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HFN and NSWFS make a joint submission to the Regional Plan Review

Halifax Regional Plan Review 2021: Feedback from two naturalist societies – the Halifax Field Naturalists and the Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society

Submitted to regionalplan@halifax.ca on July 15, 2021

WHO WE ARE

The Halifax Field Naturalists (HFN), founded in 1975, seeks to “educate ourselves and the public at large in the natural history of Nova Scotia.” Current membership is 110 paid up members. We have a website at www.halifaxfieldnaturalists.ca

The Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society (NSWFS), founded in 1990, is dedicated to the appreciation and conservation of wild flora and habitat in Nova Scotia. Currently we have 47 paid up members. We have a website at www.nswildflora.ca

Both groups are Halifax based for in-person and now some virtual meetings, but we have members from all over the province, and our field trips occur throughout Nova Scotia.

Whenever possible, meetings and field trips of HFN and NSWFS are open to the public at large. In the last several years we have seen rising interest in our activities, reflecting the increased appreciation generally today of nature and of the many and special opportunities we have in Nova Scotia to enjoy nature.

Many of our members are involved as individuals in trail organizations and in specific conservation efforts. As naturalist societies, we are often asked to support such efforts by visiting specific sites and documenting the flora and fauna, and by writing letters of support.
HFN and NSWFS are members of Our HRM Alliance and are highly supportive of the draft document that has been circulating “Our HRM Alliance Response to the Proposed Regional Plan Review Themes & Directions”. We highlight some special concerns that we have as naturalist organizations below.

GREEN SPACE IN HRM: A LOT OF PROGRESS, BUT CONTINUING DEGRADATION

As naturalist societies and individually, it has been gratifying to participate in various HRM initiatives related to our ‘green spaces’ and we have been especially encouraged by the unanimous Regional Council support for the Halifax Green Network Plan in 2018 (but yet to be implemented). At the same time, however, we are witnessing continuing degradation of our green spaces. Read more »

City Nature Challenge April 30th to May 5th 2021

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City Nature Challenge 2021: Nova Scotia
“This umbrella project brings together all the 2021 Nova Scotian CNC entries. Lets go Nova Scotia!” Locations: Halifax, CA, NSAnnapolis, CA, NSKings, CA, NSCape Breton, NS, CA

City Nature Challenge 2021: Halifax Regional Municipality
“Help put Halifax Regional Municipality on the global nature scene! On April 30th to May 5th cities/places from across the planet, from here in our province to other locations around the world, will compete for the title of the most Biodiverse City. We need your help. Whether you’re an avid naturalist or a dog walker, everyone can participate: it’s easy, fun, and will encourage you to get outdoors.”

A page with info related to iNaturalist and its use in NS has been created on this website under the Conservation section, View iNaturalist page

Want to learn more about iNaturalist? CWF Webinar on April 7, 2021

UPDATE: THIS WEBINAR IS NOW AVAILABLE AS AN ARCHIVE. April 7, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. EST [1 pm to 2 pm AST] iNaturalist has become one of the world’s most popular nature apps and the Canadian Wildlife Federation has led the charge in bringing it to Canada. It’s more than just an app; there’s an entire online platform complete with image recognition technology along with a growing community to support you in your discoveries. Join us in leaning the ins and outs of using the app and iNaturalist.ca to record wildlife observations – from the tiniest bug to the tallest tree and everything in between. You’ll then be equipped and ready to take part in the City Nature Challenge, the largest annual initiative on iNaturalist, happening April 30 to May 3, 2021.
Go to this page to register: https://cwf-fcf.org/en/resources/downloads/webinars/public/inaturalist-canada-how-to.html

A page with info related to iNaturalist and its use in NS has been created on this website under the Conservation section, View iNaturalist page

Apr 12, 2021: Wayfinding Under the Waves”.

Received from NSIS: “The Nova Scotian Institute of Science is pleased to present the sixth of its 2020-2021 free monthly public lectures on Monday, April 12th, at 7:30pm.  Dr. Russell Wyeth will speak on “Wayfinding Under the Waves”. Due to Covid-19, this will be a virtual presentation on Zoom.  The link is near the top of the “Public Lectures” website page http://nsis.chebucto.org/meetings/ and will open just before the lecture.

Dr. Russell Wyeth, Dept of Biology, St. Francis Xavier University
Presents: Wayfinding Under the Waves Read more »

Apr 7, 2021: Earth Ecosystems in a Time of Global Change

Earth Ecosystems in a Time of Global Change” – a public virtual science panel on Wednesday April 7th – from 4:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. –  with six scientists from the Univeristé de Montpellier, the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, the University of British Columbia, Memorial University of Newfoundland, and the Sorbonne University, France.  Six scientists, each with 3-minute talks; with questions and answers.  Register free at https://www.ciee-icee.ca.

HFN’s Colin Stewart Conservation Award for 2020: Wolfgang Maass

Photo by Robert Cameron, taken in 2012 at the Ship Harbour Long Lake Protected Wilderness Area. Wolfgang always wore a tie in the field.

The Colin Stewart Conservation Award for 2020 was to have been presented at the Halifax Field Naturalists Annual General Meeting on the first Thursday in March, 2020, at 7:30 p.m, at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History. COVID restrictions prevented that meeting, and the award was formally announced and presented at the 2020 AGM for the Halifax Field Naturalists, held virtually (on Zoom)  on March 4, 2021.

