Green Ride for Green Jobs

Today has a special interview with Zachary Wagman. Zac and his brother Nick did what they called the Green Ride for Green Jobs across Canada.

They rode wooden bicycles and showcased all the different green jobs available to young Canadians across the country. The journey took over three months to complete and was an epic experience for the Wagman brothers.

We caught up with Zac, who is the Green Jobs Manager for Project Learning Tree Canada, for a quick interview.

GreenJobs - Can you tell us a little bit about what the Green Ride for Green Jobs is?

Zac Wagman - Project Learning Tree Canada’s (PLT Canada’s) Green Ride for Green Jobs was a cross-Canada bicycle tour, completed on wooden bikes, to promote outdoor employment opportunities in Canada’s forest, parks, and conservation sectors. My brother and I departed from Victoria, B.C., on May 13, and crossed the finish line of our journey 9,125 km (5,670 miles) later in St. John’s, Newfoundland, on September 23. Along the way, we met over 230 youth and over 50 employers participating in PLT Canada’s Green Jobs program. It was an opportunity to bring awareness to the kinds of outdoor career options that exist for young people across the country.


GJ - What was the biggest thing you guys learned on the Green Ride for Green Jobs across Canada?

ZW - For me, my biggest takeaway was how passionate young people are who work in this sector. It is incredible to hear young people repeatedly tell you how excited they are to wake up and go to work in the morning. I was also excited to learn how much demand there is for young talent to replace this industry’s aging workforce.


GJ - That is great to hear. Did you enjoy having a brother on the trip?

ZW - I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him. Spending four and a half months with anybody is bound to cause tension and, as brothers, we can be a bit blunter with each other than we can with other people. But we’re still on good terms. If anything, this trip brought us closer together.


GJ - Why did you use the Picolo Velo wooden bicycle and can you tell us about it?

ZW - While a cross-Canada bike ride may be out of the ordinary for most folks, we were certainly not the first people to do it. We wanted something to make us stand out and help generate interest and awareness in what we were doing; a wooden bike was a perfect fit. For one thing, the bikes are an innovative product (the frame itself is made with laminated sheets of ash) and a good example of the wide variety of applications wood can be used for. Second, because wooden bikes are a relatively new product, many people simply haven’t seen one before. A lot of heads turn when you ride a wooden bike, so it was a great conversation starter. They are by far the nicest bikes we’ve ever ridden.


GJ - What do you think about the gaining popularity of e-bikes?

ZW - I think that anything that gets more people outside and exercising is a good thing.


GJ - Why do you think Canadians are so in-tune with Green Jobs?

ZW - I think the kinds of jobs that exist in forests, parks, and conservation are going to become better and better known as more and more youth learn about them and start working towards their own green careers. The Green Ride for Green Jobs is just one of the many ways PLT Canada has been raising awareness of green career options and facilitating green career pathways for youth. We have been successful in our efforts so far thanks in part to the support of employers across the Canadian Parks Council and Sustainable Forestry Initiative networks who have helped provide work experiences for over 2,000 Green Jobs youth since 2018.


GJ - Last question, are you both ready for the Tour de France? :)

ZW - If I can get my supervisors on board with a Green Tour de France, I’ll be there.