The Nature Guardians just finished their first session with their new partner, The Adventure Earth Centre, in their new permanent home at Shubie Park, Dartmouth. We held 5 sessions from April to June, had several guest presenters, and did some exciting projects.
Our first guest was Bernie Hart who gave us a presentation on the history of the park and short guided walk along the canal. We also looked for locations to build our Monarch Butterfly garden and learned about the Endangered Monarch – especially their life cycle, their migration and their need for milkweed plants to survive! At the end of this session we planted our milkweed seeds and took them home to nurture until the last session in June when we would plant them.
The next two sessions we took the time to explore our new home and especially the forest. We asked ourselves some important, timely questions: Is this a healthy forest? What do healthy forests look like? Is this forest a good example of the endangered bioregion in which we live, the Acadian Forest? Our next guest was Jamie Simpson, an expert on the Acadian Forest. He led us on a guided walk to evaluate our own forest for signs of health and think about things we could do in the forest to increase its biodiversity.
One project we started this spring that we hope to carry on as long as we have our home base at Shubie Park is we set up a water quality monitoring program. We will monitor the water in the canal, the ponds and in Lake Micmac to see how it is fairing over time.
On our last day we brought back the milkweed plants we were nursing as well as some bigger ones obtained from Larry Bogan in the Annapolis Valley, who has an entire farm field of milkweed to support Monarchs! We planted our milkweeds in a spot near the Fairbanks Centre so that people may be able to see the butterflys, but far away from the dog park since they are poisonous to dogs. After this it was time to count the bacteria in the water samples we had taken the prior week. Boy oh boy! We found out we should not swim in the canal or duck pond!
A great group of enthusiastic learners and outdoor loving kids finished up the session with a snack exchange that included awesome home made cookies and cookies. We are grateful to our student helpers, Nazanin and Oliver for all the time they put into helping us, and to our supporters Nature Canada Naturehood Program and the HRM Adventure Earth Centre.
Robin and Emily