Shorebird centre struggling with lack of funds, and theft of important equipment
JOHNSON'S MILLS, N.B. -- Typically, an observation platform at the shorebird interpretive centre in Johnson's Mills, N.B., would be filled with people hoping to view the hundreds of thousands of shorebirds.
This summer, however, the interpretive centre is closed. Only staff are allowed access because of COVID-19.
"We would show them the displays, we would talk to them about the importance of the Bay of Fundy, the migration of shorebirds, why the shorebirds are coming here, where they’re going once they leave here and also the sensitivities of the birds while they are here," said Denise Roy of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
The shorebirds stop in Johnson's Mills during their migration from the Arctic to South America.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada raises about $10,000 in donations from the people who come to see them money that is now lost.
To make matters even worse, there have been two break-ins at the interpretive centre. Last week someone broke into a shed and stole tools. Then, a few days later, the centre itself was broken into.
"It was a fairly major break-in for us in that someone came in and went through our entire centre and basically took anything of value," Roy said.
About $15,000 worth of laptops, binoculars, and spotting scopes were stolen. Even the automated external defibrillator, or AED, was taken.
The lack of equipment is making it even more difficult for the reduced number of staff to monitor the four kilometres of beach.
"Now our interpretive staff find themselves in an even more challenging situation of having to monitor a very large area of land," Roy said. "Now they don’t even have the tools required to properly do that."
To help, the Nature Conservancy of Canada has launched the "migration campaign" to raise awareness about what they do and funds to support their work.
"So that we can continue not only conserving lands, but taking care of those lands," Roy said.
Lands that these migrating shorebirds depend on year after year.