Beaver dam, Clarendon, Ottawa Valley (Photo by NCC)

Beaver dam, Clarendon, Ottawa Valley (Photo by NCC)

Volunteer spotlight : Peter and Barbara Haughton

Western chorus frog (Photo by Ryan Bolton)

Western chorus frog (Photo by Ryan Bolton)

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 Conservation 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 Peter and Barbara Haughton, volunteers in the Outaouais region of Quebec.

By Peter and Barbara Haughton, Bristol residents

It was a small article in the local Shawville newspaper, The Equity, that caught our attention. The call was to join a Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) stewardship committee. It appeared to be an opportunity to learn more about our local area, meet new people and gain knowledge of the work under the mandate of NCC. The experience surpassed all of our expectations.

Firstly, there was excellent training provided. We visited many local sites in Bristol and Clarendon to understand why specific areas were protected. One of our most memorable NCC experiences was a June, full moon, evening hike in Clarendon with Daniel Toussaint, a former biologist with the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks to monitor the whip-poor-will. We have also participated in excursions to check on the eastern musk turtles, Blanding’s turtle, map turtles, eastern ribbon snake, western chorus frog and numerous plant species.

It has been a team work approach, often including members of the Ornithologist Club of the Outaouais. The collection of garbage on the protected islands in the Knox Landing area included support from the Friends of Chats Falls to help with the collection, Gatineau Plein Air Outaouais to provide water safety instruction and the municipality of Bristol to remove the trash collected. The NCC project coordinator used the opportunity to highlight the biodiversity of the region.

Being stewards has helped us appreciate our own woodlot and more thoughtfully manage it. Logs are strategically placed in the bay for the residing map turtles. Habitat is protected to encourage the return of the barred owl, and more plant species are recognized. Being a steward has been a wonderful educational and fun experience with a great group of NCC staff and volunteers. We look forward to the next outings.

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