Another great youth program at the Nova Scotia Celebration of Nature weekend in Debert. The youth had an amazing day on Saturday with LIza Barney from Bird Studies Canada and Becky Parker from Ducks Unlimited at the Wallace Bay National Wildlife Area.
We arrived at the site around 10am and played some games but the kids were super eager to get on the trail looking for birds. Liza had a great handout she made of common birds in that area and Becky went over using binoculars. We set out on the dyke trail and walked for about 2 hours. The don’t call it a National Wildlife Area for nothing – we were treated to a huge array of birds that many of us hadn’t seen before. After a quick lunch we played a couple more games including then we went for a walk down the forest trail in search of a Raven’s nest. We did another hour walk on a pretty wet and boggy trail and found three Ravens – we were close but couldn’t find the nest in the end. This walk was very good for seeing other things such as some ferns, lichens and a great display of woodpecker holes in trees.
LIza Barney from Bird Studies Canada kept track of our sightings and told us we gathered a grand total of 30 bird species! Highlights included 9 species of Warblers, observing 50ish foraging Tree Swallows and a glimpse at an elusive Pileated Woodpecker! The eBird checklist is here: https://ebird.org/canada/view/checklist/S46093233.
Other weekend happenings included a campfire talk by Dave Chapman and Cathy LeBlanc on Saturday night about Mi’kmaw moons and on Sunday we heard a talk about a man raising monarchs and growing a field of milkweed in the Annapolis Valley. We also played more games including species at risk bingo where we used our SAR cards. You can see more photos of the weekend at:
Everyone was nice and tired and satisfied :) Rumour is next year the weekend will be held in Cape Breton. Keep an eye on our website for details.
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
In November we had Chartered Herbalist, Evelyn Allen, guiding our group as they identified and gathered plant materials to make natural fabric dyes. The following week the kids got the plants and begin learning how to make the dye, and in December they’ll actually dye materials and yarns. In particular, they will create decorative flags for the MVYNC wigwam. The flags will be strung together using an old fashioned thumb braided technique, that Evelyn will show the kids. This is an amazing opportunity for the kids to mentor with such a skilled herbalist.
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!