Bird Studies Canada currently has year 1 funding (NS Habitat Conservation Fund) for a three-year project, Space to Roost, understanding human-bird conflict in important roosting sites along the Minas Basin during shorebird migrations in late summer. This funding includes support to hire a Nova Scotia (6-months prior residency) student the summer of 2016. This will be our first year of a 3-year project. We will be conducting human-use audits at 3-4 roost sites to gather baseline information at sites during peak fall migration (July – August) to understand spatial and temporal use of recreational activities (e.g., fishermen, swimmers, dog walkers) and other human-induced threats. The summer student position will require someone with an interest in outreach who’s not shy about approaching people, initiating conversations with individuals at roost sites, and contacting user group representatives. Basically, this first field season will lay the ground work for developing and piloting conservation strategies to reduce human pressures at roost sites in year two. The role would best suit a student entering their last year of a conservation, recreation or environmental studies degree. Someone who is seeking to collect data for a final year Honours thesis would be ideal, and perhaps even someone interested in continuing on to a funded MES on the topic. Please contact me if you are interested.
After two snow days here in Halifax, Simon Greenland-Smith was off to Truro last Wednesday to present the results of our Marginal Land survey (final report now available) to the Council of Leaders of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture (NSFA). The NSFA is our partner on the Species at Risk Partnerships on Agricultural Land (SARPAL) project funded by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Council of Leaders includes the NSFA executive as well as regional and commodity representatives from across the province. They were interested in the research findings, particularly evidence that Nova Scotia farmers have a strong stewardship ethic.
Lovely to get an email this week from David Marsh, one of the collaborators in my post-doctoral research on scattered trees under grazing in Australia, from a 40 degree day in NSW, to share news of spontaneous seedling recruitment under his rotational livestock grazing regime:
I thought you may be interested in this pic of regenerating volunteer eucalypts, e. Blakelyii and e. Melliodora. This never happened with constant grazing. We have about three hundred volunteers like this dotted around the place and have managed to protect them from cattle with temporary electric tape when we are grazing those paddocks. Note the paddock in the background full of thistles compared to foreground with not many. Dominance in the community can be influenced by grazing and appropriate recovery. However, we also have some big thistle paddocks this year and my observation is that where they are worst is in our old cropping paddocks. Lots of introduced inorganic fertilisers, chemicals and disturbance. It takes land a long time to get over that.
I had a great day today at a workshop organized by the Nova Scotia Eastern Habitat Joint Venture folks, who administer the North American Waterfowl Management Plan activities in this region. Many of my existing collaborators on farm wetland and biodiversity issues across government and NGOs were present, to share our work and discuss common interests in the Musquodoboit River area. It was a beautifully sunny morning, on a warmer than average day, and so wonderful to get out of town and into the countryside. Great to be feeling a growing interest in social science within the conservation and agricultural science community.
Today and tomorrow, Simon Greenland-Smith is in Cape Breton for the 52nd meeting of the Atlantic Society of Fish and Wildlife Biologists. He is talking about the Marginal Land survey, which is currently winding up with a ~37% response rate, remarkable for a summer/fall survey of farmers and above our goal of 33%. In the past few years, I or individuals from my lab have comprised the only social science contributions to this event, but this year I note a presentation about a Bird Studies Canada survey on farmer perceptions of aerial insectivores. Many other presentations relate to the Big Meadow Bog restoration project at Brier Island, and its various elements.