July-Aug Summer Camp Registrations Open

Calling all nature explorers Ages 5-9! Our popular five-day July & August Summer Day Camps are open for registration. Campers will learn about the birds, plants and animals of the Cowichan Estuary by exploring the estuary’s  clam beds, mudflates, beaches & eelgrass meadows.We’ll explore tide pools, do hands-on experiments and crafts, play games and learn about our watersheds and estuary and their important role as an ecosystem and salmon habitat. Campers will get to know our Coho Salmon Fry in our fresh water aquarium and the many other creatures in our salt water aquarium. We’re small-group-oriented & our camps of up to 12 children offer a safe, fun, hands-on learning for 5 to 9 year-olds. 

Camps are Monday to Friday, 9am to 3pm. Fee: $275 per child. Money a concern? Ask us about bursaries.

Contact camps@cowichanestuary.ca for more information.


Quw’utsun Sta’lo’ Skweyul – Cowichan River Day, Sept 25, 10am-3pm

Join us for Quw’utsun Sta’lo’ Skweyul (River Day) Sunday, Sept 25th, 10am to 3pm for mural making with Quw’utsun artist Shawn Johnny and carving with artist Herb Rice, Quw’tsun Elder wisdom & cutural teachings, music, Tzinquaw Dancers, beach explorations to meet and learn about intertidal creatures and our watersheds & more.

Louisa Varco, CENC Aquarist and Educator connects with Volunteers

This past summer Lousia Varco joined us as our Aquarist and as a part of our Educator Team.  Throughout the fall Louisa could most often be found in the evenings quietly fine-tuning the salinity in our intertidal aquarium and observation tank and checking on the well-being of the intertidal creatures

Louisa (centre) orienting volunteers

Louisa is now in the final weeks of completing her Fisheries and Aquaculture Technology Diploma at VIU. She also has experience working as a Independent Contractor with DFO on the European Green Crab Trials, has worked with marine mammals, and spent last summer working at the Deep Bay Marine Field Station.

This past Friday afternoon February 18th a number of our volunteers, staff, and board members, enjoyed an informative aquarium orientation and update with Louisa, with lots of time to ask questions and get to know one another.

Louisa is now looking forward to working with volunteers to setting up our seasonal freshwater salmon fry tank in anticpation of raising coho salmon fry and sharing that experience with visitors (part of the DFO’s Salmonids in the Classroom program).

Our intertidal observation tank and aquariums are a big draw for school classes and visitors and we are thrilled to have Louisa as part of our team.

We are currently looking for contract marine educators to deliver school programming this coming fall and spring. Aquarium maintenance candidates with experience in delivering marine education programming may be interested in also applying to be a contract educator at the Nature Centre, as part of a combined contract.

We are accepting applications now. Please apply  to admin@cowichanestuary.ca with resume and references.  Start date: as soon as possible.


Ecological Restoration Summer CAMP – Aug 8th -12th

Our Ecological Restoration Camp this August 8th to 12th is specifically geared for youth ages 10-12 who are eager to take their love of and curiosity about nature and turn it into positive hands-on action in the world.

Participants in this camp will get a chance to learn about the Koksilah watershed and the challenges it currently and historically has faced such as drought, invasive species, logging, and excessive harvesting of groundwater, and what the community is doing to address them. They will learn about and engage in removing invasive species to improve the health of the ecosystem, as well as learn about native plant species in the area and how we can support their growth. The days will be a balance of activities such as nature walks, art and satisfying hands-on invasive species removal. Our goal is to nurture the growth of the relationship between campers and the environment while participating in learning and light restoration activities. Each day will center around a different element of the watershed: the river, the animals, the understory vegetation, the trees, and the community.

Location: We are delighted to be hosted by the Cowichan Station HUB for this camp. All camp programs will be run out of the Hub Facility and Grounds.

Hours: Camps run from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm – please bring your own lunch

COVID UPDATE: We will be monitoring current PHO guidelines and post up to date Summer Camp policies so you can rest assured your camper will have a safe and fun experience with our team.

