Training is an important aspect of the volunteer program. Piping plovers nest regularly on two Ontario beaches — Sauble Beach and Wasaga Beach — and on occasion have been located on Oliphant and Port Elgin beaches. To ensure that consistent training and accurate messaging is going out to beachgoers and the general public, training sessions are coordinated between these two locations, with the content, messaging, and general protocols remaining similar for both groups.
Training is mandatory for all volunteers, as is adhering to the Ontario Piping Plover Monitor Manual which is provided to volunteers. The manual was created based on past experiences, and with provincial and national recovery goals in mind. Comments and suggestions from the experience of on-beach volunteers are welcome. Review of the manual and revisions are conducted annually or as required. This helps keep the program on different beaches similar which leads to greater consistency in data collection, and assists in clear and consistent messaging in the province.
Training covers these general topics: piping plover biology, bird and band identification, using the reporting sheets accurately, history of piping plover recovery in Ontario, key messages, and common on-beach scenarios. Pertinent information can be found in the volunteer manual.