Upcoming Eagle Hill Field Seminar: Leaf and Stem Mining Insects

Title: Leaf and Stem Mining Insects
Instructor: Charley Eiseman
Dates: August 4–10, 2024

Description: Leaf and stem miners are insect larvae that feed within the tissues of plants for at least part of their development, forming externally visible feeding patterns (mines). In North America, they include well over 2000 species of moths, flies, beetles, and sawflies. They tend to be highly host-specific, feeding on one or a few closely related plant genera, and each miner leaves a species-specific pattern as it feeds. It is therefore generally possible to identify these insects by noting the host plant and studying the mine characteristics. This course will introduce students to the identification and biology of leaf and stem miners. On field trips, we will visit a variety of habitats to observe and collect mines from as many different plant species as possible. In the lab, we will use the hostplant-based keys in Leafminers of North America to identify what we have found. Slideshow presentations will give overviews of the many groups of leaf and stem mining insects and their natural history. We will also discuss how to rear leaf and stem miners to adults, with a brief introduction to the various types of parasitoid wasps that inevitably emerge in the process.


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Otter Ponds iNaturlaist BioBlitz Sat July 6, 2024

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Nature Trust Hike, Acaciaville June 17

Nature Trust is conducting a hike on Sat. June 17 at their new Acaciaville properties: 2 field trips one at 10:00 hrs and a second at 14:00hrs. Registration required. About 2.5 hrs from Halifax.

Upcoming Events

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Orchids in Bloom

Showy Lady’s Slippers, Smiley’s Park June 23

Smiley’s Park : June 16 /24:Bridge on Clayton Mckay road is still out. Showy lady slippers are in Bloom now; still lots of immatures just past the bud stage but not yet open.

June 17 /24 Arethusa orchids in bloom at Chebucto Head but not yet at Herring Cove. At Chebucto head blooms are scattered in wet areas along with pitcher plants, Eriophorum,spike rushes,labrador tea and others.

Charles Cron

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Searching for the 3 flowered (on one stem) violet

NSWFS member Peter Steiner is engaged in a research project on Viola sagittata (Arrowleaf Violet on the left) and the closely related Viola fimbriatula (Downy Blue Violet on the right). In particular, he is trying to find evidence of a rare form with 3 flowers on a single peduncle (flowering stem). This form was collected over 100 years ago in “the ornamental gardens in Halifax”. There is no other description of the location. Peter asks if other NSWFS members could keep an eye out for this unique form of violet (both are known to occur on the peninsula) to see whether it has been reproducing over time. We will also be asking members to keep an eye out for it at our Monday member’s meeting.

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Member’s Meeting Outdoors Point Pleasant May 27, 6:30pm

The next and final meeting (until next fall) for the Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society will be outdoors, rain or shine, at Point Pleasant Park in Halifax on Monday May 27 at 6:30pm. Please meet us at the Prince of Wales Martello Tower, shown on the map.

PPP (Point Pleasant Park, 77 ha) is owned by the British Government, but the park is administered by the Department of Canadian Heritage while the Halifax Regional Municipality holds the lease. The municipality pays 1 shilling annually for the lease.

PPP was largely a closed canopy mature evergreen forest until Hurricane Juan hit shores of PPP in Sep 2003, leaving only a few groves untouched. An extensive public consultation was held in 2005 in which the many respondents expressed a desire for “Nature dominated landscape, Natural beauty, a place to connect with local history, a non-commercial park…” The Point Pleasant Park Comprehensive Plan was released in 2008 with a goal “To create a naturalized forest ecosystem”; it was widely applauded. In 2019, a tree-thinning program was begun, the objectives being to cut out invasive tree species such as Norway Maple, and to “thin out the weaker trees”. The final stage of thinning will begin this fall.

After discussing the member business at 6:30, we will look at vegetation in thinned and unthinned areas – there will be lots of spring flowering plants!

Some of us may arrive before 6:30 to scout around the park before the meeting.


