Growing Great Places Together

The Town of Castor, Alberta offers many outdoor spaces – including the community’s walking trails, fish pond, and creek.

This summer, these spaces were maintained and beautified for residents and visitors to enjoy.

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, the Town of Castor was able to hire university student Shaelyn Hewitt as a Green Initiatives Coordinator.

“My job allows me to beautify green spaces and turn them into something people can enjoy,” says Shaelyn, adding that people feel encouraged to go outside and appreciate nature more when everything is well maintained. “Our town has many trails, parks and sitting areas outdoors we take care of for everyone to enjoy.”

As Green Initiatives Coordinator, Shaelyn kept the town looking its best. Among many of her tasks, she watered plants, cut the grass, and trimmed trees.

But Natasha Bozek, the Town of Castor’s Recreation Director, says that there was much more to Shaelyn’s job.

“While many of our summer positions are focused on grass cutting, tree trimming and garbage collection, this job also focused on a recycling program, tree planting program planning, organic weed control, waste reduction strategies and green space beautification,” says Natasha.

She adds that Shaelyn’s green job enabled the Town to move its green initiatives forward, and showed residents that its green spaces are valued.

“It shows our residents that we are working on making our community a better place to live, work and play,” says Natasha.

The funding also allowed the Town to dedicate resources to green initiatives, which Natasha says may otherwise not have been prioritized.

If given the opportunity, Natasha says the Town would definitely apply for the funding again.

“It is always of great help to a small town to have additional student support, and renewed funding would allow us to continue to work on green initiatives in the future,” she says.

Shaelyn adds that this is the third year she has worked a summer job in the town’s public works department, and she feels like she is making a difference in the community. Through her work, she has gained a new perspective of what goes into public works and how it helps people enjoy the outdoors and appreciate nature.

“It’s much more than just ‘keeping the town pretty’. There are many aspects of my job that I enjoy. I work alongside incredible staff which makes my job a lot of fun,” she says, noting that she would love the opportunity to work for the town again. “I love having a job that keeps me active and outside all summer. Having an opportunity to have so much control over what our town looks like is an honour. I love being able to create a nice space for our citizens to enjoy.”

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.