Details and Fees

Camp fees are $240 per child for a total of five days. Single Day Attendance: $45 per day per child. Single Day Attendance during week-long camps may be available if the camp is not fully booked and depending on health and safety protocols.

We are proud to offer access to two bursary funds for camp fees this year.

Cowichan Valley Naturalists’ Society has set up a camp fee bursary in honour of the late Eric Marshall who volunteered and dedicated himself to nature education in the marine environment. To apply for this bursary please download our application here: Eric Marshall CVNS Bursary Application 2022.

The Nature Centre also has its own bursary fund set up to fully or partially fund our camp fees for 2022. To apply for this bursary please download our application form here: CENC Camp Bursary Application 2022 .  Bursary applications may be submitted with Registration documents (found below) to restoraiton@cowichanestuary.ca.

All Camps run from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.  You may drop off your child between 8:45 am and 9 am.

As our camp leaders are busy setting up for the day, we cannot offer early drop off or late pick up. Parents will be charged late fees for not adhering to drop off and pick up times.

For children with special needs, contact restoration@cowichanestuary.ca to discuss possible accommodations.

Our staff are working hard to ensure the safety of all of our campers during Covid-19. You’ll find more details on how we will will work with you as parents to support your child to have a safe, health camping experience in our Covid 19 Parent Guide.


How to Register

Registration will go “live” in May so stay tuned!

Registration is a two-step process:

  1.  Go to Eventbrite, select a camp, sign up, and make payment. (Each camp is also linked above in the camp schedule to Eventbrite). Payment can be through a credit card on Eventbrite or cash/cheque mailed to or dropped off at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre.
  2.  Download and complete a camp Registration/Medical form linked below:

IMPORTANT: Your registration is not considered complete until we have received the medical information and waiver forms. Payment and forms must be received at least 2 weeks prior to camp start date or your registration will be forfeited.

CANCELLATIONS & REFUNDS:  If a camp is cancelled due to Covid-19 provincial health requirements, all camp fees will be fully refunded to affected families.   

Families withdrawing a child’s registration within the two week period prior to the camp offering will be charged an administrative fee. If a camper withdraws during camp, they will be charged for days attended plus an administrative fee unless the withdrawal is illness-related.

Questions?  Contact restoration@cowichanestuary.ca. Or phone:  250-597-2288

Restoration at Jack Fleetwood Memorial Park this TUESDAY – Postponed Due to Site Flooding – Stay Tuned!

Restoration at Jack Fleetwood Memorial Park this TUESDAY – Postponed Due to Site Flooding – Stay Tuned!

Postponed AGAIN Due to Site Flooding – Stay Tuned!

Looking for something to do this Wednesday morning?

Join CVRD Parks & Trails and the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre to remove Himalayan blackberry from Jack Fleetwood Memorial Park on the beautiful Koksilah River! This will help to make way for the native species that grow in the area and prepare the site for school groups who will be coming out to the park later to take part in experiential learning events hosted by the Nature Centre.

Date: Tuesday April 5, 2022

Time: 10:00-1:00 PM

Location: Jack Fleetwood Memorial Park

Task: Himalayan blackberry removal

Accessibility and Safety: The work site is accessible by stairs and is partially on a slope. There is no washroom facility at this park. Sturdy closed-toe shoes, long pants and long sleeves are required. Please dress for the weather as the event will go on as long as conditions remain safe and workable. Safety glasses, gloves and tools will be provided but please feel free to bring your own.

The safety of volunteers and staff is our priority. Face masks will be worn during this event when appropriate physical distancing is not possible. Each person in attendance must self-assess prior to the event to ensure that they have no cold or flu-like symptoms before attending the event.

Sign-up: Please sign up for this event through your volunteer account by clicking here. Prior sign-up is required for this event as space is limited. Please be in touch if you’d like to sign up by phone or email instead.

We hope you can join us!


We are hiring Summer Camp Leaders!

We are hiring a Summer Camp coordinator and 2 Camp Leaders for our upcoming summer season 2022 and you don’t want to miss an opportunity to be part of this amazing team!

