Searching for old beech amidst a magnificent drumlin forest on the Jack Lake lands

Every excursion I make into the Sandy Lake/Jack Lake lands (“Sandy Lake & Environs”)  seems to offer a new gem. An excursion on June 1 was no exception.

I had been intending to check out a drumlin northeast of Jack Lake and was stimulated to do so sooner rather than later by a conversation with a naturalist who frequented the area in his youth, about 35 years ago. He  told me  there were some big disease-free beech on that drumlin in those years.

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So on June 1st, DS, my frequent walk companion,  and I took a walk up the “sand pit road” and just headed  towards the hardwoods we could see in the distance. We followed wide and narrow paths maintained by ATVs and/or mountain bikes (neither present at the time). It was easy walking.

We passed through early successional hardwood forest with lots of big toothed aspen, white birch, ash and red maple and pretty quickly into older, mixed forest  as we climbed upward. The loud songs of ovenbirds told us we had passed from forest edge to forest interior.
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Happy 30th, Sackville Rivers Association

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It was a wonderful celebration. A few audio files convey some of the sense of it:

Listen to Walter Regan’s comments on SRA’s 30th (audio)
Walter highlights the contributions of so many.

Hear Damon on ongoing and future activities

Sing along with Our River our Home (& hear closing words)

The Atlantic Salmon Journal summer 2018 issue features an article In Praise of Perseverance, A community reclaims its river which describes highlights of SRA’s accomplishments over the last 30 years.

Thanks being 30 years ahead of your time, Sackville Rivers Association!

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Thurs June 7, 2018: Sackville Rivers 30th Anniversary


From Sackville Rivers Association:
“Just a reminder of our upcoming Annual General Meeting and our 30th Anniversary Party, both coming up on June 7th at the Sackville Heights Community Center – 45 Connolly Road, Middle Sackville.

“AGM – 6pm in the 50+ room – must be a member to vote for directors and for SRA chairman (we will be taking membership payments at the door)

“30th anniversary party – 7pm in the gym – the evening will include a few words from collaborators, an art project to create an Atlantic salmon mosaic, and a sharing of history and anecdotes. You will have the opportunity to visit displays and learn more about our work on the river, in the schools and on the trails. And don’t forget the 30th Anniversary cake cutting! Coffee, tea and water will be provided.”

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Springtime in the woods by Sandy Lake

Glorious, simply glorious
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Earth Day at Sandy Lake

I was not able to lead an Earth Day nature walk as had been planned to take place at Sandy Lake on April 22, but Bob Guscott kindly took my place. Bob and I had collaborated on some observations on pit and mound topography at Sandy Lake and by Grand Lake last fall, so he was familiar with the territory. Karen Robinson reports on the event below. I am only sorry that I could not have attended as a small bird to share in the experience! – David P

Eager learners
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Bob Guscott led an enthusiastic group of about 40 on a forest walk at Sandy Lake on April 22nd, 2018. The event, organized by the Sandy Lake Conservation Association (, had three purposes: to celebrate Earth Day, to recognize the city’s work to create a Green Network, and to launch the Sandy Lake Regional Park Coalition.

Bob is a keen naturalist and forest ecologist who retired from the NS Dept. of Natural Resources after 30 years as a Chief Technician and Forest Health Specialist.
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Sandy Lake Conservation Association’s Earth Day Event – April 22, 2018

David P (left) and Bob G ponder pit and mound topgraphy

Starting at 1:30 pm at the inner parking lot of the Bedford Lions Club Beach at the end of Smith’s Road, off the 102 at Hammonds Plains Road.

Bob Guscott is leading a forest walk around a portion of Sandy Lake. It is expected to last 1.5 hours minimum. It will be an informative walk (not a hike).
Karen Robinson of the Sandy Lake Conservation Association will talk about the efforts being made to protect Sandy Lake and Environs, and Jenny Lugar from Our HRM Alliance will talk about how Sandy lake and Environs relate to Halifax’s developing Green Network.

Bob is a naturalist and forest ecologist who retired in 2009 from the NS Dept. of Natural Resources after 30 years as a Chief Technician and Forest Health Specialist. Bob and David P are collaborating on studies of pit and mound topography at sites on Sandy Lake and Grand Lake.

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April 12, 2018: Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Regional Park Citizen’s Meeting

“All are invited to a public meeting on April 12th for updates and information on park progress. We will also explore interest in forming a citizen’s group, such as a “Friends of Blue Mountain” group, to speak up for creation of the promised park and collaborate with the municipality and other levels of government.
Please come to St. Peter’s Anglican Church Hall from 7-9pm on Thursday, April 12th.
There will be a formal presentation at 7:15, and opportunity for questions and public comments at 8pm.”
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Thursday Apr 5, 2018: Natural History of Sandy Lake & Environs – cancelled

Unfort. this event had to be canceled because of illness. It will be given on another evening sometime in the next month

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“Spare HRM’s Sandy Lake ‘jewel’ in suburban HRM from bulldozers”

Sandy Lake BedfordSo reads an Op-Ed by Karen Robinson in the Business section of the Chronicle Herald March 7 in the print edition and March 6 online. Karen wrote as “park committee chair of the Sandy Lake Conservation Association [and also] on behalf of the Sackville Rivers Association.

The Op-ed provides a brief history of efforts to create a park in the area of Sandy Lake, cites its natural and social values, and places it all in the context of Halifax’s developing Green Network.
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Acadian Forest Love Affair

Walking in a bit of old forest above Sandy Lake on the summer solstice (2017), I encountered a yellow birch and a hemlock that seemed to be growing from the same base, their trunks ascending to the skies in tandem. I thought of it as an “Acadian Forest Love Affair”.

Subsequently, with my eyes open to this forest affair, I viewed a half dozen or more other such couples.

Read more about the not-so-secret-life-of hemlock and yellow birch!

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