The Fluvarium staff lead a bug sweep prior to the walk around Long Pond and visiting the center.
SAM hopes everyone enjoyed themselves! Thank you to all involved in the planning and execution of the event. Special thanks to City Staff Heather Mills-Snow, Karen Chafe and Edmundo Fausto for the tremendous amount of work put in, Quidi Vidi Village Artisan's Studio for hosting our Meet and Greet, Wedgewood Catering for the delicious food at the Meet and Greet, the St. John's Convention Centre for hosting the AGM and providing the amazing food throughout the day, The Fluvarium for hosting our afternoon outing, and to SAM Staff for organizing the meeting and running the outings and events throughout the weekend.
The winner for the 2022 SAM Scholarship has been chosen and notified, stay tuned for the upcoming announcement of the winner! As well, we have recently changed the criteria for the SAM Steward Award - an announcement is coming soon with all of the details! Keep an eye on our Social Media pages.
Welcome New Staff!
SAM would like to give a warm welcome to our newest Conservation Biologist - Ashley Locke!
Growing up in the Town of Meadows on the West Coast of Newfoundland, Ashley spent a lot of her childhood enjoying outdoor activities like snowshoeing, camping, fishing, and hiking. This experience and her interest in science led her to complete a Bachelor of Science majoring in Environmental Biology at the MUN Grenfell Campus. When she completed her degree, she decided she wanted to go back to school to pursue a career in conservation. In 2020 she started the Master of Environmental Science program at MUN, completing it in 2022. Over the summer of 2021 she worked as a co-op student with the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) where she gained work experience with bird monitoring within the province. In her free time besides enjoying the great outdoors, Ashley enjoys watching documentaries, spending time with her pets and painting wildflowers and landscapes.
In May, SAM staff Zachary and Karleena travelled to the Burin peninsula, along with with Catherine Dale of (Birds Canada), to meet with SAM Member municipalities. It was a wonderful opportunity to revisit SAM Conservation Areas and see firsthand how municipalities are continuing to steward them.
Their first stop was in St. Lawrence, where the town and SAM staff held a public engagement session at the St. Lawrence Recreation Centre to review the Habitat Stewardship Agreement and the recent expansion of St. Lawrence's agreement to protect additional coastal habitat. Catherine also provided an overview of the Newfoundland Breeding Bird Atlas. There was lots of community discussion and engagement following the presentation.
Outreach Coordinator Karleena presents Wetlands 101 to the students at St. Lawrence Academy
The following day, SAM and Birds Canada returned to the municipality of St. Lawrence and presented to several high school science classes taught by Mr. Higdon at St. Lawrence Academy, where they addressed the importance of conserving wetland habitats (and had some fun playing Wetland Jeopardy), and some bird ID tips. Karleena, Zach and Catherine had a great time engaging the students in conservation.
Afterwards they travelled to the towns of Garnish and Frenchman’s Cove, where youth from both communities helped install nest boxes to enhance the nesting habitat for secondary cavity tree nesting bird species (such as Tree swallows, Black-capped chickadees, Boreal chickadees and House sparrows). Nest cavities are sometimes in short supply - installing additional nest cavity boxes is a conservation measure that can have a positive impact on bird populations. A nest box monitoring program is an excellent opportunity for some fun community conservation engagement, and helps to improve the availability of suitable wildlife habitat. The information collected will be submitted to a larger dataset, available to researchers and wildlife management.
We finished off the trip with a Nocturnal Owl Survey (which runs from April 1st to May 15th annually), led by Birds Canada. Stopping at predetermined spots along the road between Little St. Lawrence and Lewin's Cove, from 9PM-12AM, we were successful in hearing from some Great horned owls and Northern saw-whets.
Completing the Nocturnal Owl Survey between Little St. Lawrence and Lewin's Cove - this is at midnight at one of the last stops, the sound of Great Horned Owls calling from not too far away
We are always inspired whenever we visit SAM communities. SAM is a network of conservation minded municipalities that are collectively trying to ensure future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty of Newfoundland and Labrador the way we do today.
SAM Outreach Coordinator Karleena sits among eNGO Caucus Participants.
This event allowed the eNGOs of Newfoundland and Labrador (over 15 of which were represented in person) to work together and create some networking relationships for future projects, and allowed the sharing of ideas to further our work in conservation in the province.
The eNGO Caucus was held at the Corduroy Brook Nature Centre - participants enjoyed a walk around the trails before the event began in the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor.
Events included a bird walk along the Nature Trails, Speed Networking - where each organization had the opportunity for one-on-one networking with each eNGO present, Project Management Training, Nocturnal Owl Survey, and more.
If your organization would like to be a part of planning the next eNGO Caucus event, or if you would like your organization to be on the invite list, please reach out to email@example.com.
Celebrate breeding birds in Newfoundland this June by participating in the Big Atlas Weekend from June 22nd-29th, 2022. You can win prizes for competitions within Newfoundland, and between other provinces and US States!
Kickoff webinar - Wednesday, June 22nd @ 6pm (ET) Weekend Event - Friday, June 24th @ 6pm (ET) to Sunday, June 26th @ 12 pm (ET) Awards ceremony - Wednesday, June 29 @ 6pm (ET)
Catching Up with the Zurels
Last fall, SAM acknowledged the conservation efforts taken by a private landowners in Portugal Cove-St. Phillips. Sarah and Jo Mark Zurel wanted to consciously re-naturalize a part of their property. They recognized that maintaining a continuous buffer around a wetland can facilitate healthier wildlife habitat and encourage positive wildlife use of habitat on their own property. With the help of Murray's Garden Centre and Landscape Services and the Portugal Cove- St. Phillips Advisory Committee on the Environment (ACE), the Zurels were able to create an ecological landscape plan and started to restore the natural pond side buffer.
