ENGB employees partner with Ducks Unlimited Canada for nest-box building blitz
FREDERICTON, N.B. (November 20, 2013) – Next spring, when the ice covering the St. John River floodplain begins to melt, several species of waterfowl will make their way home to New Brunswick.
Ducks like the Hooded Merganser and Goldeneye migrate north to nest, have babies, and raise a brood.
But trees with deep cavities, where these birds like to nest, have become sparse, either toppling over in old age or disappearing along with their natural wetland habitat. That’s where Ducks Unlimited Canada and its sponsors step in to provide Mother Nature a helping hand.
During a weekend nest-box building blitz led by DUC, Enbridge Gas New Brunswick employees recently volunteered, along with their families, to construct new nest boxes. The boxes will replace and replenish some of the 2,000 boxes DUC has placed in the region since it launched its Nest Box Stewardship Program in 1984.
The nest-box building initiative represents part of DUC’s broader conservation and wetland preservation goals.
“It has benefits in more than providing (birds) with nests,” said DUC interpretive and education specialist Jennifer Dick. “The type of program where we work with people to assemble boxes also provides us with a way of communicating the message that we are protecting wetlands. It has a greater impact in that we work with people.”
The Nov. 2 nest box-building blitz marked the first time Enbridge Gas New Brunswick participated in a nest box-building event, though the company has been a supporter of DUC Atlantic since 2011.
Jon Wilson, EGNB’s information technology manager, joined fellow employees at the outdoor classroom at DUC’s Conservation Centre overlooking downtown Fredericton, and brought along his wife and four children. Wilson said it was a great opportunity to learn about what DUC does, and share that with his co-workers and family.
“It was an opportunity to do something in the community — I’m always looking for ways to engage my family in that,” said Wilson. “This is one of those things that a leading energy company demonstrates as giving back to the community in which they operate.”
The Nov. 2 event demonstrated Enbridge’s commitment to strengthening the communities where the company does business, and also demonstrated Enbridge’s Volunteers In Partnership (VIP) program in action. The VIP initiative encourages Enbridge employees to devote their time to non-profit organizations, and generates company grants to those non-profits based on donation of volunteer time.
DUC development manager Kimberly Arseneau said donors and volunteers are key to the organization’s mission of conserving Canada’s wetlands, as well as the success of programs like the nest-box initiative.
“Their vision for the future, understanding of sustainable business practices, and a respect for the environment make Enbridge Gas New Brunswick an ideal partner in conservation,” said Arseneau.
Seventy-five per cent of nest boxes are occupied each year, with babies hatching successfully in about half of the occupied boxes. The program gives each duckling a fighting chance at survival. Once settled, the birds often come back year after year, raising many broods in the wooden structures.
“Nest box projects are really popular and work well because it gives people a hands-on way to feel like they are making a difference,” said Dick. “We can all say we want to protect wetlands, but this is a physical way you can help.”
On Nov. 2, EGNB volunteers managed to build just over half of the event’s goal of 100 nest boxes. So, Wilson rallied the troops and they all went back a second time to finish.
“Ultimately it provides benefit to the community at large and to the property owners, but it also provides human benefits as well,” said Wilson of the opportunity to connect people, their work and the community.
Enbridge Gas New Brunswick employees recently volunteered, along with their families, to construct 100 new nest boxes, which will replace and replenish some of the 2,000 boxes Ducks Unlimited Canada has placed in the Fredericton region.