Field Trip Reports

Sharing nature with new Canadians

The Ross Creek Centre for the Arts hosted a Community Welcome Day for new arrivals to Nova Scotia from Syria, and also the broader community.  We held nature hikes and provided  nature index cards with translations and images to help bridge language gaps.  It was a great experience to reflect on how our natural environment is at the heart of the history, stories and experiences that help define us as Canadians.  Please pass on the nature cards (attached) if you know of anyone who would find them a useful resource!

For images see:


animal cards

Animal cards sources

Stream bugs of McDonald Sports Park field trip report


(photo by Alex Smith)

It was a very cool Sunday morning for the vertebrates among us, but for the aquatic invertebrates in the stream at McDonald Sports Park, it was actually quite warm. We went to the park with Lesely Carter, an expert in stream sampling of aquatic invertebrate at Environment and Climate Change Canada. She explained that there are things we can learn about streams from sampling benthic (bottom-dwelling) invertebrates (bugs, and other organisms with no spine) that we can’t learn from water sampling alone. And so, we set out to sample the little stream that runs from Muddy Pond to Thomas Lake. Lesley had her hip-waders on and went into the stream. She placed her net in the river and kicked the bottom just upstream of the net. It was hard work to do it for 2 minutes!

Lesley kicking the stream bottom and catching things in her net.

Lesley kicking the stream bottom and catching things in her net.

She then pulled out the net and brought it ashore. The net had a kind of tube at the end that let out water but caught invertebrates. She emptied the contents of this tube into a tray and voila… tons of squirming bugs and things! From there, everybody got to use foreceps, sticks, hands and trays to sort the creatures into similar-looking groups. Using identifying cards and dichotomous keys Lesley brought, we found we had: mayflies, stoneflies, caddisflies, dobson flies, dragonflies, snails, and worms.

Whether we find certain groups of bugs, and what proportions we find them in, tells us a bit about the health of the river. We found plenty of the invertebrates that can’t handle pollution, so the river was deemed pretty healthy!

Thanks to all the tough, enthusiastic families who came out for the field trip, to Lesley, and to the Community Environmental Monitoring Network, who lent us some of the equipment we used. Here is that great invertebrate key Lesley shared with us. And check out photos from the event in our gallery!


Kentville Ravine Clean Up


An intrepid team of folks headed out into the Kentville Ravine today despite the cold weather to pitch in for the Great Nova Scotia Pick-Me-Up day.  We collected 5 bags of trash and 2 recycling bags from the ravine and picnic area.  Thank you to the Agricultural Research and Development Center for helping with the waste disposal.  A great initiative and a big improvement for this beautiful spot.  Thank you to all those who helped out today!

December Berwick Post – Christmas Bird Count

On December 19th we hiked around Berwick to do our annual bird count. There were eight kids and five parents attending this event. The day was cold and windy and not a lot of birds were around. Her is our results: 6 crows, 2 ravens, 2 rock pigeons, 3 gold finches, 2 bald eagles, 4 herring gulls. We believe that the wind kept the birds hiding in the trees. The data collected from all the bird counts on the continent is submitted to the Cornell database so the scientists  can keep track of bird populations and study the effects of climate change. Awareness of changing bird populations can influence policies for the protection and of birds.

October 2015 Berwick Report – Planting a Forest Event

On October 7th 2015 the Berwick YNC took a forest walk at the Woodville Trails to collect native tree seeds. Fifteen kids and nine parents attended the event , oh and one dog. We all glowed in the warm sun with out hunter orange vests. We found yellow birch, red spruce, ironwood,  beech and sugar maple seeds; the start of a fine Acadian forest. Nick Hill (local botanist) climb  the birch and ironwood trees to shake the seeds down on to the kids and we all went home picking little seeds out of our hair. After collected the seeds along the trail we potted them up at the trail head and watered them. Most of the seeds don’t need any care, just to be left alone under the snow until spring but the ironwoods need their warm treatment before they are taken outside for their cold winter treatment. Nick told the kids to keep their ironwood pots damp and in a bag in the house for 2 months and then set them outside for the remainder of the winter. Check out the photo link for a visual account of this event. Happy Trails!