Click here to find our Summer Camp Coordinator Job Description

Click here to find our Summer Camp Leader (35hrs/wk) Job Description

Click here to find our Summer Camp Leader (25hrs/wk) Job Description

How to Apply:  Please submit a cover letter and resume by April 20th via email, mail or in person to:

Amy Clinton-Baker

Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre

Box 5 Cowichan Bay Rd
Cowichan Bay, BC V0R 1N0

Email: amy@cowichanestuary.ca

IMPORTANT NOTE: Positions are contingent on Canada Summer Jobs funding and may change in response public health directives on group activities related to Covid 19.  This may affect employment contracts. 

Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre thanks all applicants for their interest.

Only those selected for an interview will be contacted.  Job interviews may be conducted online via Zoom.




Paid Youth Internship – Spring Break – Apply NOW

We are so excited to invite youth aged 15 to 20 to apply for a paid restoration internship this Spring Break!

From March 21st to 25th at Bright Angel Park, youth will gain valuable work experience in ecological restoration techniques that will help propel them into employment fields such as Environmental Sciences, Biology, and Ecology. Each 5-hour day will be a mix of invasive species removal, native species planting, and daily Lunch-and-Learns where they will be mentored by local experts.

Position: Restoration Intern
Organization: Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre
Location: Bright Angel Park

Compensation: $18/hr

Hours: 9:00am-2:00pm (27 hrs total)

Position Type: Temporary, March 21st to 25th, 2022 (with paid 2hr orientation Friday, March 18th)

Application Deadline: March 11, 2022

Skills gained:

  • Invasive species identification and removal techniques
  • Native species identification and planting procedures
  • Ecological restoration techniques and theory
  • Daily Lunch-and-Learn workshops from local experts
  • Restoration monitoring and surveying skills
  • Valuable work experience to help propel you into a related field

Skills/Qualifications needed:

  • Enthusiasm for environmental restoration
  • Strong work ethic
  • Ability to perform physical duties of the job in all outdoor weather conditions
  • Leadership skills
  • Excitement to learn
  • Youth aged 15-20

What you’ll bring

  • Snacks/Lunch for the day
  • Your all weather clothing

To Apply:

Email us your resume to restoration@cowichanestuary.ca by March 11th, 2022

Big Huy ch q’u (Thank you) to our collaborator, Cowichan Watershed Board and partners.

Coastal Waterbird Survey – Feb 13th 10am

What: Coastal Waterbird Survey

When: Sunday Feb 13th 10-11am

Where: Meet at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre car park in Cowichan Bay

Organised by the local Cowichan Valley Naturalists this is a Citizen Science project for Birds Canada. An hour of counting the birds that use the estuary happens every month from September to May at high tide. Contact cvns@naturecowichan.net for more information.

New Birders welcome!

“Luschiim’s Plants” Indigenous Plant Talk & Book Signing Oct 3rd, 3pm

Join us October 3rd at 3pm outside on the lawn under the tent at the Nature Centre for an Indigenous Plant Talk & Book signing, with authors Quw’utsun Elder Luschiim Arvid Charlie and local ethnobotanist Nancy Turner, and a chance to purchase a signed copy of their gorgeous new book “Luschiim’s Plants”.

More info and a place to sign up and reserve a spot at https://www.facebook.com/events/1297594733992642


Eelgrass Restoration May 24th – 28th






We’re looking for volunteers! It’s easy to learn to tie the rhizomes for transplanting and create more habitat for salmon fry to grow up in along with other intertidal creatures.  This event is fun, and happens outdoors with appropriate Covid distancing.
Seachange Marine Conservation Society in partnership with Cowichan Tribes and the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre will be hosting this eelgrass transplant event to create and restore eelgrass meadows in the Cowichan Estuary. 
Join us in Hecate Park, Cowichan Bay
May 24th-28th 2022
For more information and to sign up to volunteer: call Nikki at 250-652-1662 or Email Nikki@seachangelife.org