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Note that the Nature Counts event originally scheduled for Sunday November 17th has been postponed until Saturday January 18th.  Santa Claus and his parade are coming to town November 17th, shutting down the streets and making parking difficult.  Apologies!

Calling all Ambassadors, Citizen Scientists, Maintenance Crews, Board & Committee Members, Office Helpers, and anyone who has volunteered for us in 2019!  

Join us for Nature Counts on Saturday January 18th, 2020,  at the St. Paul’s Community Centre, 62 Peter Street North, Orillia.

PLEASE RSVP BY MONDAY JANUARY 13TH, 2020 to  or call her at the office:  (705) 326-1620

Click here to view and download the schedule


Frequently Asked Questions:

 1.  I’m not a volunteer, can I attend? This event is meant for our 2019 volunteers, however, if you are seriously thinking about becoming a volunteer in 2020, this is a good way to learn more.  

2.  I volunteer for one activity, can I go to one of the other break-out sessions as well?  Yes, please attend whichever sessions you want.  

3. Where should I park? There are two municipal parking lots on Coldwater Road near St. Paul’s.  

4.  What is the deadline to RSVP and who do I tell?  Please RSVP by end of day Monday January 13th to  or call her at the office (705) 326-1620.

5.  Can I drop in last minute, I don’t know my schedule?  Registration is to give us an idea of how much food to order and how many chairs to put out.  If you don’t know your schedule, by all means just drop in, we want to see you!



Featured Jobs:  Coming Soon, 2020 Volunteer Opportunities.  

Social Media Organizer: Currently recruiting!

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.


Ambassador Noella Storry at an event


Ambassadors: Currently recruiting for 2019

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…  

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

Interested in what events we need ambassadors for? Check out our Ambassador Page here




Photos by citizen science volunteer John Wright

Frog Call Monitoring:  *Full for 2019*  Thank-you!

There are approximately 10 frog and toad species in our region, and volunteers are trained to identify their calls both individually and in a chorus.  

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

Equipment Needed:  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. 

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 to Conservancy properties.


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:  A couple of opportunities left.  Contact Dorthea to discuss.

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. 

Equipment Needed:  No special equipment is needed to conduct property monitoring though 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. 

Training Required:  While it is not a requirement for General Property Monitors to be able to identify Invasive Species and Species at Risk, we encourage Property Monitors to engage in continuous learning over the yers by taking 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. 

Available Opportunities:  There are a couple of available properties in 2019…contact Dorthea to discuss whether or not they would be the right fit for you. 

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








Property Maintenance:  No Openings Currently 

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


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.

Contact Dave Hawke:   (705) 326-4643




A mother Snapping turtle laying her eggs at a Conservancy property June 11th (photo: Citizen science volunteer Charon Varty)

Reptile Monitoring Program:  *Full for 2019* Thank you!

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.

Training:  Take our Reptile and Amphibian i.d. course, and our basic GPS or Avenza course this winter.  Click here for training dates.

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


Blue-spotted salamander found under a board in 2018 by citizen science volunteers

Salamander & Vernal Pool Monitoring Program:  *Full For 2019* Thank You!

Volunteers monitor vernal pools in the early spring for salamanders and for salamander and frog 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.  Three trips of approximately 2 hours are required: Roughly  April for Vernal Pools, then June & September for salamander boards. 

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.



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

Water Quality Monitoring:  Three Openings Left for 2019

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:  A.  Stream Monitors – 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.    B. Wetland Monitors – This is new for 2019.  Teams of two will be assigned a Conservancy wetland that has frog monitoring taking place.   Testing will take place twice per month in May and June, and once in July. Read more about Water Quality Monitoring

Training:  A one day training course is required to participate in this program, which will take place in early May.

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 2019 when the weather warms up.

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


Whip poor will are listed as Threatened in Ontario. 

Whip poor will and Nighthawk Surveys:  *Full  for 2019* Thank you! 

In May and 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. 

The orientation sessions will take place in April and May of 2019.

Optimal Survey Times for 2019:



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.