Friday 2 November 2018

SAM Newsletter #18 Fall 2018

Labrador City hosts the SAM Fall Meeting

At the end of September SAM community representatives got together in Labrador City for the 2018 Fall SAM Meeting. A big thanks to the Town of Labrador City, for hosting this years meeting. All SAM Communities are invited to participate in the bi-annual SAM meetings, and this fall 12 community representatives made the journey to Labrador City. SAM encourages each municipality to send a representative to the meetings. That representative can be a current town councillor, a member of staff, or a informed resident.

This years meeting started off on Friday night with the SAM Meet & Greet. The evening was hosted at the Two Seasons Inn with refreshments provided by The Town of Labrador City. SAM Staff invited participants to the SAM Nature Challenge. Attendees worked through 4 nature stations that challenged their knowledge of birds, edible berries, wetland values, and Labrador trivia.
This years SAM Meeting Meet & Greet Nature Challenge was a real head-scratcher. Pictured above (L - R)  Forteau Resident -Vernon Buckle, Deputy Mayor of Labrador City - Fabian Benoit, and Town of Gambo Councillor - Mark Stockley. 
A SAM Nature Challenge can be easily added to any community event! If you would like to learn more about enhancing your next municipal event with a nature challenge email

On Saturday morning attendees were able to chat over breakfast before being bused to the meeting location, the Menihek Nordic Ski Chalet. The cozy atmosphere sparked great conservation between municipalities, as they presented their stewardship reports. Amongst other things, reports included, plans for new nature trails in Gambo, an upcoming nest box workshop in Steady Brook, and encouraging indications of changing attitudes towards conservation in Pouch Cove.    
Pictured left: The Menihek Nordic Ski Chalet, the venue for the 2018 Fall SAM Meeting. Pictured right: Attendees presenting their stewardship reports. 
SAM Staff provided an update on SAM's  5 central objectives  that are outlined in our budget and annual workplan, and how we have been achieving those objectives in the province. To learn more about SAM objectives and see the SAM Fall Meeting report check out the SAM Website.

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) also reported on partner led projects that have been happening in the province. These projects include the DUC Grade 4 Wetland Field Trips, The DUC Nestbox Program, and the support of wetland policy. 
Pictured left: SAM Secretary and Town of Gander Councillor, Pat Woodford, geocaching in Labrador City. Learn more about the EHJV Stewardship Geocaches.Pictured right: Fall treasures found during the SAM Fall Meeting field trip on the Menihek Ski Trails.
After the formal business meeting, attendees listened to a presentation by the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) and their "Tailings to Biodiversity" project in Labrador City. The Town of Labrador City also arranged for a field trip that included a short nature walk through the Menihek Ski Trails, and a guided bus tour led by Gateway Labrador
Pictured left: SAM attendees stretched their legs and took in some Labrador beauty, as they walked the Menihek Ski Trails. Pictured right: SAM honours a leader in stewardship, Peter Reccord. (L-R Kathleen Blanchard Intervale and SAM Vice President; Peter Reccord, former Labrador City town councillor; Jonathan Sharpe, Sr. Wildlife Biologist Department of Fisheries and Land Resources
The meeting concluded on Saturday night with the SAM Networking Dinner. Thank you to the Menihek Ski Lodge for preparing an amazing meal and for The Town of Labrador City for arranging the details. In attendance at the meal were Mayor Wayne Button and Deputy Mayor Fabian Benoit of Labrador City,  and MHA of Labrador West Graham Letto. It was great to have so many Labrador West representatives at the meal, because SAM also honored a former Labrador City Councillor, Peter Reccord.

Thank you to all who were involved in organizing the SAM Fall Meeting 2018, and keep watching our website for details of the SAM Spring AGM 2019

SAM Network News & Updates

  • SAM Conservation Fund Scholarship Application 2019  The application form for this years Conservation Fund Scholarship is now available on our website! Deadline is May 1, 2019
  • SAM Funding Page Updated Use the SAM funding page as your guide! Now with 45 links to funding and grants for municipalities, there is something for your next stewardship project!
  • "Becoming an Outdoors Woman" (BOW) SAM Conservation Biologist, Laura King, was lucky enough to run an informational session at BOW this October. Learn more about the next session of BOW and reserve your spot!
  • Congratulations to Alexandra Hayward on receiving the 2018 SAM Scholarship On October 15, Alexandra Hayward was awarded the SAM Conservation Fund Scholarship. Thank you to the City of St. John's for hosting the event!
Congratulations Alexandra (Alex) Hayward on receiving the SAM 2018 Conservation Fund Scholarship! (L-R Deputy Mayor Sheilagh O`Leary City of St. John`s, Alex Hayward 2018 Conservation Fund Scholarship recipient,  Laura King SAM Conservation Biologist, Cynthia Downey SAM Treasurer, Mayor Danny Breen City of St. John`s.) 

