Our goal at the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve Association is to promote a balance between people and nature living within the Biosphere. Through conservation and activities, communities and strong partnerships with municipalities, government organizations, industries and businesses supporting sustainable development, we are committed to seeing our beautiful area thrive in all these aspects. In order to highlight our unique nature and cultures, we at SNBRA have set out across the five counties looking for people, places and businesses that epitomize our values and mandates.
The places and activities listed below are things we have seen and participated so far this summer. We believe that they are exemplary of what we here at SNBRA hold important:
Here are some of the things we’ve been up to so far this summer:
The summer kicked off with some extremely rigorous training at Kejimkujik’s Seaside Adjunct, located near Port Mouton. We had a really rough day walking the beaches and recording harbour seals.
- Noah’s Place Farm is located in beautiful Clarence, NS. It is a small family farm run by Eugene and Judy Foster. Their goal with the farm is to be self-sufficient, selling the excess to fund the farms operations. The Fosters run small store in the house and sell soap (made from goats milk) and wool from the animals on the farm. The wool is dyed from plants they grow in their garden. If you are interested in buying some of their products follow the link to their contact page http://noahsplacefarm.com/
- Another great business we had the opportunity to visit was Mersey River Chalets. Mersey River Chalets is located approximately 5km from Kejimkujik National Park and Historic Site. They offer beautiful chalet style lodgings nestled along the Mersey River. Looking for something different? They also have three Sioux styled tipis available. An important aspect of Mersey River Chalets is that it is completely wheelchair accessible. The entire site is connected by boardwalks and all the lodgings are built with accessibility in mind. Interested in a getaway? Take a look at their website http://www.merseyriverchalets.ns.ca/
- Lockeport Regional High School and Lockeport Elementary School are Nova Scotia’s first, and only, UNESCO Schools. We had the privilege of visiting LRHS earlier this month, as Lisa was doing a presentation for SNBRA. While there, we were shown the school greenhouse. The students at LRHS, plant, maintain and sell vegetables and flowers, grown within the greenhouse. Some of the vegetables will be used for various dinners held at the high school and the flowers will be used at prom. A great a lesson in sustainability! If you have any questions about the UNESCO designation visit the UNESCO ASPnet website. If you wish to learn more about LRHS and LES, visit their website lockeport.ednet.ns.ca
- “The Clean Annapolis River Project is a charitable, community-based, non-governmental organization incorporated in 1990 to work with communities and organizations to promote awareness about, and to foster the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of the marine and freshwater ecosystems of the Annapolis River Watershed”. (http://www.annapolisriver.ca/, June 21, 2011) We had the opportunity to tag along with a few CARP members as they did research. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for CARP check out their website.
- Whippletree farms, located in Roundhill, Annapolis County, is a community supported agricultural farm (CSA) that is dedicated to producing a variety of delicious and quality vegetables. Buy paying a yearly fee, you will receive a weekly “vegetable box” filled with fresh and local produce. By doing so, you not only help support local agriculture but help the environment by limiting carbon emissions created by the transportation of your food. If you are interested please check out whippletreefarms.ca
- One of the great things about working for SNBR is that we get to go to local farm markets, events and festivals and talk to the public about our wonderful biosphere. So far this year we’ve been to the Middleton Farm Market, Kejimkujik Mi’kmaw Heritage Day/Parks Canada Day and Shelburne Founder’s Days and spoken to many wonderful people about the importance and significance of the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve. We would like to thank the people who attended these events and took the time out of their day to learn and ask questions
- While in Shelburne for Founder’s Days, we were in charge of setting up a Geocache/Treasure Hunt where participants went out with their GPS’s to find caches hidden in places that highlight historic Shelburne.
- The Mersey Tobiatic Research Institute is a partner and vital part of the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve. They are responsible for much of the important research and conservation efforts which help make our Biosphere designation possible. We have had the opportunity to piggyback them on two separate occasions to learn about water invertebrates and loon reproduction. – Also check out the “green” renovations they have made to their headquarters
- Recently, some of the staff at SNBR had the opportunity to go surfing at White Point Beach Resort. Lessons were put on by Rossignol Surf Shop. We had an amazing day, with great weather and big waves (pictures to come).
- August started out with a trip to Bear River, Digby County. Bear River is a quiet place that has a very nostalgic vibe. During our visit there, we checked out the Bear River First Nations Heritage and Cutural Centre. This little museum has ancient Mi’kmaw artifacts, information about Mi’Kmaw history, cutlural and world views. We especially enjoyed a silent film from the 1930’s about the last porpoise hunt in the area.
- Our next trip took us to historic West Pubnico in Yarmouth County where we visited the Historical Acadian Village. When we got there it was like stepping back in time to the early 1900’s. We did so much there; from sampling homemade jams and learning how nails were made back then at the blacksmith, to learning how to drive a Model-T Ford and how to salt cod.
- Our public outreach ventures took us to two wonderful events this month; The Annapolis Valley Exhibition and the IncrEDIBLE Picnic in Annapolis Royal. There we had a chance to showcase our wonderful new poster (great job by the way Kate) and talk to the public about the Biosphere Reserve. At the Exhibition we got to check out events like the Horse-Pull and also got to see all the awesome critters. At the IncrEDIBLE Picnic we sampled local, organic food and drink.
- Our work with Day Camps took us to Clare, Digby County and Birchtown, Shelburne County. In Clare, Kate read the kids The Lorax by Dr. Seuss which teaches the importance of respecting your environment and conservation. We then had the plant Trufula Trees and played outside.
- In Birchtown we had planned to plant another Monarch Butterfly Garden but could not due to torrential rains. Instead, we played a reclying relay race which the kids had to properly dispose of waste in to the proper streams before tagging the next teammate. We then went on a site tour of the Black Loyalist Heritage Museum.
- On a cold and foggy day on Brier Island we went whale watching. Although we didn’t see any whales on our visit, we had a lovely day exploring the island and the Digby Neck area. Fortunately, friend and family of SNBR staff went the next day and were able to see dozens of whales and porpoises.
- On Kates last day of work we went to Upper Clements Park in Annapolis County. Our goal was to speak with staff about the new Eco-Adventure park which is scheduled to open next spring. Once this was done we couldn’t let our free passes go to waste and spent a gorgeous afternoon checking out the park and the rides. On a side note, Graeme beat Kate in mini-golf.
That’s it! An amazing summer. Graeme and Kate would like to thank SNBR and all it’s wonderful volunteers for their support and for the opportunity to experience all the wonders our beautiful area has to offer!