Thank you, volunteers!

Volunteers transplant short-ligule ammophilia plants on the sandbar of the Barachois of Malbaie in Gaspésie (Photo by NCC)

Volunteers transplant short-ligule ammophilia plants on the sandbar of the Barachois of Malbaie in Gaspésie (Photo by NCC)

December 17, 2020 | by Lucie Veillette

Since 1962, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has conserved habitat across Canada equivalent to an area totalling almost four times the size of Vancouver Island.

It’s no surprise that a lot of work goes on behind the scenes once an area is protected. Volunteers play a big part in conserving the natural spaces under NCC’s care, from restoring the ecosystem to engaging with the public about the proper use of trails. I’m always so inspired by the great work of our volunteers, and am grateful to them for their contributions. Here are some examples of the amazing work they accomplished over the past summer:

A herp-tastic summer

As part of the development of a conservation plan in Hudson near Montreal, volunteers Wayne Grubert and education program coordinator at Le Nichoir Rehabilitation Centre, Jo-Annie Gagnon, conducted inventories of the bird species present in the area in the summer of 2020. In addition, herpetologist Mattias Perez, along with biology technicians Marie-Pierre Langlois and Charles Samoisette-Pilon, conducted inventories to identify the frogs and snakes. In these surveys, they identified five species of birds and 11 species of herpetofauna.

The volunteers also identified a potential threat to the turtles, when they found a dead turtle stuck between railroad rails (a track not in use anymore). The turtles are able to climb to the track but stay stuck there and may eventually die. This observation is important as it will help us target the most important lands to be protected. Knowing what endangered species and what threat are presents allow us to select the best strategy and plan to protect them. Without the volunteers, all the work done this summer would not have been possible.

Successful transplants

During a restoration activity on the sandbar of the Barachois of Malbaie in Gaspésie, three partners with the Club d’ornithologie de la Gaspésie volunteered with NCC to transplant short-ligule ammophilia plants, which were taken from a nearby area with lots of them. This plant is very important in stabilizing the sandbar. It’s also an important step in revegetating the dune, which had been weakened by trampling over the years. More than 130 plants were transplanted for this one-year project, in addition to installing three control plots and a sand sensor; a fence made of plants that allows the accumulation of sand. Signs were posted around the plots to prevent trampling.

Keeping the trails safe for everyone

At the Alfred-Kelly Nature Reserve, located in Piedmont and Prévost, Patrick Perrault, a member of the Amis de la réserve naturelle Alfred-Kelly, is a very committed volunteer! He participated in the outreach team all summer, accompanied by our intern Audrey. The friendly volunteer was out on the trails two to three times a week, providing information to hikers about prohibited activities within the reserve (bringing dogs on trails, cycling and going off marked trails). The duo also identified hazards like fallen trees and a bridge in poor shape on the trail system to ensure the safety of hikers, put up trail markers, cleaned fallen tree debris and help hikers who have lost their way. Patrick is vital to the proper management of the reserve.

Helping us get across the river

On the St. Lawrence River around Montreal and as far as Lac St-Pierre, several volunteers helped NCC by offering boat transportation for staff to NCC-owned island properties. A big thank you!

Lucie Veillette

About the Author

Lucie Veillette joined the Nature Conservancy of Canada team in 2012 as stewardship coordinator.

Read more about Lucie Veillette.

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