Celebrating our Conservation Volunteers

Volunteer with tray of seedlings at Goulding West property, Ontario (Photo by Neil Ever Osborne)

Volunteer with tray of seedlings at Goulding West property, Ontario (Photo by Neil Ever Osborne)

December 5, 2019 | by Kirsten Betteridge

Every December 5, on International Volunteer Day, the United Nations recognizes volunteers worldwide for their efforts and celebrates the impact they are making toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals —17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. In celebration of International Volunteer Day, we shine the spotlight on the more than one billion people globally who give of their time in support of their communities and the natural landscapes they call home.

At the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), volunteers are on the frontlines of our conservation work. Through our Conservation Volunteers (CV) program, people of all ages and backgrounds join forces to support biodiversity and care for Canada’s natural areas.

This year, we are celebrating the more than 2,600 volunteers who gave their time and joined us in the field to complete hands-on conservation projects. We held almost 200 CV events, ranging from habitat restoration, to land stewardship, to species monitoring. 

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Volunteers help NCC conservation staff by tacking invasive plant species, planting native seeds and trees, such as willow and dog wood. In 2019, we hosted 115 habitat restorations events across the country! These events restore ecosystems to create healthy habitats for local wildlife.

Shoreline cleanup in PEI (Photo by Stephen DesRoches)

Shoreline cleanup in PEI (Photo by Stephen DesRoches)

Land stewardship involves removing unwanted infrastructure, such as barbed-wire fences, and conducting site cleanups, such as along shorelines. We hosted 39 land stewardship events this year, making our properties safer for wildlife as we removed physical barriers and hazardous plastic and debris from our shores.

Volunteer and NCC staff identify a plant during a bioblitz in Alberta (Photo by Brent Calver)

Volunteer and NCC staff identify a plant during a bioblitz in Alberta (Photo by Brent Calver)

We are honoured to be able to provide meaningful experiences to our volunteers. As Ontario volunteer Lynn MacKenzie states, “Volunteering with the Nature Conservancy [of Canada] leaves me with a feeling that I have contributed to the preservation of our Earth, even if on a small scale. Participating in events with like-minded volunteers and dedicated staff creates a sense of community, and I always come away feeling more physically fit and more knowledgeable about the area we worked in.”

Everyone at NCC would like to thank each and every Conservation Volunteer for their contribution this year. Whether you came out for a few hours to pull weeds or participated in different types of events throughout the year, we couldn’t have completed these projects without your support!

Join the fun!

We invite you to become part of our team! Learn more about our Conservation Volunteers programs by signing up to receive email updates and visiting ConservationVolunteers.ca.

You can also join the global community in celebrating International Volunteer Day and hear more success stories from around the world by following #IVD2019 on social media.

Kristen Falkenburger (Photo courtesy Kristen Falkenburger)

About the Author

Kirsten Betteridge is the national conservation engagement coordinator at the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Read more about Kirsten Betteridge.

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