Three takeaways from a communications internship in conservation
It’s hard to believe that the summer of 2021 went by so quickly. I was hired as a communications and engagement intern with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in the spring, working alongside Saskatchewan staff, to tell stories of conservation in the province. I’ve learned a lot in my short time with NCC, writing blogs, interviewing staff members and helping with volunteer events.
Being in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I worked mainly from home, but I also had opportunities to get out to explore a few NCC properties. Focusing on the importance of nature to humans, especially in times of crisis, here’s a rundown of some highlights of the summer.
Prickly pear cactus (Photo by NCC)
NCC’s nationwide Big Backyard BioBlitz in August revealed the wide range of plant and animal species that live in Canada. In Saskatchewan alone, over 1,200 species were identified during the event. When on an NCC property, you don’t have to search long or hard to discover unique vegetation or wildlife. Prickly pear cactus is present in Saskatchewan, and I found this out while hiking at the Dundurn property. I had no idea that this cactus species existed on the Prairies, and seeing it in person helped grow my understanding of how broad and diverse our natural environments are.
Volunteers and staff prior to planting (Photo by NCC)
It takes a team effort to create positive conservation outcomes. In addition to dedicated staff, NCC’s Conservation Volunteers (CV) donate their time and labour to help ensure that habitats can thrive. At the first CV event I attended, we planted native wildflowers at the Big Valley property. Despite dry, smoky, 30 C weather, 16 eager volunteers showed up to give their support. People of all ages came to do their part in helping protect nature, and their passion was unmatched as over 500 wildflower plugs were planted that day. This volunteer event is a great reminder of the importance and power that can come from a group of like-minded people.
Conserving for the future
During hard times, such as a pandemic and climate change, conservation is of the greatest importance. Nature is a place that many people seek out for its therapeutic qualities, helping to alleviate the stresses of daily life. You can’t help but feel a sense of calm when out on an NCC property, and this is one luxury that we shouldn’t take for granted. Investing in the well-being of our planet will ensure nature’s benefits for generations to come. Working with NCC helped me realize that.