Interested in Volunteering with Us or Joining our Board?

Want to Make a Difference in our Community? Consider Joining Our Board!
The Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre Society is looking to expand its Board of Directors, as well as grow its marine and watershed education and restoration programs, community outreach, volunteer base, and staff supports.  Now is the time to join us and be part of moving forward as an organization!
We are particularly looking for people who have skills in fundraising, marketing and outreach, financial management (a potential treasurer-type good with budgets and reading financial statements), policy development, and/or technology and social media, as well as a passion for learning about and protecting the natural world.  Can you or someone you know contribute 8 hours a month to help us fulfill our mission and vision?  We have a great board team and we’ll be having a Board training and development session soon.
Please contact Board Co-Chairs Jim Wisnia and/ or Tracey Brown if you are interested. Tell them something about yourself and why you’d like to get involved – send us your CV if you have one – and ask Jim and Tracey any questions you have.  Your can also suggest someone else you think might be interested and would be a good fit for our organization.

Interested in Volunteering at the Centre?
If you care about our watersheds and our estuary and want to contribute, we’d love to welcome you to our volunteer team.  You don’t need to be an expert.  We’ll give you an orientation, access to resources, and pair you up with an experienced volunteer for at least two shifts (more if you like) at the Centre to learn the ropes. We’d love to expand our team right now so we can also expand our weekend open hours and allow more people to learn about this magical and sensitive estuarine ecosystem.  Volunteers are also invited to participate in fun restoration events accessible to a range of ability levels.  Contact our administrative coordinator or our wonderful volunteer volunteer-coordinator Gail Mitchell at

Volunteer of the year 2021!

We are honoured to present the 2021 Volunteer of the Year Award to Roger Southern!

Roger is part of our volunteer team who keeps our Nature Centre maintained in a myriad of ways. He unfailingly comes to the rescue to fix, mend, build and paint anything and everything including doors, sheds, locks, cabinets, heaters you name it! Always with a sense of humour and good cheer which we appreciate to no end.  Thank you Roger! From all our team – we are grateful for all the big and small ways you have kept this place looking great and running smoothly.

Volunteers zoom fabulous kids workshop to Family Medical Conference

Local physician Dr. Katharine Bell invited the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre to be part of a Canada Wide College of Family Physicians Family Medical Conference this November which was zoomed over the airwaves from Ontario! The Nature Centre joined a group of organizations including the Toronto Zoo as part of their family-zone entertaining children while their parents attended important medical lectures.

We are so grateful to our incredible team; Kerrie Talbot (Storytime host), Jim Wisnia (MC and sing-a-long host) and Lyn Wisnia (puppet-master) and Madeline (technical wizard and touch tank show-and-tell host)! Together, they put on a fabulous show for the kids including a magical journey through the estuary using songs, a puppet show of local critters and a wonderful touch-tank show-and-tell with Madeline. Some of our audience members may never have seen a live hermit crab or been to our coast and feedback from the FMF organizers has been lovely saying:

“We appreciate all the hard work and time spent making this component of FMF a great success! The storytelling, sing-a-long and exploring of the touch tank created a lot a buzz among the attendees.”

Great work team!


Grateful for time spent with Volunteers

Grateful for time spent with Volunteers

So lovely to spend time with our wonderful volunteers at the Nature Centre yesterday. And a big thanks to Island Poultry for their donation of delicious sausages.

If you didn’t make it out and want to know about our volunteer opportunities coming up check out:


And a few spots left in our salt marsh restoration project August 30th 9-12pm. Email to sign up.

Nature Interpreter/Centre Volunteer

Welcome. Experience. Explore. Delight

What: The Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre welcomes thousands of visitors every year. From repeat families, to travelers from afar, all are welcomed into the space to explore their curiosity and questions of the estuary and its inhabitants.

Who: Open to youth (16+) and adults (a child or grandchild is welcome to accompany) who have a love for nature, and a desire to share. No nature interpretation experience necessary, just a desire to learn and share.

We offer two roles in the nature centre:

  1. Nature Centre Interpreter: Opens and closes the nature centre (Cash/debit transactions, sets up float, Opens/closes building)
  2. Secondary Nature Interpreter: Welcomes visitors to the space, can guide nature walks, set up bird tower, run activities as wanted/needed

Length of volunteer shift: 2 hours + 10 mins for open/close (Nature Centre Interpreter role only). Shifts are split from 12-2 & 2-4

Volunteer commitment: The nature centre is open from 12-4 Thursday – Sunday  and every holiday Monday. We ask that volunteers sign up as a:

  • Regular volunteer – committing to a regular shift (once a week, biweekly, or once a month)
  • Or Flex volunteer – filling in gaps as regular volunteers are away

Booking shifts: Shifts are schedule at least one month in advance (often times every couple months).

