We are hiring! And you don’t want to miss this chance to work with an amazing organization

We are hiring! And you don’t want to miss this chance to work with an amazing organization

We are looking for our next great fit! Join us for this one year maternity leave, and get a chance to delve into an amazing community doing great work here in the Cowichan Valley.

Job Title: Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre Coordinator

Term: This is a one-year position to cover a maternity leave starting January 2020

Hours:  21 – 22.5 hours/week 

Position Overview: The CENC Coordinator reports to and is supported by the CENC Board, including at its monthly meetings and with the Board Chair and Treasurer between meetings.  A significant focus of this position currently is overseeing deliverables for the Centre’s Eco-Action grant on climate adaptation in the Cowichan and Koksilah Watersheds, in addition to coordinating educational programs, volunteers and Centre administration.

For the full job description click Coordinator Position Description Jan -Dec 2020

How to Apply: Ensure that your resume shows how your skills and experiences apply to the qualifications (above). Please submit your resume, cover letter and references via email by 11:59pm on Nov 21st, 2019

Email resume to Alicia Taylor at alicia@cowichanestuary.ca with subject heading: 2020 CENC Coordinator

Use this format for your resume filename: LastName_FirstName_Application_2020.

We thank all those who apply for their interest in our organization; only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Larry’s 70th Birthday “Dare to be Wild” Fundraiser

Larry’s 70th Birthday “Dare to be Wild” Fundraiser

On December 20th, Larry Lenske, the Nature Centre’s treasurer and one of our most long-standing and dedicated volunteers, turns 70!  He’s decided to do a fundraising campaign for the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre to mark the occasion. Larry has been crunching numbers for the Nature Centre since our first development grant applications were submitted in 2011, and for every budget and financial statement since we opened our doors on Earth Day in 2012.  If there is anyone who truly understands how critical core operational funding is for a small non-profit to do its work in the world, it’s Larry.  

Larry’s Fundraising Goal: Larry’s goal is to raise $5,000 by his birthday to support the Estuary Nature Centre in continuing to provide people of all ages, and especially young people, with experiential nature education and opportunities to engage in hands-on watershed restoration work on the banks of the Cowichan and Koksilah Watersheds and the Cowichan Estuary where these rivers meet the ocean. 

Ways to donate:

  1. Click here to make an online tax deductible donation
  2. Send a cheque made out to the “Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre” to CENC, (1845 Cowichan Bay Rd, Cowichan Bay, BC V0R 1N2)
  3. Bring cash or your cheque book to the birthday party on December 20th (see below)
5000
25

Witness Dares and Win Prizes! To keep things interesting Larry has accepted some swimmingly cold “dares”.

If we raise $3,000, he will bungee jump nude into the Nanaimo River in March (Bonus: this is also a fundraiser for the BC Schizophrenic Society.) 

If we raise $5,000, on winter Solstice, December 21st, Larry will swim from the Kayak Launch at the Cowichan Marine Gateway to the beach at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre. He’ll be looking for a Cheering Section and Witnesses, and paramedics will definitely be welcome. Larry says he’s really hoping we raise $4,999.

And There Are Prizes! Every person who makes a donation of $500 or more will get to choose one of the following prizes:

  1. Larry – Your Servant for a Day:  Larry will provide you will 8 hours of service of your choice including the following options: He can cater a tasty meal for your small group if you provide the ingredients (West Coast Seafood and fondue are his specialties) and he is an accomplished dishwasher; he can organize your office; put together a spreadsheet for you; and while he’s not fond of gardening, he’s good with a shovel, a rake and a hammer and can take direction. 
  2. Larry’s West Coast Trail Training Package: “How to make hiking the West Coast Trail something you endure less and enjoy more?” As a 22-time West Coast Trail hiker, Larry will take you on up to 3 personal training hikes on beautiful Vancouver Island and give you a customized packing and equipment pre-hike consultation as well as help to outfit you for the trek. Larry has been heard to mutter: “You have to be a little nuts to do the trail once, and really nuts to keep doing it”.

