Piping Plover Conservation
The PEI Piping Plover Guardian Program was started by a handful of volunteers monitoring Piping Plovers on provincial beaches. In 1995, Island Nature Trust began coordinating the Plover Program, and has been working with volunteers to protect this endangered shorebird ever since.
Piping Plovers in PEI
Piping Plovers are the only endangered species to breed in PEI. They spend their winters in the warmer climes of the Caribbean and the southern Atlantic U.S. coast, and return every spring to PEI’s wide, sandy, beaches – the same beaches that humans flock to every summer.
Suitable plover nesting habitat is found on beaches from the sandhills over Malpeque Bay to East Point and south to Wood Islands. In most years, 15 to 16 beaches need regular monitoring by volunteers.
Between 2010 and 2014, there were ONLY about 60 Piping Plovers on the Island during breeding season. This includes all of the beaches inside of PEI National Park as well as all other beaches on the Island.
The Guardian’s Role
Volunteer Plover Guardians educate provincial beach users, protect Piping Plovers from human and predator disturbances and monitor nests on the north and southeastern shores of PEI in the spring/summer.
Volunteers are asked to approach beach users as they come to a signed and roped (symbolic fencing) plover nesting area. Beach users are asked to avoid the area and to walk near the water, not to linger near the area and to put any loose pets on a leash until well past the plover area.
Volunteer Plover Guardians are provided with training on how to provide an educational opportunity in a non-confrontational way. Beach users often ask staff and volunteers about the plovers’ status and why the area is marked.
Volunteers give beach users information on why it is important not to disturb them while they are in courtship, nesting, chick-rearing and feeding.
Find Out More
To find out more about the PEI Piping Plover Guardian Program, please contact Island Nature Trust.
Note: If you are interested in becoming a Piping Plover Guardian, it’s best to get in touch with us in early April. We host a volunteer training session early in the season so our Guardians can get out on the beaches and start looking for early arrivals!
Tel: (902) 892-7513
Email: projects at islandnaturetrust.ca
Check out our Piping Plover Guardian Program brochure!