Thursday, 30 March 2023

SAM Newsletter #37: Spring 2023

Above: French Bread Oven Site, Port au Choix (Photo Credit: Town of Port au Choix)
Below: Flora of the Limestone BarrensPort au Choix

2023 Spring AGM

In February, we sent out a Save-the-Date announcement for the upcoming 2023 Spring SAM AGM, in the beautiful coastal community of Port au Choix on the Northern Peninsula. We look forward to seeing everyone in person from May 26th-27th.
The SAM bi-annual business meetings are opportunities for representatives from our member municipalities, invited guests and our partner organizations to share conservation and stewardship success stories and challenges. The meetings are also a chance to network and partner with other SAM communities on your next Stewardship project! Attendance is highly encouraged, and we offer a travel incentive to cover some of the associated costs.
SAM meetings are by invitation only - look for them to be emailed out within the coming weeks. Contact for more information.
SAM Fall Meeting attendees in the Town of New-Wes-Valley

Constitutional Changes for SAM

With a strong cast of municipal members, the Stewardship Association of Municipalities Inc, continues to cultivate and strengthen conservation leadership across the province. From 1993 to 2023, the Stewardship Association has grown from a small contingent of member municipalities to an incorporated non-profit organization with 46 members and counting. The increased awareness and corresponding need for conservation action and stewardship over the past thirty years has demonstrated a necessary need to expand as an organization.

At the 2022 Fall Business meeting in the Town of New-Wes-Valley, the SAM membership voted and approved changes that would allow the hiring of an Executive Director. As SAM takes its first step in this exciting direction, Board of Directors Chair Pat Woodford says, “SAM is about to embark on a new path, and we look forward to seeing how the results benefit our member municipalities. Year after year, the Stewardship Association continues to grow, and this is a wonderful step in the right direction for the organization.” As well as a significant partner in the Stewardship Association, the Provincial Municipal Habitat Conservation Program Manager and Eastern Habitat Joint Venture Director for NL Jonathan Sharpe will continue as a representative of the province in an Ex-Officio capacity.

With several years of environmental stewardship experience, an optimistic enthusiasm for conservation, and passionate love of Newfoundland and Labrador wildlife, the Stewardship Association is excited to have Zachary Burrows step into the role of Executive Director. Zach has rooted himself on the rock, with his wife and young son, and is dedicated to helping the municipal leaders in this province in their conservation efforts. As a new day emerges, SAM is poised to better serve its larger community of environmental municipal stewards.
Zachary Burrows, SAM Executive Director

Welcome to SAM's New Staff Member - Conservation Biologist Sam Zabudsky!

Originally from Ontario, Sam grew up spending time with her family in Northern Ontario hiking, fishing and boating. After moving to Ottawa to complete an Honours Bachelor of Science in Biology and Geology, Sam spent her summers conducting fish community assessments in the Great Lakes, which led to an interest in fieldwork and marine ecosystems. She worked with various environmental organizations before returning to school for her Master of Science in Fisheries Science and Technology, this time at the Marine Institute of Memorial University. Here, she has been lucky to discover Newfoundland's uniqueness and natural spaces and has been exploring as much as possible. In her free time, Sam loves hiking the east coast trail with her dog Nelson, reading, and travelling.
SAM Conservation Biologist, Sam Zabudsky

New Outreach Programming - 
Species at Risk Habitat Conservation and All about the Limestone Barrens!

