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.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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:
- 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.
- 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 email@example.com. Or phone: 250-597-2288
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 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:
Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre
Box 5 Cowichan Bay Rd
Cowichan Bay, BC V0R 1N0
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.
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
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
- 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
- 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
Email us your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 11th, 2022
Big Huy ch q’u (Thank you) to our collaborator, Cowichan Watershed Board and partners.
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 email@example.com for more information.
New Birders welcome!
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
Party with a Purpose – Celebrate with me & Support our Youth Watershed Restoration Program – Goal $5000 DONATE
by Jane Kilthei, CENC Board Chair and Nature Centre Volunteer
One Saturday in the late summer of 1951 my parents celebrated their wedding anniversary for the last time (although they remained faithfully together). I showed up that day and have been causing trouble ever since – hopefully mostly “good trouble” of one sort or another.
This summer, I’m turning 70! On Sunday, August 29th from 1 -4 pm, I’m celebrating my birthday in Hecate Park down on the water by the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre and you are invited. “Masimba Marimba” will play for us – bring your dancing shoes! There will be cold drinks, tea, coffee and cake, AND I’m asking for your support for the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre’s Youth Watershed Restoration Program, so bring your cheque book!
If you can’t make it to the party, you can still donate to support the program via Canada Helps here. Put “youth restoration program” in the message box. The Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre is a charity, so you’ll get a tax receipt.
It seems I host a “party with a purpose” once every decade ever since I turned 50. In 2011, at 60, it was a party (with MASIMBA, the same wonderful Marimba band) to raise funds for our dream – creating the Estuary Nature Centre. And together we did it!
Since opening our doors in 2012, a big part of the Estuary Nature Centre’s work has been engaging youth in watershed education and restoration projects. Starting in the spring of 2019, with a 26-month Eco-Action grant from Environment and Climate Change Canada and a dedicated restoration staff lead, we were able to scale up that work – engaging more young people in conservation and restoration work over the past two+ years, including throughout the pandemic with Covid protocols in place.
In these times when climate impacts are increasingly affecting ground water, water flows in our rivers and the salmon and the other wildlife who rely on it, this has been important and satisfying work. As our grant funding comes to an end, we’re determined to continue making this ecosystem work a significant priority, as an ongoing youth restoration program with a deepening education component.
To do that, our Goal is to raise $5000 by September 6th. Of course, we’re also writing more grant applications – and most of those we won’t hear about until April or May. Raising $5,000 now means our restoration coordinator can keep the program’s momentum building, without a staffing gap. It also means we can continue offering young people hands-on educational restoration opportunities throughout the fall and into 2022.
This is a program close to my heart. I’ve been privileged to support and mentor young people who are deeply worried about the climate crisis and engaged in organizing Fridays-4-the-Future climate actions. I watch them finding hope and inspiration as they plant native species to restore riparian areas that shade the water for young salmon – making a hands-on difference right now, while they’re also pushing hard on governments at all levels to do what is needed to address the climate emergency. They inspire me. We also see whole classes of students from local schools find a deeper place of caring for the Earth when they get their hands in the soil to care for her.
So, instead of birthday cards or gifts (what 70-year-old needs more stuff anyway?) I’m asking friends, family, Nature Centre supporters and party goers alike to donate to the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre’s Youth Watershed Restoration Program.
Why this work matters – protecting an important ecosystem & our climate
When I moved to the Cowichan Valley 24 years ago, I feel in love with this beautiful and rich inter-tidal ecosystem. Living in Cowichan Bay we can watch the estuary daily as it changes with the tides and the seasons. Trumpeter Swans over-winter here. There is a Pacific Great Blue Heronry in the ravine across from the Nature Centre that now has more than 100 nests and 200+ herons call it home. We watch them flying back and forth in the spring bringing sticks to build their nests, hear them squawking at circling eagles to protect their nestlings, and watch them, still as statues, fishing on the tidal flats. There’s a Heron cam on our website where you can watch them nesting and raising their babies between mid-February and mid-July from any place in the world. Most of all the Nature Centre provides a place where people of all ages can get engaged, learn about and fall in love with the estuary, which means they then care for and act to protect this special place and the two watersheds, the Cowichan and Koksilah, that meet here.
Climate Change & the Big Picture
The science about our rising greenhouse gas emissions and the dangers of our changing climate have been known for at least half a century. By the 1980’s I knew a lot of really smart people who were working on the problem. That was when Larry and I were training to be midwives and working to bring midwifery into Canada’s public health care system to protect women’s access to safe, compassionate maternity care, plus raising two kids.
Somewhere around 2004, I realized that the climate crisis was basically getting more and more out of control – emissions rising and climate destabilization happening far faster than science had predicted, international treaty processes stalled, political leaders with their heads in the sand and the fossil fuel industry carrying on like there was no tomorrow – which is unfortunately still pretty much the case. I dove in and read 50 plus books on climate science and countless journal articles, and saw how the climate crisis affected pretty much everything else the supported life on Earth.
