MONKS HEAD: Thirty local residents attended an informational walk and talk in Monks Head earlier this month.
The event – hosted by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), in partnership with parent organizations Bird Studies Canada and the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry – showcased how NCC is protecting the area and acted as a first outreach to the community.
“This is the only property we own in that area, and we haven’t had many community relationships formed yet,” Megan Pagniello, conservation engagement intern with NCC, told The Reporter. “So the idea of the event is to get people who live there out to see the property, understand why it’s so important, understand what we’re doing to conserve it, and show them how they can get involved.”
The NCC is Canada’s leading national land conservation organization, and as a private, non-profit organization, they partner with individuals, corporations, other non-profit organizations and governments at all levels to protect the most important natural treasures — the natural areas that sustain Canada’s plants and wildlife.
NCC delivered a presentation on their work, specifically in the Monks Head area, why it was so important and why they are working to conserve it. Carrie Drake, with the Department of Lands and Forestry, talked about protected beaches and the new regulations. Laura Bartlett, from Bird Studies Canada, spoke about the piping plover, a small sand-coloured, sparrow-sized shorebird that nests and feeds along coastal sand and gravel beaches, their threats and what to do if you see one.
Following the presentations, the group embarked on an interpretive walk along the beach, NCC pointed out different features and why they were conserving them. During the walk, participants tried to find a life-sized piping plover hidden amongst the stones.
“The activity demonstrated how hard it can be to see the species we’re actually sharing our space with,” Pagniello said. “And how you don’t really know how you’re disrupting things.”
Since 1962, the NCC and their partners have helped to conserve more than 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres) of ecologically significant land from coast-to-coast. They are trying to create a legacy for future generations by conserving important natural areas and biological diversity across all regions of Canada.
“We have a lot of volunteer opportunities, and are able to show someone what they can do in their own backyard,” Pagniello added.