"Becoming an Outdoors Woman" workshop 2018

Recently one of our Conservation Biologists, Laura King, had the chance to instruct a Wildlife & Edible Plant session at the "Becoming an Outdoors Woman"  , or BOW workshop. BOW is an annual outdoor education initiative organized by the Nl Wildlife Division.

BOW is for women 18 years of age or older, who wish to learn new outdoor recreation skills, or enhance their knowledge of fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities. Nearly 40 people gathered for this years workshop, with ages ranging from undergraduate students to retired professionals. Participants signed up for hands-on sessions, led by experienced instructors, on topics such as outdoor survival, firearm use, map and compass, fly fishing, and nature photography, just to name a few!  All sessions are at an introductory level, and all equipment is provided. 
Pictured left: Coltsfoot, a stubborn weed in the province that has been used to make tea and candy to soothe sore throats. Pictured right: Spore prints is one way to help identify wild mushrooms.
Laura had 20 participants for the Wildlife & Edible Plant session over the two day workshop. The session took place on the beautiful Stanleyville and Lomond River trails, in Gros Morne National park. Once on the trails, the session began with habitat types 101. Where do you look for edibles, and what might you find once you get there! Coniferous forests will have different soils and micro climates when compared with urban naturalized areas, but both can be excellent places to forage when done safely. Participants were schooled on edible berries and many of the in-season leafy edibles that lined the trails, such as coltsfoot, wild mint, and dandelion. They also learned about a few poisonous plants to identify and avoid in the field including deadly night shade.

At this time of year many mushrooms can be found along the trails in Gros Morne. (Disclaimer: Mushroom foraging can be deadly, and should be done with an experienced forager!). Laura invited participants to try and identify mushrooms by taking spore prints, identifying gill types and using a key.   
The fly tying session was another optional session provided by the BOW Workshop. Pictured left: Participants gaining hands on skills in fly tying;  Pictured right: First time flies!
The BOW program been running in the province for many years, and this years event was sponsored by Friends of Salmonier Nature Park, Department of Fisheries and Land ResourcesGros Morne National ParkSalmon Association of Eastern NewfoundlandUpper Humber Rod and Gun Association, and Barnes Sporting Goods.

BOW is also a great opportunity for SAM to connect with current and future outdoors women of the province. Laura spoke with many participants about SAM in their municipalities and how they can get involved in habitat stewardship.

The BOW Workshop was a great experience for SAM and we are looking forward to the next workshop, which is expected to be this spring at Max Simms Camp. Registration forms will be available online and at the BOW Facebook page. Financial assistance is also available for women who would like to attend, but face challenges in finding funds. Contact Friends of Salmonier Nature park for more information! 

Two communities enhance wetland habitat this fall 

October is a beautiful month to get outside and enjoy the SAM Management Units, and in some cases it also important to enhance these areasThe Town of Lewisporte and The Town of Steady Brook did just that this month during two outreach events. 

The Town of Lewisporte officially opened their Southwest Brook Estuary Bird Watching Trail. The trail is located just as you turn onto Route 340, The Road to the Isles, and is within Lewisporte's only Management Unit, The Bottom Brook Estuary. The trail excellent first stop for those travelling on Route 340, especially for tourists, birders, and those who would just like to stretch their legs.
Mayor Clarke of Lewisporte cuts the ribbon at the newly opened Bottom Brook Estuary Birding Trail
The trail boasts two wildlife watching platforms, where on any given day you can catch a glimpse of Canada Geese, Black Ducks, and a large number of shorebird species.There are also several informational panels along the trail about the area. The hope is this trail will educate visitors and residents about the importance of the natural estuary to the community of Lewisporte. 
Pictured above: The Lewiporte Wildlife Watching Platform that was built in partnership with The Town of Lewisporte and Ducks Unlimited Canada.
The Town of Steady Brook also participated in some habitat enhancement this month, and will soon become a haven for Goldeneye ducks on the west coast of the island. In partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada, SAM and the Town of Steady Brook, a nestbox building workshop was held this October.