Winners of Youth Nature Art & Writing Contest

Well the judges have finally finished the judging and we have our placements for our Youth Nature Art and Writing Contest decided.

We had a wonderful turnout and were delighted with the quality of the entries we received.

  • There were 167 entries in the Junior Art category and 93 entries in the Senior Art category.
  • There were 39 entries in the Junior Writing category and 40 entries in the Senior Writing category.

The judges had a hard time narrowing down the winners and would like to thank all then entrants who worked hard on their entries and took the time to express through art and writing this important topic.

Our placements are as follows:

Senior Category
First Place – Sally Wilke
Second Place – Jordan Banks
Third Place – Benjamin Hatt
Honourable Mention – Santanna Rafuse
Honourable Mention – Cadel Jones

Junior Category
First Place – James Banks
Second Place – Isla May Spencer
Third Place – Noah Beaton
Honourable Mention – Alexander Todd Hazelwood
Honourable Mention – Brooklyn Seaboyer
Honourable Mention – Carmen Armstrong
Honourable Mention – Colby Bent
Honourable Mention – Isabella Young
Honourable Mention – Jesse Lillford-Brighton
Honourable Mention – Kayley Bainbridge
Honourable Mention – Mary Rose Mosca
Honourable Mention – Nick Li
Honourable Mention – Renate Alant
Honourable Mention – Varvara Kuznetsova

Senior Category
First Place – Amelie Parent
Second Place – Angelina Kettle
Third Place – Charlotte Thomas
Honourable Mention – Cadel Jones
Honourable Mention – Darren Roy
Honourable Mention – Dylan Rhyno

Junior Category
First Place – Jesse Lillford-Brighton
Second Place – Màili Cameron
Third Place – Oona Johnstone-Laurette
Honourable Mention – Elias Jones
Honourable Mention – Griffin Gamble
Honourable Mention – Jonathon Lyon

September 2015 – Berwick YNC Butterfly Event Report

30min after hatching

30min after hatching

On September 5th the Berwick YNC and the Annapolis Valley YNC held a butterfly event at the home of Larry and Allison Bogan. The Bogans raise Monarch Butterflies on their extensive milkweed fields and and dag and release the adults when hatched. This event was our largest event ever with over 30 kids and 20 adults! It was an amazing day with brilliant sunshine. Larry spoke about the monarchs and their ecological needs and why the milkweed is so important to them as a source of food and poison for their caterpillars! We were all totally thrilled when one of the chrysalis’ that the Bogans were showing us suddenly hatched and out popped a Monarch! We really learned and saw a lot about butterflies that day. Follow this link for more photos

Don’t forget to start planning your butterfly garden for next spring! Some plants to consider adding are Cone flowers, brown eyed susans, butterfly bush, bee balm, milkweed…

June 2015 Berwick Report – Kingston Sand Barrens

The Berwick YNC hosted a field trip in the Kingston Sand Barrens in June. We had a small yet mighty turn out with 6 kids and 6 adults. The sandy ecosystem around Kingston is unique and has unique life growing in it. The Jack pine and golden heather are just a few of the plants we saw. Unfortunately we did not find the rare Rock Rose that Nick Hill (local botanist and co-leader)wanted to show us. We looked at and talked about the different plant adaptations like fire resistance and ant seed dispersal that is unique to this habitat. Photos from this event can be found at the following link

April 2015 Berwick YNC Maple Sap and wood walk

The Winter snows of 2015 lasted into April so we had our dead wood walk and maple sap event at the same time this year. Kids and parents alike enjoyed eating maple syrup candy in the snow while learning about syrup production at our house in Berwick. Around 15 kids and 10 parents showed up for this event. Our dead wood walk took us into a transitioning Acadian forest and we saw many signs of wood being used by other organisms after the tree had died. There was a mouse nest in a hollow trunk, woodpecker nest and feeding  holes in the sides of trees and lots of decomposing and decaying logs and stumps. Check out the photo link for some photos of this event


Previous Events