Calling All Coastal Guardians: Protecting PEI’s Shoreline Wildlife Through Volunteering

Do you enjoy long walks on the beach? Do you love talking to people about healthy ecosystems and wildlife conservation? If you answered yes to both questions, you might make a great Coastal Guardian!

The Island Nature Trust species-at-risk team monitors at-risk birds in several Island landscapes. Our successes depend on the help of our incredible volunteers. Volunteering as a Coastal Guardian is an excellent way to explore PEI’s beautiful coastline while helping two of our endearing species-at-risk. As a Coastal Guardian, you can survey for and report your sightings of piping plover and bank swallow. Training for Coastal Guardians will occur in early spring, where you will learn how to carry out shorebird and swallow surveys and how to inspire and motivate others to be good hosts to breeding birds along our coast.

Plover surveys start earlier in the season (early April) and should take place two to three times a week until September. Surveys for this species are a great fit for Coastal Guardians who live in or near the communities of Cardigan, Georgetown, Souris, Rural Municipality of Eastern Kings, Saint Peter’s Bay, Rustico, or Kensington.

Swallow surveys begin in mid-June and wrap up at the end of July. Surveys for this species involve walking a section of the coastline and recording any bank swallow activity. We have divided up the coast into routes of varying lengths so you can walk as much or as little as you like by signing up for your preferred routes. In 2023, Coastal Guardians helped us cover over 500km of coastline and about half of active plover beaches.

Our ultimate goal is to survey from tip to tip, a feat that is not possible without the support of our volunteers.

Additionally, volunteers can support the conservation of two farmland species across our province’s vast agricultural landscape. The Trust has been engaging with local farmers and landowners since 2014 to conserve bobolink and barn swallow through our Farmland Birds program.

This program aims to raise awareness and provide support for these two species-at-risk. We have experienced tremendous support from local farmers with a variety of initiatives to support the success of these species.

If you have bobolink or barn swallow on your property and would like to learn more about how you can help, we encourage you to reach out to us at

We all share a unique connection to nature, and our supporters express it in diverse ways.
They are our Champions of Nature, coming from various backgrounds – from hands-on volunteers to
digital advocates, creative fundraisers, and generous donors.

Are you passionate about hands-on conservation efforts or getting directly involved in nature protection?

Are you interested in supporting nature through financial contributions or potentially donating land for long-term protection?

Are you an artisan or entrepreneur and enjoy using your creativity to raise funds for nature conservation?

Do you love using your voice to raise awareness and advocate for environmental causes in your community?

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