Spring 2009

 In Newsletter

This has been a busy year for CBEMN. Last summer began with our participation in Bioblitz 2008. BioBlitz is a competitive taxonomic classification event led by Saint Mary’s University that involved an inventory of species at Long Lake Provincial Park. For more information about Bioblitz, click here. CBEMN will be participating in Bioblitz 2009 on June 6th in the newly protected Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area.

Following the 2008 Bioblitz, CBEMN held a public workshop on Green Mapping and also to launch the Marine Community Monitoring Manual. Community groups with diverse interests ranging from working with youth to environmental stewardship and monitoring participated. Groups interested in Green Mapping were able to create a Green Map to help identify specific interests in their community. Groups interested in the Marine Community Monitoring Manual received a hard copy of the manual and were given an introduction to its purpose and its monitoring methods.

In October 2008 CBEMN held a public workshop on the topic of invasive species. This workshop was organized cooperatively with the Halifax Regional Municipality, the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, and Saint Mary’s University. The invasive species “yellow floating heart” (Nymphoides peltata) was the primary focus of this workshop. Its significant impact on recreational water quality within municipal lakes was discussed, along with the importance of establishing an early warning system through monitoring. Other events that CBEMN participated in throughout this year were the Fishermen & Scientists Research Society’s annual conference and Saint Mary’s University Sustainability Week.

The most popular item for loan from the equipment bank this past year has been the YSI 650QS sonde that is used to measure several water quality parameters such as dissolved oxygen, temperature, conductivity, salinity, and pH. We sincerely look forward to this monitoring season and hope that the demand for our expertise continues to grow. Community monitoring projects in this past year have ranged from terrestrial monitoring of forest ecosystem health to marine and freshwater monitoring. Some of the monitoring projects were in the interest of long-term monitoring of ecosystem health and some of the projects involved monitoring within proximity of potential pollution sources such as fish farming and mining. Sarah Weston will be continuing as the CBEMN Community-University Liaison this summer, and all equipment bank requests can be sent to her by email at environmental.network@smu.ca.

Funding has been granted to CBEMN’s Research Coordinator Dr. Cathy Conrad and to the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for an exciting project involving the development of a user friendly standardized water monitoring kit and a water quality monitoring certification training program. To read the comprehensive media release about this project, click here. Jake Parker will be working with community groups this summer to test equipment in the field and will be seeking input from local community groups on their experiences and preferences in relation to monitoring equipment. Any groups interested in field testing of monitoring equipment should send an email to environmental.network@smu.ca. Emma Garden will be researching the development of a water monitoring certification training program. The program will seek to standardize the quality of monitoring data collected by community groups in an effort to facilitate a more efficient working relationship between volunteers and provincial government agencies that are in charge of water quality in Nova Scotia.

Samantha Page and Jane McCurdy will be working alongside CBEMN this summer on an international Green Mapping project. Green Maps are produced by communities and are participatory activities focusing on sustainability in areas such as green living, natural, cultural, and civic resources. To learn more about the Green Mapping system, click here. This project is in collaboration with the Citizen Science program run by the Public Engagement section of the Saint Mary’s University International Activities Department and has received funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). To read more about this project, click here. Green Mapping workshops were facilitated by this project in March 2009 in The Gambia, Africa. Participants in Africa will engage in virtual discussions with Green Mapping participants in Halifax to share the results of their Green Mapping activities. These discussions and activities will form the basis for further international development work related to sustainable community development. CBEMN looks forward to this monitoring season and hopes to continue to improve, facilitate, and encourage environmental monitoring in Nova Scotia. Have a great summer everyone!

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