Every summer since 1990, Laskeek Bay Conservation Society has welcomed a team of local and global volunteers to our research station on East Limestone Island in the K’uuna Gwaay Conservancy. Arriving by boat shuttle from Moresby Camp three at a time, these “citizen scientists” spend a week working with our Lead and Assistant Biologist to monitor and conserve the local marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Similarly, our interns each spend 4 weeks on the island partaking in the same activities.
In a given week, this might mean hiking the trails with a pair of binoculars seeking out wildlife trees that are actively home to cavity nesting red-breasted sapsuckers and hairy woodpeckers. Other days, you might find yourself out on the boat, quickly counting marbled murrelets, rhinoceros auklets and pigeon guillemots along a series of transects. In May, you can probably expect a few late nights as you monitor funnels for ancient murrelet chicks with the help of visiting students, while later in the summer you might spend more days removing debris and pulling out invasive plants.
Late afternoons are reliably spent in the cook cabin, preparing a reliably fantastic meal. From the elevated table, you have a perfect view for observing congregating seabirds and watching for whales. After dinner, you will likely spend some time looking through the scope counting ancient murrelets in their gathering grounds, before heading to your tent to fall asleep to an orchestra of bird song.
Over the past 28 summers, activities such as these have helped LBCS compile some of the longest, continuous-running seabird data sets in Canada. The data gathered through our low-cost and low technology methods has contributed to a wide range of research and conservation plans, and it has helped us and other researchers identify the many links between offshore marine and coastal rainforest environments.
Some volunteers are avid ornithologists, and others are experienced citizen scientists. Most, however, come for the learning and the adventure. Each year, we take delight in the group of Haida Gwaii residents who immerse themselves in our work, and return home with a deeper understanding of our local species, the threats they face, and the difference we can make.
Should you have a spare week this summer, come join us on Limestone. It’s a unique learning experience and transformative adventure – and we only ask for a small donation to help cover the costs of your transportation and food. In joining us, you will become an essential part of our annual field team – we cannot complete all that we do without the support of our volunteers.
For more information, visit Getting Involved @ www.laskeekbay.org/. Volunteer spots are available in May, June and July but spaces are limited and filling up quickly. The deadline to apply for internships is March 31st, 2018.