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Walks & Talks

OUR WALKS are led by specialists or well schooled naturalists, and provide a good way to expand your knowledge of local natural history as well as to mingle with members of the natural history community.

Deep Cove Nature Reserve
Brad Armstrong and Doug van Hemessen led HFN participants into the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Deep Cove Nature Reserve on Oct 24, 2015.
Click on photo for larger version

We usually have one or more walks a month throughout the year. It may be possible for the contact person (who may or may not be the same as the trip leader) to organize a ride for an event outside the city. If this is possible, a contribution towards the fuel costs would be appropriate. All participants in HFN activities are responsible for their own safety. Always wear suitable clothing and footwear for the weather, the activity, and the terrain. If in doubt, call the contact person listed for each field trip.

OUR TALKS are given by both experts and interested amateurs – one every month except during the summer. They provide an opportunity to learn what local scientists, volunteers, and HFN members are up to. Regular meetings with talks are held on the first Thursday of every month except July and August at 7:30 PM in the auditorium of the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax. Meetings are open to the public. Use the entrance next to the parking lot. There is a charge for parking at the Museum; usually, two hours will be adequate.

Field Trip to  Cheverie Creek Saltmarsh, Nov. 16, 2013,
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A Colin Stewart Conservation Award Lecture. Nova Scotia is a special place for members of the heath/heather family Ericaceae. The Mayflower, or Trailing Arbutus, is our provincial flower, and blueberries are our top agricultural export; both are ericacias. Ericaceous species dominate our many bogs, fens, and barrens. We associate the fresh air of spring with three other ericacias – the azaleas and rhododendrons in our gardens, many of them varieties which were developed in Nova Scotia; and our native Rhodora in our acidic wetlands, surely the most beautiful azalea of all. In this presentation, David Patriquin will talk about the occurrence of ericaceous species on our landscape, their ecology and their history, both recent and ancient. 7:30 p.m. at the NSMNH

Dusk is a busy time of day for Nova Scotia’s wildlife, particularly in autumn when the sun sets early and they need to gather food and find warm shelter to prepare for the long winter. Come get an up-close view of over 50 species of animals and birds. Operated by the Department of Natural Resources, beautiful Shubenacadie Wildlife Park has been a refuge for animals for over 60 years. An experienced Nature Interpreter will take us on a tour through the park sharing lots of ‘wild’ facts and answering all of your questions. Bring your camera, a flashlight, and dress for the weather with comfortable walking shoes. Registration is required; a minimum of 10 participants is needed or the walk will be cancelled. Shubie Wildlife Park charges a fee of $10 per person. There will be no rain date.
Contact: Denyse Contrasty, 902-478-1706,
Time/Place: 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Carpooling will be organised to leave from Halifax.
Difficulty: Easy to moderate.
Duration: 2 hours

‘A’ for Adventure is a company which aims to inspire people to get outside and explore the natural world around them. It all started with a children’s book titled “A is for Adventure”; a rhyming A-Z book with incredible illustrations which ignite the imagination and encourage outdoor play. The authors believe that spending more time outside connecting with nature helps to build greater curiosity, creativity, and resiliency – for people of all ages. The ‘A’ for Adventure team will discuss their path to self-publishing the book through a kickstarter campaign, their strategic partnerships with organisations like Parks Canada and CBC, and how they used social media to invoke change. They will be bringing copies of their book ‘A is for Adventure’ in case anyone would like to purchase one as a holiday present for the young nature lovers in their lives!
Holiday Social
Our annual Members’ Holiday Social will take place after the above talk. Please bring your sweets or savouries and non-alcoholic beverages to the usual meeting area. A subscription to the Halifax Field Naturalist would make a good holiday gift; bring your money or a cheque. Please note – there are no facilities for heating food.
7:30 p.m. at the NSMNH

Over the last 20 or 30 years, much has been said about the Canadian seal hunt. But, what do we really know about this much-maligned harvest and the men who risked their lives “going to the ice”? In this lively, illustrated presentation, award-winning author Bob Chaulk talks about the historic seal hunt during the period of the ‘wooden walls’, after the steamships SS Bloodhound and SS Wolf brought wholesale change to an old industry, beginning in 1863. Bob tells about the dangerous and desperate lives of the men – young, ill-clad, brave and cheery men of iron who pursued the seals, and the ships which carried them, too often, to their deaths. Many of the ships figure prominently in the Arctic and Antarctic exploration activities of men like Shackleton, Scott, and Nansen. One of them even became the logo for a chain of popular boutiques!
7:30 p.m. at the NSMNH

HFN and the Nova Scotia Bird Society, led by HFN/NSBS member Clarence Stevens Jr., will visit all the favourite winter bird sites in and around Halifax Harbour looking for ducks, gulls and alcids – Hartlen Point, Eastern Passage, Dartmouth Cove, Sullivan’s Pond, Tuft’s Cove, and the Bedford Waterfront. If weather conditions are favourable and time permits, we’ll also visit Point Pleasant Park. Dress warmly and bring a lunch, binoculars and scope and field guides.
Storm Date: January 15
Contact: Carol Klar, 902 443 3385,
Time/Place: 9:00 a.m., McCormack’s Beach Provincial Park parking lot, just past Fisherman’s Cove in Eastern Passage.
Duration: Until mid to late afternoon
Difficulty: Easy to moderate