Roundup: New COVID case, protecting Pugwash natural treasure, StFX still making students sign pandemic waiver, invasive bug hits N.S. forests, The Tides of Time

Pugwash Estuary. Photo: Mike Dembeck

Public health officials confirmed a new case of COVID-19 yesterday, for a total of four active cases in the province. So far, the province has had 8,638 negative test results, 1,075 known COVID-19 cases, and 64 deaths. 

Preserving the Pugwash Estuary
Thanks to a recent land purchases, the Nature Conservancy of Canada now controls some 570 hectares of land surrounding the Pugwash River estuary. “This allows us to protect a larger contiguous area,” says Doug van Hemessen, stewardship coordinator with the group. “It’s one of the most intact estuaries on the Northumberland Strait.”

The acquisition includes old-growth Acadian forest and a kilometre of shoreline, with mudflats, marshes, and beaches making it a key rest stop for migrating birds like herons, ducks, and geese. Raissa Tetanish reports for The Light.

Fort Needham Memorial Park. Photo: Submitted.

HRM neglecting memorial park
A stone’s throw from ground zero, Fort Needham commemorates the victims of the Halifax Explosion. The park is intended to be a living memorial but for the third consecutive summer, HRM has allowed it to fall into disrepair, with overgrown flower beds and fallen trees left to rot for months.

HRM Parks West superintendent Alana Tapper told concerned citizen Marilyn Davidson Elliott that the pandemic delayed maintenance work. “It is interesting though that COVID-19 did not delay work at other sites throughout the municipality this spring,” Davidson Elliott says. “And there was no pandemic in 2018 and 2019.”

Davidson Elliott and other citizens volunteered to tend to the gardens themselves but HRM says that’s not allowed. In this guest column for Halifax Magazine, she documents the sad decline of the park and HRM’s failure to address the problem.

StFX responds to waiver concerns (sort of)
St. Francis Xavier in Antigonish is one of the few post-secondary schools in Nova Scotia trying to having mostly in-person classes this fall and its insistence that attendees sign pandemic waivers (absolving the school of responsibility if they get COVID-19) has left many students concerned.

Administrators and the student union have attempted to assuage them with a memorandum of understanding. “Instead of the very long, different campus plans and community guidelines, we wanted a very condensed version that students could easily digest and understand what exactly they’re signing up for,” says student union president Sarah Elliott. Students still have to sign the waiver if they want to attend class, though. See Drake Lowthers’s story in The Reporter.

Destructive bug invades local forests
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is warning people to keep an eye out for the hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive bug spotted in Lunenburg and Queens counties.

It “looks like little white cottony egg sacks right now,” says biologist Ron Neville. “Inside that egg sack there is one adult and there are eggs or nymphs that are developing… [The insect] feeds on cells at base of the needles, and when you have thousands feeding on a tree and stressing the tree, the needles die and fall off, the twig dies, and eventually the tree dies.” Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

Time marches on
With her recent book The Tides of Time, explores the rhythm of the seasons in rural Nova Scotia, drawing inspiration from the likes of Henry David Thoreau and Emily Dickinson. She starts her year with the fall harvest, visiting markets and farms, foraging for mushrooms, and discovering efforts to preserve a way of life that many local families have passed down for generations. Suzanne Stewart has more in this recent story from At Home on the North Shore.

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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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