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Remaining Volunteer Opportunities for 2020 are  posted below.  If you are a returning volunteer, you need not re-apply.  If the activity you are interested in is full for 2020, you can still check it off on your volunteer application and we’ll let you know about opportunities for 2021.

Garlic Mustard pull at Church WoodsSummer Youth Biodiversity Team *NEW*:

We have openings for 6 youth volunteers in 2020.

Are you between the age of 18 and 30, and in the Orillia area for the summer of 2020?  

We’re creating a volunteer program to help you build your field skills.  You will have the chance to accompany our summer staff on field trips to our Nature Reserves, controlling invasive species and conducting biological inventories.  

Skills and Equipment:  Preference will be given to youth who are pursuing an education in either biology or environmental studies.  You will need your own transportation, rain gear, a bug jacket, rubber boots, and binoculars.  

Commitment:  Once per week we will post a volunteer opportunity.  Anyone  from the team who is free may join the outdoor trip.  Most dates will be weekdays, but there will be some weekend opportunities.   Program runs June 1st to August 15th.

To apply, complete a Volunteer Job Application, and select the Summer Youth Biodiversity Team. 

Note:  This program is conditional upon receipt of funding from the Canada Summer Jobs Program.  


David and Jane volunteering at an event

Ambassadors: Currently recruiting for 2020

As an Ambassador, you have the opportunity to share your love and passion for land conservation with your community. You become part of a special team of trained volunteers who promote the Conservancy and the work we do by attending public events, calling supporters, delivering Passport to Nature booklets to local businesses, and more. If you are looking to connect with your community, meet other like minded nature lovers, and be part of the Conservancy’s mission to protect your local lands, we invite you to join the 2020 Ambassador team!   

Training: The Couchiching Conservancy has two ambassador training workshops coming up in spring 2020 for volunteers interested in becoming an ambassador or strengthening their skills. Click here for training dates.   

Learn more about ambassadors and what they have been up to this year here


The same team has been Stewarding Grant’s Woods since 2004

Land Stewards: 

We have openings for approximately 4 new volunteers left in 2020 on properties located in Orillia, Carden, Ramara, Severn,  & Dalton Township

Every Conservancy Nature Reserve needs a team of Land Stewards, to keep staff informed about the condition of the property and help to keep it maintained.  

Land Stewards monitor the property perimeter and any trails for human incursions, safety hazards, vandalism, and maintenance issues, and report the property conditions and any unusual activity to staff.  They also help out with maintenance, which could include helping to mend fences, repair signs, and control invasive species.  

Land Stewards work in teams of two, and are assigned a permanent property to monitor.  

Skills and Equipment Needed:  No special equipment is needed to conduct property monitoring, although a camera, a gps unit, and binoculars are helpful.  You should be reasonably physically fit and own a pair of snowshoes in order to monitor the property in winter. 

Commitment:  Four half days per year (spring, summer, fall, and winter) for property visits, plus additional paperwork and reporting.  Participation in property maintenance work parties is also encouraged.  

Training Required:    We provide a one-on-one field orientation to the property.  While it is not a requirement for Land Stewards to be able to identify Invasive Species and Species at Risk, we encourage them to take  our Invasive Species and Species at Risk courses, and any of our other identification courses offered such as Frog Monitoring and Reptile and Amphibian I.D. 

Note that you may not bring dogs on Land Stewardship trips to Conservancy properties.



Adam Thomson inviting supporters to the Annual General Meeting

Office Support: 

We occasionally need office support for a variety of jobs, including preparation for mail-outs and events, data entry, filing, and scanning of documents and photos. 

2020 OpportunityWe are looking for volunteers to help call supporters from February 3rd-February 17th to invite them to our Annual General Meeting taking place on March 7th. You are welcome to do the phone calls at home on your own time or do them at the office during office hours.

If you are interested in lending a hand, please email Joelle at 





Alan, Karl, and Mike repairing a bridge at Grant’s Woods


Property Maintenance Team (Special Projects): 

Now Recruiting!  

This is a roving team with construction skills and chainsaw know-how.   They take on larger maintenance projects such as foot bridge construction and maintenance, erecting new property signs,  and keeping our office in good repair.  






