Learning, connecting, protecting: NCC helps Canadians get in touch with nature

It takes teamwork to care for Canada’s special natural places. From our wetlands, to woodlands, grasslands and coastlines, Canadians of all ages are teaming up with NCC to help with conservation from coast to coast.

NCC/CNC

Conservation Volunteers

Motivated by a common love of nature, a curiosity about the world and a desire to protect wildlife and wild lands, NCC’s Conservation Volunteers continue to give time, energy and expertise to our conservation work.

NCC’s Conservation Volunteers program engages Canadians of all ages in protecting our country’s species and natural habitats. Volunteers work in ecologically significant lands, helping with important conservation activities – from conducting butterfly inventories and caring for trails to removing invasive species and stabilizing stream banks.

In 2014, more than 2,650 Canadians joined NCC at 253 stewardship events to care for Canada’s natural places.

From coast to coast, Conservation Volunteers:

  • Helped NCC staff begin restoration efforts at the historic Waldron Ranch by planting willows along stream banks to increase resiliency and repair damages from the 2013 floods;
  • Made fence lines across the prairie provinces safe for wildlife such as sage-grouse and pronghorns;
  • Built and maintained trails to enhance visitor experiences while enjoying NCC lands;
  • Cared for coastal habitats such as sand dunes by planting native grasses and removing invasive species;
  • Prepared habits for species of concern, for example by clearing beaches of garbage for piping plovers at Johnston’s Pond;
  • Removed invasive plant species such a leafy spurge, dog-strangling vine and garlic mustard, which threaten ecological health and agricultural productivity in all provinces.

Volunteers worked alongside staff and other experts, who shared their local knowledge and expertise on topics as diverse as bat ecology, butterfly identification and the global significance of pollinators such as honey bees.

Our Conservation Volunteers program is supported by:

To learn more about NCC’s Conservation Volunteers program visit www.conservationvolunteers.ca.

When scientist and poet Robert Michael Pyle asked ‘What is the extinction of the condor to a child who’s never known a wren?’, he reminded us of the importance of building personal connections to place, creating experiences that lead to curiosity, understanding and action within nature... We care about what we know. At NCC, conservation includes community. The two go hand in hand."Erica Thompson, senior national director conservation engagement & development
NCC/CNC

Conservation Interns

Young Canadians from British Columbia to Newfoundland are gaining tangible work experience and learning first-hand about the many elements that define conservation today while building skills to face tomorrow’s challenges.

Field-based, paid internships are a key component of NCC’s conservation science and stewardship programs. NCC staff achieve priority stewardship goals in Canada’s most important natural areas while providing hands-on educational experiences for this country’s most promising young professionals.

“Going out into the field with qualified professionals in my desired area of expertise was an awesome experience,” says Michelle Dano. “I was able to learn so much more than is possible in a university classroom. I developed a better understanding of ecological processes because I saw them first-hand.”

Dano says the internship allowed her to hone her field work skills while gaining experience in communication and volunteer management. That, in turn, led to her current position as a stewardship coordinator in the British Columbia Region.

The interns’ work is diverse, ranging from forest and grassland restoration to species inventories, trail maintenance and access, mapping with geographic information systems, land data management, monitoring the effectiveness of our actions and relationship building with neighbours, stakeholders and the communities in which we work.

“NCC’s Conservation Interns program provides outstanding experiences for university and college students in areas such as conservation science, land management and wildlife research,” says Erica Thompson, senior director for national conservation engagement and development. “We are committed to building a natural legacy for Canada.”

This year marked the launch of an innovative partnership with WorkCabin.ca – a national conservation-focused job and internship website. Under the partnership, our interns share their experiences and reflections through blog posts on WorkCabin, while WorkCabin provides advice on topics such as resume building, interview skills and how to sell your expertise to future employers.

NCC would like to thank Imperial, the National Development Sponsor of NCC’s National Conservation Intern Program who has committed to supporting internships across Canada, as well as Shell Canada Ltd. for supporting our conservation intern program in Alberta and British Columbia.

To learn more about NCC’s Conservation Interns program visit www.conservationinterns.ca.

HSBC

Nature Days

Through our Nature Days program, we create opportunities for city kids to explore the natural world.

Launched in 2012 in partnership with HSBC Bank Canada, Nature Days turns conservation areas into living classrooms where children learn first-hand about forests, wetlands, streams and other natural environments.

Designed and delivered by NCC staff, these one-day events support the classroom science curriculum by taking urban elementary school students on our properties for a direct experience in nature. For some children this is their first time visiting a wild, undeveloped landscape.

“Before we went on the trip I asked the kids how many of them had been to the forest before and only half of them put up their hand,” says Genvieve Adams, a grade three teacher at John Norquay Elementary in Vancouver. Her students spent a day at the Cheakamus Centre, an environmental learning centre north of Vancouver, where they learned about the lifecycle of salmon.

“The best part was when they were able to actually touch the salmon that were ready to be released and the fish were all flipping and splashing,” says Adams.

Nature Days is offered in major cities across Canada. This year, events ran in Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal.