The Carden Alvar dragonfly count: An unforgettable learning experience

Volunteers searching for dragonflies at Carden Alvar, ON (Photo by Leanne Gauthier-Helmer)

Volunteers searching for dragonflies at Carden Alvar, ON (Photo by Leanne Gauthier-Helmer)

There truly is an art to learning. I discovered this two years ago when, at the age of 35, I went back to college as a full-time student. I also learned that we all learn differently. I have watched, mystified, my husband and son both take...

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Clarenceville Bog BioBlitz

Clarenceville bog BioBlitz (Photo by NCC)

Clarenceville bog BioBlitz (Photo by NCC)

When people asked what I was doing over the weekend, and I replied “Going to a bog,” the reactions ranged from puzzled faces to outright laughter. In the acoustic sense, the word “bog” isn’t particularly charming. And...

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An exciting Brier Island weekend

Group photo at

Group photo at "Sights and Sounds of Brier Island" event. (Photo by NCC)

Brier Island is one of the farthest reaches of Nova Scotia; two ferry rides away and, like many such islands, ecologically significant and home to a small community sometimes wary of the intentions of outsiders. The Nature Conservancy of Canada...

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Lincoln Wetlands trailblazing

Lincoln Wetlands brush and trailhead. (Photo by NCC)

Lincoln Wetlands brush and trailhead. (Photo by NCC)

I have dedicated the entirety of my adult life to conservation and environmental education. Much of my focus was abroad, but upon returning home to Canada it only made sense to become involved here as well. We live in a country of such vast...

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Bending Willow Creek: Meandering through Minesing

Volunteers at NCC's River Bends on the Mend CV event. (Photo by Miguel Hortiguela)

Volunteers at NCC's River Bends on the Mend CV event. (Photo by Miguel Hortiguela)

It was the summer of 1982 and I'd just finished my first of three years in the Fish and Wildlife Technology program at Sir Sandford Fleming College (since re-branded as Fleming College) in Lindsay, Ontario. I'd been offered a summer job with the...

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Jasmine's day at the Carden Alvar Butterfly Count

Jasmine at the Carden Alvar Butterfly Count. (Photo by Mary Kennard)

Jasmine at the Carden Alvar Butterfly Count. (Photo by Mary Kennard)

My name is Jasmine and this summer I went to the Carden Alvar Annual Butterfly Count in Kirkfield, Ontario. I counted butterflies with my mom and Aunty Mary. I caught an eastern comma butterfly in my net. I caught three butterflies, my mom and...

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Trail making at Fairy Hill

Volunteers carry sign posts to designated spot at Fairy Hill property for interpretive sign installation. (Photo by NCC)

Volunteers carry sign posts to designated spot at Fairy Hill property for interpretive sign installation. (Photo by NCC)

I now have another reason to appreciate time spent hiking a trail after helping out at a Conservation Volunteers event at Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) Fairy Hill property this summer. I should clarify that NCC manages three...

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Conservation from abroad: Saving the Andean condors

Zuleta, Ecuador - the town near the hacienda where I stayed for one month doing condor conservation. (Photo by Carissa Wasyliw)

Zuleta, Ecuador - the town near the hacienda where I stayed for one month doing condor conservation. (Photo by Carissa Wasyliw)

At 3:19 a.m. on January 1, 2015, I left my home to embark on a four-month adventure through South America. Having just finished my degree, I was feeling a little stir crazy and ready for a change of pace. My New Year’s resolution was to live...

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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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