Volunteers of the Month: Property Guardians Ingrid and Burkhard Plache
27 Dec 2020
Having spent a lot of time off the beaten path, hiking, canoeing and exploring, volunteers Ingrid and Burkhard Plache first started engaging with the Nature Trust through organized walks and canoe trips. Throughout these adventures, they had the great fortune of exploring some of the Nature Trust’s most breathtaking properties, some already near and dear to their hearts, including Purcell’s Cove Conservation Lands, and 100 Wild Islands. Along with learning about familiar lands/regions, these trips also helped them discover previously unknown extraordinary areas throughout Nova Scotia.
“The landscape in Nova Scotia, its coastline, the rocks, the lakes, and the barrens are all so spectacular,” said Ingrid.
These initial visits led Ingrid and Burkard to get in touch with the Nature Trust at the 2017 Annual General Meeting/Showcase about volunteer opportunities. They then started their volunteer journey with the Nature Trust by participating in fieldwork in the Wentworth Valley and subsequently took on the guardianship for a land parcel in Southwest Nova Scotia. The following year, in addition to both of these roles, Ingrid and Burkhard were also invited by the Nature Trust to join some important baseline studies.
One of the studies they participated in was on Seal Island, 32 km off the southwest coast of the province.
“We were crisscrossing the property, with a map and a GPS in hand, to reach previously identified points of interest. There, we determined the approximate prevalence of all plants in a 5-meter radius around that point and took photos illustrating the plant community,” Burkhard recalled. “Exploring Seal Island in this way, one acquires a sense of the land, different from walking over trails.”
Ingrid and Burkhard are also property guardians for a parcel on Cameron Lake in Southwest Nova Scotia, which protects rare species of the Atlantic Coastal Plains Flora. Since becoming property guardians, Ingrid and Burkhard have visited “their property” three times, locating unique flowers and rare plants. With every visit, Ingrid and Burkhard have found a few plants and habitats they have not seen before.
When asked about the most rewarding and challenging aspects of volunteering with the Nature Trust, Ingrid and Burkhard mentioned one baseline study where, as Ingrid explained, “the terrain turned out to be much more rugged than anticipated, really testing our endurance and stamina.”
“Our volunteering has generally been a lot of fun. Contributing to the preservation of ecologically important properties is really important to us. We are thrilled to see new pieces added every year. On top of that, the passionate staff at the Nature Trust have always been a pleasure to work with. They are encouraging and always let us know that we are valued.”
Giving their time and many talents to the Nature Trust has given Ingrid and Burkhard the opportunity to connect with the natural world in the most unique way, while also protecting the land they cherish.