Sarah Zurel posing with their Nest Box Monitoring Document next to one of their recently installed nesting boxes.
As environmental stewards, the Zurels are interested in ways to further support or enhance wildlife habitat on their property. SAM Conservation Biologist Zach installed two nesting boxes near the water's edge, and the Zurels agreed to monitor the nest boxes as Citizen Scientists throughout the years for activity. They started with a desire to reclaim the land and do what is best for the natural environment and now we are starting to see habitat improvement and enhancement opportunities. Thank you, Sarah and Jo Mark Zurel, for being environmental stewards, and your continued commitment to conservation.
Thank you to Catherine of Birds Canada for helping us create our Nest Box Monitoring Program. If you'd like to learn more about our nesting box program, or are interested in having some installed in your community, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you know? You can follow SAM on a variety of Social Media Platforms! Check us out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @SAM_Stewardship
Photo 1: SAM Fall Business Meeting 2021. Hosted by the beautiful Town of Deer Lake. Photo 2: Members and Partners that joined the Fall Business Meeting virtually.
2022 SAM Scholarship
The first scholarship was awarded in 2015, and since then SAM has awarded annually a $1000 scholarship to a student from or studying in Newfoundland and Labrador whose interests and activities demonstrate an active commitment to conservation in Newfoundland and Labrador. The annual scholarship comes from the SAM Conservation Fund.
The application for the 2022 scholarship is now available on our website, click here to apply.
The deadline for the 2022 scholarship applications is May 1st, 2022.
We're so excited to finally show off the completely updated samnl.org!
Our website has had a little facelift over the past few months, and we're very proud of all of the new updates! Some new updates include:
A completely re-organized Resources Tab! Now called Resources to Support Conservation Action, you'll find lots of ways to support conservation as a community, as an individual, as a teacher, etc.!
NEW: Check out the Educational Resources section for our SAM Educational Programming that you can download/print out and complete with your school or community group! Looking for more information or looking to book SAM to complete some programming with your group? Email email@example.com for more information.
Check out the new Special Places tab with information on all of the Special Places in NL including wetlands, freshwater shorelines and riparian buffers, forests, coastal estuaries and beaches, Atlantic Salmon Rivers and Limestone Barrens.
Plus many of our other sections have had a few refreshing changes including our Member Profile pages!
It's been a busy winter for SAM's Outreach and Education Coordinator!
Check out a few photos from some previous outreach events:
The Special Places of Newfoundland and Labrador
Astute observers may have noticed that SAM’s website has received a makeover in recent months, which includes a newly improved tab called “Special Places.” For SAM members, this should come as no surprise, as it has always been within SAM’s mandate to protect the special places within municipalities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. While that continues to be at the core our work, over the last several years we have begun to broaden our focus beyond municipal boundaries to identify, map, and catalogue the “Special Places” found throughout our beautiful province.
What makes an area a special place? Broadly, we can define them as areas that have significant habitat, wildlife, or ecological value. Many factors might contribute to an area being identified, including high biodiversity, presence of species as risk, areas of high community value, rare or unique landscapes, or large intact landscapes or ecosystems, among others.
Two areas have already been identified as meriting further investigation – the Upper Humber Wetland Complex and the Cape Freels Barrens. In both cases, SAM conservation biologists were able to draw upon a wealth of existing data and collate it into a single document, including recommendations for further protections moving forward.
Historically, SAM’s efforts have primarily centered on the identification, biological assessment, and conservation of important wetlands. As one outcome, this broadening of our scope positions us well to respond to the changes that may result from the recent recommendations for a move towards regional governance.
The Special Places project is ongoing – as new data arises and new areas are identified, we will continue to update our mapping layer to reflect the newest information. We are now working to publicly share this data more widely with our partners and interested parties. But most importantly, If you know of a "special place" in your hometown you think should be considered, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Did you know that SAM is on Facebook? We have reached a new milestone of 500 Likes on our Facebook Page!
We recently held a contest on our Facebook Page - congratulations to Amanda B. of Deer Lake for winning!
Recently we sent a survey to our members to begin a process of seeking feedback on our current mission and goals as to how we are doing in meeting their/your expectations and needs. We intend to explore more fully the results of this survey at the upcoming Annual General Meeting. In this way, SAM Members can have their say and help shape the future of SAM.
We thank all who filled out the survey by the initial deadline of March 7th. To date over 30% of members have responded. However we have decided to keep the survey open until the end of the month. If you have not yet completed the online survey, it will remain open until March 31st, 2022. If you are a member contact you would have received a link to the survey on March 1st. If you did not receive a link to the survey and believe that you should have, please contact email@example.com.
We wanted to provide a brief overview of the survey results thus far. Overall, we are pleased to see responses indicating that more than 85% of survey respondents/members remain supportive of SAM's existing mission and various goals/objectives. That is an important indicator for future mutual success.
One aspect of interest is that members indicated that it remains important that SAM continue to represent its members on provincial environmental advocacy issues of mutual interest. Further, members thus far indicate interest in the following top rated issues:
Funding for conservation projects
Illegal/irresponsible ATV use
Development of habitat management policies
We look forward to discussing this further with you at the AGM where we will present a report on final survey results.
2021 Stewardship Anniversaries
It's a new year, 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!