Volunteers lend a hand cleaning litter at Missisquoi Bay
In August 2015, a group of Conservation Volunteers led by NCC staff set out on a mission to clean up the Missisquoi Bay Nature Refuge, near Lake Champlain, in St-Armand, Quebec. Their work aimed to help maintain the quality of the refuge’s wetland and shorelines.
The Missisquoi Bay Nature Refuge consists of a narrow wooded area separated from the shoreline by a wetland and a strip of shoreline, both about half a kilometre long. The wooded area is private and not normally accessible to visitors. The shoreline is open to the public and features a nature trail with educational signage.
The day was split in two: in the morning, volunteers cleaned up the wooded part of the property and, in the afternoon, they moved to the shoreline.
Over the course of the day, the volunteers amassed a mountain of trash — plastics of all kinds, glass bottles, rusted steel drums and paint cans, tires, carpeting, metal building materials, porcelain toilets smashed into pieces, and more.
The shoreline of this property is the nesting ground for a threatened species, the spiny softshell turtle. It is the only area with confirmed sightings of the species in Quebec. Female turtles lay their eggs in the sand in June. Predation, changing shorelines and certain recreational activities, such as motorized boating, all threaten this species’ survival.
After a day of hard work and discovery, the volunteers left with a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction that their efforts brought a noticeable change to the Missisquoi Bay Nature Refuge’s environment.