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.

Return of Sea Squirts: Stories & Activities 11:00-12:00pm Nov 7th – Nov 28th,

The Nature Centre is so happy to announce the return of our new nature program.

Sea Squirts is a FREE, drop-in nature program where parents and their pre-school aged children and infants can come together to connect with each other, learn about nature in fun and engaging ways, and support the development of early literacy skills.

Lead by our amazing, superstar Nature Centre volunteer Kerrie Talbot, a retired Early Childhood Educator and Library Assistant. It’s grounded in nature stories and learning with a strong social and emotional health component.

Hope to see you there!


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.  He’s also come to think of his work with the Nature Centre as a piece of his climate change work.

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, 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 rivers and the Cowichan estuary where these rivers meet the ocean. In one week at the end of November we had over 80 grades 5-6 kids out doing riparian restoration work in the Cowichan Watershed and learning about eco-systems and climate impacts, and what we can do about them.

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)

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


Grateful for time spent with Volunteers

Grateful for time spent with Volunteers

So lovely to spend time with our wonderful volunteers at the Nature Centre yesterday. And a big thanks to Island Poultry for their donation of delicious sausages.

If you didn’t make it out and want to know about our volunteer opportunities coming up check out:


And a few spots left in our salt marsh restoration project August 30th 9-12pm. Email info@cowichanestuary.ca to sign up.

Nature Interpreter/Centre Volunteer

Welcome. Experience. Explore. Delight

What: The Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre welcomes thousands of visitors every year. From repeat families, to travelers from afar, all are welcomed into the space to explore their curiosity and questions of the estuary and its inhabitants.

Who: Open to youth (16+) and adults (a child or grandchild is welcome to accompany) who have a love for nature, and a desire to share. No nature interpretation experience necessary, just a desire to learn and share.

We offer two roles in the nature centre:

  1. Nature Centre Interpreter: Opens and closes the nature centre (Cash/debit transactions, sets up float, Opens/closes building)
  2. Secondary Nature Interpreter: Welcomes visitors to the space, can guide nature walks, set up bird tower, run activities as wanted/needed

Length of volunteer shift: 2 hours + 10 mins for open/close (Nature Centre Interpreter role only). Shifts are split from 12-2 & 2-4

Volunteer commitment: The nature centre is open from 12-4 Thursday – Sunday  and every holiday Monday. We ask that volunteers sign up as a:

  • Regular volunteer – committing to a regular shift (once a week, biweekly, or once a month)
  • Or Flex volunteer – filling in gaps as regular volunteers are away

Booking shifts: Shifts are schedule at least one month in advance (often times every couple months).

Interested: email info@cowichanestuary.ca or call 250.597.2288


Restoration Volunteer – Ages 10 +

Renew. Give. Deepen. Share

What: The estuary is a gift and its health is a vital piece of our ecosystem. Every year we work with partnering organizations on restoration projects of the estuary and riparian zones up stream

Who: We are looking for youth (Age 10+) and adults who enjoy getting their hands dirty, love community projects and co-creating a lasting impact. Note this volunteer opportunity is open to school groups

Length of volunteer shift: 2.5 hours (Restoration projects include a 15 minute intro/education, 2 hour restoration work, and 15 minute wrap up and reflection)

Volunteer commitment: Restoration projects occur year round, and most often in the spring or fall but sometimes in the summer.

Booking shifts: Restoration projects are are scheduled at least three weeks in advance. Volunteers can sign up for as few or as many shifts as they like.

Interested: email info@cowichanestuary.ca or call 250.597.2288


School Program Volunteer

Educate. Play. Explore. Share

What: Every year we hosts hundreds of school children at the Nature Centre, and in Hecate Park, guiding them to explore the shore to sea. Our 1.5 hour programs are lead by our amazing Educators, and supporting by our School Program Volunteers.

Who: We are looking for adults with a delight in the outdoors, an interest in sharing nature, and a love for supporting kids/youth learn.

Length of volunteer shift: 2 hours (program runs 1.5 hours, volunteers arrive 15 minutes early and 15 minutes post to help with set up/clean up

Volunteer commitment: School program season runs from September – November and March – June. We ask that volunteers sign up for a fall or spring season.

Booking shifts: Shifts are schedule at least one week in advance (often times one month). Volunteers can sign up for as few or as many shifts as they like.

Interested: email info@cowichanestuary.ca or call 250.597.2288



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