Walks & Talks

About Our Walks and 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.

We usually have one or more walks a month throughout the year. 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. They provide an opportunity to learn what local scientists, volunteers, and HFN members are up to. Regular meetings with talks are held on the third Tuesday 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, however in the event of the room being filled up, members would be given priority.  Use the entrance next to the parking lot. There is a charge for parking at the Museum; usually, two hours will be adequate.

Upcoming Events

Note: As of September 2023 our regular meeting time has changed from the first Thursday of the month to the third Tuesday on the month.

Tuesday, 16 April, 2024:  Fossils & Evolution – The Maritime Story
As a research scientist and paleontologist with over 40 years of experience and a lead author/editor of the recent book, The Last Billion Years (2nd Edition) on Maritimes geology, Rob will take us on a tour of the rich fossil record of the Maritimes. If you’d like to find out about the connection between worm burrows and the Cambrian “Explosion”, the Bay of Fundy’s basalt cliffs and the rise of the dinosaurs, what the Milford mastodon ate, and much more, please join us.
Time/Place:  7:30 p.m. at the NS Museum of Natural History Auditorium
Zoom Option:  Yes – an invitation will be sent to HFN members prior to the event

Saturday, 27 April, 2024:  City Nature Challenge Walk (CNC) (iNaturalist)
Dr. Sean Haughian, Curator of Botany and interdisciplinary ecologist at the Nova Scotia Museum, has graciously offered to lead a HFN CNC walk on Saturday, April, 27th. Due to Sean’s very considerable experience and nature knowledge, this walk presents an excellent opportunity for all to learn of nature’s secrets. The walk will take us through Hemlock Ravine’s diverse areas with a wide variety of plants for the CNC records.  On this walk, he’ll concentrate on locating and identifying different species of moss and lichen along the way.  He recommends we bring a 10 x 16 hand-lens (loupe). He will take along a few spare loupes with him.
Note: registration is required for communication purposes and because attendee numbers may be limited. Also note, for CNC (iNaturalist) purposes your iNaturalist identification information is required when registering. It’s worth testing the app prior to the walk and anyone needing iNaturalist set-up help please contact Mary Kennedy at cnc2019hrm@gmail.com
Rain Date:    Sunday, April 28
Contact:        Bernie McKenna, 902-434-3202, or mckennab197@gmail.com
Time: Place: 9:00 am start / Hemlock Ravine Park, 40 Kent Ave. Halifax  
Directions:    Kent Ave. is west off of Bedford Highway 
Difficulty:      Moderate off-trail walking, waterproof footwear (rubber boots) and warm clothing is recommended. Also, ticks are out and about.                                                             
Duration:      2 – 3 hrs.

Note:  a second CNC walk is planned on Saturday, 27 April at Sandy Lake (Bedford) at 1:00 pm.  It is being led by David Patriquin and Sean Haughian. View this post  on Sandy Lake & Environs website for details (Registration Required)

Saturday, 4 May, 2024:  Burntcoat Head Park
HFN’s old friend Andrew Hebda and his wife Gwyneth Jones will lead us during this wonderful tour of a truly remarkable Nova Scotia site. We’ll learn about a Society for Artistic Research Announcements (SARA), the Lithophaga molluscs – marine Date Mussels, and also the Fallen Angel Wing or Truncate mollusc, a unique creature that lives on this shore. Gwyneth and Andrew will explain the amazing complexity of the ocean floor ecosystem, and how many forces of nature constantly shape its future, day after day and year after year. Weather permitting (visibility-wise), we’ll see several well known and recognisable land marks – Cape Split, Five Islands, Economy Point, etc. With a 2.5 hour drive there from the Halifax area, it’s hoped we can all car pool whenever possible.     Note: (1) registration is required, and (2) wet, muddy walking conditions and possibly cool temperatures suggest that boots or similar footwear plus warm clothing are advisable.
Rain Date:  Sunday, 5 May
Contact: Bernie McKenna, 902-434-3202, mckennab197@gmail.com
Time/Place:  1:30 p.m., Burntcoat Head Park, 45 Faulkner Lane, Noel. There’s plenty of parking on the park’s grounds.
Difficulty:  Medium, a wet and muddy ocean floor with some sandstone areas
Duration: 2.5 hours there, plus travel time. Distance to Burntcoat Head from Halifax is 88 kms.

Tuesday, 21 May, 2024:  Maritime Walruses
Dr Brenna Frasier, Curator of Zoology at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, will discuss research on the now sadly extirpated Maritime Walrus and the many specimens held in the NSMNH collection, mostly from Sable Island. She will cover how they were previously found off Cape Breton, Sable Island, PEI and the Magdalen Islands, until they were hunted to extinction in the 1750s, and how most bones are presently found and by whom. She will also discuss new research on their morphology and DNA that is presently underway, and how it suggests that these walruses were genetically and morphologically distinct from other North American walruses.
Time/Place:  7:30 p.m. at the NS Museum of Natural History Auditorium
Zoom Option:  Yes – an invitation will be sent to HFN members prior to the event

To Be Announced June, 2024:  Bog Plant Tour
Dr. Sean Haughian, Curator of Botany and an Interdisciplinary Ecologist at the Nova Scotia Museum, has graciously agreed to lead a bog plant tour this June. Sean has studied and worked in many Canadian ecosystems and focused his work on forest-dwelling herbs, lichens, mosses and liverworts. He’s the ideal person to lead this walk. His current research concentrates on conserving at-risk plants and lichens in forest ecosystems — developing new methods to grow lichens and mosses for green infrastructure (like green roofs), and understanding how species’ distributions relate to climate and other environmental features. On this walk, he’ll concentrate on peat, mosses, carnivorous plants, and orchids, and thinks June should be an optimum time to see and photograph all of them.
Note: registration is required for communications and because of limited numbers. Also, note most information is TBA at this point.
Rain Date:  TBA
Contact: Bernie McKenna, 902-434-3202, mckennab197@gmail.com
Time/Place: TBA
Difficulty: TBA
Duration: TBA

HFN Membership:  Just a friendly reminder that HFN memberships expire at the end of the calendar year. If you have not already   done so, please consider renewing your membership.
Details available here: http://halifaxfieldnaturalists.ca/hfnWP/?page_id=2893It should also be noted that Nature Nova Scotia memberships are no longer available via HFN. Should you wish to continue your membership with Nature NS, or join for the first time, please visit: https://naturens.ca/join/