SAM has had a very successful year of Conservation Outreach and Education! Our staff have delivered over 60 presentations to people of all ages (700+ youth, and 200+ adults!) across the province!
SAM's Outreach Coordinator Karleena has been busy and is pleased to announce the launch of two new Outreach Programs: Species at Risk Habitat Conservation and All About the Limestone Barrens!
To book one of our new programs, or one of our previously developed programs (Wetlands 101, Forests 101, and Atlantic Salmon Habitat Conservation) please email Karleena at! We offer our programming free of charge to groups (schools, Girl Guides/Scouts, day camps, other organizations, municipalities, etc.) of all ages across Newfoundland and Labrador, in person and virtually. Or download the programming for free here.
SAM's new Outreach Programs!
Annual Christmas Bird Counts
Citizen Science Projects are a great way for community members to engage in conservation research and contribute to a greater understanding of biodiversity in your municipality through data collection. Plus you get to explore the outdoors and experience the beautiful environment around you! Started in 1900, the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) has grown into North America’s longest-running and widely supported Citizen Science project that can be found in more than 2000 locations throughout the Western Hemisphere each year, including SAM member municipalities the cities of Corner Brook and St. John's.
For years, SAM has assisted/participated in the CBC along with other organizations like Birds CanadaNature Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Humber Natural History Society (HNHS).
This past December, SAM's Conservation Biologist Ashley helped organize the Christmas Bird Count for Kids along with the HNHS in the City of Corner Brook. What a wonderful turn out with great weather! Both kids and their parents joined SAM and HNHS at the Corner Brook Public Library to learn about the various bird species they might see and a quick orientation on binocular use. The group then went to Margaret Bowater Park to see what birds they could identify. While there were no unusual species of note, they did see some American Black duck, Black-capped chickadee, and Red-breasted nuthatch, among others. The event was capped off with some snacks and fun games back at the library. Thanks to the Corner Brook Public Library for helping us host the event, HNHS, and to Intervale Associates for providing the binoculars and staff support.
Participants in the 2022 CBC for Kids in the City of Corner Brook
On the East Coast, SAM's Outreach Coordinator participated in the CBC on Boxing Day. Overall there were 28 participants in the region who recorded 69 different species of birds. Notable species included: Pink-footed gooseWood duckYellow-breasted chat, and Eurasian Green-winged teal.
SAM Outreach Coordinator Karleena participating in the CBC in the City of St. John's
Spotted! Yellow-breasted chat eating a lone apple near Quidi Vidi Lake
Karleena also participated in the family-friendly Winter Bird Count (February) in Bowring Park, along with Nature Newfoundland and Labrador (organizers), and Jared from Bird the Rock in Bowring Park. Another great turn out with some who were seasoned birders, and others who were new to birding. The event was held on February 19th to coincide with the Great Backyard Bird Count (February 16th-19th, 2023). Species spotted included: Brown creeper, American Black duck, Muted swan, Northern pintail, Black-capped chickadee, Boreal chickadee and more!
Participants in the Winter Bird Count in Bowring Park in the City of St. John's
World Wetlands Day
World Wetlands Day is celebrated each year on February 2nd to highlight the value of wetland ecosystems. This day also marks the anniversary of the Convention on Wetlands, which was adopted as an intergovernmental treaty in 1971. Wetlands are critically important ecosystems that sustain biodiversity, filter our water supply and provide water, protect us from storms and floods, and store carbon. By recognizing World Wetlands Day, we aim to increase public awareness about how much wetlands do for our communities, and to encourage actions to protect, conserve and restore them. World Wetlands Day is for everyone to recognize as these ecosystems are important to us all! The theme for World Wetlands Day 2023 was ‘Wetland Restoration’ which highlights the need to prioritize wetland restoration, conservation, and to revive and restore degraded wetlands.
This year SAM marked the occasion with several special events:
We worked with Public Libraries across Newfoundland and Labrador to run programming for kids all about Wetlands. We hosted story time takeovers with wetland themed books and educational programming, and we held a World Wetlands Day Poster Contest for kids across the province! The poster contest received entries from municipalities across the province (Deer LakeStephenville CrossingSt. John'sHappy Valley-Goose BayLourdes, and Codroy Valley). Congratulations to the winners!
SAM Conservation Biologist Ashley delivering our Wetlands 101 Programming to kids at the Deer Lake Public Library
The Town of Torbay signed a proclamation, declaring February 2nd, 2023 as World Wetlands Day and publicly demonstrating their support for wetland conservation and stewardship. Check out their social media post about the occasion!
Town of Torbay declares February 2nd, 2023 as World Wetlands Day!
We also want to thank The Fluvarium for hosting our World Wetlands Day Family Fun Day along with several other organizations such as Nature Newfoundland and LabradorDucks UnlimitedBirds Canada, and Sikumiut Environmental Management Ltd.
Municipal Leadership and
Evidence of Stewardship
Jonathan Sharpe, Wildlife Division Biologist
NL Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture
Stewardship - “The careful and responsible management of something entrusted into one’s care.”
The first municipal habitat stewardship agreement was signed in 1993 between the province and the Town of Whitbourne. The Town of Gander came onboard later that same year. Did you ever consider (and admire) the leadership of those councils to become involved in something completely new and, at that time, untested? I was not part of those conversations but I give immense credit to those early towns who wanted to contribute to conservation and tangibly demonstrate careful and responsible management of the municipal lands entrusted into their care by the citizens who elected them.
Initial SAM Members: Town of Whitbourne and Town of Gander
In 2007, the Wildlife Division gave me the privilege to become involved with the municipal habitat stewardship program. By that time, 18 municipalities had signed agreements with the province to conserve important wildlife habitat found within their respective jurisdictions. Since that time an additional 27 municipalities have signed similar agreements. Today municipal agreements impact well over 50,000 acres of the province’s special places which have been conserved through the leadership of municipal leaders in all corners of this province. We are proud of this legacy built on the vision and leadership of those initial councils.
Jonathan Sharpe, Wildlife Division Biologist with the
NL Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture
The Province also remains committed to the ongoing implementation of these agreements and to continuing to identify productive wildlife habitats found within other municipalities as we together seek a balance that meets the needs of present generations but also ensures the conservation of the habitat to support wildlife into the future.
Social Media
Did you know? You can follow SAM on a variety of Social Media Platforms!
Check us out on FacebookInstagram and Twitter @SAM_Stewardship

