“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 Sept 27th – 29th

JOIN US TO HELP TRANSPLANT AND RESTORE EELGRASS IN OUR INTERTIDAL ZONE

Last month the Eelgrass Restoration event was cancelled due to unsafe levels of Enterococci in the Estuary due to the large shellfish die-off during the June heat dome.
The event is rescheduled for September 27th-29th and 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
Monday, Sept 27th through Wednesday Sept 29th  for  9:30 -11:30 am & 2-4pm shifts
For more information and to sign up to volunteer: call Nikki at 250-652-1662 or Email Nikki@seachangelife.org

 

Jane’s Birthday Youth Watershed Restoration Program Fundraiser – Aug 29th

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 jane@cowichanestuary.ca, 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.

Drip Irrigation Workshop in the Koksilah Watershed – July 24th, 9am – 1pm

Hands-on DRIP IRRIGATION WORKSHOP – Back by popular demand!
We are going to build a drip irrigation system from the ground up in the Koksilah Watershed!
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.
Register for your spot soon!
This 1-day workshop will support you to learn or refine skills in building a drip irrigation system. Permaculture expert, Jason Greenwood from Greenwood Earthcare, will lead us in building a drip irrigation water system together to learn the skills to each build our own in our own backyards. Drip irrigation saves you money, time and most of all water, which is a scarce resource here in our Valley in the summer months when gardening!  Water-saving gardening also means gardening without guilt, because you can be confident you are protecting our aquifers and salmon bearing streams. Jason is a Permaculture Designer, Earth Care Provider & teacher with lots of experience with drip irrigation systems and he’s passionate about re-connecting people with the power of nature and plant allies.
Cost: free – you donations are gratefully accepted. Our goal is to help you be a watershed warrior and conserve water without barriers!
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.
TICKETS: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/drip-irrigation-workshop-grow-your-own-food-save-water-money-tickets-161245273955

We are hiring Summer Camp Leaders!

We are hiring a Summer Camp coordinator and camp leader for our upcoming summer season 2021 and you don’t want to miss an opportunity to be part of this amazing team!

Position: Science & Nature -Summer Camp Coordinator

Hours: 37.5hours/week

Work Term:  June 7th to end of August 2021 -up to 12 weeks,

Compensation: $17.00/hr

What We Do: This is our 9th year offering nature-based summer camps at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre in Cowichan Bay.  The Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre is an educational interpretive centre in the Cowichan Estuary, a 400-hectare estuarine ecosystem.  The Nature Centre offers hands-on programming for schools, youth and the general public, plus summer science camps, creatively engaging participants in learning activities related to nature, local watersheds and ecosystems, conservation and restoration, and citizen science.  Visitors and program participants can see and touch marine and intertidal creatures in our aquarium and touch tank; use our microscopes, telescopes and interactive displays, and learn about wildlife along our oceanfront interpretive trail, from our viewing tower and through hands-on science projects.  The Nature Centre is kept open to the public by a dedicated team of volunteers and educational programs are led by professional nature interpreters assisted by volunteers.

Job Description: Science & Nature Summer Camp Coordinator

The role of the Summer Camp Coordinator is a hands-on, energy intensive position. It balances administrative and planning work with leading hands-on science and nature-based camp activities and play. Supported by the Nature Centre Coordinator, the Camp Coordinator will help develop key event planning, educational, and leadership skills. Additional mentorship is provided by Cowichan Valley Naturalist and Nature Centre volunteers in understanding the estuarine environment in which they will be working and related environmental issues, topics, and concerns to support them in leading locally focused Science and Nature Camps, as well as in areas of nature interpretation, wildlife conservation and habitat restoration.

In June, you will assist staff in leading our school programs and work on updating previous camp curriculum to create unique and engaging summer camp programming, primarily outdoors due to Covid-19. Tasks vary from managing registrations, answering parent inquiries, and may even include assisting a biologist in seal or heron rescue. You will be responsible for planning schedules and events for each of our seven, week-long camps consistent with current Covid-19 health and safety protocols, and during our camp season (July – August) you and another camp leader will lead camps of up to 12 children or youth through each day’s activities. Your days will be fun, dynamic and no day will look the same!

Duties                                                        

  • Develop and plan curriculum, including inquiry science-based activities, arts, games, and crafts.
  • Lead summer science camps for groups of children and youth each week, including preparation and clean up.
  • Take responsibility for the welfare and learning of students, including reviewing campers’ medical forms and releases prior to each week’s camp, setting behavior limits and ensuring safe and appropriate camper behavior as needed, all within the camp’s Covid-19 health and safety protocols.
  • Deliver community education and awareness programs, such as nature walks and school programs.
  • Prepare publicity and promotional materials.
  • Organize, maintain and purchase camp supplies.
  • Train, mentor, and coordinate youth volunteers for the Nature Centre.
  • Perform other general office duties including answering phone, email and in-office inquiries.
  • Be available for some weekends and evenings as required.

