Nature Conservancy of Canada - Buckthorn Pull

On June 8th, members of FOPE along with Dalhousie University Co-Op students and Nature Conservancy of Canada met in Pugwash Junction to help eradicate the Glossy Buckthorn shrub. 

The 2014 annual event represents the fourth year that FOPE has participated in this effort and progress IS being made! The Conservancy estimated that about 5,000 bushes were destroyed this year, either by pulling the roots or chopping back, and treating with herbicide. Thank you everyone.

Also, here is a link to checkout CTV's coverage of the work - pretty cool! 

Some of the volunteers 


AGM Feb. 28 at the curling club.  The guest speakers were a Nature Conservancy of Canada delegates  Doug Van Hemessen, Danielle Horne and Donna Wellard.  Approximately 40 people attended

FOPE became a member of Nature NS.  

PDHS Science Field Trip - In keeping with our goals to educate the public about the estuary and the environment, we hosted Christine Scallion and 50  students.  Several learning stations were set up including water sample and flow rate collection and flora and fauna identification.


 On July 26, 2015, our participation in Harbourfest was to offer a breakfast to all who paddled to Victoria  Island.  Louise and Josie hosted with Werner’s help.  It rained both days but about 25 stalwarts arrived to sample the food and walk the trail around the island.  

Department of Fisheries and Oceans - CAMP

August 18, 2015 - Friends of the Pugwash Estuary has taken part in the Community Aquatic Monitoring Program (CAMP) monthly during the summer over the past 5 (at least) years. Managed under the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, baseline data on distribution and density (what species and how many) aquatic and plant species, presence of invasive species such as green crab and aquatic conditions including tide cycle, temperature, salinity and oxygen content are collected from 6 sites around the Estuary (Camp Pagweak, Brickyard beach, the Basin, Crescent beach, Pugwash Point and Docherty Creek). This data, combined with that from several other sites along the Northumberland Strait are used to assess the health and changes in the coastal environment and river systems of the southern Gulf of St Laurence. 

PDHS and NCC - Another Successful Field Day

On October 8, 2015, FOPE and the Nature Conservancy of Canada once again co-hosted a  field day for Grade 10 Science students from PDHS.  After a brief introduction, the students were bussed to the Nature Conservancy land on Crowley Road where they got to experience what NCC interns and researchers do in the field.  Throughout the morning they participated in plant and bird identification, buckthorn pulling, the aging of trees and forest regeneration.  In the afternoon, the students turned their attention to the issues around the green crab - a session which was led by Dr. Fraser Clark from Dalhousie University.  Student feedback showed that these hands-on activities help them to think about their local area in a different way. 



On July 23, 2016, under Betty's leadership, lunch was served to those brave kayak and canoe people and the even braver swimmers who pushed through the wind and paddled (or swam) to the other side of Victoria island.  Alvina's chowder, Doug's chile, hot dogs, Joze's streudel, Theresa's cookies and Betty's rice crispy squares plus plenty of other stuff was on hand - as well as the picnic table Greg built and floated over.  He also took us on a great hike.  Thanks to those who came.

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Sept. 22, 2016 - Communities In Bloom represented by Norene Smiley honoured FOPE today with a Certificate of Appreciation for our support and partnership as we work together to improve the environment of our area.  Betty accepted the award on FOPE's behalf at the Volunteer Recognition Luncheon which Communities in Bloom held today.

Nova Scotia Bird Society - Christmas Bird Count

Dec. 29, 2016 - Friends of the Pugwash Estuary held a Christmas Bird Count in conjunction with the NS Bird Society.  

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A total of 2412 birds were identified involving 41 different species.

Thirty volunteers took part in the count, 15 home feeders were counted and 5 teams of hikers covered more than 30 kms of hiking trails identifying birds in their natural habitats along the way. Two teams of birders drove 50 or so kilometers of road around the Pugwash Estuary, stopping periodically to count birds at when spotted or at likely sites.

Most sighted species - European Starling 1187, Black-capped Chickadee 217, American Goldfinch 155, American Crow 153, Herring Gull 93, Blue Jay 83, Canada Geese 70, Evening Grosbeaks 61





The Northumberland Links Golf Course was given a print of the Pugwash River painted by noted Nova Scotia artist Tom Forrestall.  The Golf Club was kind enough to allow FOPE to host its 2016 Feast of Land and Sea there last September.  Accepting the print is Liz Roscoe, president of NLGC.  

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July 1st, Canada Day


We had a great time with a lot of support from the crowd.  Thanks to David the professor, Ryan the paddler and the other participants.  



Important BIRD and biodiversity areas bird COUNT

Sept. 30, 2017 - Canada’s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas Program is a science-based initiative to identify, conserve, and monitor a network of sites that provide essential habitat for Canada’s bird populations.

On September 30th, 8 observers left Estuary House for a day of birding to monitor waterfowl activity at 12 different sites.  967 birds were sighted, and that represented 38 different species. Highlights were sighting a bald eagle with a duck kill and 70 + red-breasted mergansers on the Estuary Trail as well as a male wood duck with several females in Conn's Mills. 

This information is used to create conservation plans with wildlife in mind and provide valuable data for the Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas Program.  Recently the work done by FOPE and this group of bird watchers was cited by NCC in their newsletter.

We Won Second- christmas market

December 12, 2017 - FOPE participated in the annual Christmas Tree Fest at the High School  Beat out by Mike Cunningham's tree, we were still second place winners. Thanks to Mary, Sarah, Bonnie, Betty, Sandy and Dianne who all worked on the tree. 

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Once again we partnered with Communities in Bloom to sell at the Christmas Market.  Fun to see everyone.



Thank you to the Legislature of Nova Scotia for recognizing the work that FOPE does to conserve the ecosystem of the Pugwash Estuary.   We were very pleased to receive this after the visit of Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin, MLA, especially as it recognizes our inspiring leader, Alice Power.


Bird Count 2017

Dec. 27, 2017 - Four intrepid field observers, backed up by 10 home feeder counters braved the cold weather to record 686 individual birds from 29 species. The high lights of the count included 8 bald eagles, 3 from the Wallace River population and 4 on the Pugwash River with one at the bridge in Pugwash. Six Common Goldeneyes were observed at Estuary House but larger numbers of both Common and Burrows Goldeneyes were seen in the open water by the bridge in Pugwash along with Red-breasted and Common Mergansers.

While not officially within our count area, a flock of 148 Canada geese were observed flying west over the ice of the Northumberland Strait, presumably looking for an area of open water or somewhere to feed. All the birds, from the bald eagles roosting above Docherty Creek to the herring gulls huddled on the ice of the Pugwash Basin, appeared hunched up and minding the cold.

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