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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 7, 2015: YOUR CONSERVATION LANDS

align=The Nova Scotia Nature Trust, now in its 20th year, has formally protected 65 ‘Conservation Lands’ across Nova Scotia for wildlife and people to enjoy. What is special about these properties? How did they come to be? How do we get to them? These and other questions will be addressed by HFN member Karen McKendry, Conservation Coordinator with the Nature Trust. 7:30 pm at NSMNH Read more

SATURDAY JAN. 3, 2015: ANNUAL SEWER STROLL

sewer strollHFN and the Nova Scotia Bird Society, led by HFN/NSBS member Dennis Hippern, 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. Read more

Methane from Northern Permafrost — A Cause for Concern?

Large areas of northern regions are covered by permafrost. As the Arctic warms, the permafrost will degrade and lead to increased emissions of greenhouse gases such as methane. Recently, global atmospheric methane concentrations have begun to increase again after being stable for a decade, and the Arctic is one of the possible sources. Dr. Rachel Chang will outline results from her Arctic research and discuss potential causes that could be contributing to this increase in a talk to the Nova Scotia Institute of Science on Monday Jan 5, 2015. Read more

Bob Bancroft: Time to clean house at Natural Resources

forestIn the Saturday Chronicle Herald, Bob Bancroft, wildlife biologist, Chair of Nature NS, and co-author of the 2010 report Restoring the Health of Nova Scotia Forests writes that “…protected areas need to be connected by ecologically healthy working forests over about 60 per cent of the province. Quality forests would replace prices like $8.20 per tonne for fibre that now exist….It’s time to think beyond four-year terms with respect to DNR’s mandate for forests and wildlife. Politicians talk about balance, but there is no ecological balance in Nova Scotia’s current forest practices. Effective environmental legislation is long overdue. ” Rick Howe and Bob will be discussing these issues on News 95.7 Monday Dec 15 at 12:30 pm (link to archive). Read more

HFN Members’ Art Exhibit – call for entries

HFN is partnering with the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History to hold a Members’ Art Exhibit. The exhibit will open on June 4th prior to our regular “talk.” Members are invited to submit one piece of art related to nature or natural history. All forms of art are welcome; some examples are: basket making, carving, felting, hooking, painting, quilting, sculpturing, and needlework (like crewel embroidery or needlepoint). Even a favorite photograph you’ve taken qualifies. The 40th Anniversary Committee needs members to register an intention to participate in the Art Exhibit by mid-January. The contact person is Grace Beazley, 902-429-6626, rbeazleyATdal.ca.

Sharing Halifax space with wildlife

Unlike most Canadian cities, the urban core of Halifax is surrounded not by farms or endless burbs but by forested and coastal landscapes. Even within 30 kilometres of downtown Halifax, where approximately three-quarters of the population resides, developed areas are interspersed with substantive wild spaces. An article in the Nova Scotia Naturally series in the Chronicle Herald, highlights Halifax’s wild spaces and discusses some of what has to be done to preserve their wildness. View Article. Some supplementary materials are posted on the Wildland Writers’ website.

Bees of Canada

beeMargarita Miklasevskaja, Jakov Musafija and Laurence Packer of the Department of Biology at York University have set up an image database for the Bees of Canada View Image Database

Birds At Risk

Birds at Risk“Birds At Risk is a half hour documentary that travels to birding hotspots around Nova Scotia to examine the health of our bird populations. The film introduces a passionate group of birdwatchers, biologists and volunteers that are playing an important role in the scientific research that is critical to keeping bird species alive.” See the Broadcast Premiere on CBC Television’s Land & Sea on Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 12 Noon. View Trailer UPDATE (Dec 8): Entire Show

Jellification of our lakes

jelly planktonStudies by Jon Smol and colleagues at Queens University on lakes in Nova Scotia and Ontario reveal a very worrisome trend – a change in the phytoplankton species associated with declining calcium levels. “Without calcium entering the lakes in run-off, some crustaceans at the base of the aquatic food chain, which make their exoskeletons from the mineral, are at a disadvantage, and they’re being displaced by species that have an jelly-like coating. These jelly-organisms are inedible to many predators, and disruptive to the lakes’ ecological balance.” (CBC report). Acid rain combined with inherently poorly buffered soils, especially in SW Nova Scotia, is the major driver; clearcutting is also cited as a factor. View references.

THURSDAY DEC. 4, 2014: The Right to a Healthy Environment

Jamie Simpson, Executive Director of the East Coast Environmental Law Association, will talk about what the right to a legally binding healthy environment would mean for Nova Scotians, and outline the impacts it has had elsewhere in the world. This will be followed by our traditional Holiday Social. Read more

Clearcutting the neighborhood – a community fights back

clearcutK’JIPUKTUK, HALIFAX – We will soon find out what happens when local residents say no to clearcutting in their community.
The community in question is Round Hill, just a fifteen minute drive from Annapolis Royal. It’s a lovely spot. Nestled along the Annapolis River, you immediately sense that it is rich in history. And there are lots and lots of trees… a forestry company wants to harvest all the trees. Maps published by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) indicate that the lands will be clearcut. Read more in the Media Co-op article by Robert Devet

HRM puts out RFP for Greenbelting & Public Open Space Priorities Plan

“The Halifax Regional Municipality (the Municipality) invites the submission of proposals from qualified professional firms (and teams) … for the development of a Greenbelting and Public Open Space Priorities Plan (Open Space Plan) for the protection of a regional network of lands for resource conservation, public service delivery and community shaping. This Plan is a key deliverable under the Halifax Regional Municipal Planning Strategy (Regional Plan).” Pages 21 on give readers a good sense of the envisaged why, what and how of greenbelting for HRM. View RFP. (The Closing Date is December-04-14.)