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Volunteer Training Opportunities

The 2020 Training Courses are Here!  

This year we’ve got more courses than ever to enrich your naturalist skills and help you  improve your citizen science monitoring results.

-You must be a Volunteer with us in order to take these courses-  

Learn more about volunteering here– 


 

Ambassador Earth Day Clean Up

Ambassador Training:

This is a fun and interactive training course that introduces you to The Couchiching Conservancy, our history, programs, and campaigns. You will learn how to set up and tear down the booth, how to approach people and engage them in land conservation, and how to answer questions when out in the public. Ambassadors are privy to our latest campaigns and focuses  so that you can promote them to the wider community. Finally you will gain confidence in representing our organization and conservation in the region by better understanding the facts and figures associated with The Couchiching Conservancy. 

 

 

Two Sessions to choose from: 

Wednesday April 22nd, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm   Location: Grant’s Woods 

Sunday April 26th, 2020 from 1:30pm to 3:30 pm   Location: Grant’s Woods

Instructors: Courtney Baker & Joelle Burnie

To register, email or phone Joelle at info@couchconservancy.ca or 705-326-1620. 


 

 

Avenza Mapping:

The Avenza Maps App can be downloaded to Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.  It can be used to track your movements on a map in real time, without using up your data.  You can pin locations in the UTM format and add photos. 

In this two hour introductory course at Grant’s Woods, we will teach you how to download a “geo-tagged” property map to your phone, track your movements, use it to tag the location of your sightings and your photos, and upload the information to google earth.   This easy-to-use mapping tool will revolutionize your  monitoring visits!  The course is two hours and will be a combination of indoor classroom instruction and practical outdoor exercises. 

Instructor:  Dorthea Hangaard.  There will also be one-on-one tutor support available at the course.  

Next Sessions:

Tuesday March 3rd, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm.  Location:  Grant’s Woods. 
Tuesday April 7th, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm.  Location:  Grant’s Woods.
*FULL*  Wednesday April 8th, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm.
  Location:  Grant’s Woods. *FULL*
Wednesday May 20th, 2020 from 6 – 8 pm.  Location:  Grant’s Woods.
Thursday May 21st, 2020 from 6 – 8 pm.  Location:  Grant’s Woods.

To register email  or phone dorthea@couchconservancy.ca   (705) 326-1620  

 


 

Lindsay Cass monitoring for Bats at Church Woods. Photo: Joelle Burnie

Bat Monitoring *NEW* :

Learn about Ontario’s bats:  Why they are threatened, how to detect them, and how to protect them.  

You will learn how to conduct surveys for bats using acoustic recording equipment that can detect the bat’s high frequency calls which are outside the range of human hearing.  We will also cover where and when monitoring should take place to get the best results, and review the protocol manual and monitoring forms for this program.

Who should take this course:  Everyone who participated in last year’s bat monitoring pilot project as well as new bat monitoring volunteers.

Instructor:  Toby Rowland

Two Sessions to Choose From: 

Wednesday April 1, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm.  Location:  Grant’s Woods
Saturday April 4th, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm.  Location:  Grant’s Woods

To register email  or phone dorthea@couchconservancy.ca   (705) 326-1620  

The course is indoors.


 

Wood Frog at Bluebird Ranch. Photo: John F. Wright

Frog Calls:

Learn your frog calls and participate in our spring/summer Frog Call Monitoring Program. 

Using protocols adapted from the Birds Canada “Marsh Monitoring Program”, you will learn how to identify calls from 1 Toad and 9 Frog species individually and as part of a chorus.  For more information on the Frog Call Monitoring Program, visit the main volunteer page here.

Instructor:  Dorthea Hangaard

Two sessions to choose from:

Wednesday March 11th, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm   Location:  Grant’s Woods.
Sunday March 22nd, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm 
Location:  Grant’s Woods.

To register email  or phone dorthea@couchconservancy.ca   (705) 326-1620  

The course is indoors.  


 

 

GPS Handheld Devices:

A practical course in the use of a handheld GPS device for newbies and  rookies.  Just the basics you need to use the device on your monitoring visits.  This course is for Couchiching Conservancy citizen science volunteers. 

Instructor:  David Hawke

Next Course: Tuesday April 21st, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm  Location:  Grant’s Woods

To register, contact dorthea@couchconservancy.ca   (705) 326-1620.

The course is a combination of indoor instruction and outdoor practical exercises.


 

Wild Ginger in Copeland Forest

Introduction to Botany *NEW*: 

We have a limited number of seats available for this course, which will be open to volunteers who sign up for our new Plant Inventory program.  We will cover how to use a plant guidebook, good smartphone apps for plant identification, and the protocol for the Plant Inventory program.  

If all goes well, we will open this course up to all volunteers in 2021. 

Instructor:  David Hawke

Friday February 21st, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm  Location:  Grant’s Woods

To register email  or phone dorthea@couchconservancy.ca   (705) 326-1620

This is an indoor course.  

 


 

Dave Hawke with a ‘prized pull’ of Dog Strangling Vine

Invasive Species: 

All volunteers who work in the field are encouraged to take this two hour course periodically, to enrich your skills at identifying Invasive Species in the field.  This course focuses on terrestrial plants.

Instructor:  David Hawke

Two Sessions to Choose From:

Tuesday February 18th, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm
Sunday March 1st, 2020, from 1:30 to 3:30 pm  

Location TBA depending on number of registrants.   To register, contact dorthea@couchconservancy.ca  (705) 326-1620

This is an indoor course.  


