Thanks to funding from the CPRA Youth Employment Experience project, the Town of Cornwall, Ontario was able to hire Kimberly Bray as their Green Infrastructure Research Assistant. Kimberly’s role is to take an inventory and assess any gaps in green infrastructure in the town.
“My job this summer is to research green infrastructure in Cornwall; things that we have, things that we don’t have, and try to put a number on the benefit that we can receive from it,” says Kimberly.
“Creating an inventory of green infrastructure involves mapping the natural assets that we have in Cornwall. It involves categorizing green infrastructure which is forested areas, and parks; and blue infrastructure which is wetlands and stormwater retention ponds. Once we categorize them, we come out with a report that helps with a deeper analysis of the benefits of these spaces. People from the public and other city staff use this report to understand what the benefit would be if we were to let’s say have a project to conserve a riparian area. This is something that we’ve just done, so we report what the economic benefit of that would be versus building another stormwater retention pond.”
Part of Kimberly’s job also involves finding locations for tree planting and planting the trees herself. As explained by her supervisor Angela Parker, “Kimberly was involved in some projects that involved planting different tree species with our local conservation authority. Not only did she do our administrative work and research behind the project, but she also had the opportunity to do the physical labor and tree planting. Kimberly also helps scout out areas for planting by using maps that we have and analyzing what areas of town could benefit from having more trees.”
Kimberly also took a lead role in a city-wide biodiversity blitz through which local youth had the opportunity to learn while having fun undertaking a scavenger hunt. Joining up with summer playground programs and camp counselors, Kimberly says “They would pretty much occupy kids for the day, and we went in to do a scavenger hunt and talked to them about what biodiversity is and what the importance is of having more of it in the city” says Kimberly.
Kimberly’s work has given her administrative and hands-on experience and has helped make Cornwall more sustainable. In her own words “My experience in this job has been very instrumental based off my secondary education. It’s given me a great outlook about how a municipality works and how to incorporate sustainability into Cornwall and by working with our parks and recreational program.”