Lincoln Wetlands trailblazing

Lincoln Wetlands brush and trailhead. (Photo by NCC)

Lincoln Wetlands brush and trailhead. (Photo by NCC)

September 16, 2015 | by Courtney le Roux

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 wilderness and potential, and it is our responsibility to protect it. And this is where the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) comes in!

I am proud to say that I have completed my first of many Conservation Volunteers (CV) events with NCC. On July 11 I was part of a team that began creating a trail extension on NCC’s Lincoln Wetland Nature Reserve outside of Fredericton. The 21-acre (8.5-hectare) property can be found near the Lincoln Elementary Community School in Lincoln, NB, and includes a freshwater marsh. The property is also home to the rare butternut tree.

Why is it important that the trail is next to a school?

This is vitally important because the new trail will not only provide the community with access to nature, but it will provide the children with recreational access to nature and education opportunities. Children are the key in all things conservation because a time will come when I am unable to grab a spade to remove invasive species, or haul debris out of a new trail system. And when that time comes, who will do it?

Volunteers heading off to work (Photo by NCC)

Volunteers heading off to work (Photo by NCC)

The people we take the time to expose to nature now will be the ones to help us, and to take over from us, in continuing the hard work of conserving our land. This is why environmental education is so deeply important, because without it groups like NCC will run out of the volunteers that make this work possible – people who care about causes like conservation.

This trail system, which a group of hard working volunteers made possible, is going to encourage a new generation to get outside, to learn about the natural world they live in and to become passionate about it.

In just a few hours, with the help of people from all backgrounds who share a common love of the outdoors, we were able to complete the initial creation of the new trail. Armed with pruning sheers, spades, gloves and dedication, the group managed to open up a trail through the young forest. Some of the group removed branches, others hauled debris out of the forest, while still others cleaned any trash that was present. By the end of the morning, a clear trail was finished allowing access to the beautiful marsh, where otter tracks were found!

Conservation Volunteers at the Lincoln Wetlands Trail Builders event. (Photo by NCC)

Conservation Volunteers at the Lincoln Wetlands Trail Builders event. (Photo by NCC)

There are few things as rewarding as getting your hands dirty for a great cause on a beautiful day with a group of like-minded people. Being part of a team that helps ignite and fuel that passion in another generation is a tremendous honour, and I am eager to continue to contribute my time and energy to other NCC projects.

Want to be involved? Join the Conservation Volunteers events in your area and be part of a team making a difference in nature conservation. There is an inherent need in all of us to be closer to nature; nurture that need, and witness the difference you can make.

Courtney le Roux

About the Author

Courtney le Roux has been volunteering in conservation efforts since 2012, when she packed her bags and set off on a mission to help save desert elephants in Namibia.

Read more about Courtney le Roux.

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