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Nature Conservancy of Canada offers natural volunteer opportunity

Catherine, Wilf, and Judy identify wetland plants in a bog habitat during last year's BioBlitz in the Codroy Valley. - A. Mahoney
Catherine, Wilf, and Judy identify wetland plants in a bog habitat during last year's BioBlitz in the Codroy Valley. - A. Mahoney - Submitted

Volunteers make a huge difference in key conservation areas such as the Codroy Valley

CODROY VALLEY, NL - In recognition of International Volunteer Week, The Nature Conservancy Canada (NCC) is putting out a call for help with four projects happening this summer and fall.

Julia Lawler, Newfoundland and Labrador’s stewardship assistant, said volunteers are a vital part of the Nature Conservancy’s efforts.

“There are only two of us in the N.L. office, so we couldn’t accomplish these projects on our own, such as plant a thousand trees or clear all the garbage off a huge beach. Volunteers are a fundamental piece of our work here in N.L.”

The organization needs help planting trees in Crabbes River, near St. Fintan’s on June 9. Then they hope to have more volunteers sign up to identify and document bird species in Torbay Gully on June 23, clean the beach at Sandy Point, near St. George’s, Sept. 15 and conduct a second bird survey in the Codroy Valley on Sept. 22.

Lawler said the number of volunteers who come out varies with each event, depending on the project’s location, interest in the activity and the project’s capacity for extra hands. She cited the annual Sandy Point Beach cleanup as one of their most popular undertakings because many people have personal connections with the beach.

“They enjoy the boat ride out there and the beauty of the beach. Also picking up garbage is a feel good activity. You can look over the clean beach and feel pride.”

Lawler pointed out that the bird study in the Codroy Valley is also an important endeavor.

“Volunteers will identify and count waterfowl in the wetlands, along their migration routes, to help NCC better track which bird species use our natural areas and in what numbers. This information, along with the seasonal timing of migration, is essential to properly manage and protect this unique, internationally-recognized waterfowl habitat. Accurate inventory of the waterfowl observed from NCC nature reserves is used in planning future conservation endeavors, both here in Newfoundland and elsewhere along migration routes. The data collected in the Codroy Valley complements data collected by the Canadian Wildlife Service.”

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is a national private land conservation organization, conserving ecologically significant areas for over 50 years. It helps protect over 13,000 acres of wilderness across the province, with a few sites on the Avalon, including a coastal area that hosts the East Coast Trail and a number of sites on the West Coast, including the Grand Codroy Valley.

Lawler said volunteers are essential “to help us accomplish priority actions that take many hands to get done.”

She said benefits of volunteering include “the opportunity to connect (with) people and with the natural history of their area, build new skills and knowledge, and experience feelings of accomplishment and pride.”

She added that, although some of their volunteers have extensive knowledge they themselves learn from, anyone who wants to spend time outdoors and has a love of nature is welcome.

Lawler said it’s also a great opportunity for students to get their career hours while helping conserve and protect the environment.

Interested volunteers are encouraged to check out the NCC website at www.natureconservancy.ca or call the N.L. office at 709-753-5540.

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