Monitoring for Basking Turtles

Reptile Monitors: 

One opportunity left on a somewhat remote property for 2020.


Volunteers  stealthily follow a designated route,  looking for basking & nesting turtles,  snakes, and on some properties the five-lined skinkThe five-lined skink is Ontario’s only lizard.

*****No Experience Necessary*****

Equipment Needed:  Binoculars and a camera with a zoom lens (doesn’t have to be fancy, and we have loaners).  A GPS unit or smartphone gps location app such as Avenza.   Use your own equipment, or borrow ours – we have binoculars, gps units, and a few cameras with zoom available for your use.

Commitment:  Volunteer teams of two are assigned a permanent property to monitor.   Reptile monitoring visits  take place once per month in late spring, early summer, and early fall: Approximately 4 to 6 visits per year of 2 – 3 hours each.  The timing of visits is critical to success, and volunteers should have enough flexibility in their schedules to monitor during prime weather conditions.

Training:  Take our Reptile Monitoring Course, our  Reptile and Amphibian i.d. course, and our basic GPS or Avenza course this winter.   Returning volunteers are asked to take our new Turtle Nesting Workshop, but new volunteers can wait a year.  Click here for training dates.

Note that you may not bring dogs on monitoring trips to Conservancy properties.


Courtney Thompson monitoring for salamanders

Salamander & Vernal Pool Monitors: 

A few opportunities left for 2020.

Volunteers monitor vernal pools in the early spring for amphibian egg masses, and then switch to monitoring under boards for the summer and fall. 

*****No Experience Necessary*****

Equipment Needed: A GPS unit or the Avenza map app is needed to find salamander boards that have been placed on the property.  We can supply you with a GPS unit.

Commitment:  Volunteer teams of two are assigned a Conservancy property which has had approximately 10 boards placed in good salamander habitat.  Four trips of approximately 2 hours are required: Early  May for your Vernal Pool visit, then June, September, and October for salamander boards.  The timing of  visits is critical to success( the conditions should be wet or dam), and volunteers need to have enough flexibility in their schedules to make their visits under prime weather conditions.

Training:  Take our Reptile and Amphibian i.d. course, and either our GPS basics or Avenza map app course.  Click here for training dates.

 Note that you may not bring dogs on monitoring trips to Conservancy properties.


Social Media Organizer: Two volunteers confirmed. More opportunities possible in 2020.

We share updates and news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on a regular basis. We could use some help to see what is working and where we could improve, as well some help with creating content and graphics. This job needs to be done in the office, and we are hoping to find 1-2 volunteers so we have one person a week.

Read the Job Description here. Please reach out to Tanya Clark if you can help.


Anne and Jamie taking water temperature in the Talbot River. Jamie has big hip waders on.

Water Quality Monitors:

Only one more team needed for 2020 at the Kris Starr Nature Reserve.


This is our benchmark Citizen Science program, which began in 2015.  Water Teams test for up to 9 different water quality parameters on-site including Temperature, Depth, pH, Dissolved Oxygen, Phosphates, Turbidity, Alkalinity, Nitrate-Nitrogen, and sometimes Chlorides. 

*****No Experience Necessary*****

Equipment Needed:  We provide the water testing kits and safety equipment.  You’ll need rubber boots.

Commitment:  Teams of two are assigned a Conservancy property with a stream running through it.  Teams test once per month, which takes approximately one hour.  Testing begins in May and continues through November.  

Training:  A one day training course is required to participate in this program.  Click here for training dates.

Benthic kick-tests are also taken by Water Team volunteers every two years (in September) at each site to monitor  for benthic macroinvertebrates (bottom dwelling aquatic organisms visible to the naked eye with no vertebrae). This is a day-long event with benthic experts in a lab setting.

Volunteers should be comfortable entering waterways that are a maximum depth of hip deep, wearing chest waders and a life jacket, near the riverbank.  Water is flowing, but not rapidly, and is often shallow enough that rubber boots are enough.  One partner stays on shore with a throw rope.  Safety equipment,  test kits, and chest waders are all provided. 

Note that you may not bring dogs on monitoring trips to Conservancy properties.


