St. Andrews Marsh, May 21, 2018.
Today is the International Day for Biological Diversity, and I’m pleased to announce I was appointed to the new Biodiversity Council for Nova Scotia. The other members are Dr Donna Hurlburt (Aboriginal Advisor at Acadia University, Mi’kmaq ecologist, and conservation biologist), Dr. Graham Forbes (Professor at UNB), and Peter Oram (Senior Environmental Specialist at GHD). From the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announcement press release:
The goals of the Council are:
- Identify strategic priorities for work, including regulations, under a Biodiversity Act,
- Identify knowledge gaps and provide advice on using the ecosystem approach to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use,
- Advise on approaches and priorities for research, data gathering, and management,
- Make recommendations to the Minister on emerging and evolving biodiversity issues.
The Council’s work will include supporting the development of a Biodiversity Act, a project under the strategic priority “Our Natural Resources.” The purpose of the Act is to further enable Nova Scotia to improve the conservation and sustainable use of wild species and ecosystems in flexible and adaptive ways, address legislative gaps and manage emerging risks.
I’ve been working with DNR folks like Glen Parsons and John Brazner for years on social science about biodiversity conservation on farms, coasts and wetlands, and will be pleased to be of service.
Reg Newell receives the NSIA Honorary Member Award from NSFA’s Kathryn Bremner, Truro, April 25, 2018. Photo Glen Parsons
Quick note to say congratulations to Reg Newell, recently retired as the Nova Scotia – Eastern Habitat Joint Venture Stewardship Coordinator at NS Department of Natural Resources, for his Honorary Member Award from the Nova Scotia Institute of Agrologists. Lovely that the award was presented by another one of our favourite people in my lab, Kathryn Bremner (NS Environmental Farm Planner) of the NS Federation of Agriculture. Reg and Kathryn have been critical to our work on biodiversity-friendly farming, including our assessment of the Agricultural Biodiversity Conservation program, the BioLOG website that came out of it, and Wood Turtle Strides that came out of that. Bravo, Reg!
While I’m catching up on emails and admin from being away last week in New Orleans for AAG, here’s a nice video of my (Oxford) PhD student Bernard Soubry, talking about his Masters research at Oxford’s School of Geography and the Environment and Environmental Change Institute.
“The place where Margaret Thatcher is most warmly remembered”: Flanked by the Falklands flag and the 1982 Liberation Memorial, a bust of Margaret Thatcher watches over Stanley Harbour at sunset.
Today is the 36th anniversary of the start of the Falklands War, which I think of as “my first war” because it was the first to penetrate my childhood consciousness, otherwise occupied with all things me. It feels therefore fitting that today my short article reflecting on my month in the Falklands, called The New Battle for the Falklands, appeared online at Canadian Notes and Queries. It also appeared in the Winter issue 101 of the print version (p. 15-18). Emotions lingered from my time in the Falklands that were making it difficult to write up the work for a scholarly audience, so I challenged myself to write about it in a venue and with language more accessible to the public. Now CNQ is a literary journal– hardly plebian–but it is also quite funny and well-designed thanks to graphics by Seth. It also has a strong cultural storytelling angle and an ‘abroad’ column available to those who want to write about travel so it was a good fit.
Me with Simon Greenland-Smith at the Dalhousie University Club Pub.
Back in 2011 when I was a new professor at Dalhousie, Simon Greenland-Smith–then an Environmental Science Honours student–came to talk to me about his farmer survey about riparian buffers. John Brazner, provincial wetland specialist and Simon’s Honours supervisor, introduced us. Thank goodness he did.
Yesterday, Simon had his last day at SRES, finishing two years as the Wood Turtle Strides farmer stewardship program manager, working for the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture but sitting two doors down in SRES. In between, Simon worked in my lab as an undergraduate research intern, transcribing photo-elicitation interviews I did with farmers in Cumberland County; carried out a novel Masters of Environmental Studies thesis using wetland walkabout interviews with farmers in the Annapolis Valley to show how ecosystem services valuations miss many social values; became my go-to survey administrator and statistician for a range of research projects (e.g. dams of all things); and, picked up where Kate Goodale left off with our farmer extension website BioLOG, adding educational materials and a range of videos to the mix. He has been a great citizen inside SRES and out, including his leadership in DivestDal.
I’m equal parts sad and proud to see him head off Monday to work on marine conservation targets as National Campaign Manager of the SeaBlue Initiative (bringing together the Ecology Action Centre, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, David Suzuki Foundation and West Coast Environmental Law). While we plan to keep collaborating, I wish him well in the new adventure, and hope to welcome him back to Halifax sooner than later.