The Nature Centre is hiring!

The Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre is hiring!

The Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre Administrative Support person works under the direction and supervision of the Cowichan Land Trust Executive Director and the Chair of the CENC Operations Committee, reporting to and being supported by the ED and the Operations Committee, including attendance at the Committee’s monthly meetings.

15 hours a week at $18/hr to start.  
Depending on funding, hours could expand or this could develop into a Centre Coordinator position at a higher hourly wage with benefits.

Please submit applications by November 6th at 12:00pm.
Anticipated start date: November 15, 2018.

Click here to view the Job Posting – CENC Administrative Support Oct 2018


NEW Program! Sea Squirts: Stories & Activities 11:00-12:00pm Feb 7 – Mar 7,

The Nature Centre is so happy to announce our new nature program, funded in part by Our Cowichan Communities Health Network!

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!

Genevieve Singleton

Volunteers are the backbone of the Nature Centre – and this month we’re shining the spotlight on the amazing Genevieve Singleton!

Genevieve grew up in Colwood and Oak Bay, moved away after marrying local landscape ecologist Dave Polster, and has lived in Calgary, Vancouver and Revelstoke until settling in the Cowichan Valley 29 years ago.

Genevieve’s deep calling to share her love of nature with people makes the Nature Centre a ‘natural’ place to find herself. She and Dave were founding donors of the Centre and have been engaged in many ways since it opened.

Among her various commitments to nature education and stewardship in the Valley and beyond, Genevieve still finds time to do nature programs with summer camps, introduce evening programs, and train Centre volunteers. Starting out with BC Parks, she has forty years of experience as a Nature Interpreter, getting to work all over BC! For the past 29 years she has taken thousands of children outdoors in the Cowichan Valley area.

“I especially enjoy the Great Blue Herons. I am learning so much from them. My favourite memory is my son, Nathan and his wife Bom, having their wedding pictures taken in the rain near the Estuary Nature Centre!”


We are so grateful for you and all you do. Thank you Genevieve for your commitment, energy, wisdom, and support!!

If you are interested in joining the volunteer ‘family’ at the Nature Centre, contact us here or email us.

Joy Beck

We love our volunteer family, and this month we’re happy to shine the spotlight on a new member of our family, Joy Beck!

Joy moved to Cobble Hill about a year and a half ago from Alberta, where she worked as a journalist and then a kindergarten teacher. When we asked her “Why do you volunteer?”, she said it was because of a snake named Sophie. Joy tells the story here in her own words:

“Why do I volunteer? Well, I think it’s partly because of a snake named Sophie. Sophie is a gopher snake who lives at the nature centre in Lethbridge. She was raised in a pet store so she is tame and can be handled, but she serves as an ambassador for her wild cousins of a similar species that live on the prairies. Many people love to touch Sophie, and even hold her. Others are horrified and keep their distance. My hairdresser told me she refused to ever set foot in the nature centre because of that snake!

That’s why Sophie came to represent the natural world to me. Like her, sometimes it seems exquisitely beautiful, sometimes it seems fearsome and harsh. Either way, it’s a world we are a part of and the nature centre provides such a great opportunity for people to explore some of that world and their connection to it.

I love learning about the estuary, which is all new to a prairie person like me, but you know, my favourite part of this experience is meeting all of you who also volunteer or work at the centre. So much enthusiasm and friendliness — and sometimes Madeline brings cinnamon buns! Haley calls it a family and I’m so happy to be a part of that!”

If you are interested in joining the volunteer ‘family’ at the Nature Centre, contact us here or email us.

Carol Blackburn

This month we’re shining the volunteer spotlight on the generous and talented Carol Blackburn.  Carol has been volunteering at the Nature Centre for over 2 years now, and we are SO lucky to have her on our team!

Originally from London England, she spent many years in Winnipeg before retiring from a career in Neurophysiology and trading in snow and ice for mountains and ocean!

Carol has always been a nature lover and outdoors person, and her passion for nature shines through when teaching our school programs. Whether she’s exploring the touch tank with tiny tots or helping older learners use a scope on the wildlife viewing tower, Carol brings both joy and knowledge to her nature interpretation.

