our earth will be in jeopardy,” says Catherine, who is studying for her Masters of Marine Studies (Marine Spatial Planning). “With jobs such as this, it allows for even the smallest improvements for our environment, and if more little things are done, they can add up to much more substantial changes.”
“I believe if we don’t ensure we’re taking care of our environment adequately, the future of our earth will be in jeopardy” - Catherine Ducey, student
The CCNL seeks to provide meaningful skill development, training and employment to youth aged 16 to 30 in the areas of environmental and cultural conservation while supporting non-profit organizations, educational institutions and communities throughout the province to advance local conservation priorities.
As part of her job for the CCNL, Catherine and her Green Team members traveled to different waterways and water systems to collect data and samples for chemical and biological testing. The samples taken back for chemical analysis were evaluated for nutrient content, pH, and caffeine content, which provided valuable information on possible sources of contamination and over-enrichment.
She says that once they had the results, they were able to provide their conclusions to community leaders.
“This allows for current and future preservation of our freshwater sources and identifies ways to reduce pollution in these areas, which in turn is one way of ensuring the continuation of a healthy environment,” she says, adding that the team also delivered educational presentations to community groups about the environment, water quality issues, and what people can do to help reduce the effects of climate change. “It is important to educate people and empower them to positively impact their local environment.”
“It is important to educate people and empower them to positively impact their local environment” - Catherine Ducey, student
Megan Stuckless, CCNL’s program manager, says the organization hired 34 young people to work on environmental and cultural conservation projects across Newfoundland and Labrador through funding from CPRA’s Green Jobs Initiative.
She says Catherine’s position as a green team member directly impacted municipal planning around conservation of local waterways.
“The data being collected will be used by community leadership to mitigate sources of pollution and contamination, while actively protecting pristine areas as the community continues to grow and change,” says Megan.
The job also engaged residents, she adds, and the Green Team’s community presentations sparked conversations about how people can protect local water systems – all while empowering young people like Catherine to use their skills and education to help protect natural areas.
“The Green Jobs Initiative is truly an impactful and powerful tool for the advancement of youth and the betterment of natural spaces throughout our country,” Megan says.
Catherine believes that the hands-on experience in the field will help her future career, and she would “absolutely” apply for a similar job again.
“Throughout our testing and analysis, it gives you a wake-up call when you do see irregularities, and makes you want to do whatever you can to help mitigate these issues and do your part in conserving our environment in any way possible,” Catherine says.
The CPRA’s Green Jobs Initiative supports Goal 3 ‘Connecting People & Nature’ and Goal 5 ‘Recreation Capacity’ within the Framework for Recreation in Canada. The Framework serves as a foundation for the work of the parks and recreation sector.
To read all success stories go to: https://www.cpra.ca/stories