Jacob Oberfrank and Roland Rehhorn monitor bats at McIsaac Wetland

Bat Monitors *NEW*:

*The program is now full for 2020  Thank you!*.  

There are eight species of bats in Ontario, and four of them are listed as a Species at Risk.   Bats are active at night, emitting echolocation which cannot be heard by humans.  

Bat Monitoring teams of 3  are assigned a property and cover a designated route 1/2 hour after sunset.  Using two bat recording technologies, you will record the echolocation calls of bats which can then be analyzed to determine species.  

***No Experience Necessary***

Equipment Needed:  We supply the bat monitoring equipment.  You will need a headlamp and something to protect you from the bugs – a bug jacket and gloves are recommended.  

Commitment:  Must be available to make three evening visits of approximately two hours each in June and July,  during the prescribed weather conditions.  

Training required:  Take the two hour Bat Monitoring course.  Click here for training dates

Note that you may not bring dogs on monitoring trips to Conservancy properties.

Fred Kallin & Jane Brasher monitor frogs in Copeland Forest

Frog Call Monitors: 

*The program is now full for 2020.  Thank-you!*

There are one toad and nine frog species in our region, and volunteers are trained to identify their calls both individually and in a chorus.  

*****No Experience Necessary****

Skills and Equipment Needed:  Good hearing is required for this activity.  Listening devices with headphones  are used to verify calls (use your smartphone or ipod  or borrow our equipment) . 

Commitment:  Volunteer teams of two head out 1/2 hour after sunset to a Conservancy wetland.  Three trips of fifteen minutes through the spring and summer, at different temperature thresholds, are all that’s required.   You must be available from late May to July to participate in this activity.  

Training Required:  Take the two hour frog call monitoring course.  Click here for training dates

Note that you may not bring dogs on monitoring trips.

Plant Monitoring  *PILOT YEAR* :

This program is now full for 2020.  Thank you!   

This program takes advantage of smartphone apps such as SEEK which can readily identify plants in the field.  We also teach you how to use field guides for identification.  

Volunteers will be assigned a property to monitor, and will capture photos for a maximum of 12  plants per visit that are in bloom, identifying them using smartphone apps and Field Guides, and ranking their abundance. 

***No Experience Necessary***.  

You should be comfortable transferring photos from your smartphone to your computer, naming them according to a prescribed protocol,  saving them in the jpg format, and uploading them to our cloud database (dropbox) or to a memory stick. 

Equipment Needed:  A fully functioning Smartphone, and at least one good field guide to the plants of Central Ontario.  

Commitment:  One trip per month from May to September.  Since this is the pilot year for the program,  you will be helping us to test it out, and the program could change.

Training:  Take the Introduction to Botany course (2 hours)  Click here for training dates.  

*Experienced Botanists:  We would love to have you involved too!

Whip poor will are listed as Threatened in Ontario. 

Whip poor will and Nighthawk Surveys:

This survey program is full for 2020.  


In June, by the light of the full moon,  volunteers take to the back roads of Oro-Medonte, Severn, Carden, and Ramara Township.  Surveys are done by car, with a team mate, just after dark.  Surveys run about two hours per trip.  The amount you take on is up to you:  take one trip or more.

*****No Experience Necessary*****

Eastern whip poor wills are easily identified by their song, singing their name over and over again (listen at left).  Common nighthawks occupy similar habitat, and can be seen climbing into the sky and diving, often making a territorial “boom” as they dive toward their nests. 

Optimal Survey Times for 2020:



The May full moon is on the 7th in 2020, and is not recommended for a survey trip because many birds will still be migrating back.  The best survey window is between June 1st and June 5th in 2020.  

Note that you may not bring dogs on these survey trips.




Special Skills:  If you have any of the following skills to contribute, we are interested!

  • Fundraiser/Event Organizing
  • Handyperson
  • Arcview/GIS Mapping
  • Environmental Educator
  • Writing/Editing
  • Graphic Design
  • Government Legislation & Policy Monitor
  • Conservation Land Tax Specialist
  • Media and Communications



Mail: Box 704, Orillia, ON  L3V 6H2

If you have any questions, please call 705-326-1620.

Want to learn even MORE about volunteering? Click here to see our recent articles on volunteering for the Conservancy.