Qualifications:

  • Accountable, enthusiastic, adaptable, and self-starting.
  • Passion for working with children and youth.
  • A love of the outdoors, play and hands-on activities.
  • Experience working with children and youth, managing behaviors and creating safe spaces to foster learning.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team within a non-profit organization.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills; comfortable interacting with the public.
  • Willing to ask for help and accept feedback.
  • Excellent computer skills in a Microsoft Office suite, social media and website maintenance an asset.
  • Applicants must be between 18 and 30 years old.
  • Preferably studying or demonstrated interest in one of the following fields: Education, Child and Youth Care or associated degrees; Biology, Earth and Ocean Sciences, Environmental sciences.
  • As per the national priority to improve access to the labour market for youth who face unique barriers, preference will be given to young women in the sciences who are currently enrolled in or aim to be enrolled in post secondary studies in science, or who are currently pursuing a career in the sciences.

How to Apply:  Please submit a cover letter and resume by 11:59pm April 20thvia email, mail or in person to:

Amy Clinton-Baker

Coordinator
Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre

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

Email: coordinator@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 will be conducted online via Zoom.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Position: Science & Nature-Summer Camp Leader

Hours: 37.5 hours/week

Work Term: June 21st to end of August 2021 -up to 10 weeks

Compensation: $17.00/hr

What We Do: This is our 9th year offering nature-based summer day camps at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre in Cowichan Bay.  The Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre is an educational interpretive centre in the Cowichan Estuary, a 400-hectare estuarine ecosystem.  The Nature Centre offers hands-on programming for schools, youth and the general public, plus summer science camps, creatively engaging participants in learning activities related to nature, local watersheds and ecosystems, conservation and restoration, and citizen science.  Visitors and program participants can see and touch marine and intertidal creatures in our aquarium and touch tank; use our microscopes, telescopes and interactive displays, and learn about wildlife along our oceanfront interpretive trail, from our viewing tower and through hands-on science projects.  The Nature Centre is kept open to the public by a dedicated team of volunteers and educational programs are led by professional nature interpreters assisted by volunteers.


Job Description:
Science & Nature Summer Camp Leader

The role of the Summer Camp Leader is a hands-on, energy intensive position focused on co-leading hands-on science and nature-based camp activities and play, primarily outdoors because of Covid-19. The Summer Camp Leaders will assist the Summer Camp Coordinator in final preparations for the summer science & nature camp programs including program activities, learning outcomes, and schedules. They will be mentored and trained by Nature Centre staff, volunteers and local naturalists in understanding the estuarine environment in which they will be working and related environmental issues, topics, and concerns to support them in delivering a locally focused summer science and nature camp.

June: The Summer Camp Leader may assist in the delivery of programs to school aged children visiting the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre. Other duties will include assisting the Coordinator in developing activities and schedules for the summer camps to be delivered in July and August.

July & August: Together, the Summer Camp Leader, along with the Summer Camp Coordinator, will be the team delivering the summer science and nature camps for groups up to 12 children, including science, art, and recreation activities. Children attending the camps range in age from 5-9. The Summer Camp Leader may also assist the Coordinator with public education events for families, seniors, and tourists.

Duties                                                        

  • Assist the summer camp coordinator in developing and planning curriculum, including inquiry science-based activities, arts, games, and crafts.
  • Co-lead summer science camps to groups of children and youth each week, including preparation and clean up.
  • Take responsibility for the welfare and learning of students, including reviewing campers’ medical forms and releases prior to each week’s camp, setting behavior limits and ensuring safe and appropriate camper behavior as needed, all within the camp’s Covid-19 health and safety protocols.
  • Deliver community education and awareness programs, such as nature walks and school programs.
  • Help prepare publicity and promotional materials.
  • Organize and maintain camp supplies.
  • Train, mentor, and coordinate youth volunteers for the Nature Centre.
  • Perform other general office duties including answer phone, email and in-office inquiries.
  • Be available for some weekends and evenings as required.

Qualifications:

  • Accountable, enthusiastic, adaptable, and self-starting.
  • Passion for working with children and youth.
  • A love of the outdoors, play and hands on activities.
  • Experience working with children and youth, managing behaviors and creating safe spaces to foster learning.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team within a non-profit organization.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills; comfortable interacting with the public.
  • Willing to ask for help and accept feedback.
  • Computer skills in a Microsoft Office suite, social media and website maintenance an asset.
  • Applicants must be between 15 and 30 years old.
  • Preferably studying or demonstrated interest in one of the following fields: Education, Child and Youth Care or associated degrees; Biology, Earth and Ocean Sciences, Environmental sciences or associated degrees.
  • As per the national priority to improve access to the labour market for youth who face unique barriers, preference will be given to young women in the sciences who are currently enrolled in or aim to be enrolled in post secondary studies in science, or whom are currently pursuing a career in the sciences.

