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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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.
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 email@example.com! 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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
Did you know? You can follow SAM on a variety of Social Media Platforms! Check us out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @SAM_Stewardship