Bluets – Hedyotis caerulea
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Field trip to see Ram’s Heads May 20

Charles Cron will be leading a field trip to see a colony of Ram’s Head Lady’s Slippers near Windsor on Monday May 20 at 10:00AM. Exit the 101 at Highway 14 to head east towards Brooklyn. Just after exiting the highway, continue to the SECOND parking lot on the right.  You will go uphill and there is a marked parking lot with trash containers etc. part way up the hill.


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Season of the Spring Ephemerals/Early Summer Forbs 12May2024

Left: Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s breeches)
at Cape Split, N.S. May 18, 2008. Right: Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower, wild lily of the valley) in Point Plasant Park (Halifax, Nova Scotia) June 5, 2009

‘Received this a.m. a notice about a post on Spring Ephemerals by Kate MacQuarrie on her PEI Untamed Blog. Kate’s blog has lots of natural history stuff relevant to NS.

Kate’s piece on spring ephemerals reminded me of an “article” I wrote in 2012 for the old nswildfora.ca website on “The True Spring Ephemerals in Nova Scotia“; it lists also common Early Summer Forbs. Photos are by Jack Pine, Ocotillo, Charles Cron, and Patrick Foote, many taken on NS Wild Flora Society field trips.

– david p

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Rally for the Coastal Protection Act, Wed May 8, 2024

The Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society shares the concerns of environmentally conscious Nova Scotians on the current government’s reversal on proclaiming the Coastal Protection Act.

There are species at risk plants, ordinary salt water loving plants and habitats such as salt water estuaries and lagoons that will be affected by rising waters, not to mention the effects of storms, flooding and coastal erosion that are being seen already. For example, the current uncontrolled increase in installations of rock walls to save erosion on select properties is resulting in added environmental stress and accelerated erosion on either side of the walls. There are many studies that outline better natural maintenance conformation of beaches and shorelines by none other than Mother Nature herself when left alone!

Without a Coastal Protection Act  we are left with an imperfect set of guidelines for residents to follow when wishing to build in coastal areas. In some quarters these  guidelines are deemed to be based on outdated information about what is really going on along our coastline. If the Act is not proclaimed, then 49 municipalities – many of whom acknowledge they do not have the staff or the funding or the expertise in coastal matters – are left to devise their own sets of guidelines. This leaves the potential for 49 sets of regulations. We would have a patchwork quilt of regulations that would continue to leave our coastlines at ever increasing risk. 
The Nova Scotia Coastal Coalition, the Ecology Action Centre and Nature Nova Scotia have organized a rally to demand that the Nova Scotia government do the right thing and proclaim the Coastal Protection Act to protect our coasts and the communities that rely on them.

Please come out to the Rally for the Coastal Protection Act on Wednesday, May 8 at noon outside the Nova Scotia Legislature (1726 Hollis St., Kjipuktuk/Halifax).
Bring your family, bring your friends, and bring your passion for the coast. We need a really big turnout of people to make sure the message is heard loud and clear. Handmade signs are welcome and encouraged.
Rain date: Thursday, May 9, 12 – 2 p.m.
For more information, contact mimi.ohandley@ecologyaction.ca
Also, the Coastal Protection Act FB page can be found at :https://www.facebook.com/share/Auk6vYzgmZNBtQBQ/?mibextid=A7sQZp

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City Nature Challenge begins Apr 26 (today) & runs to Mon Apr 29, 2024

Photo from Canadian Wildlife Federation page on the City Nature Challenge

Halifax is participating in the iNaturalist-based City Nature Challenge again, this year over the days Friday Apr 26 to Monday Apr 29

It’s pretty simple to contribute to Halifax’s effort to document our natural world and illustrate citizen’s love of that world.

Participants photograph a nature observation of a “species” (e.g.a robin, or a flower) within the boundaries of HRM within the Apr 28-May 1 timeframe and upload it to iNaturalist. (HRM refers to Halifax Regional Municipality, now just called Halifax. It encompasses all of Halifax County.) Cape Breton Regional Municipality is the other NS participant. Continue reading

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