Dr. David Patriquin’s talk:
A Natural History of Sandy Lake and Environs
Go to: http://goo.gl/ipYCR2

Nearly 50 years ago, the Sandy Lake (Bedford) area was selected as one of seven unique “jewels in the crown” of Halifax-Dartmouth that should be protected for their ecological richness and for community education and recreation. Some pieces have been assembled in the form of the Jack Lake Regional Park (including Bedford Lions Club Beach Park). Additional lands would need to be acquired to protect the integrity of Sandy Lake and the watercourse to the Sackville River and the associated wetlands and a sweep of mature/old growth forest that provides a wildlife corridor at the neck of the Chebucto Peninsula, north to the Sackville River and the mainland.

In the summer, winter and fall of 2017 and 2018, David Patriquin walked and paddled this landscape to document its ecological attributes and make some water quality observations. His talk takes us on a tour of the landscape and discusses his major conclusions.

For more detailed findings view www.sandylakebedford.ca

As a volunteer contribution to the efforts of the Sandy Lake Conservation Association and the Sackville Rivers Association to protect the ecological integrity of Sandy Lake and environs, David conducted extensive observations on plant communities and surface waters of Sandy Lake and environs (including the Jack Lake lands and lands around Sandy Lake and Marsh Lake) over the interval June 14, 2017 to the present. His objectives were “to describe ‘what you see on the ground’, identify significant ecological attributes of the area, and make some assessment of existing or potential threats to the ecological integrity of the area.”

The website provides a virtual tour of Sandy Lake and Environs and present Dr. Patriquin’s conclusions about what he now sees as a major ecological and recreational asset for HRM.

David Patriquin retired from a position as Prof. of Biology at Dalhousie University in 2008. Since then he has been active in several natural history, environmental and hiking organizations.

————————————————————————————————

Earth Day April 2018: Launching the Sandy Lake Regional Park Coalition (SLRPC)
 

Bob Guscott leads Nature Walk at Sandy Lake

Bob Guscott led an enthusiastic group of about 40 on a forest walk at Sandy Lake on April 22nd, 2018. The event, organized by the Sandy Lake Conservation Association (www.sandylake.org), had three purposes: to celebrate Earth Day, to recognize the city’s work to create the Green Network Plan, and to launch the Sandy Lake Regional Park Coalition.

Bob is a keen naturalist and forest ecologist who retired from the NS Dept. of Natural Resources after 30 years as a Chief Technician and Forest Health Specialist.

He taught us about the pit and mound topography that is unique to old growth Acadian forests, the significance of the select-cut tree stumps that are 60-80 years old, and why dead trees in wooded areas are not a “mess”, but are better left as natural habitat for woodland creatures and as natural fertilizer for the next generation of trees. Also, that they pose no real fire risk, and that old growth forests like this are becoming rare in Nova Scotia and need bylaw protection as is done in Slovakia.

We learned of the new awareness about connections and life going on underground that we don’t see – how scientists injected isotopes into a tree and a year later they were found in a tree on the other side of the forested area. How small trees are fed by the big ones, and that forests like this should be available to every child. A barred owl flew over us at one point! We spent a few minutes “forest bathing”, quietly listening to the sounds of the forest. One woman said she will never look at the woods the same again.

Spotted Salamander Eggs

City Councillors Steve Craig, Tim Outhit, and Matt Whitman and family members took part along with community members and representatives from several of the newly formed coalition’s groups. Jenny Lugar of Our HRM Alliance highlighted the eagerness with which we await the city’s Green Network Plan. Clarence Stevens of the Halifax Field Naturalists and the Turtle Patrol added to the day by providing information on birds and reptiles, and he inspired the spring trash pick-up activity during the walk.

We thank Bob Guscott for this unforgettable forest walk.

Reported by Karen Robinson