Volunteers of the Month: Bob & Brenda Cox

30 Jun 2022

After purchasing a Rankin Family CD that piqued their interest, Bob and Brenda Cox first visited Cape Breton in 1996. Brenda is an accomplished harp musician and both her and Bob were immediately hooked by the Celtic music they heard in Mabou.

Originally from Arkansas, the pair travelled to Cape Breton every year, eventually buying land in the community of Hillsborough overlooking the Mabou Harbour and Highlands, and in 2015 they built a cottage there of their own.

From their cottage, Bob and Brenda can see the stars at night with the fresh pine scented air all around them, and two miles in the distance they can see the Saint Mary’s Church steeple lit up every evening. They can look out and see plenty of birds, like marsh hawks and eagles, soaring above and cruising for mice, and they’ll even leave their field uncut so that the nearby American goldfinches can eat the seed pods in the fall.

In 2019, Bob and Brenda attended a celebration event in Mabou held by the Nature Trust. After meeting other volunteers and learning more about the organization, they decided they wanted to get involved. Before they knew it, they were in the Highlands with two biologists doing inventory of plant life and conducting baseline measurements in the area, which are important to be able to see changes over time.

Bob and Brenda have now been volunteering with the Nature Trust as Property Guardians in the Mabou area of Cape Breton Island since 2019.

“The Nature Trust not only helps preserve unique plants and animals, but it helps get people interested in the natural environment and understand the need to preserve land,” says Bob. “We like that they offer multiple opportunities to help with conservation – whether it’s donating money, land or working together so that the title of the land stays with the owner – they ensure the land remains undisturbed and preserved for future generations.”

Bob and Brenda now share their time between Virginia and Nova Scotia but due to the pandemic, they were unable to come back to our province for two years. Now that they have returned, they look forward to getting back out on preserved land to do more incredible volunteer work as Property Guardians.

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