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Volunteer

Volunteers in Action

 

Join a community of caring people who are hopeful about the future, and have turned their hope into action. 

The stewardship of 35 properties is a big job, and we can’t do it without your help.  We offer volunteer opportunities that contribute directly to protection of the environment, improve your naturalist skills through training and education, and connect you to people with similar interests.

     

                

 Featured Jobs:

Ambassador Noella Storry at an event

 

Ambassadors: 

A special team of trained volunteer Ambassadors attend community functions such as fairs and festivals with display booths to promote the Conservancy and the work we do together.  This is a great opportunity to get involved in the community, meet new people and help the Conservancy to spread the word about land conservation.  Read more…  

 

 

 

 

Aiesha Monitoring Windmill Ranch

 

Invasive Species Monitoring on the Carden Alvar:

This is a unique three-year project and a golden opportunity to spend time in Carden Alvar Provincial Park.  Using either GPS handheld devices or the Avenza Application for smartphones, teams of two scour “zones” of the Park looking for invasive species such as Dog Strangling Vine and Phragmites.  Training is provided in the use of the mapping devices, and in the identification of invasive species.  Year one of this three year project wraps up October 31st, 2017.  Contact us to get involved in year two!

 

 

 

 

Isabelle Thiess and Lisa Neville

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingrid monitoring Elliott Woods

 

Property Monitoring:

Regular monitoring keeps us informed about the condition of each property and helps ensure that those properties accessible to the public remain safe and well-maintained.  There is great satisfaction in helping monitor a property over time and seeing the positive effects of your management efforts.   Read more about Property Monitoring

 

 

 

 

Property Monitors work in teams of at least two, and are assigned a permanent property to steward seasonally.  Some properties require more intensive monitoring.  You are the “eyes and ears” for this property, and report on any unusual activities or concerns listed as priorities.  You also have the option of participating in special work events such as litter clean-up, erecting signage, and invasive species control. 

Skills:

  • While it is not a requirement for Property Monitors to be able to identify Invasive Species and Species at Risk or to use a gps unit, we provide training and education periodically, which we encourage Property Monitors to attend. 
  • You should be reasonably physically fit and own a pair of snowshoes, since it is often necessary to go off-trail to monitor the property perimeter.

Estimated Time Commitment:

  • A minimum of four half days per year (spring, summer, fall, and winter) for property visits, plus additional paperwork and reporting.
  • Up to three half days for annual training workshops (optional).
  • Two to four half days annually for property maintenance (optional).

ALSO NOTE:  Please leave dogs at home on Property Monitoring visits.

Current Opportunities:

  • Tushingham Woods is a 50 acre sloping hardwood forest near Moonstone with natural springs and butternut trees. This property is owned by Ontario Heritage Trust and managed by the Couchiching Conservancy and looking for two people to protect.
  • The Turnbull Ranch Property Team is looking for a new member or two.  This property is a 414 acre ranch on the Carden Alvar. 

Thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for supporting the development of our Property Monitoring Program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Property Maintenance:

Mend fences, install signs, control invasive species…these are just some of the tasks involved in maintaining our properties. 

Read more about Property Maintenance

As with any property, maintenance is required to keep things “ship shape”. Most properties are natural habitat and require minimal maintenance, yet fences need mending, signs have to be installed, trails maintained and built,  and even some building care is required. While some of the long-term tasks are attended to by our corporate sponsors (e.g. dangerous tree removal, gravel for lanes, fence installations) and by our Property Teams,  there are often opportunities for some one-time help. Click here to find out more about this opportunity.

Invaisve Plant Control is also an important aspect of maintaining biodiversity on our properties. Volunteers assist with approved plans and methods of removing Invasive Species such as Garlic Mustard.  Training is provided on-site as to plant identification and removal methods. 

 

 

 

The Western Chorus Frog is listed as Threatened in Ontario

 

*NEW*  Reptile and Amphibian Monitoring:

We are now recruiting volunteers to monitor Reptiles and Amphibians on our properties.  They are particularly vulnerable to decline in Canada and the world, and are considered indicator species for climate change, pollution,  and habitat loss.  Training will take place in the winter of 2018 (with the possible addition of some early spring sessions for the snowbirds), and the field season will begin in the spring of 2018.  No experience necessary.  Choose from the following programs or participate in all three!   Read More about Reptile and Amphibian Monitoring

1.  Frog Call Program. There are approximately 10 frog and toad species in our region, and volunteers will be trained to identify their calls.  Listening devices with headphones can also be used to verify calls .  Volunteer teams of two will head out 1/2 hour after sunset to a Conservancy wetland.  Three trips of fifteen minutes each spring, at different temperature thresholds, are all that’s required. 

2.  Salamanders are one of the most elusive amphibians to study, but are important to the ecosystem.  For example, they prey on mosquitoes and ticks, helping to keep insect populations in balance.  We’re putting out boards we hope salamanders will choose to live under, and asking volunteers to check in on them and record what they see. 

Commitment:  Volunteer teams of two will be assigned a Conservancy property which has had 20 boards placed in good salamander habitat.  Three trips of approximately 2 hours in the spring will be required (roughly late April, late May, and late June). 

Skills Needed:  Ability to identify salamanders (training provided), a rudimentary understanding of gps units and/or  the Avenza mapping app (Training provided).  

3.  We’re creating routes on our properties that volunteers will stealthily follow, hoping to sneak up on turtles, snakes, and the five-lined skink.  The five-lined skink is Ontario’s only Lizard. 

Thanks to the Youssef-Warren Foundation for funding our dream of a Citizen Science Reptile and Amphibian Program. 

 

 

 

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

Water Quality Monitoring:

Our Water Quality Monitoring Program began in 2015 and has grown to 20 sites and 72 volunteers in 2017.  Water Teams test for eight different water quality parameters on-site including Temperature, Depth, pH, Dissolved Oxygen, Phosphate, Turbidity, Alkalinity, Nitrate-Nitrogen, and sometimes Chlorides.  No experience is necessary – a one-day training course is mandatory to participate.  Read More about Water Quality Monitoring

 

 

 

 

 

Teams of two are assigned a permanent site to monitor and  collect water samples twice per  month in the spring, summer, and fall.  If there are no major issues at the site after the first year, testing is reduced to once per month.   Approximately two hours are needed to travel to your site and undertake the water tests.  

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. 

Next Training Session for New Volunteers:  Spring of 2018

Sites Available in 2018:

  • Carthew Bay
  • McGee Creek & Centennial Park Road (Carden)

View our flickr photo album

Thanks to RBC Bluewater for making this Water Quality Monitoring Program possible. 

 

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

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

 

Get to know your fellow volunteers

Read our monthly feature, “60 Seconds With…” Here

 

 

Calendar of Volunteer Activities

november

29nov1:30 pm- 3:30 pmLearn the Avenza Mapping AppRevolutionize your property monitoring visits!

december

No Events

Email: volunteer@couchconservancy.ca
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.