Celebrating a decade of the power of volunteering

Volunteers pull invasive yellow flag iris at Baikie Island Nature Reserve (Photo by NCC)

Volunteers pull invasive yellow flag iris at Baikie Island Nature Reserve (Photo by NCC)

June 9, 2017 | by Kailey Setter

Each spring and early summer, as Canada’s migratory species start arriving at their breeding and nesting grounds, the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) Conservation Volunteers also emerge from their wintering grounds.

In the coming weeks and months, thousands of volunteers of all ages will step up to lend a helping hand in caring for some of Canada’s most important natural places. The efforts of these volunteers will be a game-changer for NCC’s conservation projects on the ground.

Since 2007, NCC’s Conservation Volunteers have been helping protect Canada’s wildlife and natural landscapes by assisting with research and restoration efforts in natural areas across the country. This includes helping with plant and animal inventories, habitat restoration work and clean-up projects on NCC conservation sites. Over the past 10 years, 16,083 volunteers have helped us complete an astounding 1,371 community conservation projects. The level of support from volunteers is beyond inspiring.  

In celebration of Canada Environment Week, and the 10th anniversary of our Conservation Volunteers program, we invite Canadians of all ages to join us in caring for Canada’s natural places again this year. Participants can help with a number of activities, including:

  • monitoring migratory birds
  • conducting butterfly surveys
  • protecting nesting habitat for turtles
  • planting native trees and flowers
  • building or enhancing trails and boardwalks
  • conducting shoreline cleanups
  • removing invasive species
  • building nest boxes
  • and more

We cam all play an important role in caring for nature by signing up for one of our Conservation Volunteers events, and by encouraging friends, family and coworkers to join us in volunteering for nature. 

Caring for nature not only has local benefits, it also supports migratory species, such as butterflies, birds and waterfowl, that need healthy Canadian habitats to breed and forage for food. Canada has 733 wildlife species at risk. To date, NCC has protected habitat for more than 180 of them.

This important conservation and ongoing stewardship work on many of our sites is supported through the Natural Areas Conservation Program of Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Some of our Conservation Volunteers travel great distances to participate in events across the country. Last summer, Jean Kendall and her 10-year-old granddaughter, Tanaeya, travelled from northern Ontario to southwest Saskatchewan for the chance to see rolling hills of prairie grassland at NCC’s Old Man on His Back Prairie and Heritage Conservation Area and support grassland conservation. They clocked about 2,500 kilometres one way.

Ontario volunteers (Photo by NCC)

Ontario volunteers (Photo by NCC)

No matter the distance travelled — whether a few kilometres or thousands — our Conservation Volunteers are a force for nature, helping NCC achieve results that we might not otherwise accomplish working on our own.  

Or, you can be an honorary NCC reporter for the day. Roving Reporters are encouraged to interview fellow Conservation Volunteers to get to the heart of the story! Whether you’re a seasoned reporter or just starting out in writing, we welcome Roving Reporters in all provinces.

So join us! There are plenty of other opportunities to make a difference for nature in 2017! So far, NCC has more than 60 volunteer events planned across the country, with more to be added throughout the summer. View our event calendar at conservationvolunteers.ca to see how you can join our team and contribute to conservation. Your support ensures that habitat is protected for Canada’s plants and animals all year long, and for many generations to come!

Kailey Setter

About the Author

Kailey Setter is the national manager of conservation engagement at the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Read more about Kailey Setter.

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