Directors’ Report – Nature Nova Scotia Annual General Meeting – June 5, 2015
Since we last reported on June1, 2014, the board of Nature Nova Scotia has been dealing with new and ongoing issues. Memberships have increased in some clubs, and new volunteers are coming forward. The Friends of the Pugwash Estuary, with approximately 125 members, have joined NNS. A general interest in nature and provincial environmental issues has Nature Nova Scotia and many of our participating member organizations finding new people willing to learn and deal with environmental challenges.
Nature Nova Scotia currently has seven active organizational members and about 300 federate and individual members. Bob Bancroft attended a meeting in Pugwash to make a presentation.
The Nature Nova Scotia website has undergone steady improvements – thanks to Larry Bogan and with input from other board members – including more information and links. Larry is looking for a successor to take over his position as webmaster. Board meeting minutes are posted once they have been approved. A blog site is open for member contributions. Larry has also established a Facebook page, which has been adopted by some NatureNS e-mail list members as a site for posting photos.
Our participation in the Canadian Nature Network remains at a re-organization level. Your president represents the Nova Scotia naturalist community, and Nature Canada has a new executive director, Eleanor Fast. For the past year, Jim Wolford has represented NNS on Nova Scotia’s Wildlife Habitat Conservation Fund. Joan Czapalay represents Nova Scotia on the Nature Canada board and also serves as secretary of NC.
We have maintained watching briefs on a number of policies of importance to the province. NNS supported a letter written to the Chronicle Herald by President Bob Bancroft protesting that pulp company clearcutters continue to run forest policy. Larry Bogan keeps the board up to date on the NS Coastal Coalition, which was dealing with coastal development. Unfortunately, that initiative seems to be stalled. Open-pen salmon aquaculture and mink farming have also been topics for updates at board meetings. A letter was sent to the Nova Scotia Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Keith Colwell, supporting the implementation of all of the recommendations of the Doelle-Lahey Aquaculture report. The erosion of environmental laws by the undemocratic passage of federal omnibus bills and forest industry dominance over newly acquired Crown (public) lands have remained hot issues. The board is supporting the idea of a publication about Nova Scotia forests. The Ecology Action Centre is interested in partnering in this endeavour.
The lack of government action regarding the endangered mainland moose and an attempt to obtain the results of Dr. Paul Arp's soils research in Nova Scotia were other topics investigated. It became evident that freedom of information requests (FOIPOPS) are a waste of time.
A close working relationship continues with the Young Naturalists Club. YNC is a member club of Nature Nova Scotia, and YNC coordinator Robin Musselman is a director of Nature Nova Scotia.
Although she is no longer a member of the NNS board, Sue Abbott has been keeping us abreast of developments with Important Bird Areas and the activities of Bird Studies Canada.
We recently passed a motion to provide up to $1,000 to support advertising for a young people’s writing/art contest being organized by the Young Naturalists Club for 2015. Nature Canada was looking for a way to celebrate its 75 years of existence as a national conservation organization. I think we have found our contribution.
The board meets face-to-face three times a year in addition to the AGM. The next meeting will be in Wolfville on September 13, 2015. Any member of NNS is welcome to attend. Board meetings provide an opportunity for club representatives to give updates on the activities of their respective clubs.
Between face-to-face meetings, the board continues to function online on an active e-mail forum. We generally keep each other up to date on what’s happening in the Nova Scotia in regards to the environment, with Jim Wolford alerting us to environmental assessments in the province. We also maintain an awareness of environmental issues across Canada.
Nature Nova Scotia joined the Coalition to Restore Acadian Forest Tracts on the Bowater land acquired by the NDP government in 2014. The forest industry continues to have a major influence over the new Liberal provincial government. We supported another renewal grant proposal for Nature Canada.
Board members who attend or monitor various meetings – either through their own clubs, or jobs, or directly for Nature Nova Scotia – report on activities. Jill Comolli, a long-time member and former director of the South Shore Naturalists, keeps us informed about the apparently defunct Atlantic Whitefish Recovery Team and the demise of the hatchery.
The Nature Nova Scotia AGM for 2015 was held June 5 in Sackville, NB. Our annual conference this year (Festival of Nature, June 5–7) is a joint effort with Nature NB, with Young Naturalists Club participation.
Thanks to all the NNS directors for their enthusiasm and participation. And to Doug Linzey for editorial help with this report!
Nature Nova Scotia 2014–2015 Directors Report, June 5, 2015