About the Nature Centre

The Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre is an interpretive centre overlooking the Cowichan Estuary, a 400 hectare estuarine ecosystem and internationally designated Important Bird Area (IBA) in the unceded territory of the Quw’utsun people.  In spite of more than a century of industrial activity, the estuary provides vital habitat for resident and migratory birds, Pacific salmon, shellfish and a diversity of inter-tidal life.

The Nature Centre offers interactive opportunities for all ages to learn about the estuary, its watershed, marine life, and natural and cultural history.  Visitors can see and touch marine and intertidal creatures in our aquarium and touch tank; use our microscopes, telescopes and interactive displays, and enjoy wildlife and bird watching along our ocean front interpretive trail and from our viewing tower.  


The Nature Centre is owned by the Cowichan Land Trust on Cowichan Valley Regional District park land.  The Nature Centre is managed by a committee that includes members of the Land Trust Board of Directors, the Area D Parks Commission, the Cowichan Valley Naturalists and Nature Centre volunteers. The Nature Centre is kept open to the public by a dedicated team of volunteer docents.  Educational programs are led by professional nature interpreters assisted by volunteer docents.  The Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre is a member of the Nature Cowichan network.


The the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre was conceived by a small group of local residents, including parents, educators, naturalists, fishermen and business people, who saw the Estuary as both a natural treasure and also an ecosystem at risk.  It was created as a project of the Cowichan Land Trust in cooperation with the Cowichan Valley Regional District, the Cowichan Valley Naturalists, Cowichan Tribes, and many energetic local volunteers, especially the Rotary Club of Duncan who contributed both money and more than 300 hours of volunteer labour to building the Nature Centre and the Viewing Tower.  The growth and realization of the vision of the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre is documented on our former website at cowichanestuary.wordpress.com.  The Nature Centre’s official opening was held on Saturday, April 21, 2012.

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