 

Take the course to learn why this is a ribbon snake rather than a garter snake. photo: Dorthea Hangaard

Reptile and Amphibian Identification:

In this course you will learn to identify the reptiles (turtles, snakes, lizard) and amphibians (salamanders and frogs) of our region by sight.  We will focus on how to identify these species in the field using a combination of visual cues, behavior, and habitat preferences.

This course was created to train volunteers who are part of our reptile and amphibian monitoring program, but all volunteers who work in the field for the Conservancy are encouraged to attend. 

Instructor:  Toby Rowland

Two Sessions to Choose From: 

Sunday April 5th, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm
Wednesday April 15th, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm

To register contact dorthea@couchconservancy.ca  (705) 326-1620 

This is an indoor course.

 


 

Monitoring for Basking Turtles

Reptile Monitoring *NEW*: 

This is a  course for our reptile monitoring teams, designed to teach you both the protocols and techniques to get the most from your reptile monitoring visits.  From Visual Encounter Surveys to checking Artificial Cover Objects (Snake Boards), we will cover the best temperatures and times to survey, along with how to find and identify these cryptic species in the field.  

This course is for both new and returning reptile monitors.  

Instructor:  Toby Rowland

Two Sessions to Choose From:

Wednesday February 12th, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm  
Sunday February 23rd, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm  

Location TBA depending on number of registrants.  

To register, please contact dorthea@couchconservancy.ca  (705) 326-1620

This is an indoor course.  

 


 

Spotted Salamander Embryos (photo: Toby Rowland)

Salamander & Egg Mass Identification *NEW*:

This year we have two courses for our Salamander and Vernal Pool teams, and we’re asking all salamander monitors, new and returning, to take this indoor course.  Armed with a new protocol manual and egg mass Identification Guide, you will come to a better understanding of monitoring techniques and your role monitoring  Vernal Pools and Salamander boards.  

Learn how to identify salamanders, the egg masses of salamanders & frogs, and fairy shrimp.  

We will also be offering the outdoor Vernal Pool workshop in early May (see below).

Instructor:  Toby Rowland

Two Courses to Choose From:

Saturday March 14th, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm   Location:  Grant’s Woods
Wednesday March 18th, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm   Location:  Grant’s Woods

To register, please contact dorthea@couchconservancy.ca  (705) 326-1620


 

The Eastern meadowlark is listed as Threatened in Ontario. photo: Dave Hawke

Species at Risk: 

All volunteers who work in the field are encouraged to take this two hour course periodically, to enrich your skills at identifying Species at Risk. 

Instructor:  David Hawke

Next Courses: 

Monday March 16th, 2020 from 1:30 to3:30 pm
Saturday April 18th, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm

Location TBA depending on the number of registrants.  

To register, please contact dorthea@couchconservancy.ca  (705) 326-1620

This is an indoor course.  

 


Turtle Nesting Workshop in the Field *NEW*: 

This is a workshop for our returning Reptile Monitoring teams, designed to help you identify turtle nests, and monitor them until the eggs have hatched.  You will also learn techniques for protecting nests from predation.  

Instructor:  Toby Rowland

The workshop will take place on one of our more active turtle nesting properties, at the height of turtle nesting season (usually in June).  

Please register if you want to be contacted for this workshop.  As usual, we will offer it once on a weekend and once on a weekday to try and accommodate as many people as possible.  

To register, please contact dorthea@couchconservancy.ca  (705) 326-1620

This is an outdoor workshop.  


Photo: Kim Ariss

Vernal Pool Workshop: 

This outdoor workshop is for our Salamander & Vernal Pool monitoring teams, and takes place just after the ice is off the ponds.  We will be looking for and identifying Salamander and Frog egg masses, along with any adults that we come across.  We will also look for Fairy Shrimp.

Learn the protocols and methods of monitoring Vernal Pools.  

Instructor:  Toby Rowland & an additional instructor TBA

The workshop will be offered the first week of May.  If you would like to be contacted about it, register with dorthea@couchconservancy.ca   (705) 326-1620.  

Dress warmly!


 

Water Quality Monitoring

This is a full day course from 9 am to 4 pm for new Water Quality Monitors.  The morning session is inside, and in the afternoon we go streamside to practice using the kits.

 You will learn about watersheds, stream health, safety protocols, and how to conduct each of the tests in our water monitoring kits including:  Temperature, Turbidity, Depth, Dissolved Oxygen, pH, Alkalinity, Phosphates, Nitrate-Nitrogen & Chlorides.

Instructors:  Dorthea Hangaard & TBA

Two Dates to Choose From:

Wednesday June 10th, 2020 from 9 am to 4 pm   Location:  Grant’s Woods
Sunday June 14th, 2020 from 9 am to 4 pm  Location:  Grant’s Woods

To register, please contact dorthea@couchconservancy.ca  (705) 326-1620.

 


 

 

The Eastern whip-poor-will is listed as Threatened in Ontario

Whip-poor-will and Nighthawk Surveying:

This course is for volunteers who sign up to conduct Whip-poor-will and Nighthawk surveys throughout Simcoe County and Carden in 2020.    You will learn about what habitat to look for & how to identify them by sound and by sight.  We will cover the survey protocols, and assign you an area and a team-mate (if you don’t already have one).

Instructor:  Dorthea Hangaard

Two dates to choose from: 

Wednesday May 13th, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm  Location:  Grant’s Woods
Sunday May 10th, 2020  from 1:30 to 3:30 pm  Location:  Grant’s Woods

To register, please contact dorthea@couchconservancy.ca  (705) 326-1620.