Nurturing Nature

We had the pleasure of getting down for the Lands and Trails meeting in Riverside-Albert Tuesday night hosted by the Southeast Regional Service Commission, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, and the Fundy Biosphere Reserve.  This is a follow-up to the post I wrote just a couple weeks ago about the plans for a 150 km trail from Fundy park to Shediac that I heard about from Marc Leger, the Trails coordinator for the Southeast Regional Service Commission during Riverview’s Winter Carnival. The meeting this week was an opportunity to hear more about how all the “Nature” organizations can work together conserving, protecting and using the land in a sustainable, enjoyable way in concert with development and marketing of this new Trail. 

  

We heard from Dr. Jennifer Dingman , director of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve, then Paula Noel, program director in NB for the Nature Conservancy of Canada ,Adam Cheeseman , one of the program directors at Nature NB.and then from Marc Leger about more details of the trail.  Friends of Fundy was represented as well.

I was familiar with the Fundy Biosphere and Friends of Fundy but Nature NB and Nature Conservancy of Canada are fairly new to me. I had heard of them but never really knew what they did.  Nature NB is ” a non-profit, charitable organization whose mission is to celebrate, conserve and protect New Brunswick’s natural heritage, through education, networking and collaboration. Founded in 1972 as the New Brunswick Federation of Naturalists, the organization is presently comprised of a dozen naturalist clubs and hundreds of members across the province.”  While they do a lot of education and outreach programs, one of the neat things they have been doing since 2011 is coordinating the ” Important Bird Areas” or IBAs in New Brunswick. IBAs are specific areas in the province where some of the 300 species identified in NB tend to congregate in significant numbers. A lot of these areas are not protected but Nature NB works with to volunteers to monitor ,protect and educate others about these areas. The Bay of Fundy has a significant area where various species of birds are found and the West Shepody Bay is an area of ~ 290 sq km designated as an IBA.  Another interesting part of Nature NB that represents the Bay of Fundy is the Mary Majka scholarship that was established in 2014 to honour Mary as one of the founding members of Nature NB. As most people know, Mary was instrumental in educating and promoting many aspects of nature especially her beloved birds and beach at Mary’s Point.  You can go here to read about the scholarship and download the application if you know anyone studying in the field of natural science and would like to apply by March 31st. It’s for students from middle school up to undergraduate program .

View of the migrating birds at Mary’s Point.

Another important mission for Nature NB is the stewardship of Protected Natural Areas in the province. Protected Natural Areas (PNA) are areas of land or water permanently set aside in the Province of New Brunswick for the conservation of biological diversity. Some of the PNAs you may be familiar with are the Caledonia Gorge, the Upper Salmon River bordering Alma and Fundy Park, Big Salmon River and LIttle Salmon River near the Fundy Trail Parkway.  I think I will do anther post about these areas in the future as it covers a lot of material. 
 
The Nature Conservancy of Canada  (NCC) is also involved in some of these PNAs- they  own 6 of them in New Brunswick but 40 nature reserves in total throughout New Brunswick. I wanted to highlight the main areas that the Conservancy owns  near our cottage in Waterside that Paula did mention in her talk on Tuesday night. One of the significant ones is the area near the Caledonia Gorge at Crooked Creek. You may have heard about the project between Riverside-Albert and the Nature Conservancy that culminated just last year to preserve an area that contained the water supply for the village and an area of old Acadian Forest. It involved purchasing the 326 acres between the Caledonia Gorge PNA and the village. You can read more about the project in the Connecting Albert County newsletter here and here and in a newsletter from the Nature Conservancy here.
 
This one of the NCC staff beside a large yellow birch in the Caledonia Gorge.

Photo courtesy of NCC

 
Of course one of the areas that is dear to our hearts and we will work to protect and defend is the area in front of our cottage at Waterside beach that is a Conservancy area. These areas are open for people to use but there is not supposed to be any ATV use, hunting , camping or open fires allowed. We frequently see these activities going on and it makes us a little disappointed that people don’t respect the land or guidelines as we should.  Here is a view of that beautiful marsh and beach.
 
 
The other Conservancy areas near us are in New Horton at a site called Two Rivers or the New Horton Nature Reserve. There is an access road by the Glass Roots studio but again there are guidelines about how the property should be used and the NCC also doesn’t advertise about how to access it or guarantee people’s safety accessing some of their reserves. The other one mentioned by Paula is a site at the end of Apple Creek where the Shepody River starts in the Shepody Bay. On the map it is called Middle Ground. It does not look like an accessible area , looks more like some mud flats so be careful if you try to find that spot. 
 
This is a view at Tom’s Island from the Two River’s spot on the beach in New Horton
 
 
The NCC is always looking for interested citizens to either become volunteers, to be their ” eyes and ears” or to be long term property stewards.  They are always looking for feedback or helpful information about the reserves and ways to continue to manage them for years to come. If you are interested in volunteering you can go to www.conservationvolunteers.ca or e-mail atlantic@natureconservancy.ca  for any additional information or questions about working with them. 
 
I thoroughly enjoyed hearing  from these groups  along with hearing more about the Shore-Line trail. My only disappointment is that it may take 20-25 years for the whole 150 km trail to be all connected. That means I have to stay in shape if I ever want to be able to bike it in my lifetime!
 
If you enjoy these posts I would love for you to be able to join me via my e-mail list where you can subscribe right on this page or join my Facebook page “The Road to Waterside”. Let’s all do our part to protect this beautiful piece of heaven on earth.

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