2022 Stewardship Anniversaries

We would like to recognize some significant
Municipal Habitat Stewardship Agreement signing anniversaries.
Congratulations and we look forward to many more years of
conservation and stewardship!

30 years since signed (1993)

25 years since signed (1998)
Grand Falls-Windsor

20 years since signed (2003)
Channel-Port aux Basques

15 years since signed (2008)
St. Anthony
Hawke's Bay

10 years since signed (2013)
Frenchman's Cove
St. Lawrence

5 years since signed (2018)
Corner Brook
Do you have a conservation story you would like to see featured in a future newsletter? Send an email with the details to!
Copyright © Stewardship Association of Municipalities NL, All rights reserved.

Contact us:
Stewardship Association of Municipalities
36 Patrick's Path - Torbay, NL - A1K 1J2

Wednesday, 7 December 2022

SAM Newsletter #36: Winter 2022


Barbour Heritage Living Village in the Town of New-Wes-Valley

2022 Fall Meeting - New-Wes-Valley, NL

Thank you to the Town of New-Wes-Valley municipal staff, Mayor and Town Councillors for being such amazing hosts for our 2022 Fall Meeting! We are grateful for all your efforts in organizing and delivering a wonderful meeting, and your support and participation was really appreciated. We had great weather, lots of municipal engagement, and stimulating takeaways. We would also like to thank each of the representatives for coming and participating in the SAM Meeting. Looking forward to seeing you all at our next meeting in the spring!
SAM Fall Meeting attendees in the Town of New-Wes-Valley
We would like to thank all of those below who helped contribute:
SAM Fall Meeting attendees visiting Cape Freels and meeting in the Town of New-Wes-Valley

SAM Environmental Steward Award Winner!

Congratulations to Linda Bailet, the first winner of SAM's newly re-designed Environmental Steward Award! At the SAM Fall Meeting in Town of New-Wes-Valley, we were pleased to present Linda with the 2022 Individual Community Champion Award!

This award recognizes an individual’s significant initiative or achievement in environmental stewardship in Newfoundland and Labrador. This individual’s actions will have had a positive environmental impact, proving to be a key force in conserving the environment. This Champion Award recognizes an individual’s contributions to environmental sustainability, bringing us one step closer to a greener future.

Linda Bailet with her SAM Individual Champion Environmental Steward Award at the SAM Fall Meeting in the Town of New-Wes-Valley
Linda is a retired science and biology teacher from the Town of Carmanville who has been involved with many volunteer activities over the years, both at local and provincial levels, and is an avid gardener, birdwatcher, and outdoors person. Linda was involved with the Carmanville Habitat Committee Inc, which operates and manages the Carmanville Wetland Interpretation Centre and its extensive Nature Trails. The Town of Carmanville has been a long time member of SAM and the wetlands associated with the Interpretation Centre and Trails form an important part of its Municipal Habitat Conservation Agreement. ​Linda also served on Carmanville Town Council for two terms. It was during this time that Linda attended her first SAM meeting in 2011. Linda was elected as SAM Vice-President in 2012, a role she held until 2015 and was subsequently elected as SAM President until 2017. During her time as President, SAM grew immensely in membership and in organizational capacity to implement its mandate through the hiring of staff.
Congratulations Linda on your well-deserved award! SAM is grateful for your contributions to our organization.

What's Going on in the Codroy Valley?