Goldeneye ducks along with Wood Ducks and Hooded Mergansers are cavity nesters, in other words they create a nest in a hollow of a tree trunk. In Newfoundland and Labrador there can be stiff competition for natural cavities, because of the lack of large mature trees. Nest boxes can help by providing nesting habitat for these waterfowl species.
The Osmonds of Steady Brook participated in the nest box building workshop and have become nest box stewards!
Some of the boxes built that night will be hung in the Town of Steady Brook's Management Units (MUs). The MUs are beautiful wetlands that open onto the Humber River. If done properly, nest boxes can help enhance wetland habitat.
Pictured left: Autumn colors in Steady Brook`s Wetland Habitat Management Unit. Pictured Right: Participants await eagerly as they learn how to construct nest boxes for their community of Steady Brook.
Wood Anniversary for the SAM Communities on the Burin: 5 Years of Stewardship
Several municipalities celebrated their silver or 25th anniversary this year, and we would also like to recognize some newer communities to SAM, and celebrate the wood anniversary. In 2013, three municipalities on the BurinPeninsula,  Frenchman`s CoveGarnish and St. Lawrence , signed Municipal Habitat Stewardship Agreements. 
Frenchman`s Coveand Garnish share a municipal boundary and a similar vision of habitat stewardship. The two communities worked together and  signed their agreements together 5 years ago, protecting over 950 acres.
The Frenchman`s cove Barasway, which connects the two municipalities, is ideal staging habitat for many waterfowl species and shorebirds, including the Red knot, a federally and provincially listed endangered species.  
Just across the Burin Peninsula is St. Lawrence. The community`s Management Unit spans the coastline for over 1500 acres is the habitat for many species of waterfowl, shorebirds and songbirds. 
These communities have an excellent example to follow, Winterland, also on the Burin Peninsula, just celebrated 21 years of habitat stewardship. A stewardship success story, Winterland has put their agreement to work and created anEcomuseum and trail system, a must see for tourists and locals alike.  Keep up the great work Burin! 
Costume Change: Identifying common birds in the fall and Winter
In the fall and winter many common birds stop putting energy into producing showy spring feathers that are used to attract a mate. Instead they climb into something more comfortable and their colours become a little more "chilled". has listed several common birds that you might not recognize in their cold weather plumage. For the full article click the link above!
1) American Goldfinch: From the lemony yellow of summer, the male American Goldfinch is much more relaxed in the winter. Click the picture to see all the stages on
2) Common Loon:  Seen on lakes and ponds all over Newfoundland and Labrador, in the winter many Common Loons migrate, but not always that far. Keep on the look out for a grey version of this common bird hanging around bays and inlets.
3)  Fall Warblers!: So many of the common warblers to the province have a costume change in the fall. Before migration you might have caught a glimpse of a dull yellowish bird... what was that?

Never fear! There are lots of blogs and website dedicated to deciphering  the different between these masters of disguise. The McGill Bird Observatory is a great place to get started on figuring your warblers! See the link below for an identification chart for Eastern Canada. 
EHJV Partnership Clean up: September in Sandy Point 
SAM Conservation Biologist, Liz Belanzaranparticipated in the clean up of Sandy Point, hosted by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC)
Sandy Point Nature Reserve is protected by the NCC. The area is an important nesting habitat for numerous bird species, including the endangered Piping Plover. The unique salt marshes are also home to several rare plants like seaside lavender and saltwater cordgrass
Since 2013, the NCC has held clean ups of the marine debris that collects on the point.
During the 2018 clean up, participants started the day with the help of the Barachois Search and Rescue. They piled aboard the Search and Rescue boats and were ferried across to beach.
There was an excellent turnout for the event, around 25 people, all helping to clean up Sandy Point. Armed with garbage bags, and excellent weather, the group were able to collect two dumpsters of trash. 
Sandy Point was once a thriving community in Bay St. George. When the peninsula became an island due to erosion, the people of the community resettled to many of the nearby communities. Participants were also given the chance to visit the remains of the old Sandy Point settlement. Locals from the area still maintain the cemeteries that can be found on the island. 
The NCC in Newfoundland and Labrador host many events over the course of the year. For events near you check out
If you have a photo  or a story you would like to submit for the SAM newsletter email
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