Looking for Circumboreal Plants Common to Two Continents – and A Visit to the Linnaean Botanical Garden in Uppsala, Sweden

Monday Feb. 24

Bob Kennedy had the opportunity to briefly visit Northern Europe this past summer. He became fascinated by the few plants which were native to both Europe and Nova Scotia and the many more that were similar, yet different species. Bob will take you through his explorations in the Black Forest, Grindewald in the Swiss Alps and Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

While in Sweden, Bob also had the opportunity to visit the Linnaean Botanical Garden in Uppsala. Bob will introduce us to Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy, at the location he did much of his work.


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NSWFS Letter on Owl’s Head


The following letter was emailed by the Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society to the people listed below on January 30, 2020

Attn: Premier Stephen McNeil; Honourable Iain Rankin, Minister of Lands and Forestry; Honourable Gordon Wilson, Minister of the Environment; Tim Houston, Progressive Conservative Opposition Leader; Gary Burrill, Leader of the NDP; Sean Fraser, Central Nova Member of Parliament; Kevin Murphy, Eastern Shore Member of the Legislative Assembly; Thomas Trappenberg, Leader of the Green Party:


We of the Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society are writing to express our concern with the de-listing of Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve and proposed golf course development on these public lands. The Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the appreciation and conservation of wild flora and habitat in Nova Scotia.


Owls Head is a provincial treasure that must be protected for the benefit of future generations. The coastal barrens at Owls Head support globally rare Broom Crowberry heathlands. This plant community is found nowhere else in Canada. The species Broom Crowberry can only be found in northeastern North America, where it is rare to all provinces and states outside of Nova Scotia. Like our provincial tree the Red Spruce or the Nova Scotia Mayflower, Broom Crowberry is an important emblem of our province’s natural history.


Owls Head also supports extensive bog wetlands, which the government of Nova Scotia is committed to protect under the Nova Scotia Wetland Conservation Policy. These wetlands are biodiverse and contribute important ecosystem services including maintaining watershed health. The wetlands, ponds, lakes, and marine environment associated with Owls Head would be adversely affected by a golf course development. Data that we have collected at similar sites in the province show deterioration of water quality in surface runoff with the removal of barrens vegetation. We urge the province to follow through on commitments of the Nova Scotia Wetland Conservation Policy by not permitting a golf course development at Owls head.


We urge the province to follow through also on its commitments to protect Owls Head as part of Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan. Owls Head has been considered a Provincial Park Reserve for decades, enabling generations of Nova Scotians to kayak and hike within its boundaries. A golf course development at Owls Head removes accessibility to organizations like ours and to the greater public. A golf course development at Owls Head removes its valuable contribution to the greater Eastern Shore Islands Wilderness Area and the 100 Wild Islands Conservation Campaign.


In the greater interest of Nova Scotians, we of the Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society ask you to:


1) please re-instate and make legal Owls Heads protected areas status and,

2) stop the land sale of Owls Head, reject the proposal to destroy this conservation gem for the purposes of a privately-owned golf course.




Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society

c/o Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

1747 Summer Street

Halifax NS  B3H 3A6




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CPAWS asks for support to Save Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve

UPDATE: NSWFS writes letter “to express our concern with the de-listing of Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve and proposed golf course development on these public lands” View Owls Head NSWFS letter Jan 30, 2020

From action.cpaws.org:

“The Nova Scotia government has secretly de-listed Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve and is now preparing to sell-off these public lands to a private developer who is interested in building golf courses.

“This decision was made behind-closed-doors with ZERO public consultation. The only reason why this delisting is known is because of the investigative reporting by Michael Gorman at CBC Nova Scotia.

“We urgently need your help to STOP the Nova Scotia government from selling off this coastal park for private development.

“Please send an email to Premier Stephen McNeil that calls on the government to 1) stop the sale of public lands at Owls Head, and 2) immediately protect these lands using the Wilderness Areas Protection Act.”

The CPAWS Action Website provides a form for sending a letter – please do

For more about this important conservation issue:
Continue reading

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Eagle Hill Field Seminars 2020 announced – On the eastern Maine coast

Several of our NS Wild Flora Society members have attended these classes at Eagle Hill, and rave about them.

Click on image for details

Below Posted Feb. 7
Announcing Eagle Hill Institute’s seminars on vascular plants
Eagle Hill is right on the coast of Eastern Maine, between Acadia National Park and Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge.
Jun 14 – 20 … Field Botany and Medicinal Plants of the Maine Coast … Steven Foster
Jul 5 – 11 … Sedges and Rushes: An Ecological Approach … Jerry Jenkins
Jul 12 – 18 … Wetland Identification, Delineation and Ecology … Rick Van de Poll and Joseph Homer
Jul 12 – 18 … Farmers in the Marsh: An Innovative Approach to Holistic Salt Marsh Restoration… Susan Adamowicz and David Burdick, and Geoff Wilson
Jul 19 – 25 … Ericaceous Heaths and the Ericaceae: Understanding Vegetation Patterns … Paul Manos
Jul 19 – 25 … Grasses of the Greater Northeast: Identification and Ecology … Dennis Magee
Aug 2 – 8 … Potamogetonaceae: Diversity and Ecology of the Pondweeds … C Barre Hellquist and Eric Hellquist
Nov 6 – 8 … Twig Identification of Trees and Shrubs (Weekend Workshop) … Dennis Magee
The following general flyer has links to individual vascular plants seminar flyers.
For general information and a complete calendar:
office@eaglehill.us … 207-546-2821, ext. 4.
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Members’ Photo Night Monday Jan. 27, 2020

