Blanding’s turtle (Photo by Simon Pelletier)

Blanding’s turtle (Photo by Simon Pelletier)

Volunteer spotlight : Deborah Powell

Deborah Powell (Photo by Tony Fouhse)

Deborah Powell (Photo by Tony Fouhse)

Here at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), summertime usually means we get to be out in the field completing important conservation work with the help of our awesome volunteers. This year things are a little different and we find ourselves missing the smiling faces of our dedicated volunteers. So, we decided to invite some of them to share their stories. Read on to hear from Deborah Powell, volunteer in the Ottawa Valley region of Quebec.

By Deborah Powell, Pontiac resident

I am really lucky to live in the Pontiac, the county that makes up the west end of the Outaouais region of Quebec. While not a hot spot on the tourist map, it is a magnet for biologists and others who are drawn to the super rich biodiversity of the area that borders the Ottawa River. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has purchased and continues to acquire land here, such as in the Grand Marais de Bristol just a few kilometres east of my house and in the municipality of Clarendon, a dozen or so kilometres to the west. This proximity has made it really easy for me to take part in the stewardship activities that have been held here in the past few years. Whether it's for a dawn or dusk outing to listen for birds, trash round-up, snake inventory or rare plant counting and protection, the NCC activities are very rewarding, providing learning opportunities in the good company of like-minded people.

Being a freelancer for one of the local papers has also given me the chance to write about NCC activities. For many years, I have done an annual "Slow Down for Turtles!" article and was really happy to have the Carapace turtle reporting platform to add as a concrete action people could take to help identify mortality hot spots on our roadways. I almost always have the distinctive Carapace stickers on hand for distribution when talk turns to turtles! Local businesses are happy to keep a stack on display as well.

I think of my involvement with NCC and conservation work in general as a way of "giving back," even if just a little bit, to the natural world that sustains us all whether we are aware of it or not!

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