The award is made posthumously to Wolfgang Maass (1929-2016) who pioneered lichen research and conservation in Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia Environment ecologist Robert Cameron spoke last night about Wolfgang’s contributions, saying that NS is  leading the country in lichen conservation and that we have Wolfgang Maass to thank for that.  Read more

Thursday, Feb 4, 2021: Invasive Species in Nova Scotia

Rosa multiflora climbing over trees, Windsor area

Today, from the Program Committee of the Halifax Field Naturalists:

There will be an online presentation on Thursday, February the 4th, at 7:30 pm.

Kristen Noel from the Nova Scotia Invasive Species Council will give a presentation on Invasive Species in Nova Scotia.

An invasive species is any species that is non-native, spreads rapidly and causes harm. For this presentation, Kristen will be discussing howthey get introduced, how they spread and what we can do to prevent the

introduction and reduce the spread! Kristen will be going over a few examples of invasive species that are particularly prevalent in Nova Scotia and HRM, including marine, freshwater and terrestrial species, including a disease caused by an invasive fungus. Read more »

The Stones of Spring Garden Road

From the HFN Programme Committee:

Some of our HFN members may remember walking the quarries of Purcell’s Cove on a bone chilling day in November 2014 and again in November 2019 to visit the source of granite, dark sandstone, and slate used in the construction of prominent Halifax buildings. Heritage Trust NS went one step further and arranged a talk and walk along Spring Garden Road to examine its buildings to determine what type of stone was used and from where.

This 45 minute tour given by geologist, Dr Howard Donohoe, was recorded for YouTube and is available for all to view: The Stones of Spring Garden Road, a tour with Howard V. Donohoe Jr.

NSIS Monday, September 14th 2020: Socially Responsible Science: Through the Earth Sciences Lens

SPEAKER Dr. Anne Daziel Faculty Associate Department of Biology, Saint Mary’s University2020
With the ever-increasing demand humans continue to place on earth’s physical resources and our growing understanding of the environment, Dr. Ryan explores the heightened need for geo-ethics among working earth scientists.“What is the responsibility of (geo) scientists in today’s society? How do we balance the ethics involved in ensuring a sustainable environment while also extracting the materials we deem necessary for modern civilization in the 21st Century and the future? Whose responsibility is it to educate science students on awareness and accountability in relation to society and to the environment?”These are just some of the questions that the interface of geoscience and ethics pose for us as a society. Join us to explore science versus humanity from the perspective of earth scientists, with implications for other ?elds of science.”
Due to covid-19 it will not be in-person, but will be available on Zoom. The link to the Zoom meeting will be posted on the NSIS website ( http://nsis1862.ca/ or http://nsis.chebucto.org/ ) just prior to the start time.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court rules in favour of Naturalists/East Coast Environmental Law versus NS Lands & Forestry

Today’s decision confirms that Nova Scotia’s ESA is the law, and not a set of vague or voluntary guidelines. The Minister is required to fulfill the law’s mandatory requirements to protect some of the province’s most vulnerable species. Sarah McDonald, Ecojustice lawyer

Ram’s Head orchid

From the Background to Supreme Court Decision (May 29, 2020)

The Minister of Lands and Forestry (the Minister) is responsible for implementing the ESA [Endangered Species Act]. The Applicants say the Minister has failed to implement the ESA as it pertains to six representative species: Mainland Moose, Ram’s-head Lady Slipper, Canada Warbler, Black Ash, Wood Turtle, and Eastern Wood Pewee. Each of these species is native to Nova Scotia and is listed as endangered, threatened, or vulnerable under the ESA. The Applicants [Robert Bancroft, Federation of Nova Scotia Naturalists, Blomidon Naturalists Society and The Halifax Field Naturalists with East Coast Environmental Law Association as Intervenor] seek a declaration that the Minister’s failure to implement the ESA, specifically section 15, is unlawful and unreasonable; an order of mandamus; and a supervisory order by which the court would retain jurisdiction and require the Minister to produce status reports on the implementation of section 15.

Read more »

Earth Day Webinar with EAC will highlight wild areas in Halifax

It will stream live on Facebook on Wed. April 22, 2020 from 1pm to 3pm

UPDATE Apr 23, 2020: The webinar (minus the first 10 min) is archived on the EAC Facebook Page
—————–
Message just received:

EAC is hosting a webinar on Earth Day, featuring the work of 4 staff members at EAC. I’ll [Karen McKendry, EACWilderness Outreach Coordinator] be one of the presenters, and will focus on the last 3 large wild areas in urban Halifax: Purcells Cove Backlands, Blue Mountain, and Sandy Lake and Sackville River. I’ll also speak briefly to the health benefits for spending time in nature, including mental health benefits. I think we need the solace and calm and inspiration that nature has to offer us right now.

… Please share this Facebook post about the online event with your members:

https://www.facebook.com/EcologyActionCentre/photos/
a.10150094077403648/10158505719838648/?type=3&theater

It will stream live on Facebook on April 22 from 1pm to 3pm. People can also join by Zoom… details on that should appear on EAC’s Facebook page soon.

City Nature Challenge 2020 Fri Apr 24 to Mon Apr 27

View iNaturalist page:  City Nature Challenge 2020: The Maritimes Umbrella Project

“Five areas from around the Maritimes have been registered to participate: HRM, the Valley, CBRM, Saint John and Westmorland County, NB. Each of these areas has its own CNC iNat project page. This umbrella project brings all of these individual project together – we have common goals to not only introduce/promote iNaturalist but to also simply encourage people to get outdoors and explore our part of the world.
Read more »