Protecting Wetlands Workshop Thursday February 2, 2023 at Captain Spry Centre

Received from EAC:

“A Protecting Wetlands Workshop cohosted by the Ecology Action Centre, Nature Nova Scotia and Halifax Regional Municipality, [will be] taking place on World Wetlands Day (Thursday February 2) from 9:00am to 12:30pm at the Captain Spry Centre in Halifax. To register for the morning session use this link:https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=B4ytwUMUokqYQUBKkBSIlgqELyam8z9Mptu5wN-Dey9UNjVTN1ozRFhDTEM4TkFXTlZVQ1lDOFBYTi4u

“This workshop will bring together a variety of stakeholders throughout the HRM who have interests in Nova Scotia wetlands and wetland management. This exploratory and collaborative workshop will include brief presentations about different aspects of wetlands in Nova Scotia, followed by activities for participants to brainstorm and discuss ideas of visions for future wetlands management.

Later in the day, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm, the Ecology Action Centre and Nature Nova Scotia will be hosting a similar workshop geared towards the public. During both workshops there will be an opportunity for local groups and organizations to set up a small exhibition table with posters or other educational materials for workshop participants to look at.”

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Tues Jan 10, 2023: “The Chebucto Peninsula and Moose Habitat Connectivity”

Join us for this Nature NS Talk:
“The Chebucto Peninsula and Moose Habitat Connectivity”
Tues Jan 10th at 7 pm. Recorded on YouTube

UPDATE Jan 10, 2023
A few items of interest from the webinar:
– The main reasons for excluding the Chebucto Peninusla from the CORE areas for Mainland Moose are, to paraphrase, (i) the  low number of moose, on the Chebucto Peninsula even in better times, and (ii) the very poor connectivity between the interior of the Chebucto Peninsula and the greater NS mainland due to development/major highways along the neck of the peninsula. The target is to bring the population up to 5000 animals province-wide and the Chebucto Peninsula will simply not play a significant role in reaching that target.  K.B., a member of the Moose Recovery Team said she strongly advocated for including the Chebucto Peninusula as a CORE area, but understood the reasons that was rejected by the team as a whole and she noted that nevertheless, the moose on the Chebucto Peninsula are still  protected.

The Chebucto Peninsula, courtesy of Plasma_east

– There was a lot of discussion of the need  for increasing wildlife connectivity between the Chebucto Peninsula and the greater NS mainland regardless of the moose issue.  Concern was expressed that the NS Government is not giving much attention to this issue, e.g. as massive new road building is announced.
– C.C. emphasized the importance of ‘building up, not out’ in urban areas so as reduce impacts on wildlife habitat in more rural areas; social equity is part of the issue as well.
– M.L. noted that a lot of the interior of Chebucto Peninsula is roadless and protected;  development occurs mostly around the periphery. Significantly, the interior generally hosts very few white-tailed deer*
*Low deer numbers are very much a positive benefit for moose because of the role of deer in propagating moose brainworm.
– M.L., who knows the area well and has been looking for moose and signs of moose (especially their browse of red maple), is confident that there are at least 5 animals on the Chebucto Peninsula currently, and that there has been calving in recent years. He observed a dead moose this past December, the death apparently due to natural causes (he mentioned predation) rather than poaching. Continue reading

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Bald Eagle in the Backlands 1Jan2023

Wrote birder Joshua Barss Donham on New Years Day:

Happy New Year to all!
Majesty in the Backlands! Watched this magnificent Bald Eagle dry its wings and preen while perched in a pine overlooking the lower Macintosh Run this afternoon. Spryfield, 1 January 2023. #keepthebacklandswild

Click on images for larger versions.
Continue reading

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Passing of Backlands Advocate Alan Ruffman 28Dec2022

Alan Ruffman, a marine geologist well known to the environmental community in the Halifax area and a regular participant in public hearings related to the Backlands, passed away on Dec 28, 2022. Some extracts from A legacy of community activism: Alan Ruffman dies at 82 by Vernon Ramesar · CBC News Dec 31, 2022: Continue reading

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Suite of new NS Nature Trust conservation properties include land in the Backlands 23Dec2022

From  Nova Scotia Nature Trust*:

“We’re excited to announce six new protected areas across the province that will be secured before the end of 2022, from Cape Breton to the south shore. On the heels of the recent COP15 United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, halting biodiversity loss has never felt more urgent, with world leaders now aligned on a global target to protect 30 per cent of the planet by 2030. This announcement is a timely step toward that ambitious goal…The Nature Trust’s newest protected areas include:

  • Little Charles Island at the heart of the 100 Wild Islands archipelago (Eastern Shore)
  • An addition to the 4,500 acres of coastal wilderness protected in the Mabou Highlands (Cape Breton)
  • New protected urban wilderness in the Purcells Cove backlands (Kjipuktuk-Halifax)
  • Critical habitat for endangered plants on Ponhook Lake (Kespukwitk-southwest Nova Scotia)
  • More protected habitat for at-risk birds and rare eastern white cedar in the growing Hectanooga conservation land assemblage
  • (Kespukwitk-Southwest Nova Scotia)
  • And Blanche Island, another important link on the Atlantic migratory flyway, critical for many bird species facing significant population declines (Kespukwitk-Southwest Nova Scotia)”.

