Directors' Report – Nature Nova Scotia Annual General Meeting – May 29, 2016
Since our last report on June 5, 2015, the board ofNature Nova Scotia has been dealing with new as well as ongoing issues. Memberships are increasing in some clubs, other memberships are steady, and new volunteers are coming forward in many. A general interest in nature and provincial environmental issues has Nature Nova Scotia and many ofour participating member organizations finding new people willing to learn about and deal with environmental challenges.
Nature Nova Scotia currently has seven active organizational members and about 425 federate and individual members.
Nature Nova Scotia's 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 dopted by some NatureNS e-mail forum members as a site for posting photos.
Our participation in the Canadian Nature Network remains at a reorganization level. Your president represents the Nova Scotia naturalist community, and forwards to NNS board members any information from Nature Canada and CEO Eleanor Fast. Over 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 ofNature Canada.
We have maintained watching briefs on a number ofpolicies of importance to the province. 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 has been a topic for updates at board meetings, with recommendations from the Doelle-Lahey Aquaculture Report only partially addressed by the provincial government. Mink farming is collapsing due to a disease and low fur prices. In the last case, the environment is an incidental beneficiary.
Nature Nova Scotiajoined the Coalition to Restore Acadian Forest Tracts on the Bowater land acquired by the NDP government in 2014. It became a member ofthe newly formed Nova Scotia Healthy Forests coalition in 2016. The forest industry continues to have a major influence over the Liberal provincial government. This dominance with respect to recently acquired Crown (public) lands has become a hot issue. Management responsibilities for 1 .4 million acres ofpublic forest land in central and western Nova Scotia are currently being handed over to the newly formed forest industry group West For. The industry foxes have been allowed to overrun this public chicken coop; it's theirs to pluck at will. Your president authored a fu||-page article in the March 5, 2016, Chronicle Herald opinion section regarding public land and clearcutting.
The board generated a NNS biomass policy in response to Nova Scotia Power's announcement that they were increasing biomass content in their energy "renewables" from 2.8% to 7% in the next four years (2020). Most ofthe 50+ truckloads ofwood being delivered daily to the biomass plant at Point Tupper come not from waste but directly from forests clearcut to be burned. The electricity produced is with an efficiency less than 21.5%. Biomass burning is more polluting than burning coal, yet the government continues to call it "green'' energy. I met with the Premier about biomass and forestry issues on April 11, 2016. Nature is being decimated by this industry agenda.
Nature Nova Scotia has maintained a close working relationship with the Young Naturalists Club. YNC is a member club ofNature Nova Scotia, and YNC coordinator Robin Musselman is a director of NNS. This year Robin organized a Nova Scotia Nature Writing and Art Contest. There were two categories, Junior (ages 8-12) and Senior (ages 13-15), and cash prizes in each for first, second, and third places. We provided $1,000 to support the contest and $500 to help families attend this 2016
Nature Nova Scotia partnered with Nature New Brunswick in a project proposal entitled "Planning for Climate Change: Integration of Ecosystem Functions and Services into Landuse Planning and Decision Making.'' This year NNS supported the Nova Scotia Bird Society's request to fund an Ecology Action Centre bird=related project, with a $1,000 donation. Over the past ten years, $6,850
have been directed from our coffers to support worthwhile endeavours.
Although she is no longer a member ofthe NNS board, Sue Abbott has kept us abreast of developments by e-mail with Important Bird Areas and the activities of Bird Studies Canada.
The board meets face-to-face three times a year in addition to the AGM. The next meeting will be in WolfvilleonSeptember11,2016.Any memberofNNSiswelcometoattend.Board meetings provide an opportunity for club representatives to give updates on the activities oftheir 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 regards the environment, with Jim Wolford alerting us to environmental assessments in the province. We also maintain an awareness ofenvironmental issues across Canada.
Board members who attend or monitor various meetings – through their own clubs, orjobs, or directly for Nature Nova Scotia – report on activities. Heather Drope attended two Department of Natural Resources forestry meetings on behalfofNNS this year, and Jim Wolford attended one. We have begun to use Skype to link long-distance board members.
Bob Bancrofi, president
Our AGM for 2016 is being hosted by the Blomidon Naturalists Society and is being held on
May 29 in Wolfville, NS . 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!