How to Apply:  Please submit a cover letter and resume by 11:59pm April 20th via email, mail or in person to:

Amy Clinton-Baker

Coordinator
Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre

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

Email: coordinator@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 will be conducted online via Zoom.

 

2020 Volunteer of the Year Award

2020 Volunteer of the Year Award

We are proud to give our Volunteer of the Year Award for 2020 to Stephen Bishop who we thank for consistently helping us through Covid closures, with school groups and the care and maintenance of our touch tank.  We thank him for building our fantastic display board in the Centre and for bringing in nature themed cards to raise funds for our work. Thanks Stephen, we appreciate you!

Restoration Workshop with Dave Polster

Do you want to help restore wild spaces? To feel a part of nature, your community and make a difference? Join us for a 1.5 day workshop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Workshop Details:

Where?

Day 1 online, using Zoom, focusing on theory (1-5pm) *sounds long but Dave’s presentation is very engaging and there will be a break midway through!*

Day 2 will be spent in the field  (9-3pm)

ALL AGES. minors 16 and under must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.

This is a 1.5 day workshop to learn and refine skills in the field of Ecological Restoration. By renewing and restoring degraded, damaged, or destroyed ecosystems and habitats in the environment we will work as a group to learn the skills and transfer them into key techniques out in the field.

The goal is to bring together people who are already working in the field of restoration or are excited to learn more about it. No experience is necessary for this course.

The first day will be spent on Zoom setting the context. The second day we will travel to a field site (likely Stoltz Bluffs – but TBD) and take part in learning some key bioengineering techniques to enhance the success of restoration projects.

Our teacher, David Polster, is a plant ecologist with over 35 years of experience in vegetation studies, reclamation and invasive species management. He graduated from the University of Victoria with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in 1975 and a Master of Science degree in 1977. He has developed a wide variety of reclamation techniques for mines, industrial developments and steep/unstable slopes as well as techniques for the re-establishment of riparian and aquatic habitats. He has authored numerous papers and teaches graduate level courses on these topics.

 

Cost: $89 per person (includes Dave’s restoration workbook)

 

REGISTER HERE 

Honouring Eric Marshall’s 90th Birthday!

The Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre is proud to honour Eric Marshall in the event of his 90th birthday!

We are hosting a drop-in birthday “party” at the Nature Centre to celebrate a lifetime of dedication to nature and community. Come and drop by to speak with Eric and Dorothy, view a slideshow of images from his adventures and community work and tour the Nature Centre.

In lieu of gifts Eric is asking that you consider making a donation to the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre. Click the link below to be redirected to our Canada Helps donation Page.  On behalf of Eric and the Nature Centre, thank you for your donation.

Donate to Eric’s 90th Restoration and Nature Education Fund

We look forward to seeing you here!

 

 

Eelgrass Restoration – New Dates: September 27th- 30th

Eelgrass Restoration Underway in Cowichan Bay – September 27th to 30th

 

Cowichan Tribes, with support from the federal Coastal Restoration Fund, has teamed up with Sea Change Marine Conservation Society and the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre to re-plant eelgrass in the Cowichan Estuary for a third year.  Eelgrass restoration is overseen by a team of eelgrass aficionados from SeaChange. They will work with SCUBA divers and community volunteers to replant the northern area of the estuary. If all goes well, salmon will have an expanded meadow to find shelter and food as they leave the river system or return home.

“For many years the northern side of the estuary has been lacking eelgrass while the southern side near Hecate Park has continued to thrive” said Chief Seymour of the Cowichan Tribes. “In historic times the elders tell of fields of eelgrass across the whole estuary where they raked crabs and harvested seafood. When the tide was out the table was set”.             

The Estuary Project including eelgrass restoration is a component of a larger CRF award of $2.7M for 5 years of restoration work on three different projects (Estuary Restoration, Riparian Restoration and Stoltz Sediment Remediation). During the first two years of the Estuary Project, Cowichan Tribes and Industry partners focused on completed a second breach of the WestCan Terminal Causeway and historic railway to reconnect the Cowichan River to the southern side of the estuary.  Studies were also completed to narrow down limiting factors to eelgrass growth in the estuary and to identify suitable areas to try replanting.  In 2019, we collectively transplanted 5,000 shoots. This year we are aiming for 6,000. The shoots are harvested from the southern end of the bay, which continues to do well.

Replanting will take place from September 27th to 30th

Volunteers are needed to tie weights onto the eelgrass donor plants to ready them for the divers to restore the estuary.  We will meet at Hecate Park for 2 hour shifts, beginning at 9:30 am daily. We will follow a Safety Plan to keep everyone safe and comfortable.

For more information and to sign up, contact Nikki Wright (SeaChange): 250 652-1662 or email: nikki@seachangelife.org

 

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