On the weekends you can often find her volunteering at the Centre during our open hours. She says, “Being involved in the community and being a part of the natural world around me is an integral part of who I am. I have had such an amazing opportunity to work with such knowledgeable people and am continually learning about this amazing area. It is a pleasure to share that information and appreciation of what a beautiful part of the world we live in.”

Carol, thank you for volunteering with us – we are so grateful for your time, energy, wisdom, and great attitude!

Below are some of Carols’ fantastic photos of estuary wildlife.


If you are interested in joining the volunteer team at the Nature Centre, contact us here or email us.

Happy B’Earth Day at the Nature Centre!

Did you know that this Earth Day (April 22) the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre will be turning 6 years old?! To mark this occasion, we are having a Spring benefit concert, “Sounds of Springtime” by the Camerata String Orchestra at 7pm at Sylvan United Church. Tickets are $15 in advance, or $20 at the door. Kids under 12 are FREE! Tickets available online here or at the Nature Centre during open hours (or contact me directly). Poster attached.

Earlier that day, from 12pm-3pm, we’re hosting a “6th B’Earth Day Party” at the Nature Centre, complete with FREE cake, nature activities for kids, and music from the Muddy Buddies! Schedule for the music etc to be posted on our website shortly.

I sincerely hope that you are able to join us in some way on April 22nd to mark 6 years of nature education, stewardship, and community through the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre. Although I’ve only been a part of this community since the Fall, I’ve seen how hard everybody works together for nature, and I think celebrating that hard work is important! With cake!

Barry Hetschko

If you’re interested in birds and wildlife in the Cowichan Valley, you’ve probably seen some of Barry Hetschko‘s fantastic photos. He is a talented photographer, dedicated conservationist, and all-around awesome guy.
And this month, Barry kindly donated some of his photos to use on our website! Have you spotted them? We think it really spruces things up. ? We are thrilled and so thankful for his contribution to the Nature Centre! Thank you Barry!!
Barry can be spotted birding around the Cowichan Valley.

Barry was born and raised in Vancouver British Columbia. He moved to the Cowichan Valley in 1986. Drawn by early memorable life experiences on his uncle’s dairy farm.

Barry purchased his first camera in early 2011 and photography became a passion, which in turn kindled a keen interest in birds and nature. He is an active member of the community, serving on the Board of the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society and working with the Cowichan Valley Naturalists Society.

Eric Marshall Wins Island Savings Award

We are delighted to recognize long-time Nature Centre Volunteer Eric Marshall who was selected as an Outstanding Volunteer to receive the Island Savings #SimpleGenerosity Award.

“Eric’s contributions to the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre and the community in general are significant.” says Nature Centre Coordinator Haley Guest. “He generously gives his time as a volunteer nature interpreter, works with our school programs, and also works on the Operations Committee. I’ve learned so much from Eric and am grateful for his wisdom and commitment to our little Nature Centre!”

Eric received $1500 to give to a charity of his choice – and we are grateful that he kindly donated the funds to the Nature Centre.

Eric Marshall and Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre Coordinator Haley Guest. Eric kindly donated the $1500 to the Nature Centre.

#SimpleGenerosity was a year-long campaign of Island Savings and other divisions of First West Credit Union as part of an effort to celebrate the Canadians who make communities great by recognizing local volunteers, non-profit organizations and charities that are making meaningful contributions in our communities.

In 2017, they recognized 52 outstanding volunteers or volunteer teams – one individual or group every week from communities throughout British Columbia. They believe that every act of kindness and every volunteer hour make our communities strong and vibrant.

Many Helping Hands

When you make a visit to the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre, you’ll be greeted by friendly and talented volunteer nature interpreters. But did you know our volunteer family extends beyond nature education? Every month we receive help with ‘odd jobs’ from generous volunteers, and this month we’d like to recognize their tremendously helpful support!

Two of our wonderful maintenance volunteers keeping the Nature Centres windows sparkly and clean!
Whether it’s installing new outdoor lightbulbs, cleaning windows, providing tech support, or building new exhibits – we couldn’t do what we do without their help.
So next time you visit the Nature Centre and enjoy the view of the estuary from behind crystal-clear windows, think about all the ‘behind the scenes’ work that goes into keeping our community education space open.

Thank you to all the ‘helping hands’ – there are too many of you to name, but you know who you are!!

If you are interested in volunteering at the Nature Centre, contact us here or email us!

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