I feel very connected to this next generation, not only because of my own two kids, but also from 32 years of working in midwifery, with mothers birthing 100s of babies into my hands. I wake up at night worrying about their future on this planet with its rapidly rising temperatures, more and more destructive storms and wildfires, increasing health risks and displacing vulnerable people. So, what to do? And what has the climate crisis got to do with our very local initiative to protect the Cowichan Estuary?
The foundation of the estuary ecosystem is eelgrass, which provides a vital nursery for juvenile salmon and other marine life. Eelgrass meadows are also incredibly efficient at sequestering carbon. A Sierra Club of BC report highlighted the urgency of protecting seagrass meadows, at risk of disappearing just as our ancient forests are. In BC estuarine seagrass habitats, with the top-ranking ones for carbon storage located on the coast of Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, store enough carbon to balance the emissions of 200,000 passenger cars per year. Marine zoologist and paleo-climatologist Dr. Colin Campbell, says eelgrass meadows are “probably the most efficient carbon removal mechanism on Earth”. Every year we are privileged to host and support Nikki Wright and the Sea Change Marine Conservation Society doing eelgrass restoration in the Cowichan Estuary and Genoa Bay to enhance habitat for the salmon, birds and marine mammals who call this intertidal ecosystem home – and also for our children, who need a planet with a stable climate to call home.
Despite our local efforts and those of many others taken over the past decade there is still much to do. Fossil fuel-burning and our country’s emissions continue to accelerate. We do have the technology to move away from fossil fuels. Indigenous wisdom and western science can together guide us in protecting the ecosystems that support life here on Earth. I believe we know the social, economic and infrastructure changes and the collaborative processes needed to navigate this existential crisis. We are in a climate emergency. Our young people are raising their voices, yet governments at all levels around the world are not yet doing enough of what is needed at the emergency pace needed. There are many ways to get involved. We all have a role to play. Supporting young people in doing conservation and restoration work in our climate-challenged watersheds is one way you can make a difference. Every action matters.
Come to the Party! – Bring your partner, spouse and kids, and help me celebrate another decade of life on this wonderful blue planet – and bring your cheque book to help keep it that way! Or donate here.
Date: Sunday, August 29th, 2021
Time: 1 pm to 4pm
Treats: Cold Drinks, Tea Coffee and Cake
Fun: Danceable Marimba with MASIMBA starting around 1pm
Place: Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre,
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org, especially if you’d like a map
For out-of-towners wishing a longer stay in the Cowichan Valley, the Wessex Inn is across the road from the Centre near the Heronry, the Ocean Front Suites are just down the road and there are many bed and breakfast options available nearby – booking in advance a good idea.
HALF-TIME RESTORATION COORDINATOR/EDUCATOR – WE ARE HIRING!
Are you experienced in restoration and teaching children and youth in grades 5-12 and beyond? We are looking for an inspiring Restoration Coordinator/Educator to join our team! Join us and get a chance to delve into an amazing community doing great work here in the Cowichan Valley.
Job Title: Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre Restoration Coordinator/Educator
Hours: 18 hours a week (can vary from week to week)
The restoration season tends to be Sept-Oct and February-May with school programming in development for November and March See: http://www.cowichanestuary.ca/programs/school-programs/
Rate: starting $20/hr.
Start Date: September 2021 (2022 funding for this contract position is dependent on grant applications in process)
Program Description: Our “Youth Watershed Conservation and Restoration Program for a Climate Resilient Future” engages youth in the Cowichan Valley in learning about conserving and protecting local watersheds and building climate resilience in the Cowichan Valley through hands-on riparian restoration, school programs, leadership training, educational workshops, awareness-raising activities, and effective hands-on water conservation and restoration projects especially focused on the Cowichan and Koksilah Watersheds that converge at the Cowichan Estuary. Program for upper grades includes monitoring the success of plantings to see measurable results.
Job Description: The CENC Restoration Education Coordinator will create on-the-ground conservation and restoration programs working in collaboration with CVRD Parks and local conservation partners, deliver school programs, community workshops and water conservation and restoration action days, do program communications and outreach, support students and volunteers, and track data to measure project success. This program is flexible, with room for creativity and to make it your own!
For the full job description click Restoration Coordinator/Educator Job Description 2021
How to Apply:
Email your resume and references to Amy Clinton-Baker (coordinator) at email@example.com with subject heading: Nature Centre Educator 2021. Applications close midnight September 30th.
Thank all those who apply for your interest in our organization!
Saturday, July 24th, – 9 am -1pm
Ages: Adults and Youth 15 and up. The workshop is limited to 15 people so we can effectively social distance for the full workshop.
Closer to the event you will be sent the details of the workshop location in the Koksilah Watershed near Bright Angel Park. The workshop is outside, so bring your hat, sunscreen and/or rain gear and dress for the weather.