Continue reading

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Celebrating Winter: “Ask an Elder: What do you call the winter months in the Mi’kmaw language?” 21Dec 2022

This CBC item of a few years ago is a wonderful and “seasonally appropriate” introduction to the Mik’maq language.

To delve  further into this truly incredible language, as a settler descendant I highly recommend The Language of this Land, Mi’kma’ki by Trudy Sable and Bernie Francis (2012 and 2018): Continue reading

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Birds in the Backlands: Indicators of the Health of the Habitat 21Dec2022

Red-breasted Nuthatch, an old forest species,
in the stands of old pine near the Williams
Lake Dam in theShaw Wilderness Park where
they nest.

Backlands Birders Joshua Barss Donham and Fulton Lavender prepared presentations on the theme “Birds in the Backlands: Indicators of the Health of the Habitat” for a Backlands Ecology Workshop that we held recently.

In Forest Birds in the Backlands, Joshua looks at how many bird species characteristic of immature, regenerating, and mature (old) forest occur in the Backlands. It turns out they are all well represented, reflecting the mosaic nature of Backlands habitats.

The Common Nighthawk, a Species-at-Risk in Nova Scotia, nests on barrens in the Backlands

Fulton Lavender looks at two groups of specialist birds: Goatsuckers and Raptors, again, both,  and the former uniquely, represented in the Backlands

So they give us more to celebrate about our Backlands, and incentive for us to work to ensure that the next seven generations can do the same.

Many Thanks,  Joshua & Fulton.

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Helping the Common Loon to stay common 17Nov2022

First loon spotted on Williams Lake in 2018, on  April 8  [click to enlarge] See WLCC post

UPDATE: New Loon Documentary. View Loons, A Cry from the Mist. Thx to PH/KS. Some background on the video on Birds Canada
——–
Backlanders Katie S and Martha L passed on this notice about a new documentary on the Common Loon with research supported by a lot of great citizen science work.

On Blue Ant Media:

Hear Their Haunting Calls: Cottage Life’s New Documentary Special, Loons: A Cry From The Mist, Spotlights Canada’s Iconic Bird and the Perils Impacting Their Population
The world broadcast premiere of Loons: A Cry From The Mist airs Friday, November 18 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, exclusively on Cottage Life

Trailer: https://youtu.be/zzfWhVlol24
Continue reading

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November flowering of Mountain Sandwort on our Jack Pine – Crowberry Barrens

The November flowering is pretty unusual. There is lots else that is special about this plant and its setting in the Backlands.

Mountain Sandwort on the barrens,
Nov 5, 2022
. Photo by Joshua Barss Donham
Click on image for larger version

Birdwatcher and Backlands enthusiast Joshua Barss Donham forwarded this pic to me a few days ago, commenting that “Last Sunday, [we] walked out the trail that begins at the end of Princeton Avenue… to see the view from where the path comes out on to the barrens and overlooks the lower MacIntosh Run. While we were out there we came across this flower. I think that it is pine-barren sandwort… Wondered what your thoughts are.”

So here they are, and a bit more about the plant and its setting…

(i) The plant is Mountain Sandwort (Mononeuria groenlandica*, very similar to the Pine Barren Sandwort (Mononeuria carolinana) which is a species of the Atlantic Coastal Pine Barrens habitat in the northeastern USA. Pine Barren Sandwort is now quite rare (conservation status S1, Critically Imperilled), largely because of development in this habitat.
*Even Scientific names change, pre-2014 Mononeuria groenlandica was Minuartia groenlandica; likewise Mononeuria carolinana was Minuartia carolinana.

Continue reading

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Seeing is believing! 8Nov2022

Click on image for YouTube Video

You have to see the uniqueness of the Backlands to believe that such a rare and rugged place exists in HRM. This aerial video of the Backlands is worth a million superlatives.

The Drone Team is led by Antonio with pilots Thomas, Nicholas, and Zack and directed by Cathy Vaughan of the Williams Lake Conservation Company Dam Committee.    Continue reading

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