With the help of a Neighbourhood Small Grant we created a Volunteer Restoration Station for the hardworking volunteers restoring the forest at the French Creek Estuary Nature Preserve. These individuals are the unsung heroes working on behalf of the many groups and community members who supported the acquisition of this land and continue their efforts to restore it as a Nature Preserve.

The volunteers worked long hours in less-than-ideal conditions; they removed invasive plants and replanted the area with native trees, shrubs and ferns. With the grant, we purchased a folding table, coffee urn, thermos, mugs, and snacks, which will enable us to set up the “Restoration Station” on a regular basis as work in the forest continues. Volunteers can take a break, access a restroom, have a warm or cold drink and snack, socialize, exchange information and ideas, etc.

Our first “Restoration Station” took place on Friday, November 24th, 2023 between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Fifteen volunteers were working in the forest that day and walked over to one of our homes that is adjacent to the Preserve in Columbia Beach. We set chairs up around a fire pit and on our deck to provide comfortable places for the volunteers to relax, enjoy a warm drink and a snack and the opportunity to share stories and socialize.

On Saturday, November 25th, we took our “Restoration Station” on the road and offered a portable version of the service right to the work site. On the last day of the project, the dedicated group was determined to complete the work with minimal breaks. That said, they were pleased to put down their shovels and wheelbarrows, enjoy a coffee and snack delivered onsite, and were thrilled to finish the job by the end of the day.

Everyone appreciated our efforts to provide comfort during their workdays and expressed gratitude to the Foundation for supporting the Volunteer Restoration Station with a Neighbourhood Small Grant. We look forward to providing continued volunteer support and community connection as habitat restoration continues at the French Creek Estuary Nature Preserve.

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