Some Background – or How Did Larry Get Involved with the Nature Centre? Larry’s long-time partner in life and adventure is Jane, one of the Centre’s founders and its current board chair. A decade ago, in the midst of meetings to develop Cowichan Bay’s new official community plan it became clear that lots of people living locally didn’t know much about the Cowichan estuary, this complex and magical intertidal ecosystem on our doorstep, and its role in the health of the whole Cowichan Watershed. In February 2011 Jane came home from the Fishermen’s Wharf excited about an economic development funding opportunity that looked like a fit for building a Nature Interpretive Centre on the Cowichan Estuary – a place that would offer a window into learning about the estuary and ultimately falling in love with and caring for this place. Larry was game (or was that cajoled?) to do the many hours of number-crunching needed on grant applications and to support Jane in launching a local fundraising campaign. The Cowichan Community Land Trust agreed to be the sponsoring charitable non-profit; and the rest, as they say, is history.  Now the Centre is almost eight years old, has recently become its own separate charitable non-profit, and Larry is keen to help it continue to be able to engage youth in learning, leadership and restoration, and to do this work long into the future.

Despite being a long-time financial officer for Canada’s Agency for Cooperative Housing, Larry has often described himself as being Jane’s “lovely assistant”, or perhaps “beleaguered assistant”, in implementing her dreams and schemes. Truth be told, Larry is as passionate, in his way, as Jane is about what the Nature Centre does in the world – engaging people, both local and from afar, and especially young people, in having direct hands-on experiences in the estuary, giving them the opportunity to: 

  • fall in love with this amazing estuarine environment and the wider natural world; and 
  • be inspired to care for and restore it.  

A core part of Larry’s life is spending as much time as he can in the wild. When he’s not working on spreadsheets, he can often be found hiking the West Coast Trail – a 7-day backpacking trip he’s done 22 times, usually twice a year including an annual hike with grade 11 and 12 students from Frances Kelsey High – or hiking other trails or mountain paths here on the West Coast. This may better explain the value of the $500 “West Coast Trail Training Package” prize described above. And if you enjoy the training hikes and want to do more, Larry leads an annual September West Coast Trail trek.

What Your Support Means – The Big Picture:  Larry says he sees this work as a local way to be a meaningful part of addressing eco-system destruction, species extinction and climate destabilization, while staying grounded in and connected to a special local place. 

Then there’s the Birthday Party – December 20th  – please RSVP 

6:00-10:00pm – Heritage Room, 

The Hub in Cowichan Station 

2375 Koksilah Rd, Duncan, BC Directions

Pot Luck Dinner around 6:30

  • Bring something yummy to eat and share; 
  • Bring a dish, glass, cup, utensils.  No disposables please – going for zero waste, maximum reuse, recycle, compost; and.
  • Bring you cheque book to make a donation!

Marimba Band around 8:00

Marimba is lively, feel great music with its roots in Zimbabwe. “Machikichori” will be our wonderful local marimba band for the evening. Dancing encouraged!  

More Dares and Prize Opportunities May Emerge…

RSVP to jane@resiliencematters.ca or admin@cowichanestuary.ca

Water use restricted on Koksilah River to protect fish populations

“The Province is restricting water use by select users on the Koksilah River to protect fish populations, which are under threat due to low water flows in the river.

The Koksilah River is located south of Duncan on Vancouver Island and supports significant aquatic ecosystems and fish species, including steelhead, coho salmon and trout. These fish populations are important to local First Nations and provide economic benefits.

Ministry biologists have determined that current flow levels are so low that habitat conditions are severely degraded and fish populations may be threatened. The flow of water in the Koksilah River has dropped below 180 litres per second (less than 2% of mean annual discharge) and may be trending downward.

From now until Sept. 30, 2019, specified licences that authorize water use directly from the Koksilah River and its tributaries, and users of wells in aquifers that are hydraulically connected to the river, must cease all diversion and use of water for industrial purposes and for irrigation of forage crops, such as hay and corn.

Ministry staff will be conducting compliance checks in the Koksilah River watershed for the duration of the fish population protection order.

By restricting water use for irrigation of forage crops, such as hay and corn, but allowing water use for stock watering and irrigation of perennial crops and vegetables, water flows should be restored to a level sufficient to maintain fish populations while minimizing effects on users, such as the agricultural sector.

Steps toward developing a water sustainability plan for the Koksilah River watershed are being taken, which is anticipated to help with overall water management in the area. In the event water flows recover to above 180 litres per second on a sustained basis following any significant precipitation events, the Province may revoke the order.”

 

Source: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019FLNR0215-001616

Celebrating Water – Beer And Burger Fundraiser at Cow Bay Pub

Celebrating WATER- Rejoice together in the gift of Water and support The Work of The Cowichan Nature Centre, with an evening of songs, stories, and memories about Water- plus beer and burgers!

We’re gearing up for a busy fall season of nature education and restoration and need YOUR help.