In 1987, the Grand Codroy Estuary was designated as a wetland of international significance recognizing its importance to waterfowl and other wildlife. The Habitat Conservation Plan for the estuary recommends ongoing monitoring of the habitat and wildlife as one important aspect of ongoing conservation efforts.
Since 2019, SAM, with the support of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), has conducted annual trapping in the Grand Codroy Estuary to detect the possible presence of the invasive European Green Crab which can have a negative impact on the ecosystem when found in large numbers. While our results to date have confirmed the presence of Green Crab in the estuary, populations appear to be remain at low numbers. Trapped crabs have been found in the more salty/brackish waters near the mouth of the estuary (near Searston Beach), rather than upstream where water is less saline.
SAM Conservation Biologist Ashley deploying Green Crab Traps in the Grand Codroy Estuary
This year, SAM Conservation Biologist Ashley, along with Jennifer Sullivan from the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), again deployed traps to catch green crab that might be in estuary over two days in mid-September. Results were similar to past years and to date, it appears that green crab populations have not significantly expanded. It remains important to continue to monitor European Green Crab in the estuary to detect any changes in distribution, or abundance.
Jennifer of the NCC checking the Green Crab Traps
It is important to monitor European Green Crab in this area for any changes in distribution, or significant increases in the number of crabs found. Physical changes to the mouth of the estuary that allow upstream waters to become more saline, for example, could increase crab distribution farther from the mouth of the estuary since this would be more suited for their survival, and have impact on the wildlife upstream.
Jennifer (NCC) also assisted Ashley in conducting some waterfowl monitoring. Following our monitoring protocol, they visited a number of monitoring sites and recorded the species observed. They were lucky enough to spot some Sandhill Crane stopping over in a wetland as well as many Canada Geese and American Black Duck.
Trapped Green Crab from the Grand Codroy Estuary
 Also, as part of waterfowl monitoring efforts in the Codroy Valley, Ashley went to the College of the North Atlantic (CNA) in Corner Brook this fall to present to the Fish and Wildlife Technician students who would later travel to the Codroy area to conduct their own waterfowl surveys. Ashley introduced the concepts and principles of waterfowl monitoring to the students, as well as summarizing some of the stewardship history of the communities that surround the Grand Codroy Estuary.
Later in the fall, Ashley and staff of the Wildlife Division met with Executive of the Codroy Valley Area Development Association to explore potential partnerships on conserving the estuary for the benefit of the community and visitors. We look forward to continuing this partnership.
A big thanks to all partners who supported these projects, including the NCCDFO, and CNA!

