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

From wetlands, to woodlands, grasslands and coastlines, Canadians of all ages are teaming up with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) to help with conservation from coast to coast.

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 of conservation engagement & development 

Mike Dembeck

Conservation Volunteers – Celebrating a decade of conservation volunteerism

NCC’s Conservation Volunteers continue to contribute time, energy and expertise to our conservation work from coast to coast. 

Canadians of all ages are lending a hand in protecting our country’s species and natural habitats. From the creation of wildlife friendly fencing for species such as sage-grouse and pronghorn, to participating in biological inventories, to improving the health of our fresh water and marine coastlines, building and maintaining trails for visitor enjoyment and more, volunteers help with important conservation activities in ecologically significant lands from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland.

In 2015-16, more than 2,866 Canadians joined NCC at 217 stewardship events to care for Canada’s natural places.

From coast to coast, Conservation Volunteers:

  • Maintained and upgraded trails for the enjoyment of hikers, including 23.2 kilometres across the Atlantic provinces;
  • Removed invasive species such as garlic mustard, dog-strangling vine, common mullein, Himalayan balsam, lesser periwinkle, Scotch pine, purple loosestrife, Oregon grape and common reed;
  • Conducted bird surveys to develop a better understanding of what species use NCC properties;
  • Removed or improved more than 10 kilometres of fences to facilitate wildlife movement within corridors on 14 conservation properties across Alberta;
  • Helped collect valuable data about butterfly and dragonfly diversity and abundance in Ontario;
  • Protected sensitive habi,tats for species, such as the endangered piping plover, by removing rubbish, litter and old building materials;
  • And so much more.

In 2015-16, the national Conservation Volunteers program was supported by:

  • Great-West Life
  • Nexen Energy
  • Scotiabank’s EcoLiving Program

A full listing of corporate and community partners supporting Conservation Volunteers is available here.

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


Conservation Interns

This year, 37 young Canadians from coast to coast were hired under the NCC Conservation Intern Program. The internships are an opportunity for students or recent graduates to learn first-hand about conservation planning and stewardship, while gaining tangible field experience to complement their classroom learning.

“It’s hard to put into words how important my NCC internship is to my career in the environmental field. This position opened me up to a variety of research, fieldwork and management tasks that continue to inspire my passion for ecological stewardship and sustainability,” says Megan Quinn, who was hired as a conservation technician for eastern Ontario. “I truly hope I get to continue my journey with NCC in the future. Every day I was inspired, challenged and proud of the work I accomplished.”

The internships allow NCC staff to accomplish land management goals, and are an important part of NCC’s conservation science and stewardship programs.

“Working for NCC this past summer helped me figure out which aspects of my career path I have interest in further pursuing. I also had a lot of fun and met a lot of great people along the way,” reflects Ashley Rankin, who was hired as an engagement coordinator in the Saskatchewan Region. “Working with rural communities allowed me to see a part of Saskatchewan that I didn’t understand until now, and it has reshaped my career aspirations.” 

Over the course of the summer, interns may be involved in a range of activities, including:

  • species inventories
  • trail maintenance
  • land data management
  • restoration
  • building relationships with neigbours
  • monitoring the effectiveness of NCC’s conservation and land management actions
  • and more

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.

To learn more about NCC’s Conservation Intern Program, visit www.conservationinterns.ca.

Working for NCC this past summer helped me figure out which aspects of my career path I have interest in further pursuing. I also had a lot of fun and met a lot of great people along the way.

HSBC Bank Canada


Nature Days

Through our Nature Days program, launched in 2012 in partnership with HSBC Bank Canada, this year children from Toronto, Calgary and Montreal had the opportunity to spend a day in nature with NCC staff.

More than 50 children from Calgary spent the day at the Horseshoe Canyon property in Alberta’s badlands. The day’s activities included a wildlife activity, interpretive nature walk, scavenger hunt, seed bomb creation and a waste activity (recycling, garbage, biodegradable) developed specifically to complement the teacher’s classroom curriculum.

The group explored and discussed the local badlands landscape and the animals and plants that live there. Other topics included geology, rocks, minerals, fossils, wildlife and plants. Students were taught plant and animal identification skills and went on a scavenger hunt to put their skills to use.

In Toronto, the activities included a wildlife activity, interpretive nature walk and scavenger hunt at the Happy Valley Forest property. The students learned about the relationship between species and habitats (like dragonflies in open meadows) and discussed how to identify native trees and plants. They learned about the endangered Jefferson salamander and the habitat on which this species depends.

“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,” said Marc Lemoine, Grade 8 teacher at Adrienne Clarkson Public School in Ontario.

“Today, these are all novel experiences, but only 30 years ago, they were just a regular part of growing up in Canada. The day was a refreshing reminder of the need for children to connect with nature in a tangible way.”