Piping Plover volunteers are part of a dynamic team of non-profit organizations, coastal communities and landowners, government agencies and First Nations who are working together to recover endangered Piping Plovers and conserve beach habitat.
From the Acadian Peninsula, NB, Cape North, NS, or Port-aux-Basque, NL, Piping Plover volunteers come from different places and backgrounds but share a common interest in conserving Piping Plovers and beach habitat. Most volunteers live in communities on or near plover nesting beaches. Some are kids, students, business owners, amateur naturalists, retirees, scientists, recreational boaters, or stay-at-home parents. Everyone has an interest in beaches, a curiosity about nature, and a love of learning.
History of volunteer engagement in Piping Plover conservation in our region
1970s – Winnifred Cairns and Dr. Ian McLaren coordinate a partial survey of NS – the first comprehensive Piping Plover survey in the region – that documents 72-77 Piping Plover pairs.
1980s – Stephen Flemming, Roland Chiasson and Colin Stewart coordinate volunteers to assist with surveys, habitat protection, research on Piping Plovers. Piper Project/Projet Siffleur is initiated in New Brunswick and focuses on conservation of Piping Plovers on the Acadian Peninsula.
1990s – Etta Parker, a dedicated volunteer ‘Guardian’ in Nova Scotia, organizes other volunteers to help protect Piping Plovers in the early 1990s. Etta continues this work in NS throughout the 90s. During mid-1990s, other provinces initiate ‘Guardian Programs’ that engage volunteers on beaches and conducted educational outreach in communities.
- Volunteers assist with first International Piping Plover Breeding Census in 1991 and second Census in 1996. Data gathered from these and subsequent censuses provide valuable information about population and distribution of Piping Plovers in our region and across the plover’s North American range.
2000s – Volunteer programs strengthen in all provinces thanks to more consistent funding and growing expertise. Volunteers assist with 2001 and 2006 International Piping Plover Breeding Censuses.
2010s – With the establishment of active conservation programs that engage volunteers across the region, provinces and partners improve linkages between volunteer programs. Piping Plover Volunteer Training Guide and other shared tools, including this web site, are developed. Volunteers assist in the 2011 International Piping Plover Breeding Census.