Interested: email or call 250.597.2288


Restoration Volunteer – Ages 10 +

Renew. Give. Deepen. Share

What: The estuary is a gift and its health is a vital piece of our ecosystem. Every year we work with partnering organizations on restoration projects of the estuary and riparian zones up stream

Who: We are looking for youth (Age 10+) and adults who enjoy getting their hands dirty, love community projects and co-creating a lasting impact. Note this volunteer opportunity is open to school groups

Length of volunteer shift: 2.5 hours (Restoration projects include a 15 minute intro/education, 2 hour restoration work, and 15 minute wrap up and reflection)

Volunteer commitment: Restoration projects occur year round, and most often in the spring or fall but sometimes in the summer.

Booking shifts: Restoration projects are are scheduled at least three weeks in advance. Volunteers can sign up for as few or as many shifts as they like.

Interested: email or call 250.597.2288


School Program Volunteer

Educate. Play. Explore. Share

What: Every year we hosts hundreds of school children at the Nature Centre, and in Hecate Park, guiding them to explore the shore to sea. Our 1.5 hour programs are lead by our amazing Educators, and supporting by our School Program Volunteers.

Who: We are looking for adults with a delight in the outdoors, an interest in sharing nature, and a love for supporting kids/youth learn.

Length of volunteer shift: 2 hours (program runs 1.5 hours, volunteers arrive 15 minutes early and 15 minutes post to help with set up/clean up

Volunteer commitment: School program season runs from September – November and March – June. We ask that volunteers sign up for a fall or spring season.

Booking shifts: Shifts are schedule at least one week in advance (often times one month). Volunteers can sign up for as few or as many shifts as they like.

Interested: email or call 250.597.2288



Youth Permaculture Volunteer Opportunity! Starts this August

Participate in a Permaculture Water Audit, of a local garden/hobby farm.
Interested in permaculture, or learning how to conserve water? We need YOUTH volunteers to join local Permaculture leaders Jason Greenwood, and Sierra Robinson, on a 2 hour water audit of local gardens/hobby farms.

  • August 10th, 9:30, 11:30,or 2:00pm,
  • August 16th 4:00pm
  • August 19th 4:00pm
  • August 26th, 4:00 pm or 6:30 pm
What: We are looking for a note taker & a photographer
Transportation: Requires own transportation to the sites (if going to multiple audits in a day, we can arrange travel between audits)

Volunteer commitment: 2 hours (can come to more than one)

Volunteer Open House BBQ!

Volunteer Open House BBQ!

This August 21st we are having an Open House BBQ for past, present and potential Volunteers. 

Ever considered helping guide students as they explore the shorelines, hand out binoculars to community members so they can watch Osprey nesting, participate in watershed restoration projects? Well, this August might be your chance to learn more about how to get started.

Invite is by RSVP, if you are interested in joining us for a Volunteer BBQ and learning about volunteering at the Nature Centre, email for details. 

Volunteer Position – Nature Interpreter – Now inviting new volunteers

The Nature Centre is a heart beat in the Estuary, with a flow of students, visitors, and soon to be camp attendees, all exploring the magic of  hands on exploration of life from the estuary. The vitality of the centre is upheld by our volunteers, individuals with a love for nature, a curiosity to learn and a delight in sharing discoveries with visitors. Its a pretty perfect place to spend two hours a week or a month, and a great way to connect with nature and community.

With the busy summer ahead we are now inviting new volunteers to join our community. And we welcome individuals and pairs of volunteers – couples, friends, grandparents/grandchild.

To begin your exploration of volunteering at the nature centre call 250.597.2288 or fill out our  contact form


“For three years my granddaughter and I were volunteers for two hours on Sunday afternoons at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre.  We did this from when she was 10 until she was 13. These were wonderful times for both of us, meeting people when the centre was busy and working together or just hanging out and talking during the quiet times.  For her, it was an opportunity to show off her amazing abilities with technology while developing excellent customer service, child management, and retail sales skills. Together, we learned a great deal from researching answers to visitors’ questions.  She describes it as our quality time together.” J. Scull. Volunteer at the Nature Centre


%d bloggers like this: