Save the date! With less COVID-19 restrictions in place, we are pleased to announce that our Fall Business Meeting will be in person! We would like to thank the Town of Deer Lake for agreeing to host this year's meeting on October 22nd-23rd at the Holiday Inn Express.
SAM meetings are by invitation only, so please keep an eye on your inboxes. If you do not receive an invitation and believe that you should, please contact us.
Photo 1: SAM Fall Business Meeting 2019. Hosted by the beautiful Town of Gander. Photo 2: Virtual SAM AGM 2021
Congratulations to our
2021 SAM Scholarship Winner, Jackie Bauman!
On hand for the presentation, (from left to right) Jonathan Sharpe, SAM Partner NL Wildlife Division; Cynthia Downey, SAM Treasurer & Councillor, Town of Stephenville Crossing; Jackie Bauman, 2021 SAM Scholarship Winner; Randa James, Supervisor of Planning, City of Corner Brook (SAM Member Town and student's home town); Elisabeth Belanzaran, SAM Conservation Biologist. Presentation hosted by the beautiful Town of Corner Brook.
Jackie is currently a student at Grenfell Campus- Memorial University in their Masters of Environmental Policy program focusing on utilizing marine spatial planning and community engagement as a conservation tool. She previously completed her Bachelor's degree in Environmental Governance from the University of Guelph. Jackie also works with the Atlantic Healthy Oceans Initiative in Norris Point, NL seeking to reduce plastic and other pollution on our province's coasts.
SAM is pleased formally welcome its newest member, the beautiful Town of Main Brook! With the signing of their Municipal Stewardship Agreement, they are committing to protecting 1231 acres of prime riparian habitat along the Town’s world class salmon rivers, as well as joining existing member St. Anthony in promoting a good stewardship ethic in the Hare Bay Stewardship Zone.
Protecting riparian habitat from development, degradation, and destruction is one of the most significant actions a municipality can take to help conserve the health of their salmon populations. Want to learn more about SAM's riparian buffer program? Click here for more information.
Did you know? Hare Bay is home to the three islands that form the Hare Bay Islands Ecological Reserve, which was created to protect eider breeding habitat. It also protects summer breeding habitat for double-crested cormorant, common and Artic terns, and several gull species.
A new agreement signed is always cause to celebrate, so we partnered with our friends at Intervale Associates and the Quebec-Labrador Foundation to put on a celebratory event. Young and not-so-young alike were able to gather together and learn about municipal habitat conservation. Mayor Barb Genge (pictured below, left) gave some lovely remarks testifying to the importance of stewardship of both the riparian habitat within the town's boundaries and the seabird-rich islands in Hare Bay.
Finally, attendees were able to enjoy a fly-tying demonstration from special guest and experienced guide Clarence Goodyear. As you can tell from those rapt faces, the strong interest in salmon angling is still going strong in Main Brook!
After acquiring an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree with specialization in history from the University of Ottawa, Zachary started in the environmental industry as a Red-Seal Certified Landscape Horticulturalist. His passion for conservation and stewardship, however, could not be ignored and after pursuing a Fish and Wildlife technician diploma from the College of the North Atlantic, Zach’s career in stewardship took shape. From the rocky tablelands of Newfoundland’s west coast to the sandy shores of Nova Scotia, Zach has practiced conservation across Newfoundland and throughout Atlantic Canada for a myriad of species including Species at Risk Inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon, Piping plover, and Newfoundland marten. Having recently returned to the rock, Zachary and family have set roots in the beautiful coastal municipality of Torbay.
What has Zach been up to so far?
Beginning a few weeks ago as the new Conservation Biologist with SAM, I was excited to get out and eager to explore the numerous conservation areas and management units of the Northeast Avalon. My home base being in the beautiful coastal community of Torbay, we are lucky to be surrounded by several SAM members: Flatrock, Pouch Cove, Bauline, Portugal Cove-St. Phillips, and St. John’s. From Kennedy Pond in Flatrock, up to Otter Gulch in Pouch Cove, down to Broad Cove River Gully in Portugal Cove-St. Phillips and out to Lundrigan’s Marsh in St. John’s, the Northeast Avalon has numerous protected conservation areas all within a short drive.
Getting familiarized with the conservation plans and stewardship agreements, I went out to explore the communities within, assessing the existing conservation areas for development issues, habitat degradation, threats to wildlife, water quality issues and other environmental parameters. Repeat visits to these sites ensures the continued and long-term sustainability of the area, help us to understand any changes in biology over time, and the impacts of development on the environment.
Most of the conservation areas and management units I visited are doing just fine. While some conservation areas are under threat, having adjacency issues to contend with or looming developments nearby, navigating between development and conservation is never easy, and I am excited to learn how many of our municipalities have taken leadership. Standing on the edge of Sinnots Pond in Flatrock, with the panoramic view of a completely tranquil pond dotted with fragrant water lilies in the foreground, I am glad to be here.
Photo 1: Kennedy’s Pond Photo 2: Flatrock/Blast Hole Ponds, Portugal Cove-St. Phillips Photo 3: Turtlehead flower, Western Island Pond Trail in Torbay
Welcome Karleena Squires, our new Outreach Coordinator!
Growing up in St. John’s, NL, Karleena knew that she wanted to work in environmental conservation, protecting the beautiful island that she called home. After graduating high school, she completed her Diploma in Marine Environmental Technology through the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Newfoundland and Labrador, and followed that up with her Bachelor of Technology Degree through Memorial University. For several years, Karleena has worked with various environmental organizations in a variety of positions including: a Green Team Member with the Conservation Corps cleaning up the Waterford River Watershed, an Aquaculture Technician in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans NL, a Laboratory Technologist at the Center for Fisheries Ecosystems Research, a Research Assistant with the Northeast Avalon Atlantic Coastal Action Program, an Interpreter/Aquarist at both the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium and the Fluvarium, a Tour Guide with O’Brien’s Whale and Bird Watching Tours, and most recently as the Engagement Coordinator with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. Now Karleena is working as the Outreach Coordinator for SAM, working on developing educational content related to wildlife and habitat conservation and stewardship. In her free time, Karleena is an avid volunteer with Girl Guides of Canada, she loves to hike the beautiful trails in our province, and going camping is one of her favourite pastimes. You can also find her at home with her cats or baking.
What has Karleena been up to so far?
As the Outreach Coordinator, I have been getting myself situated in my role by beginning to brainstorm and develop environmental education, outreach and engagement opportunities. This will allow us to continue to provide guidance to member communities for managing their habitat stewardship areas.
With my background in environmental education and outreach, I am really hoping to use my skills to further SAM's Mission in working with SAM Communities by engaging them in environmental education, habitat restoration and/or enhancement projects and ongoing stewardship.
These are some projects I am currently working on:
Renewing our Geocaching Network
Working with local youth groups such as Girl Guides and Scouts to create a relationship whereby these groups can come to us for environmental stewardship programming
Communications - updating our Facebook page and website
Fall 2021 Business Meeting - currently in the planning process
I am looking forward to connecting with the member communities on future outreach projects!
Photo 1: Geocaching Field Work in Cobb's Pond, Gander Photo 2: Geocaching Field Work in Gambo
A Trip to the West Coast...
It has been a busy summer in the Town of St. George’s here in beautiful Western Newfoundland! SAM Conservation Biologist Liz Belanzaran has been fortunate to make several trips there this spring and summer.
Flat Bay Brook, a scheduled salmon river, runs along the western boundary of the Town of St. George's.
In April, she headed down to make some initial site visits to the town to explore the possibility of pursuing a Stewardship Agreement with the Town. Three sites were identified as being potential Conservation Areas: the barachois near the marina, the riparian habitat along the banks of salmon-rich Flat Bay Brook, and Indian Pond near Barachois Brook, while the island of Sandy Point was identified as a potential Stewardship Zone.
Sandy Point is named for its sandy shores - which distinguishes it in Newfoundland, where most shorelines are rocky rather than sandy. Photo courtesy of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Sandy Point has a rich historical and cultural significance, and the care shown by local residents perfectly exemplifies the stewardship ethic that SAM strives to encourage. Currently uninhabited, this site of a historic settlement has many remaining structures, including recently restored cemetery sites and the beautiful lighthouse. The island is remarkable for its unique geography comprised of tidal flats, salt marshes and sandy beaches which form ideal habitat for a number of bird species, including the endangered Piping Plover as well as provincially rare plants such as Sea lavender and Saltwater cordgrass.
Over the past several years, community volunteers, including several individuals who hold fond memories of growing up on Sandy Point prior to the resettlement, have taken it upon themselves to create new community spaces on the island, as well as ensuring the area is kept clean and litter free. All this while ensuring critical wildlife habitat is well protected and maintained. It is no small feat, but these passionate volunteers have proven themselves to be up to the challenge!
SAM Conservation Biologist Liz Belanzaran and MHA Scott Reid both joined the NCC for their annual Sandy Point clean up. This year, enough garbage was collected to nearly fill a 6 cubic yard dumpster!
