Looking for a volunteer job that takes just a few hours a month?
Do you enjoy being outside in nature?
The Capital Regional District Parks might have just the volunteer opportunity you’re looking for.
Bryce McCaughey has been a volunteer naturalist at the Nature House at Francis/King Regional Park for ten years, and explains what that entails.
“Greeting visitors, showing visitors the nature displays that we’ve got on, and the temporary displays, or the terrarium that we might have on with the newts or salamanders in there.”
And Bryce will also “answer any questions about nature, or give them some guidance on what trails to check out.”
Colleen Long is the CRD Parks Volunteer Coordinator, and she’s grateful to have Bryce and the other volunteer naturalists manning the Nature House.
“Park visitors can come here to the Nature Centre when it’s open on weekends and holiday Mondays…
“They can ask questions about things they may have seen in the park, get some directions, or help to id some bird that they saw, find out the best place to go see wildflowers, things like that.”
There are three Nature Houses managed by volunteers: Francis/King and Elk/Beaver Lake in Saanich, and Witty’s Lagoon in Metchosin.
So how many volunteers are helping out?
“At our nature centres we probably have about 35” explains Colleen Long. “Each Nature Centre has about thirteen volunteers.”
It’s a small time commitment, just four hours once a month, but it’s a task McCaughey really enjoys.
“People are in a good mood when they come to a park like this, so it’s always enjoyable to interact and meet people out on a nice day, relaxing.”
And, it frees up staff to host various programs in the park.
“While our staff interpreters are out programming in the parks on weekends, our volunteer naturalists are helping us with staffing our Nature Centres” explains Long.
And right now, the Nature Houses need more volunteers.
“We’re looking for people who are friendly, and like to interact with others” says Long.
“We don’t ask that they have a great natural history background…those things always help, but it’s also things that they can learn along the way, and we do provide some training.”
And volunteer naturalist Bryce McCaughey adds “it’s a great way to get out into nature!
“It’s a thing that triggers you to get out there, you meet lots of people” and McCaughey points out that in terms of giving information to visitors, “it’s sort of a two way street. You often learn a lot from the visitors, as much as you’re educating them.”
Click here to learn more about the opportunity to volunteer with CRD Regional Parks and Trails.