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CPAWS asks for support to Save Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve

From action.cpaws.org:

“The Nova Scotia government has secretly de-listed Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve and is now preparing to sell-off these public lands to a private developer who is interested in building golf courses.

“This decision was made behind-closed-doors with ZERO public consultation. The only reason why this delisting is known is because of the investigative reporting by Michael Gorman at CBC Nova Scotia.

“We urgently need your help to STOP the Nova Scotia government from selling off this coastal park for private development.

“Please send an email to Premier Stephen McNeil that calls on the government to 1) stop the sale of public lands at Owls Head, and 2) immediately protect these lands using the Wilderness Areas Protection Act.”

The CPAWS Action Website provides a form for sending a letter – please do

For more about this important conservation issue:
Read more »

iNaturalists observed 88% of the known vascular flora of Ontario in 2019

“The 2019 Big Year was a huge success. Over 200,000 observations were submitted to the project. That’s ten times the number of observations submitted to the first Big Year in 2018. Every single municipality and ecoregion in the province was represented this year and a total of 3,150 species were observed, 2,906 of which were vascular plants (Tracheophyta). Approximately 3,300 species of vascular plants are known to occur in Ontario which means that approximately 88% of the known vascular flora of Ontario was observed this year!”

View more about it at 2019 Ontario Botanists’ Big Year’s News (post by Will Van Hemessen on iNaturalist, Jan 1, 2019).

Halifax did pretty well in the 2019 iNaturalist City Nature Challenge.

HFN is participating in the organization of this year’s (2020) City Nature Challenge scheduled for April 24-27, 2020

Stay Tuned!

Thursday January 2, 2020: Evening talk on North Atlantic Wright Whales

Source: Wikipedia

Timothy Frazier holds a faculty position at Saint Mary’s University in 2009, and his research now focuses on using genetics to improving the understanding and conservation of whales. Whales are some of the most intriguing, yet difficult to study, animals on the planet. Many species have also been heavily exploited by humans, and are now endangered and are a concern for conservation. Because they spend so much of their time underwater, and so much of their behaviour occurs out of sight. Genetic analyses can be particularly useful for revealing otherwise hidden aspects of the lives of these animals and the threats that they face. In this talk Timothy Frazier will give a broad overview of the ways in which genetic analyses can help us understand and conserve whale populations, highlighted by specific case studies from his research program.
All Welcome at 7:30 pm Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History on Summer Street (lower entrance).

“Halifax’s urban wilderness is a place to leave cares behind, nature enthusiasts say”

CPress ImageA Canadian Press article on CTV news highights Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes. “Geoffrey Grantham sits painting the granite slope and wind-blown jack pine reflected in the waters of a Nova Scotia lake, his mind far from the busy city just a short walk away. It only took minutes for the 48-year-old artist to hike from a big-box retail hub in Halifax’s west end into the tranquility of the Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes urban wilderness. He is among the growing number of eco-tourists — ranging from painters and bird watchers to walkers and canoeists — who journey to this area, often by bus, bike or on foot…” Artist Geoffey Grantham, veteran canoe-kayaker Dusan Soudec, Friends of Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes and Halifax North West Trails Association are all cited – and the long road to actually seeing the area as a Regional Park.

Mon Nov 4, 2019, NSIS lecture: Ethnobiology of Northeastern Turtle Island Food, Medicine & Material Security


Click on image to view it all

Tues Sep 24 2019 at 6PM at Halifax City Hall: Important Public Hearing on Green Network Plan – re Wildlife Corridors

UPDATE Wed Sep 25, 2019: The Amendment “to the Regional Plan’s conservation design development agreement policies to specifically reference the Important and Essential Corridors shown on Map 5)”  received unanimous approval at yesterdays meeting of Halifax Regional Council.

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Map 5 in the Halifax Green Network Plan
Click on image for larger version and legend

Halifax (HRM) is blessed with phenomenal natural assets. In June of 2018, Regional Council tabled the Final Draft of the The Halifax Green Network Plan  which “provides land management and community design direction to:
– maintain ecologically and culturally important land and aquatic systems;
– promote the sustainable use of natural resources and economically important open spaces; and
– identify, define and plan land suited for parks and corridors”

The Essential and Important Corridors shown in Map 5 above allow movement genetic exchange of plants and animals, large and small, between otherwise isolated patches of natural habitat within HRM and across the boundaries of HRM. Without those corridors, biodiversity and ecosystems services provided by our natural spaces will inevitably decline – such habitat fragmentation and isolation is a major driver of the massive species losses currently in progress globally and locally.