On Monday Jan. 27, all NSWFS members have an opportunity to share their favourite recent photos on the high quality projector in the Museum of Natural History.  Select up to 10 of your favourite flora slides of the year or from any trip you found interesting and put them on a memory stick to be loaded into a computer before the meeting begins. Do you have a photo of a Mystery Plant to include?  
Please contact us at nswildflora@yahoo.ca if you are interested and have not done so already.
Photo: Mystery Plant – to be revealed
Bob Kennedy
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Monday, Nov 25, 2019: Sean Haughian on the Lichens and Liverworts growing on the trees, soil and rocks of Atlantic Canada

Sean R. Haughian is Curator of Botany at the Nova Scotia Museum and he has specialized in lichens, liverworts and bryophytes in his many years as a field and lab botanist. Nova Scotia has one of the best habitats in the world for a broad diversity of these primitive plants and fungal symbionts. It is not too hot, not too cold, the air is clean and our climate offers a lot of moisture. And best of all for this time of year, they are easy to find all winter when most vascular plants disappear.





Come learn from an engaging speaker with a passion for his subject.

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Sunetra Ekanayake: Botanical Watercolours Exhibition at MSV, Nov 9 – Jan 26, 2019

November 9, 2019 – January 26, 2020
Curator: Laura Ritchie
Year 2019 Theme Botanical, Painting

Organized by MSVU Art Gallery

Dr. Sunetra Ekanayake is a biologist and naturalist. Exploring the wilderness of Nova Scotia, she records flora and fauna encountered along the way. In this exhibition of botanical watercolours, Dr. Ekanayake invites us to consider the precious and distinct nature of plant species found around the province and on the MSVU campus.

Dr. Ekanayake is part-time faculty in the department of Biology at Mount Saint Vincent University.

Opening Reception
Wednesday, November 20 at 12:00pm

Please join the artist for a reception in conjunction with the Mount Community Show opening reception.

American Sign Language interpretation is available for all public programs – please email art.gallery@msvu.ca for more information.

View MSV announcement

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Sep 24 2019 at 6PM at Halifax City Hall: Important Public Hearing on Green Network Plan – re Wildlife Corridors

UPDATE Wed Sep 25, 2019: The Amendment “to the Regional Plan’s conservation design development agreement policies to specifically reference the Important and Essential Corridors shown on Map 5)”  received unanimous approval at yesterdays meeting of Halifax Regional Council!

Map 5 in the Halifax Green Network Plan
Click on image for larger version and legend

Halifax (HRM) is blessed with phenomenal natural assets. In June of 2018, Regional Council tabled the Final Draft of the The Halifax Green Network Plan  which “provides land management and community design direction to:
– maintain ecologically and culturally important land and aquatic systems;
– promote the sustainable use of natural resources and economically important open spaces; and
– identify, define and plan land suited for parks and corridors”

The Essential and Important Corridors shown in Map 5 above allow movement genetic exchange of plants and animals, large and small, between otherwise isolated patches of natural habitat within HRM and across the boundaries of HRM. Without those corridors, biodiversity and ecosystems services provided by our natural spaces will inevitably decline – such habitat fragmentation and isolation is a major driver of the massive species losses currently in progress globally and locally.

Legislative followup to the HGNP is required to actually protect those corridors and  is urgent as some development has already occurred or been approved within those corridors,

“Consequently, to avoid potential conflicts in the near term, staff recommend a narrowly focused amendment to the Regional Plan’s conservation design development agreement policies to specifically reference the Important and Essential Corridors shown on Map 5, Green Network Ecology Map, contained in the HGNP. This will provide a clearer, more up-to-date basis for municipal staff and developers to consider such corridors as part of the conservation design development agreement process.”

HRM is only considering this change – it hasn’t happened yet. We need your help to ensure that they amend the Regional Plan to require all conservation design (rural residential development) to plan based on the ecological findings of the Green Network Plan.

What you can do: attend the hearing or write in advance (by 3 pm Monday, Sep 23 see below for venues) to support the amendment, asking HRM to not allow development to compromise connectivity or the ecological network in any way.

Even a few words to your  Councillor and Mayor Savage will help e.g., to  say you are strongly in support of an amendment to the Regional Plan’s conservation design development agreement policies to specifically reference the Important and Essential Corridors shown on Map 5 .
Continue reading

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Nova Scotia Nature Trust Hike Sept. 7

Please join the Nova Scotia Nature Trust for a ‘Connecting with Nature’ Event

in partnership with their friends at the Ecology Action Centre:

Conserving and Enjoying the Fire-Prone Backlands

Saturday, September 7th, 10am

The Purcells Cove Backlands contain a vast area of Jack Pine/Broom Crowberry barrens, an ecosystem with many adaptations to fire. It’s not very often (fortunately!) that we get to see these fire adaptations in action in a human lifetime.

Join us for a hike into the Backlands as we explore how it has recovered from a massive fire in the spring of 2009. Learn how several conservation groups are working to protect this globally-rare ecosystem, and are giving people a chance to access it in a sustainable way.

Cost: $15

Please register for full details:

events@nsnt.ca or (902) 425-5263

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Monthly Wild Flora Meeting Monday Sep 23


Our speaker, Alain Belliveau, will talk about his explorations for the Ram’s-head Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium arietinum), a small but beautiful orchid whose very few populations are ranked as vulnerable in Nova Scotia.


Alain is the Botanist and collections manager of the Irving Biodiversity Collections at the E.C. Smith Herbarium at Acadia University, with a focus on the Acadian Forest Region.

Photos Bob Kennedy

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