Volunteer of the Month: Property Guardian Barry Joyce

26 May 2021

Barry Joyce at Lawlor’s Point (Photo: Barry Joyce)

Our volunteer of the month for May 2021 is Barry Joyce. Barry has been a Property Guardian with the Nova Scotia Nature Trust for the past year, having undergone his training in 2020.

Semi-retired from Natural Resources Canada, Barry’s background is in environmental science. He moved from Ottawa to Halifax in 2019, when he enrolled in courses in marine management at Dalhousie University.

“I had some time on my hands, so I thought I’d find a way to do something near and dear to my heart – the environment,” he explains. “So I volunteered with the Nature Trust, as well as the marine animal response society. It’s very important to me for us to conserve our natural ecosystems. I love to hike, and I thought it would be a great way to get involved.”

Part of Barry’s earlier environmental science education was in research, and he had worked for Environment Canada as a research assistant surveying farms and agricultural areas, doing comparisons with migratory birds, insects, plants, and bringing that together to determine feeding habits. But he notes that he was happy for a chance to get outside: “While most of my employment during my career has been in laboratories, I’m more of an outdoorsy guy.” 

Upon volunteering with the Nature Trust, he asked Joanna Skomorowski, our Stewardship Coordinator, if there were any properties that hadn’t been monitored in a long time. We quickly put his expertise to work!

A Smooth Green Snake

“I surveyed the back area of Rogue’s Roost, and I want to go back and do the coast from a kayak in the summer. When I was there, I saw these bright lime green snakes sunning themselves on the more open trail! I learned they were Smooth Green Snakes – I hadn’t known that particular snake was here in Halifax! So, that was very cool.”

Choosing to survey areas that might be hard to get to for other guardians, Barry has also done surveys in Cape Breton (Farley’s Ark, in Richmond County), as well as Lawlor’s Point, along the coast north of Dartmouth.

“I’m trying to volunteer for whatever sites are less accessible to other volunteers, or pretty far out,” he says. “I don’t mind doing that, going for a bit of an excursion.”

Please join us in thanking Barry for his dedication – the work he and our other wonderful volunteers do is essential to protecting Nova Scotia’s wild places!

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