Category Archives: Volunteers

Many Helping Hands

When you make a visit to the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre, you’ll be greeted by friendly and talented volunteer nature interpreters. But did you know our volunteer family extends beyond nature education? Every month we receive help with ‘odd jobs’ from generous volunteers, and this month we’d like to recognize their tremendously helpful support!

Two of our wonderful maintenance volunteers keeping the Nature Centres windows sparkly and clean!

Whether it’s installing new outdoor lightbulbs, cleaning windows, providing tech support, or building new exhibits – we couldn’t do what we do without their help.
So next time you visit the Nature Centre and enjoy the view of the estuary from behind crystal-clear windows, think about all the ‘behind the scenes’ work that goes into keeping our community education space open.

Thank you to all the ‘helping hands’ – there are too many of you to name, but you know who you are!!

If you are interested in volunteering at the Nature Centre, contact us here or email us!

New Volunteer Spotlight: Julia Saurazas

Happy New Year! To celebrate this new year, we’d like to recognize one of our new volunteers to join the Nature Centre family. Julia Saurazas is originally from Windsor, ON, but moved to Duncan this Fall. Julia is as adventurous as she is curious, working and volunteering abroad for over 25 years, now doing humanitarian work with ‘Doctors Without Borders’.

Julia also plays flute and loves baking cheesecakes!

A life-long volunteer, Julia thinks volunteering is an important way to give back to the community in which you live – and admits it’s a good way to make new friends, too! She loves wildlife, nature, and being near the water, so naturally the Nature Centre drew her in.


Her favourite holidays now include going into jungles, and although she appreciates the large animals, she also goes in search of smaller creatures such as bats, frogs, chameleons, and more.

We’re so happy to have you join the Nature Centre team, Julia! Thank you for bringing your enthusiasm and love of nature.

If you are interested in volunteering at the Nature Centre, contact us here or email us!

Jan Dwyer – Volunteer of the Month

Jan Dwyer must be feeling pretty good, because she attended not one, not two, but all four of our ‘Feel Good Friday’ events in November! Every Friday, Jan showed up with a smile and dove into habitat restoration work – whether it was removing invasive blackberries, planting along creek banks, or hauling native plants through muddy marshland. For this reason we’d like to recognize her generosity and spirit as our ‘Volunteer of the Month’.

Jan Dwyer (center) at a “Feel Good Fridays” habitat restoration work party.

Jan is from the Cowichan Valley and started volunteering in early 2016. She sees volunteering as an essential part of living in the community, and especially enjoys working under the expanse of sky in Cowichan Bay.
Thank you Jan for your hard work and contribution to the community!

If you are interested in volunteering at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre, contact us here or email

Ron Wall – Volunteer of the Month

Although he has lived and traveled all over Canada, volunteer Ron Wall has called Cowichan home for many years – and we are lucky he has! This month, we’d like to recognize Ron for his dedication to environmental learning.

Ron Wall and summer student Miranda at a Volunteer BBQ this summer.

Ron has been volunteering at the Nature Centre for over a year. Like many of our volunteers, Ron is an inquisitive soul and a life-long learner. When we asked him what motivates him to volunteer, he responded:

“I have a desire to give back something to the community and better understand the estuary ecosystems, especially the upstream activities that profoundly affect them.”

Thank-you Ron! We are grateful for your dedication and love for this beautiful estuary!

If you are interested in volunteering at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre, contact us here or email

Kerrie Talbot – Volunteer of the Month

Come by the Estuary Nature Centre on Thursday afternoons and long-time volunteer Kerrie Talbot will be there to greet you and show you around.  A life-long valley resident, guardian of the Great Blue Heron colony in the ravine just across the road from the Centre, and local Park’s Commission chair, Kerrie has lots of local knowledge to share. Kerrie, a retired children’s librarian, also hosts 4-weeks of stories, songs and games for preschoolers every Spring and Fall. Stay-tuned for her Thursday morning offerings this coming November.  Thank-you Kerrie! We are grateful for all that you do for children and nature education in the estuary!

John Scull Volunteer of the Month

John Scull is a veteran volunteer of the Nature Centre. After surviving a serious medical emergency earlier this year John bounced right back into his volunteer role. This week John and his partner Linda trained our new student camp counselors on the fine art of communication and teaching children.  In fact John has mentored, taught, and guided thousands of youth in his long career.  We really appreciate John’s dedication and the extensive skill set he brings to our organization!

Volunteer of the Month

Volunteer of the Month GAIL MITCHELL says “If you are interested in doing some volunteer work in the community, the Estuary Nature Centre is a wonderful place to spend a couple of hours a week.”  An impressive building with a 180 degree view of the Estuary,  Gail encourages anyone interested in our natural environment to join the team and enjoy the Centre.  As a life-long nature lover, Gail knows the importance of this Estuary ecosystem. She finds it rewarding to share this with weekend visitors and to learn more always.


People like NATASHA AYERS keep your nature centre open to the public. Volunteer of the Month Award goes to Natasha for co ordinating a two-month yoga flight at the Centre, raising $500 for our school programs! THANK YOU to all the yoga instructors that shared their time and expertise! Our volunteer teachers are: Sadie Bartram, Asrael Zemenick, Emma Jane, Sheri Glenwright, Leah Gough, Maureen Briglio, Annika VanHell, Paulina Kee, and Lilian Bianchi. Volunteers make the world go round!Ma

Neville Townsend — woodworker

Neville Townsend recently volunteered his woodworking skills and workshop to the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre.  Here Neville is pictured with his first project, a much-needed display rack for community brochures.  It is only through the cotributions of skilled volunteers that the Nature Centre is able to thrive.  A huge “thank you” to Neville.