Well the results are finally in! We have our 2017 Youth Nature Writing and Art Contest winners. Thank you to all the youth who entered the contest, once again the judges had a hard time choosing just a few to acknowledge. We are always thrilled to see the knowledge and skill Nova Scotia’s young Naturalists show during this contest. Keep an eye out for shows in New Glasgow, Berwick and Halifax in the new year that will showcase these great young artists!
OUR WRITING CONTEST WINNERS….
First Place – Robson Rievaj, Lewis Lake
First Place – AinsIle Gale, Head of St. Margarets Bay
Second Place – Laura Worth
Third Place – Harper Brett, Bedford
First Place – Michael Delong, Kentville
First Place – Ashalen McCulloch, Weymouth
Second Place – Kaitlyn Kemp Cheevers
Third Place – Siena Hammermeister, Tatamagouche
Caitlin Bowman, Dartmouth
OUR ART CONTEST WINNERS…..
First Place – Natalie Pegg, Middleton
Second Place – Lauren Hill, Dartmouth
Third Place – Hannah Michels, Dartmouth
Erinn Bowman, Dartmouth
Freja Cambell, Sydney
Yewon Chung, Pictou
Maetia Aleses Contant, Woodville
Alexander Hazelwood, Aylesford
Johnathan Michels, Dartmouth
First Place – Mary Elliott, Middleton
Second Place – Isabella Young, Truro
Third Place – Iris Gamble, Shad Bay
Gabby Carter, Wedgeport
Lauren Doucette, Bell Neck
Skyla Gidge, Margretsville
Varya Kuznetsova, Halifax
Larissa Lemoine, Iona
Andrew Michels, Dartmouth
Keanna Pierre, Wagmatcook
Macy Shand, Charlesville
Our Young Naturalists Club leaf lantern bags were a big hit last night at Nocturne. We ran out of supplies super early and we are sorry we had to turn so many people away. We were thrilled to see the city lit up with a forest of native tree leaves though!
Prior to Eurpoean settlement, the landscape of Halifax was covered in mature Acadian forest. Most of that ecosystem has now vanished….the Young Naturalists Club helped participants make their own Leaf PrintBag Lanterns. They chose from a variety of Acadian forest leaves to “silkscreen” onto a paper bag to create their own lantern. Then they took their lanterns out into the city to help “bring the forest back” from being vanished this one night
Thanks to McInnes Cooper and Nature Nova Scotia for purchasing the supplies needed for us to run this event.
The YNC in partnership with ISANS, led a nature walk at Belcher’s Marsh (Clayton Park) last weekend. We had 6 families from Syria, (approx 40 people) join us on a sunny afternoon to learn about some local wildlife and flora. The idea behind the event was to help new comers learn about the natural environment of their new home so they will become comfortable in it and also have an understanding of some of the new species they may not have ever seen before. We hope this in turn will help them feel more settled and connected to their new place.
We had some great volunteer naturalists and translators who guided our groups through the trail where we saw dragonflies, squirrels, wildflowers, and some birds including ducks and a Great Blue Heron. After our walk we stopped and did some pond dipping where we found some Snails, Whirligig beetles, Backswimmers and Water Boatman bugs! Thanks to support from Nature Canada.
We had a great weekend during our annual youth programming at Nature Nova Scotia’s Celebration of Nature this spring. With 17 youth from ages 6 to 13 we had an interesting mix of activities to satisfy all interests. On Saturday we started the morning talking about migrating birds and had a warm up playing the Migration Game. We then tackled a bird geocaching course where we used our GPS units to find 8 hidden stations that had bird related activities at them. It was a big hit. Later that morning Jill Francis from Parks Canada came and talked about Mi’kmaw hunting and everyone got to try their hands using an Atatl, a spear throwing tool that helped native hunters achieve greater distances.
That afternoon everyone joined a field trip in the local area and rejoined us at the lodge for a musical performance by Little Miss Moffat! Nobody forgets the lyrics to “Raven or Crow?”. Even some of the adults joined in with their owl hoots. After dinner we had a very moving bonfire chat with Frank Meuse and shalan joudry from Bear River First Nation. Everyone slept well that night, even it was a little chilly!
The next day brought us a visit from Katie McLean from Clean Annapolis River Partnership who taught us about some of the different turtles they monitor and let us try our hands at trying to find the GPS units they attach to the turtles. Then we had Jeffie McNeil and some interns from the Mersey Tobeatic River Institute come and help the kids build some turtle nesting cages that they will use to protect newly laid turtle eggs from predators. Charlie from Milford House took some time to have some of the older kids help him make a new wood duck nesting box as well!
We are so fortunate to have been at such a beautiful location this year. Great kids and families and we are looking forward to doing it all again next May!
The Nature Guardians Program of the Halifax Chapter worked at the Common Roots Urban Farm in Halifax to make a pollinator hotel for solitary bees. Solitary bees are amazing pollinators and they do not live together like honey bees. They include Mason Bees, Leafcutter Bees, Sweat Bees, Bumble Bees and Digger Bees.
Mason and Leafcutter Bees are who we primarily designed our pollinator hotel and they need the following things for their homes:
- Access to mud
- Need protection from wind, moisture and direct summer sunlight
- Holes at least 8 inches long
- Larger sized shelter
- Shelter should face east or southeast to get early day sun
- Good nest materials are reeds or bamboo sections, holes drilled in wooden blocks, cardboard tubes, grooved boards
- Slightly overhanging roof to deflect rain
- A variety of tunnel hole sizes, ranging from 2-10mm. Leafcutter bees like smaller holes. Mason bees like 5/16 inch holes
- Woody stem materials with holes
We had help from Don and Doug of Halifax Builders Cooperative to make the hotel structure out of donated apple crates. We drilled holes in wood beams and logs cut to length and placed them in the crates. We also used bricks with holes and bamboo and japanese knotweed segments to create more tubes for bee habitat. Next time you visit the Common Roots Urban Farm go look for our pollinator hotel and learn about solitary bees!
Anne Marie and Bob Ryan were our great geologist guides on our field trip to Crystal Crescent Beach.