We are a not-for-profit field station and educational Centre dedicated to enhancing nature appreciation and conservation; rural skill-building; and place-based cultural understanding on Nova Scotia's breathtaking South Shore. Our work ranges from hosting university-level science courses and research to offering family-focused nature-immersive workshops. We aim to be holistic, open, and inclusive in our approaches to environmental education and as such draw from different ways of knowing and understanding the natural world. Thus, we incorporate art, storytelling, natural science, and traditional knowledge into our seasonal offerings. We believe the best way to learn is to do, so we always design our programming to be closely linked to our massive outdoor classroom!
The Centre overlooks the ocean and coastal forest, and is surrounded by hectares of diverse habitat to explore including meadows, woodlands, white-sand beaches, and the rocky shores Nova Scotia is known for! We have excellent neighbors including a Provincial Park, a National Park, and a Migratory Bird Sanctuary--totaling roughly 7,000 hectares of pristine nature!
As a small, but mighty organization, we are run by one full-time staff member and a few seasonal students. Additionally, the land owner and founder lives on-site with his three chickens (soon to be nine), two cows, two cats, and constant companion: a shaggy dog named Tank.
The Centre facilities include a two-storey main lodge, five cabins (three on-grid and two off-grid), and four tenting sites. The upper level of the lodge includes two indoor washrooms, a full kitchen, a large hang-out space with a wood-burning fire place, and a large deck overlooking the forest and ocean. The lower level houses a lab and large storage room. There are two heated outdoor showers on site, and two self-composting outdoor toilets. None of the buildings are insulated and thus we are only operational from May to the end of October.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Help with Computers/ Internet
Surrounded by pristine nature, your soul will be cleansed in a forest bath every single day. Enjoy the peace and quiet, only ever broken by the occasional chorus of bird song and the rumble of ocean waves. Watch rabbits and bears dart across the field as you enjoy a morning cup of coffee with a cat on your lap. Cuddle in a blanket on the beach as you watch the sun rise across the water. Lazily rock on the tree swing as you watch the sun set beyond the pasture. Lose yourself in a good book while you warm yourself by the fire. This is not only a chance to immerse in rural east-coast culture, but also a chance to commune with the natural world!
In addition, as a volunteer with the us you will have the opportunity to participate in much of the educational programming we offer such as seaweed identification, coastal tree identification, wild food foraging, and eco-printing. Plus, working within such a close-knit community you will have the opportunity to get to know the local place and culture. If English is not your first language you will have plenty of time to practice with us and improve your conversational skills!
In a place like this, there is always more to do than time left to do it! Thus, projects are varied and abundant! The following is a list of things we might be looking for, but if you have a skill, chances are high we could benefit from it!
So, if this sounds like the right place for you don't hesitate to get in touch with your ideas!
-Gardening: We have a large garden that we would like to continue to expand and cultivate so we can use some of our produce in our meal offerings. If you have a green thumb or are experienced in building above-ground beds, we could use your expertise!
-Animal care: As noted above we have three chickens and two cows on site, a small job is making sure the animals are fed and watered, let out in the mornings, and put to bed in the evenings.
-Cleaning: We often have large groups of people coming and going from the Centre. One task that is likely to be a part of your stay with us is preparing the cabins for a group’s stay, or cleaning cabins after a group leaves.
-Art projects: We have a number of art projects we would like to see completed this summer. One such example is coming up with names for all of the cabins and camp sites and creating beautiful signage for each.
-Building/Maintenance: Being on the coast, the weather can wear the buildings down. General upkeep is always needed so if you are handy, we need you! In addition, we have a number of building projects we are looking to get off the ground such as building a platform for our prospectors’ tent, building book shelves for the creation of a book exchange library, and building an outdoor table for a writer’s retreat in the wilderness. We could also use some help doing walking trail improvements! We are also interested in "winterizing" our facilities, it would be great to recruit someone with experience in this area to guide us!
Help with computers/internet: If you have graphic design experience, or experience doing social media outreach and development we would love to have your expertise on the team.
Shopping/meal planning: Some of our programs require us to provide meals for groups. We would love to have someone on site who might be able to help us design a nutritional but budget-friendly menu to send to prospective guests when they are considering booking with us.
Program development and event planning: It is always an asset to have fresh perspectives and ideas for how to best reach diverse groups of people with various interests in environmental issues. If you have an idea for an event or workshop or would like to facilitate/plan an event or workshop, we can definitely make that happen!
-Science!!: We love hosting researchers, whether citizen sciences or "official" academics. If there is something you want to study or observe in our area, lets work together to make it happen!
Depending on the time of your stay accommodation will differ. If there are no bookings at the time of your stay you can stay in one of our five rustic cabins. If we are all booked up, there are likely beds available in a cozy travel trailer. More adventurous volunteers are welcome to pitch a tent on our beautiful grounds! If you plan to stay with us in the fall (between September and October) there will likely be a room available to you in our century-old farmhouse! While we cannot provide three full meals a day at this time, we can provide a simple breakfast of our own free-range chicken eggs and oatmeal. In addition all food prep items such as spices, oil, vinegar, and condiments, will be provided and unlimited tea, and coffee are included!
We are located between Liverpool and Shelburne, two small towns on the South Shore, both of which boast local breweries that are featured as a part of Nova Scotia's "Good Cheer Trail" --a 2-hour drive from Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia. Chester, Mahone Bay, and Lunenburg, three historic "postcard" towns are about an hour away and definitely worth visiting! Further, our proximity to so many nature areas mean there are plenty of opportunities to camp, hike, and explore. We have a canoe and kayak that volunteers can borrow as well as pedal bikes, fishing rods, and other outdoor gear to play around with. There is also surf nearby, so if you have a board, bring it along! However, there is a resort less than 30 minutes from us which rents boards for a reasonable price and can offer lessons!
Pick up in the city can be arranged, but if you have access to your own car you will have more opportunities to explore the area around the Centre. That said, all staff members have their own cars, so if someone is going adventuring, chances are you can join them!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 4 hours a day, 3 days a week