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 educators! And you don’t want to miss this chance to work with an amazing organization

We are hiring educators! And you don’t want to miss this chance to work with an amazing organization

Are you an educator or energetic retired educator interested in working with children in grades K-9? We are looking for inspiring nature educators to join our team and bring the Cowichan Estuary to life for school groups in K-9! 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 Educator

Term: Contract position with flexible term beginning Sept 2021

Hours:  dependent on school bookings and restoration programming, typically 2hrs- 4 hrs weekday mornings.

Position Overview:.

This position entails leading 1hr – 1.5hour nature programs for learners predominantly in Grades K-9. Our programs focus on hands-on experiential learning, include time outside in nature and covers topics such as: estuary wildlife, watershed health, climate change, environmental science, nature conservation, biology, etc., and may at times include social studies and history content. At low tide activities may include mud digs, micro-plastic surveys and beach sienes in the intertidal zone to explore resident sea life.

For the full job description click Nature Educator Position Description 2021

How to Apply: 

Email your resume and references to Amy Clinton-Baker (coordinator) at amy@cowichanestuary.ca with subject heading: Nature Centre Educator 2021

We thank all those who apply for their interest in our organization!

Paid Youth Internship – Spring Break – Apply NOW

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

 

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.

We are hiring a Restoration Coordinator/Educator!

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 amy@cowichanestuary.ca with subject heading: Nature Centre Educator 2021. Applications close midnight September 30th.

Thank all those who apply for your interest in our organization!

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
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