In addition to those volunteer efforts, the Nature Conservancy of Canada runs an annual clean-up on the island. This August, Liz was able to join the team of volunteers who spend the day collecting garbage from the island.
We here at SAM are excited to be working with the Town of St. George's, and look forward to continuing to build upon the strong foundation of stewardship that is found in the community.
We are very pleased to have Main Brook as a new member of the Stewardship Association of Municipalities, and we look forward to working with them in the future.
Community Currents for Climate: Coming to a Town Near You?
How would you respond if somebody asked, “What sort of project could we come up with to engage young people AND advance action on climate change in Newfoundland and Labrador?”
Back in February 2021, that’s what a Memorial University-led team asked me and two dozen other representatives volunteered by a diverse array of organizations. That inaugural, half-day Zoom gathering of the Climate Collective, as the program is now known, has produced several pilot initiatives, including the one that my project group has launched this September.
Specifically, our Community Currents for Climate (C3) project supports youth in local, citizen science activities examining flow rates in waterways in and around municipalities across Newfoundland Labrador. These waterways are of interest for towns as development and climate change affect their runoff and peak water levels. Unfortunately, the capacity for government to monitor all of these waterbodies simply does not exist. C3 aims to greatly expand much-needed watershed monitoring and awareness with the help of schools, teachers, and students.
Our C3 pilot projects are being delivered by two schools this fall – Holy Trinity High School in Torbay and the Holy Name of Mary Academy in Lawn – in partnership with the Towns of Torbay, Bauline – both current members of the Stewardship Association of Municipalities (SAM) – and Lawn. Students in both schools will build water flow meters and install them in their respective communities. They will develop a plan to monitor readings, analyze the generated data, move their meters to other locations, and deliver presentations on their findings to their Town Councils. This experiential learning opportunity will offer participating youth a broader picture of the environment and community they live in, as well as insight into the ways climate change may be affecting their day-to-day circumstances.
Participating teachers and municipal staff are being supported in a variety of ways by our C3 project group. Together, we assembled an online package of teaching and learning resources over the summer that will be added to and fine tuned as the projects proceed. In addition to my affiliation with Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL), our team members include representatives from the Conservation Corps Newfoundland and Labrador (CCNL), the Fluvarium, the Marine Institute and Grenfell campuses of Memorial University, and the City of St. John’s Sustainability Office – all of which are in a position to contribute further teaching supports, such as presentations on the many ways communities may be affected by climate changes, or the benefits of preserving natural streams, wetlands and buffers.
Our maker-space team member from Brilliant Labs has been instrumental in both rallying the materials and technical expertise needed to support the students’ design and assembly of their water meters, and in convincing the Department of Education that the C3 project could be upscaled significantly in 2022. This initiative aligns with our provincial high school science and technology education curriculum. Subject matter areas include science (i.e., device calibration, ecosystem function), math (i.e., flow rate calculations), social studies (i.e., climate change impacts), and technology education (i.e., multidisciplinary design processes).
The water flow meters can be easily made from a simple motor and a device that measures electrical output. The device the students will use is called the b.Board, a multi-use mini-computer on a small circuit board. There are different ways to code the device and build the flow meter, giving students some freedom in the design process. Once the motor is placed in the flowing water, the b.Board will generate readings about the rate of flow. Local experts from Brilliant Labs will assist students through parts of this process, supplementing additional teaching resources available online. Community planners and decision-makers will be able to use the students’ findings to support local planning and climate change adaptation.
While the C3 team will be busy this fall with this first cycle of the project, we’re looking ahead to the prospects for recruiting additional partners and towns in 2022. We also look forward to working more closely with SAM as we see many synergies coming from this project. Please get in touch if you think your community might be interested in getting involved in the C3 project!
September - Students/educators begin design and prototyping
October - Installation: collect data for six to eight weeks
December - Compile/analyze data
January - Community presentation
Did You Know?
Every year, several SAM communities are able to secure funding for Green Teams during the summer. These teams of motivated youth are able to take on projects in the community with an environmental or cultural focus. This summer, SAM staff travelled to Whitbourne and Torbay to meet with their summer Green Teams and provide some on-the-job training.
Are you interested in getting a Green Team for your community but aren’t sure where to start? Send us an email here and we will be happy to chat about it with you! Or contact Conservation Corps NL directly here. Project selection takes place in the late winter and early spring each year, and is a competitive process, so be sure to get your application in.
2021 Stewardship Anniversaries
Another year is coming to a close, and 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.