Join us for a Beer & Burger fundraiser at the Cow Bay Pub featuring great food, a silent auction, fantastic live music from Paul Ruszel AND storytelling from local naturalists and nature lovers all in Celebration of WATER

Do you have a local Water story to share? It can be personal, epic or amusing, poem, song or story – email alicia@cowichanestuary.ca before September 20th and be included in the storytelling circle.

Don’t miss our silent auction featuring local art, gift certificates from local businesses, and more.

Tickets includes a burger (chicken, beef, or veggie), side of fries or salad, and a drink (domestic beer, wine, or cider).

$25 per ticket, available online, or at Volume One Books, the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre (1845 Cowichan Bay Road).

An evening of stories, music, a silent auction, and delicious food – all for a good cause! Hope to see you there!

All proceeds will support local nature education and restoration at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre.

Volunteer Open House BBQ!

Volunteer Open House BBQ!

This August 21st we are having an Open House BBQ for past, present and potential Volunteers. 

Ever considered helping guide students as they explore the shorelines, hand out binoculars to community members so they can watch Osprey nesting, participate in watershed restoration projects? Well, this August might be your chance to learn more about how to get started.

Invite is by RSVP, if you are interested in joining us for a Volunteer BBQ and learning about volunteering at the Nature Centre, email info@cowichanestuary.ca for details. 

Sign the petition and double protected areas across Canada and save wildlife now!

Sign the petition and double protected areas across Canada and save wildlife now!

Sign the petition to double protected areas across Canada and save wildlife now!

Help us support our allies at Nature Canada protect wildlife across Canada by Signing their Petition.

Sign the Petition HERE

“A new UN report says that unless we change, humans are driving close to 1 million species to extinction.

Canada has close to a quarter of the world’s wild forests and wetlands so has a critical role to play. Scientists say we have the potential to be a conservation superpower. But our track record is abysmal.

Currently, 89% of Canada’s nature is unprotected and half our monitored wildlife species are suffering severe population declines. Animals in trouble include the Polar Bear, the Piping Plover, the Southern Resident Orca, the Woodland Caribou and the Swift Fox.

Canadians care deeply for the health and well-being of wildlife and are passionate about protecting nature for the benefit of all life and future generations. We also support Indigenous-led conservation in these efforts.

It is time for the federal government to fulfill Canada’s commitment to double the amount of protected areas across Canada. Please join others in adding your name to the petition below asking for more protections for nature. Time is short.”

Water Conservation in the Koksilah Watershed – Responding to Climate Disruption

Salvaging salmon fry in the Koksilah River. (photo Genevieve Singleton)

On July 17th, the Nature Centre is partnering with the Cowichan Watershed Board to host an evening on Water Conservation in the increasingly drought challenged Koksilah Watershed. Join us for a solutions-focused community conversation from 6 pm to 9 pm at the Hub in Cowichan Station.

Sierra Robinson, Permaculture Teacher

Speakers Tom Rutherford, fish biologist and Watershed Board Executive Director, and David Slade, Watershed Board member and former President of the BC Groundwater Association, will be joined by 17-year old Sierra Robinson, permaculture teacher, farmer, film-maker and crew-lead for the Cowichan Valley Earth Guardians. Together they will talk about the severe drought conditions in the watershed, the ongoing challenge of climate change and real, on-the-ground water conservation solutions.

“Water conservation is everybody’s responsibility,” says Rutherford, “While it’s easy to point fingers at the big agricultural users, we all have to step up.  We can all be better water stewards.”

A world-café style community conversation will follow the presentations to give residents a chance to share what water conservation efforts are working, what is worth trying and what kind of support is needed to better address the growing water challenges in the Koksilah.

During the evening local gardeners and hobby farmers in the Koksilah Watershed will also have a chance to apply to win one of six free permaculture water conservation garden audits on their property. These will be conducted by local permaculturists Jason Greenwood and Sierra Robinson in August. Those householders participating in garden audits will receive a report with specific water conservation recommendations for their property.

Permaculture is an ecological approach to gardening and food production and one of its most exciting aspects is its approach to water. Permaculture designers use landscape design to conserve and store water while building topsoil. Some permaculture projects have been so successful that they even recharge groundwater supplies.

One of the gardens selected for an audit will also be chosen for a Permaculture Blitz implementing water conservation solutions. This includes both design support from our permaculture experts and a day of hands-on help from a team of young volunteers to work on a water conservation garden transformation this fall.  The team will bring tools and willing hands. The property owner will cover the hard costs, such as the purchase of trees or shrubs.

 

Click HERE to enter to Win A Permaculture Water Conservation Audit

 

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