Building a community of nature enthusiasts
Group shot of CVs in Fleming Stony Plain in Alberta (Photo by NCC)
At any given Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) Conservation Volunteers (CV) event across Canada you will see a group of volunteers eager to do their part for conservation.
Whether it is building bat boxes in Saskatchewan or cleaning up shorelines on PEI, people from across the county join NCC staff in helping create a brighter future for nature.
Like our CV events themselves, the volunteers who participate are all unique. Many speak different languages, represent different cultures and vary in age. This diversity creates a wonderful and enriching environment during events, with volunteers learning more about nature and each other.
And like our events, volunteers all have one thing in common: a desire to help nature. Our volunteers come together to build a better future for Canadian landscapes and the species they sustain.
Since the program’s humble beginnings in 2006, the CV community has expanded. In addition to strengthening their connection to and with nature, volunteers have bonded over their shared appreciation for conserving landscapes now and for the future.
"NCC has provided me with a way to connect with the older generation in my community," says Shannon Stewart, a Conservation Volunteer in Alberta. "They have so much knowledge to share."
Road to Recovery CV event (Photo by Jaya Sarathe)
All of our volunteer events are safe spaces where volunteers can feel at home and be comfortable in the great outdoors. We welcome volunteers of all abilities and walks of life with open arms, and hope to foster an environment where differences are celebrated as tools to building a stronger community.
"I have a high-functioning form of autism, known as Asperger's. I am prone to depression and have extremely high anxiety. I find solace in nature and science. I like to volunteer because it helps me interact with people and work on my social skills in a relaxed atmosphere," says one volunteer. "I can't express how much lighter I felt going home after the event because I had such a great day being in nature with kind and wonderful people."
"I started working with NCC because of my passion for conservation, but it is the community of people that inspires me to show up for work every day," says Kailey Setter, NCC’s manager, national conservation engagement. "Working side by side with staff and Conservation Volunteers, I’ve made some cherished memories and built lasting relationships that have shaped the person I am today. Like many others who participate in the program, I came to do conservation, but stayed because of the community."
From seeing a species venture out from between a stand of trees or peeking out from the water’s surface, our volunteers have experienced many pleasant surprises at our events. One thing you can count on for sure is becoming a member of a community of Canadians dedicated to helping protect nature.
"When I signed up to volunteer for the day, it was to meet other people from work and have a fun day of team building. What I got was so much more," recalls another volunteer. "It was wonderful to spend the day with such passionate people; it empowered me to volunteer more and get more involved with such a great cause."
This has been made possible thanks to the support of Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life, the national sponsor of NCC’s Conservation Volunteers program.