SAM Returns to the Barrens

It had been almost a year since SAM visited the municipalities along the Northwestern coast of Bonavista Bay; New-Wes-ValleyIndian BayCentreville-Wareham-Trinity and Carmanville further along. SAM Conservation Biologist Zach had an opportunity to return to the Oceanic Barren Ecozone in September of 2022, once again experiencing this unique and captivating landscape.
SAM's Conservation Biologist Zach with IBEC's Senior Project Coordinator Kaylene Stagg in Cape Freels
While in the area, Zach met with a very engaging and supportive New-Wes-Valley council to discuss their conservation needs. He went to Carmanville to see the wonderful  Carmanville Wetland Interpretation Centre and Trails and the great work of the Carmanville Habitat Committee Inc, and helped their staff plant Black and White spruce seedlings in a windfall area and install bird nest boxes along the trail. Zach spent a day in Cape Freels with the welcoming familiar face of Senior Project Coordinator Kaylene Stagg of Indian Bay Ecosystem Corporation (IBEC), conducting a shorebird survey and an assessment of sensitive vegetation within the Cape. Zach had another great engagement session with some members of the Centreville-Wareham-Trinity town council and left some spruce tree saplings and nest boxes for them to install in their beautiful Black Brook Park. To cap it all off, Zach had a terrific day celebrating conservation at Centreville Academy, delivering an Atlantic Salmon presentation, a Wetland 101 presentation, and a taxidermy ‘show and tell’ with some outdoor play to about sixty students.
Zach presenting to students at Centreville Academy in the Town of Centreville-Wareham-Trinity
It seems to be that whenever we visit with SAM member municipalities, we usually come away with the same sentiment of gratitude. Grateful for the efforts of the municipal leaders and staff for continuing to protect their important wildlife habitat. Grateful for the people who welcome us into their community and show us their special places. Grateful for the amazing province we get to call home and the hospitality wherever we are.
Educational Outreach and
Community Opportunities
Did you know that SAM provides free outreach and educational programming to all ages, on a variety of topics (Wetlands, Forests and Salmon)? Find our educational programming on our website! This year alone we have engaged over 1000 people across the province!
We have engaged with: Elementary and High Schools (K-12), Girl Guide Groups (from Sparks to Trefoil!), Scouts (of all ages), College students, public events such as 'Family Fun Days' at Salmonier Nature Park, community events like clean-ups, and more!
Outreach in the outdoors, no matter the weather!
Winter is the perfect time to get outdoors! It provides an opportunity to see some of the birds who overwinter in our province, observe the tracks of many different types of wildlife, or to enjoy the snow with winter activities like snowshoeing! Please reach out to Karleena at for more information on SAM programming for your municipality or group!
Families participating in the Youth Christmas Bird Count in the Town of Corner Brook
Guest Feature: Indian Bay Ecosystem Corporation (IBEC)
Indian Bay Ecosystem Corporation (IBEC), based in the Town of Indian Bay (a SAM member since 2016), is a strong supporter of SAM and its environmental work throughout the province. With over 34 years of protecting the Indian Bay Watershed and surrounding areas, while completing over 150 various environmental projects, some with SAM partnership, IBEC knows a thing or two about sound stewardship practices.
IBEC has worked on several projects in 2022:
Our Community-Nominated Priority Places for Species at Risk (CNPP) Project, Conserving and Understanding the Species at Risk of Cape Freels, regarding the study of human behaviour and how it affects Species at Risk, was to conclude in March of 2023, however it has been extended for another three years. This project collects data on all types of birds found in the area (shorebirds, waterfowl, seabirds, and birds of pray), negative and positive behaviours of humans, interaction with tourist and locals, cleanups of the beaches, and has a strong focus on outreach to youth.
IBEC's Senior Project Coordinator Kaylene Stagg holding a Leach’s Storm-Petrel (LESP) in Cape Freels
IBEC was contracted to conduct additional research in Cape Freels, in respect to Leach’s Storm-Petrel (LESP) behaviour, involving the reasons behind its high mortality rate, and determining what predators are involved in its predation. That contract involved dozens of night shifts, surveying specific areas well after midnight (LESP are only observed from 10pm onward most nights during the Summer). Senior Project Coordinator Kaylene Stagg has taken a leading roll in IBEC’s work in the Cape Freels area.
Our EcoAction project related to erosion control along the Indian Bay River, entered its second year, with another year of funding scheduled for 2023. Three rock walls were installed, and 2,000 White Spruce seedlings were planted to assist with bank stabilization efforts along the shoreline where erosion has washed away large amounts of sediment. The above projects have been funded through Environment and Climate Change Canada.
IBEC's Director Darren Sheppard conducting field work in Cape Freels
Northwest Brook Revival was funded through the Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation (ASCF), which involved removal of debris from the schedule Salmon river, checking on and repairing in- stream structures that were put in place in 2015, while providing a presence on the river, especially in hard-to-reach locations. And we were involved in the Aquatic Conductivity Assessment program for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), our fourth year checking on culverts and bridges throughout Bonavista North, to determine if barriers are blocking fish passageways, especially for Salmon. Executive Director Darren Sheppard is the trainer for this program, traveling throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, providing insight over protocols and techniques and proper usage of surveying equipment used for this type of work, to Indigenous groups and other environmental not-for-profits.
IBEC would like to thank SAM for the opportunity to write this piece for the newsletter feature. Keep up the great work! IBEC can also be found on Facebook!
Social Media
Did you know? You can follow SAM on a variety of Social Media Platforms!
Check us out on FacebookInstagram and Twitter @SAM_Stewardship

2022 Stewardship Anniversaries

We would like to recognize some significant
Municipal Habitat Stewardship Agreement signing anniversaries.
Congratulations and we look forward to many more years of
conservation and stewardship!

25 years since signed (1997)
Bay Roberts-Spaniard's Bay

20 years since signed (2002)
Flower's Cove

5 years since signed (2017)
Pouch Cove
Do you have a conservation story you would like to see featured in a future newsletter? Send an email with the details to!
Copyright © Stewardship Association of Municipalities NL, All rights reserved.

Contact us:
Stewardship Association of Municipalities
Millbrook Mall, P.O. Box 20024 · Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador A2H 7J5