Volunteers helping with bird inventory at Île-aux-Grues, Quebec (Photo by NCC)

Volunteers helping with bird inventory at Île-aux-Grues, Quebec (Photo by NCC)

Stewardship: The heart of the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s mission

Signs and buoys, Lake Champlain, Quebec (Photo by NCC)

Signs and buoys, Lake Champlain, Quebec (Photo by NCC)

Stewardship is defined as the responsible and long-term management of resources entrusted to a person or group of persons. In the context of nature conservation, it refers specifically to monitoring, protecting and maintaining the characteristics of a natural area, with the goal of conserving and supporting habitats and existing species over the long term. Consequently, the work of the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is not over once lands have been acquired. Quite the contrary! Stewardship is at the heart of NCC’s mission.

Concrete actions

When land is acquired, NCC staff conduct an inventory of the property’s natural characteristics, threats and species, before identifying the actions needed to maintain them. Staff then implement these actions in partnership with local community, volunteer and partner organizations, who are conservation ambassadors.

 Stewardship activities include (but are not limited to):

  • Ecological monitoring of protected natural elements (inventorying at-risk species, overseeing the ecological integrity of habitats);
  • Creating a framework for safe access and specific uses (hiking, observing nature, hunting, fishing);
  • Marking property boundaries and installing signage;
  • Developing trails and interpretive panels;
  • Restoring disturbed areas; and
  • Removing the threat of harmful and invasive species.

Conservation Volunteers

Do you want to get involved in the community and contribute to the protection of natural places? To sign up for a volunteer activity, click here.

Since 2008, numerous people have joined the NCC’s Conservation Volunteers program and have developed with a greater appreciation for nature and the extraordinary experience of sharing that nature.

Cleaning activity at île à l’Aigle (Photo by NCC)

Cleaning activity at île à l’Aigle (Photo by NCC)

“I loved being able to plant trees and restore the trails along the Saint Lawrence, so that people in the region can better enjoy them. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity!” says volunteer Monique Lapointe.

In 2018, 13 volunteers joined NCC to clean up the banks of Île à l'Aigle, on the St. Lawrence River in Repentigny. Accompanied by an NCC biologist and two interns, the volunteers collected 37 bags of garbage, as well as steel pipes, mattresses and large pieces of scrap metal and Styrofoam. Three volunteers even provided their own boats to transport the waste back to shore! The group also had the pleasure of touring the island and discovering its ecological treasures, such as rare Quebec species bobolink and short-eared owl.

Stewardship Endowment Fund

There are so many conservation and stewardship activities and all of them require funding. NCC has created a Stewardship Endowment Fund to finance activities across all its properties. Annual benefits from the endowment fund partially pay the costs necessary to ensuring efficient and long-term management of lands under NCC’s care.

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