I’ve been meeting more and more people who decided to spend their time in Canada volunteering with various different organisations, and I think that is so great! Volunteering in Canada is actually really easy, with short-term volunteering options being the best fit for visitors from out of the country. Obviously, do your own research for your own peace of mind, but I’m sure you’ll find that it’s actually quite easy and you usually don’t need a special visa to allow you to volunteer in Canada at all! For the next little while, I’m going to highlight a few different organisations that are always on the lookout for volunteers from all over the world, and I hope that you find that this information helps you if you’ve been considering volunteering in Canada yourself. In this article, I’m going to talk about the Bruce Peninsula Observatory, one of the organisations that I think is worth volutneering at, particularly if you’re an animal lover!
Helping Monitor Birds at the BPBO!
I’m a biologist, and one of my favourite things about the spring is that it’s one of the critical migratory periods for a lot of birds! Hundreds and hundreds of birds fly through Ontario every spring, and observatories throughout the province put a lot of hard work into monitoring the numbers and health statuses of the birds that fly through. The process is really interesting: every morning before dawn, birders set up very thin nets (called mist nets) to catch some birds. Don’t worry, though, mist nets don’t hurt them!
After safely removing the birds from the nets, scientists and trained volunteers identify the birds, weigh them, estimate their age, band them, and then record all that data for future reference after letting the bird go. Depending on how much experience you have birding, you’ll be doing anything from scribing data for the banders (the people who put the bands on the birds!), to helping set up nets or banding with others. It really is a great experience and spending the spring in nature and helping to monitor the bird populations of the area is really fulfilling work.
The Bruce Peninsula Observatory is one of the most popular observatories in Canada, and provides accommodations to long-term volunteers. All you have to do to be considered is fill out a form here, and they’ll get back to you after looking at it. The spring migration period will begin in April, so if you are considering this make sure you get your applications in soon– there are a lot of biologists in Canada and we all love BPBO!