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2011-12 Annual Report

Since we last reported in June 2011, the Board of Nature Nova Scotia continued an ongoing discussion regarding ways to better service member clubs. Declining memberships, burnt-out volunteers, and a general malaise about tackling the environmental issues of the day continue to be themes to overcome. This past year the South Shore Naturalists Club had to fold. Nature Nova Scotia itself is facing recruitment challenges with executive positions.

Letters had previously been sent to each member club asking if President Bob Bancroft could attend one of their meetings and make a presentation. Responses and subsequent presentations were made to the Blomidon Naturalists Society, the Cape Breton Naturalists Society, the Halifax Field Naturalists and the Pictou County Naturalists. A presentation was also delivered on March 6, 2012, to the Woodens River Watershed Environmental Organization.
Nature Nova Scotia currently has six active organizational members and about 175 federate and individual members.

The Nature Nova Scotia website has made steady improvements, thanks to Larry Bogan and input from board members, with more information and links. Board meeting minutes will be posted once they have been approved. There is now a blog site open for member contributions. Larry has also established a Facebook page, inspired by Helene Van Doninck, which seems to have been adopted by NatureNS e-mail list members as a site for posting photos.
Our participation in the Canadian Nature Network continued with your President representing the Nova Scotia naturalist community. Joan Czapalay represents Nature Nova Scotia on the Board of Nature Canada and on Nova Scotia’s Wildlife Habitat Conservation Fund.

We have maintained watching briefs on a number of policies of importance to the province. For the NS Dept. Of Natural Resources, this has been done through the Nova Forest Alliance (Doug Linzey) and through the strategic planning exercise (forests, biodiversity and parks). The NS Coastal Coalition (Larry and Sue) has been dealing with coastal development. A wind policy is in the works as well.

A closer working relationship has been established with the Young Naturalists Club. YNC is now a member club of Nature Nova Scotia and the coordinator, Robin Musselman, is a member of this board.

Sue Abbott has kept us abreast of developments with Important Bird Areas and the activities of Bird Studies Canada. Sue also helped Bob write a letter to Marci Penney, the Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans, with comments and recommendations regarding the Atlantic Mud Piddock, a species at risk.
We continue to discuss ideas for the using the funds attained through the 2007 Nature Canada conference in Wolfville, which we sponsored and organized. We guaranteed a funding proposal with the Young Naturalists Club if outside money failed. The outside funding materialized (for the NNS conference kids program in Tatamagouche).

The board meets face-to-face (other than the AGM conference) three times a year. The last three meetings were in Wolfville, Truro, and Halifax. Any member is welcome to attend. These 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 a very active e-mail forum. Over the past year we kept up to date on various issues, both here and across Canada, such as the Atlantic Whitefish Recovery project, Eastern Shore aquaculture applications, mink farming, wind farming, and many local initiatives. We generally keep each other up to date on what’s happening, including environmental assessments in the province and the state of various organizations (TREPA is alive and well in SW Nova, for example, and the NS Environmental Network lost most of its funding this year).

The board worked online on various position papers and responded to requests for input on such things as coastal planning for Nova Scotia and the DNR forests, parks, and biodiversity strategies. We also regularly respond to requests for support on a wide range of topics (from support for an Order of Nova Scotia nomination, for example, to signing on to the Greater Sage Grouse Habitat conservation proposal). Much of the planning and discussion about the annual conference and AGM take place on our e-mail forum. Board members who attend or monitor various meetings either through their own clubs or jobs or directly for Nature Nova Scotia report on activities.
We are pleased to report that Nature Nova Scotia will sponsor Jill Comolli, longtime board member from the South Shore, as she continues her work on the Atlantic Whitefish Recovery Team.

The Nature Nova Scotia AGM for 2012 was held on May 25–27 at the Tatamagouche Centre in Tatamagouche, NS. The event, with the Young Naturalists Club participation, could be more accurately described as a social, educational, and multiple field events for naturalists of all ages, with an annual general meeting that takes up part of one morning. Special thanks to Jean Gibson Collins, Helene Van Doninck, Bob Bancroft, and other members of the board for organizing this fine weekend.
Thanks to all the NNS Directors for their enthusiasm and participation, and to Doug Linzey, who helped the President assemble this report.

Bob Bancroft
Nature Nova Scotia 2011-2012 Directors Report AGM May 27, 2012

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