My Dad – the volunteer consultant

Kailey Setter, NCC Conservation Volunteers coordinator and her dad construct nest boxes (Photo by Cindy Setter)

Kailey Setter, NCC Conservation Volunteers coordinator and her dad construct nest boxes (Photo by Cindy Setter)

When you're the father of a Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) employee you become a volunteer by default. It's hard to avoid getting drawn into a little pro bono work when your son or daughter comes to you seeking help or advice. I know many NCC...

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Liberating the Happy Valley Forest from invaders

Happy Valley Forest, ON (Photo by Miguel Hortiguela)

Happy Valley Forest, ON (Photo by Miguel Hortiguela)

It was a covert ground-assault by a small group of dedicated resisters, led by Thomas Unrau of the Nature Conservancy of Canada, on an invader to the perhaps not-so-Happy Valley. I'd signed up to participate in a valiant effort to thwart the...

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Willows on the Waldron

Willows on the Waldron CV event, AB (Photo by NCC)

Willows on the Waldron CV event, AB (Photo by NCC)

"Willows on the Waldron," the website read. A volunteer opportunity. Nature Conservancy of Canada. A worthy cause. I think to myself, "Self! here's your chance. Walk the talk! Let's volunteer!” But Willows…? On the...

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Volunteers dig in to help improve riparian habitat

NCC conservation staff and volunteers assess the planting work at Waldron Ranch. (Photo by Kyle Meller)

NCC conservation staff and volunteers assess the planting work at Waldron Ranch. (Photo by Kyle Meller)

I was in eighth grade when I first learned about riparian zones and the important role these terrestrial ecosystems play in the conservation of freshwater systems. Little did I know, years later, I would be helping to lead groups of volunteers in...

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A glimpse into a hidden refuge for nature: Volunteering at Severn Woodlands Nature Reserve

Volunteers at Severn Woodlands Nature Reserve, ON (Photo by Nicole Evelyn Senyi)

Volunteers at Severn Woodlands Nature Reserve, ON (Photo by Nicole Evelyn Senyi)

“Are you sure this is the right road?” I ask as I pull onto a heavily rutted dirt road that winds through thick forest. “I think so,” responds my passenger, Pia Kaukoranta, major gifts coordinator for the Nature...

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Conservation Volunteers helping protect snapping turtle habitat in Nova Scotia

Snapping turtle (Photo by Ryan M. Bolton)

Snapping turtle (Photo by Ryan M. Bolton)

Imagine if you can a wide gravel beach overlooking a small, tranquil lake surrounded by rich forests. As the sun rises on the horizon, a turtle breaks the surface to survey the surrounding landscape. This snapping turtle has recently come out of...

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Why I'm hooked on birding at the Tatlayoko Lake Bird Observatory

Avery Bartels with a sharp-shinned hawk (Photo by Kristie Foster)

Avery Bartels with a sharp-shinned hawk (Photo by Kristie Foster)

Many years before I was born my parents bought eight acres (three hectares) with a small cabin on it near Nelson BC. As their family grew, so did their humble abode to accommodate my four siblings and me. From as early as I can remember I have...

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Chasing dragonflies and butterflies with Bob Bowles

Bob Bowles, Carden Alvar, ON (Photo by NCC).

Bob Bowles in the Carden Alvar, ON. Look closely and you'll see a dragonfly on his shoulder – they really do flock to him! (Photo by NCC).

I met Bob Bowles fairly early in my career at the Nature Conservancy of Canada when I was tasked to run the Carden Alvar butterfly and dragonfly counts in the Georgian Bay–Huronia sub-region in 2009. We’d been planning the counts on...

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Three things I've pledged to do for nature this Earth Day

Val Deziel distributes a flat of wild rye for planting (Photo by NCC)

In the space of 45 minutes, NCC staff and volunteers planted 1,500 plugs of native grasses. (Photo by NCC)

To celebrate Earth Day I’m sharing three easy activities I’ve pledged to do for nature this year: Plant with purpose I recently moved to a (relatively) quiet suburb of Toronto, into a house with a backyard! Which, as I’m sure...

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Why I volunteer with the Nature Conservancy of Canada

Ellen and Heidi explore a crevice in the alvar landscape (Photo courtesy of Ellen Weatherbee)

Ellen and Heidi explore a crevice in the alvar landscape (Photo courtesy of Ellen Weatherbee)

The combination of being a botanist and owning land on Cockburn Island has been a natural fit for doing work with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). I have concentrated on doing what I do best — surveying the plants and their...

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