Nina Newington on The Healthy Forest Coalition Mar 28, 2023
It was standing room only at the Bridgetown Legion on Saturday afternoon (Mar 25, 2023] for the launch of the Save Our Old Forests campaign. Brightly painted signs by local artist Deb Kuzyk of Lucky Rabbit Pottery flanked the speakers. Free soup and chili filled bellies. The silent auction featured a hand-carved puffin and organic beef, gift certificates for seeds and pierogies, haircuts and massages, heat pump maintenance and movie tickets.
A petition circulated with a simple ask:
WHEREAS our Government has committed in law to protecting 20% of Nova Scotia’s lands and waters by 2030 but is continuing to permit logging of old forests of high conservation value on Crown land,
THEREFORE we, the undersigned residents of Nova Scotia, call upon the Premier to pause all harvesting and roadbuilding activities on forests over 80 years old on Crown land in Annapolis County until such time as 20% of Nova Scotia’s lands have been permanently protected.
That, in a nutshell, is the ask of the campaign (henceforth to be known by its acronym, S.O.O.F.).
Annapolis County MLA Carman Kerr has agreed to table the petition in the legislature. He came to the launch as did the Warden and Deputy Warden of the Municipality of Annapolis along with several councillors.
Nobody is under any illusion that a petition alone will accomplish the necessary change. But the determination in the room was palpable. 180+ people came together out of shared belief that we need to save what little is left of our old forests before it is too late.
Lawrence Powell, long-time local journalist back when Annapolis County still had a professional journalist covering what happens here, MC’d. Thunderbird Swooping Down Woman, Mi’kmaw grandmother Darlene Gilbert, reminded the crowd of our mutual Treaty obligations; the importance of featuring traditional Mi’kmaw knowledge of the forests, and the fact that Crown land is unceded Mi’kmaw land.
Donna Crossland and Bob Bancroft spoke about the vital importance of old forests to wildlife and humans alike. Rob Bright of the Arlington Forest Protection Society explained the campaign and highlighted coming attractions from workshops to an art and science show, ‘For the Love of Lichens and Old Forests’, to SOOFstock, a music festival. The general idea is to do things we love doing, join forces and make a difference.
Citizen Scientists of the Southwest Nova Biosphere have already done that at Goldsmith Lake where the logging approved by DNRR for the old forest around the lake is on hold thanks to the 17 Species at Risk occurrences the group has identified to date.
The hope is that, all around the province, people will gather to protect the old forests in their counties, using the toolkit the SOOF campaign can provide. If you are interested, contact firstname.lastname@example.org