Legislative followup to the HGNP is required to actually protect those corridors and  is urgent as some development has already occurred or been approved within those corridors,

“Consequently, to avoid potential conflicts in the near term, staff recommend a narrowly focused amendment to the Regional Plan’s conservation design development agreement policies to specifically reference the Important and Essential Corridors shown on Map 5, Green Network Ecology Map, contained in the HGNP. This will provide a clearer, more up-to-date basis for municipal staff and developers to consider such corridors as part of the conservation design development agreement process.”

HRM is only considering this change – it hasn’t happened yet. We need your help to ensure that they amend the Regional Plan to require all conservation design (rural residential development) to plan based on the ecological findings of the Green Network Plan.

What you can do: attend the hearing or write in advance (by 3 pm Monday, Sep 23 see below for venues) to support the amendment, asking HRM to not allow development to compromise connectivity or the ecological network in any way.

Even a few words to your  Councillor and Mayor Savage will help e.g., to  say you are strongly in support of an amendment to the Regional Plan’s conservation design development agreement policies to specifically reference the Important and Essential Corridors shown on Map 5 .
Read more »

Tree culling at Point Pleasant Park to be discussed on Rick Howe Show Tues 21 May 2019 at 11 am

A wild cherry in bloom at PPP May 19, 2019. What will change at this site, and others, after the cull?

UPDATE: Advocacy group concerned about culling of trees in Point Pleasant
by: Victoria Walton FOR www.halifaxtoday.ca/ “The Friends of Point Pleasant Park group wants more information on the proposed cull of 80,000 non-native trees in the park”. The 95.7 Interview with Stephanie Robertson can be accessed for a limited time under past episodes. The Rick Howe Show – 9 a.m. for May 21, 2019; The interview begins at ~9:45.
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The tree cull planned for Point Pleasant Park is raising some alarms, view links below.

Stephanie Robertson of the Halifax Field Naturalists will be talking about it on Tues 21 May 2019 at 11 am on The Rick Howe Show.

If you miss it, you can catch the audio recording for a couple of days here. Stay Tuned!

More on the Cull

Forestry expert advises caution in Point Pleasant Park tree cull
Pam Berman · CBC News · Posted: May 13, 2019

Massive tree cull in Point Pleasant Park planned for this summer
Paul Palmeter · CBC News · Posted: May 07, 2019
Read more »

Nature Trust’s Historic Land Campaign include two new properties, donations now matched 4:1 until April 5, 2019

From Nova Scotia Nature Trust: “Our Lasting Landscapes campaign was already on track for historic land conservation achievements. Now, an unexpected $400,000 top-up in matching funds means even greater biodiversity wins can be leveraged for Nova Scotia. We just added 2 more potential conservation sites to the 15 already being protected across the province. But to seize this new opportunity, we need to raise another $100,000, and secure both new conservation sites, by April 5, 2019.

“…Bolstered by the outpouring of support to date, we’ve seized this opportunity and signed offers to acquire the two additional properties: one in the Mabou Highlands and another in a popular near-urban wildland just minutes outside of Halifax.

“…All donations will be matched 4 to 1, but only until the April 5 deadline. Please help us save even more land through our Lasting Landscapes Campaign – now up to 17 sites – by donating today!”

April 26 to April 29, 2019: City Nature Challenge – Halifax

Monday Feb 4, 2019: Zoe Lucas at NSIS on Sable Island, A Monitoring Platform for Marine Pollutants


Click on image for full version

Thurs Feb 7, 2019: Nova Scotia Nature Trust Volunteer Coordinator

Ryan MacLean, Volunteer Coordinator for the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, is delighted to join the HFN to talk about her work with the Nova Scotia Nature Trust. Ryan will share her personal journey of how she came to work in conservation and discuss her mission to increase engagement in land stewardship initiatives in Nova Scotia. She is passionate about our beautiful province and wants others to explore the wonders of Nova Scotia while being conscious of their impact on the environment. Working in conservation and stewardship has been a lifelong dream and something she truly believes is her life’s work. Come hear from Ryan herself about what lights her fire when it comes to conservation and land stewardship in Nova Scotia. 7:30 p.m. at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History (lower entrance).

Thurs Jan 31, 2019: The Possibility of Gaia

What: “The Possibility of Gaia”, a discussion with Frederic Bouchard (Universite de Montreal), Tim Lenton (University of Exeter), Ford Doolittle (Dalhousie) and Joe Bielawski (Dalhousie).
Read more »