Volunteering, internships and outreach programs
At the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), conservation includes community. The two go hand in hand. Whether it’s involving people in hands-on projects as Conservation Volunteers, connecting urban youth to nature through Nature Days or building the next generation of conservation leaders through conservation internships, we seek to foster a greater connection to Canada’s diverse habitats and natural systems.
These programs not only have an impact on the environment, they have a deep impact on the people involved.
There's something special about being a volunteer with NCC. My wife and I look forward to each event, knowing it will be a positive experience, with great future implications.Jake De Leeuw, Conservation Volunteer
Supporting on-the-ground conservation
NCC’s Conservation Volunteers are a driving force behind many of the land management actions that support our natural area conservation plans. Every year, people of all ages contribute time, energy and expertise to projects, monitoring and citizen science initiatives on NCC conservation sites.
This past year, 2,472 volunteers helped NCC complete 224 stewardship projects, coast to coast. Here is a sample of what they accomplished:
- In British Columbia, volunteers installed 22 artificial burrows for burrowing owls at the Napier Lake Ranch Conservation Area.
- In Alberta, volunteers removed or improved over 10 kilometres of fence line to reduce barriers to wildlife movement.
- In Saskatchewan, volunteers planted 400 trees in the boreal transition ecoregion — the region where Saskatchewan’s agricultural land ends and the forest begins.
- In Manitoba, volunteers counted monarch butterflies in the tall grass prairie.
- In Quebec, volunteers removed invasive common buckthorn shrubs from the Montérégie area.
- In Ontario, volunteers planted 3,000 native grass plugs in the Rice Lake Plains.
- In Nova Scotia, volunteers cleared trails and installed interpretive signs at Gaff Point.
- In New Brunswick, volunteers counted waterfowl in Baie Verte.
- In Newfoundland and Labrador, volunteers removed more than 250 pounds of garbage from Sandy Point beach.
- In Prince Edward Island, volunteers built a portable boardwalk to protect sensitive sand dune habitat.
- And so much more.
To learn more about NCC’s Conservation Volunteers program, visit conservationvolunteers.ca.
Building the next generation of conservation leaders
This year, 62 young Canadians from coast to coast were hired under NCC’s Conservation Internship Program.
At NCC, our Conservation Interns develop and accrue a wide range of skills and experiences in a short amount of time. From their first day of training, they are immersed directly in their work so they can experience the complexities of land conservation first-hand.
Supported and mentored by NCC’s team of conservation professionals, our interns contribute directly to our stewardship work, learn new technological skills and hone their communications skills.
NCC would like to thank Imperial, the National Development Sponsor of NCC’s National Conservation Internship Program.
To learn more about NCC’s Conservation Internship Program, visit conservationinterns.ca.
NCC has provided me with a ton of hands-on experience that I wouldn’t have gained otherwise. I took plant ID courses in school, but my plant ID skills have grown exponentially after this past summer. I also realized how much I love sharing my passion for conservation with other people.Stephanie Varty, Conservation Intern
Fostering a love of nature among urban youth
NCC’s Nature Days program provides urban youth with the opportunity to spend a day in nature learning about local species and natural systems.
Launched in 2012 in partnership with HSBC Bank Canada, the program is delivered annually in targeted cities across the country. This past year, children from Montreal took part.
In July, 24 youth from Montreal summer camp La ruelle potagère became biologists in training during Nature Days in the Laurentians. These young Montrealers, aged between 12 and 15, had the opportunity to get out of the city to see conservation in action and explore the plant and animal species within the rich ecosystems of the Alfred-Kelly Nature Reserve.
This past September, 81 Grade 4 students from Escuela Collingwood Elementary School in Calgary also took part in the Nature Days program at Horseshoe Canyon, near Drumheller. Over the course of two days, the students explored the local hoodoos, learned how to geocache using iPads and supported grassland conservation by helping construct vegetation frames — a tool used by NCC agrologists to measure range health.
One additional Nature Days event is planned for Toronto this fall.
The true impact of the Nature Days program lies in planting a seed of curiosity that, given time, will grow into a deep love and appreciation for nature.
The Nature Days event was the first time that some of my students explored the woods. It was a chance for them to learn about different trees, examine insects and investigate under logs and along stream beds in search of salamanders.Marc Lemoine, Grade 8 teacher