As people and families embrace the summer weather and look for things to do and enjoy the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has some suggestions. In the coming days and weeks, we will continue to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday and the natural beauty of our country. NCC is also marking the 10th anniversary of our Conservation Volunteers program with events in all provinces.
Thousands of volunteers of all ages will step up to lend a helping hand in caring for some of Canada’s most important natural places. The efforts of these volunteers will be a game-changer for NCC’s conservation projects on the ground. Our provinces aren’t making more land so we need to keep a bit more of what we have and care for it.
Since 2007, NCC’s Conservation Volunteers have been helping protect Canada’s wildlife and natural landscapes by assisting with research and restoration efforts in natural areas across the country. This includes helping with plant and animal inventories, habitat restoration work and clean-up projects on NCC conservation sites. Over the past 10 years, 16,083 volunteers have helped us complete an astounding 1,371 community conservation projects. The level of support from volunteers is beyond inspiring.
We invite Canadians of all ages to join us in caring for Canada’s natural places. People can help monitor migratory birds, conduct butterfly surveys, protect nesting habitat for turtles, plant native trees and flowers, build or enhance trails and boardwalks, conduct shoreline cleanups, remove invasive species, build nest boxes and more. Everyone can play an important role in caring for the environment by signing up for one of our Conservation Volunteers events, and by encouraging their friends, family and coworkers to join them in volunteering for nature.
Caring for nature not only has local benefits, it also supports migratory species, such as butterflies, birds and waterfowl, that need healthy Canadian habitats to breed and forage for food. Canada has 733 wildlife species at risk and, to date, NCC has protected habitat for more than 180 of them.
This important conservation and ongoing stewardship work on many of our sites is supported through the Natural Areas Conservation Program of Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Some of our Conservation Volunteers travel great distances to participate in events across the country. Last summer, Jean Kendall and her 10-year-old granddaughter, Tanaeya, travelled from northern Ontario to southwest Saskatchewan for the chance to see rolling hills of prairie grassland at NCC’s Old Man on His Back Prairie and Heritage Conservation Area, and support grassland conservation. They clocked about 2,500 kilometres one way.
No matter the distance travelled — whether a few kilometres or thousands — our Conservation Volunteers are a force for nature, helping NCC achieve results that we might not otherwise accomplish working on our own.
We also invite people to be an honorary NCC reporter for the day. Roving reporters are encouraged to interview fellow Conservation Volunteers to get to the heart of the story! These events are unique experiences of everyday people making a real difference to conservation. Whether you’re a seasoned reporter or just starting out in writing, we welcome roving reporters in all provinces.
So join us! There are plenty of other opportunities to make a difference for nature in 2017! So far, NCC has more than 60 volunteer events planned across the country, with more to be added throughout the summer. View our event calendar at conservationvolunteers.ca to see how you can join our team and contribute to conservation. Your support ensures that habitat is protected for Canada’s plants and animals all year long, and for many generations to come!
(Kailey Setter is the national manager of conservation engagement with the Nature Conservancy of Canada)