DirtGang Forest Walk Intro 21Apr2024


–>DirtGang Forest Walk Intro 21Apr2024
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Forest Walk Apr 27, 2024

Sean H on lichens, mosses and liverworts

The Forest Walk of Saturday Apr 27, 2924 was Part II in a Citizen Science Workshop organized by The Dirt Gang. Part I was held on the previous weekend at the Wooden Monkey in Dartmouth, NS. it was sponsored by The Wooden Monkey Restaurant, Patagonia Halifax & Eastern Shore Forest Watch.

The overall purpose was to introduce participants to the use of nature photos as components of Citizen Science conducted to nurture wildlife and wildlife habitat in Nova Scotia. The timing was chosen to coincide with  events related to Earth Day Apr 22 and the City Nature Challenge (Apr 26-29)

Speakers on Apr 21, L to R: Karen Robinson, Nina Newington, Nikki Guillet . Foregground: Lil MacPherson

At the Wooden Monkey, we were greeted and by Lil MacPherson, founder and co-owner of this well known and loved restaurant which uses &  promotes locally grown organic produce.  Lil and Sandy Martin, an educator/environmental activist based in both Nova Scotia and Holland,  launched The Dirt Gang earlier this year.

Our Vision is to help empower Nova Scotians to come together to help build one of the greenest, cleanest places in this country. A place where the local economy is booming, the rivers are clean and the fish are plentiful…

This 2-weekend-days program was their first go at an educational/field experience event  designed to attract new participants in environmentally directed citizen science in NS. From their promotion of the event:

What is citizen science? It is basically recording what you see while walking your dog, day-hiking, camping… whatever the activity… and adding to a data base of information that could protect valuable ecosystems. How cool is that!

Nina Newington is our guest speaker at this introduction to citizen science.  Together we’ll learn how important this is for the protection of Nova Scotia’s old, richly biodiverse forests.

No experience is required. Only a love of the natural world and a smartphone.

Program for Part I
Click on image for larger version

We could not help but be inspired by Nina Newington’s presentation “What is Citizen Science anyway? how normal people are saving our forests and the ‘Save our Old Forests Campaign”;  and then be concerned and motivated  by Karen Robinson‘s description of the 50 year struggle to ‘Save Sandy Lake’, including magnificent forests, through creation of a Sackville Rover Regional Park. Finally,  Nikki Guillet described some of the ins and outs of using iNaturalist and eBird, apps that help to identify species of wildlife from photos and sound recordings, and facilitate sharing their observations on global databases.

Twenty-two People participated in that workshop; I had met only one beforehand, so it was clearly attracting people outside of the traditional naturalist groups active in the Halifax area such as the Halifax Field Naturalists, the NS Wild Flora Society and the Bird Society of NS. Only one participant had been to Sandy Lake before so  it definitely helped “spread the message” about the special qualities of the area and need for citizens to support the efforts to “Save Sandy Lake“.  (Those efforts refer to the larger, sought after Sandy Lake-Sackville River Regional Park, not just Sandy lake itself.)

Save Our Old Forests
Slides from Nina Newington’s presentation at the Wooden Monkey Apr 21, 2024
(PDF, 13 MB)

Sandy Lake – Sackville River Regional Park: Summary of a Situation April 21 2024
Slides from Karen Robinson’s presentation at the Wooden Monkey Apr 21, 2024
(PDF, 7 MB)

Next: At Sandy Lake on Apr 27,2024


The Dirt Gang
“Our Vision is to help empower Nova Scotians to come together to help build one of the greenest, cleanest places in this country. A place where the local economy is booming, the rivers are clean and the fish are plentiful. Where there are opportunities for new, exciting innovation and true green technologies. A place where we are not known for our failing grade on reducing poverty, but a success story for growing our way out of crisis and earning one of the top scores in the country. A province where the support for farming communities is outstanding and where this vision completely changes rural communities. A province where toxins aren’t used to manage tree plantations and our forests are nurtured back to life-giving eco-systems. Now, wouldn’t that feel nice?.”

City Nature Challenge begins Apr 26 (today) & runs to Mon Apr 29, 2024
Post on this website Apr 26, 2024

iNaturalists events x Sandy Lake: Sunday April 21 and Saturday 27th, 2024
Post on this website Mar 30, 2024. The announcement.

Citizen Science Workshop Program (PDF)
Produced by TheDirtGang

SOOF Campaign
(Save Our Old Forests)
Website | Facebook “The Save Our Old Forests (SOOF) Association is a registered nonprofit based in Kespukwitk, Mi’kma’ki. SOOF has two primary objectives:
-To engage the public in helping to protect the forests in keeping with the Government of Nova Scotia’s commitment to protect 20% of Nova Scotia’s lands and waters by 2030; and
-To raise awareness of the ecological importance of protecting forests over 80 years old in particular.”

Lichen Camp Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area 2024
At the Wooden Monkey, Nina Newington talked about the use of Citizen  Science in ongoing efforts to protect Old Forests in Nova Scotia. Currently the effirts of Nina & Co. are focussed on the Goldsith Lake Wilderness Area in Annapolis Co. This link is to an ongoing  compilation of posts about the “Lichen Camp” at Goldsmith Lake, copied with permission  onto www.versicolor,ca/nstriad  from the Friends of Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area Facebook page. From the first post (Mar 5, 2024):  “In 2022, Citizen Scientists of Southwest Nova proposed this 3900 hectare area of forests, wetlands and lakes to the Minister of Environment for protection as the Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area. They have been exploring the area ever since, discovering old growth forests and species at risk. By March 2023 they had identified 17 species at risk occurrences, almost all lichens and almost all in cutblocks previously approved for harvesting. To their credit, DNRR put holds on all the cutblocks touched by species at risk occurrences. By the beginning of March 2024, the citizen scientists had doubled the number of species at risk occurrences they had identified within the proposed wilderness area. They also discovered that the holds had been lifted and that DNRR was allowing logging to proceed in all but “portions” of the cutblocks. Lichen Camp is asking the government to extend immediate interim protection to the proposed Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area while final decisions are made as to which 300,000 hectares will be conserved in order to meet the target of protecting 20% of Nova Scotia by 2030.”

Sandy Lake Regional Park Coalition
“The Sandy Lake Regional Park Coalition has formed to support the efforts of the Sandy Lake Conservation Association and the Sackville Rivers Association to take care of unfinished business and protect the area that stretches from the Hammonds Plains Road to the Sackville River and encompasses the three lakes and several waterways within the Sackville River Watershed through the creation of the Sandy Lake Regional Park.”
View Pamphlet

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