The Kejimkujik Southwest Nova Volunteer Program
The Kejimkujik Southwest Nova Volunteer Program is a group of organizations (including Parks Canada, Friends of Keji, Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute and Bird Studies Canada) and individuals working to help species at risk and enhance environmental conservation in and around Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site and Kejimkujik National Park - Seaside.
Stewards help to protect endangered Blanding’s turtle nests, monitor and track brook trout, survey and participate in research for the endangered Piping Plover, count loons on lakes in southwest Nova Scotia, and provide information to visitors in the Keji campground as Campground Hosts.
Volunteers work directly with researchers and staff on a range of projects to restore, protect, monitor and conserve the greater Kejimkujik ecosystem. As a volunteer, you will gain a deeper connection to this extraordinary natural environment. At the same time, you’ll play a very important role in helping to preserve and protect the animals and plants that depend on healthy habitats to survive.
Piping Plover Monitoring - Keji Seaside
Get involved in Piping Plover surveys at the Keji Seaside and help to monitor and locate plover pairs. Volunteers can also pitch in with the annual beach cleanup, which reduces the garbage build-up on key beaches used by these birds and other wildlife.
Months: Plover nesting surveys (May-July), Habitat Restoration (August-September)
Blanding’s Turtle Monitoring
In June, volunteers can participate in Blanding’s turtle nest monitoring at Kejimkujik, McGowan Lake and Pleasant River and protect turtle nests with enclosures. This reduces nest predation by raccoons and increases the number of young turtles in the population. Volunteers can also assist with radio-tracking throughout the summer and hatchling emergence in the fall.
Months: June (turtle nesting), June-November (radio-tracking), September-October (hatchling emergence)
A Keji classic! In Kejimkujik volunteers paddle the lakes looking for loons and chicks in the park in one day in May and August. For the Mersey LoonWatch program, volunteers monitor loons throughout the summer at a lake near their homes/cottages.
Months: May (Sunday, May 19, 2019; storm date: June 2) and August (Sunday, August 18, 2019; storm date: August 25)
LoonWatch - More information
Who should come? ANYONE who enjoys paddling on lakes and observing nature.
Am I qualified? Yes! It is not necessary to be an ‘expert’ on Common loon biology, but you must be interested in them and care about their plight. You must also be comfortable with paddling a canoe. LoonWatch is in need of more volunteers!
How do I sign up? Email or phone Jennifer Eaton (Jennifer.Eaton@pc.gc.ca / 902-682-2185). You can choose a preferred survey lake at that time, or wait until we meet to decide. (There are generally plenty of lakes to choose from, and each lake has its own charms.) We will ensure that you have a canoe partner if you are coming alone.
Teams of LoonWatchers will canoe an assigned lake to provide a simultaneous survey of loon presence and reproductive activity. Lakes are surveyed from 12:00 noon until 3:00 pm. LoonWatch observation forms will be collected at the Visitor Centre following the survey. A canoe and associated equipment must be supplied by the volunteers. There are opportunities to rent equipment from Jake’s Landing canoe rental (682-2282).
What to bring?
- Canoe with paddles, life jackets and small craft safety gear
- Bug repellant
- Sun screen
- Bird field guide (if you have one)
- Camera (Send us some photos of YOU in action!)
Into the backcountry: Some LoonWatchers prefer to survey the more remote lakes in Kejimkujik. If you have a truck with suitable clearance, you may welcome a rare opportunity to drive to one of the lakes in the park's south end. Beware that roads are very rough there! For surveying our most remote lakes (Peskawa and Frozen Ocean), we accommodate one free night of camping on each lake on the night prior to LoonWatch. 'First come-first serve'! (Backcountry LoonWatchers must pre-register).
In case of inclement weather: High winds and/or extremely rainy days represent a safety hazard and can affect loon visibility. In case of inclement weather, LoonWatch will generally take place on the following Sunday. A final decision will be made at 5:00 pm on Saturday and a message recorded at 902 682-2293. You may call the recording to confirm whether the event is still on for the next day.
Fishing - Monitoring via Angler Diary
Included with every fishing permit is an information package and Angler Diary for you to record your hours spent and area fished, including species and number of fish caught. This information is invaluable to our fish management program contributing significantly to our understanding of angling effort in the park, relative species abundance and is also becoming a very important element of our invasive fish monitoring program. More information - Angler Diary
Months: April to August
Fishing - Brook Trout Creel Census
Join our team of fly fishing volunteers and collect data on fishing success, fish size, age and health condition. Share your experience and knowledge with other passionate anglers like you! Fly fishing experience required. A workshop is provided every spring to new volunteers.
More information - Creel Census
Months: late April to June 30th
Campground Host program
Campground Hosts are friendly, outgoing individuals who share their vast experience and passion for Keji with other campers for 1-2 weeks through the camping season. Hosts help with special events and provide campers with warm welcomes and information on trails, programs and local services.
Months: mid-May to mid-October