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2013-14 Annual Report

Directors’ 
Report – Nature Nova Scotia Annual General Meeting – June 1, 2014

Since we
last reported in May 2013, the board of Nature Nova Scotia has been
dealing with both new and ongoing issues. Declining memberships have
leveled off, new volunteers are coming forward in many organizations
and a general interest in the environmental issues of the day has
been maintained. Nature Nova Scotia and many of its participating
member organizations are finding new people willing to deal with
environmental challenges.

Nature Nova
Scotia currently has six active organizational members and about 175
federate and individual members. President Bob Bancroft offered to
attend member meetings this past year to make a presentation. There
was no uptake on that offer, but schedules were busy.

The Nature
Nova Scotia website has made steady improvements – thanks to Larry
Bogan and input from other board members – with more information
and links. Board meeting minutes are posted once they have been
approved. There is now a blog site open for member contributions.
Larry has also established a Facebook page, 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 at a
re-organization level with your president representing the Nova
Scotia naturalist community. Jim Wolford represented NNS on Nova
Scotia’s Wildlife Habitat Conservation Fund. Joan Czapalay
represents Nature Nova Scotia on the Nature Canada board.

We have
maintained watching briefs on a number of policies of importance to
the province. For the NS Department of Natural Resources, NNS
participated in the strategic planning exercise (forests,
biodiversity and parks). Larry Bogan has kept the board up to date on
the NS Coastal Coalition, which deals with coastal development. That
initiative seems to be stalled over the past year. A wind policy is
in the works as well. Open-pen salmon aquaculture and mink farming
have also been topics for updates at board meetings. Fracking, the
erosion of environmental laws by the undemocratic passage of federal
omnibus bills, and forest industry dominance over newly acquired
Crown (public) lands have been hot issues.

A close
working relationship continues with the Young Naturalists Club. YNC
is a member club of Nature Nova Scotia, and YNC coordinator Robin
Musselman is vice-president of Nature Nova Scotia.

Although
she is no longer a member of the NNS board, Sue Abbott has been
keeping us abreast of developments with Important Bird Areas and the
activities of Bird Studies Canada.

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 gave $1,000 to the Harrison Lewis Centre at Sandy Bay
to assist Dirk van Loon’s group in offering nature-based courses.

The board
meets face-to-face (other than the AGM conference) three times a
year. The last three meetings, listed chronologically, were in
Wolfville, Halifax, and Wolfville. Any member of NNS is welcome to
attend. 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. We generally keep each other up to date on
what’s happening in the Nova Scotia in regards to the environment,
with Jim Wolford alerting us to environmental assessments in the
province. We also maintain an awareness of environmental issues
across Canada.

The board
worked online with various responses to requests on such issues 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.

NNS
approached the government about placing holes in concrete Jersey
barriers between opposing traffic lanes to permit small animal
crossings. The engineers flatly said no, and we also received that
response from Maurice Smith, then NDP Minister of Transportation and
Infrastructure Renewal. We continue to request the placement of bird
diverters on the transmission lines that cross from Cape Breton to
mainland Nova Scotia. NNS joined the Coalition to Restore Acadian
Forest Tracts on the Bowater land acquired by the NDP government. The
forest industry continues to have a major influence over the new
Liberal provincial government. We supported another renewal grant
proposal for Nature Canada.

Board
members who attend or monitor various meetings – either through
their own clubs, or jobs, or directly for Nature Nova Scotia –
report on activities. Nature Nova Scotia has Jill Comolli, a
long-time member and former director from the South Shore, keeping us
informed about the Atlantic Whitefish Recovery Team and the demise of
the hatchery.

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The Nature
Nova Scotia conference and AGM for 2014 was held May 30 to June 1 at
the Gaelic College, near St. Anns, Cape Breton. The event, with the
Young Naturalists Club participation, hosts social, educational and
multiple field events for naturalists of all ages, with an annual
general meeting that takes up a portion of one morning. Special
thanks to Jim O’Brien, Jean Gibson Collins, Robin Musselman 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 2013–2014 Directors Report AGM June 1, 2014

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