They want to choose a provincial lichen. Who? What?
Believe it not, there are actually people who call themselves lichen enthusiasts – people who search and study and get excited about lichens – and they want to choose a provincial lichen for Nova Scotia. Like the Mayflower is our provincial flower, the osprey is our provincial bird and the wild blueberry is our provincial berry.
These lichen enthusiasts have to choose their recommendation before Tuesday, Jan. 23 but they are hoping for some public input – and rightly so; this lichen is going to represent all of us in Nova Scotia.
To make it easier for those of us with little knowledge about lichens, the enthusiasts have put together a shortlist, with photos, and an online poll over at www.lichensns.com/poll .
If you’re at all interested, you can mull over their list, maybe google up some photos and information, and then make a choice.
Ideally if we had more time, (and there wasn’t a storm barreling down on us this weekend), we’d all go for a little walk and see if we can actually find some of these lichens in the woods around us – we could treat the lichen list as a sort of scavenger hunt, go out and try to see the lichens in the real world.
Cause here’s the thing: lichens are all around us and most of us hardly notice them.
Have you ever seen a gathering of little pale green sprouts with pretty red tips on a rotting log, the little sprouts appearing almost lined up like soldiers on parade? That’s the British Soldier Lichen with a latin name of Cladonia cristatella – Cladonia comes from Greek through Latin and means sprout; cristatella, means it has a little tuft on top.
Cladonia are a very common lichen although most are a plain pale green or yellow without the red splash of the British Soldier Lichen – in the harsh environment up North, these “reindeer lichen” carpet the ground for miles and miles and are the main source of food for caribou and reindeer for example. Here in Nova Scotia, you will see reindeer lichens carpeting boulders or open bogs, paler generally and finer than moss.
Another lichen you might have seen hanging on boulders of Nova Scotia like ragged bits of brown lettuce is called rock tripe or Umbilicaria mammulata.
How about Old Man’s Beard? A yellowy green lacy thing hanging in the branches of trees that birds love for their nests – that’s a lichen. Another you’ve probably seen a million times and never noticed is the Crumpled Rag Lichen – again hanging in the branches of trees like a crumpled rag.
Lichens have some great names don’t they?
On the enthusiasts’ lists is the Yellow Specklebelly – now there’s a name! They also listed Acadia Bearded Jellyskin Lichen and Blue Felt Lichen.
A few of us headed out last week when we heard about the poll to do some lichen hikin’ and we found a few Yellow Specklebellys on the Acacia Valley Trails. Other lichens from the list, you can see at the Acacia Valley Trails include Old Man’s Beard and Crumpled Rag Lichen. You will definitely see Tree Lung Wort and if it weren’t for the snow, you’d see some great clumps of several kinds of reindeer lichens.
So what are lichens? It’s complicated and that is probably my favourite thing about them – even scientists are still getting their heads around how much we still have to learn about lichens.
Basically a lichen is a partnership between a fungus and a plant-like thing called an algae (best known as the scummy stuff on ponds) – although sometimes, instead of algae, the fungus teams up with a thing called cyanobacteria (a type of single celled organism that can create energy from sunshine – again like plants but not like plants).
Anyway the deal is, both partners bring something to the table – the fungus protects and gives structure to the algae (kind of like the skin and bones of the lichen) and the algae create energy. The fungus seeks out water, breaks down minerals in rock, and the algae makes food. The deal is different for every lichen as different fungus team up with different algae in different ways.
But let’s get back to what you and I see when we look at lichens: for starters, some lichens, like some mushrooms are a little icky but some lichens, and some mushrooms, are startlingly beautiful when you stop and look at them.
And that’s the fun part about lichen hikin: you can go out today, even on a trail you know extremely well and find a whole new world with beautiful landscapes to explore.
Speaking of which, I gotta go and see some lichens before the storm hits so I can vote before Tuesday.
Which is your favourite and why?
P.S. The Balancing Rock Trail has an interpretative panel with photos of some of the lichens you might see out there including Old Man's Beard, Tree Lung Wort, and Star-tipped Reindeer Lichen which are on the enthusiast's list.
The leaves are spectacular RIGHT NOW in Digby County!
I know it can be tough to leave a warm cozy house these days and tromp around in the wet but it's so worth it - the leaves are all washed and shiny and, as painter Poppy Balser says, the grey skies gives the fall colours a lovely backdrop to glow against.
Another bonus of this weather is bright raincoats and rubber boots look awesome in fall photos!
I'm going to be out of the area for a few days so I'm hoping you can all help me out and share your photos of fall colours in Digby County for me and everyone to see.
Simply post them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #fallingfordigby, or send me the photos in a private message or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I'll be collecting, like I did last year, on the #fallingfordigby webpage: Falling for Digby photo gallery.
Now get out there and enjoy those fall colours while they last!
The volunteers behind the Van Tassel Lake Trails want your feedback and ideas.
The Van Tassel Lake Trails Association is working with Trailflow (trail designers from Wolfville) on a master plan to help focus their efforts in the Town of Digby's watershed area.
The goal of the plan is to make sure they are creating a trail system that serves the needs and wants of the community and therefore, the first step is to ask the community what they want.
Trailflow has created a short easy survey with questions about your current trail use and how you would like to see the trails used in the future.
The survey has 15 quick easy questions and should take less than 5 minutes to complete.
The VTLTA is hoping to hear from as many people as possible - PLEASE: help us create a trail system that you will love and use often!
Click on the link below to answer the survey questions:
Thank you in advanced for your input and contribution to this project.
Trail enthusiasts are invited to join in a celebration of the new trail bridge over Hwy 101 near Exit 26 in Conway just outside Digby.
The grand opening is scheduled for Sept. 29 at 11 a.m. on the north side of the bridge (the Digby side).
South West Nova MP Colin Fraser, Clare Digby MLA Gordon Wilson and Warden of the Municipality of the District of Digby, Jimmy MacAlpine will cut an alder branch to mark the official opening before crossing the bridge with those in attendance.
Greg Turner, chair of the Digby Area Tourism Association is looking forward to the bridge celebration.
“We are inviting cyclists, horse riders, walkers, ATVers, all the various users of this bridge to celebrate together,” says Turner.
Please meet on the Digby side - for those driving to the bridge opening, easiest access is via a highway access road from the far end of the Flat Iron Road.
Park on the shoulder and well off the road near the electrical substation. Please take care to keep the road clear for any traffic needing access to the highway construction site. The contractor is working on Saturday and has been made aware of the ceremony.
Rubber boots are recommended as the access road is still under construction and could be muddy after all this recent rain.
The Digby County ATV Club will be hosting a BBQ afterwards with hotdogs, sausages water and pop.
Here's some results from some of the many community clean ups around Digby County this spring.
Thanks to everyone who helps make their community that much tidier.
Especially those who quietly clean the ditch on their local stretch of highway or street, those who take a garbage bag with them for their daily walk, and especially especially those who put their trash where it belongs in the first place.
Thanks to those who believe and act on the rule "If I don't pick this up, who will."
April 24 – Fort Point: 350 kg
May 14 – Culloden Wharf Road, DRHS students and Waste Check: 1.12 Metric Tons
June 2 – final push on Sandy Cove beach: 2.84 MT
June 8 – Boar’s Head clean up with NCC and ICS O2 students: 380 kg
June 4 – Gulliver’s Cove beach, with Gulliver’s Cove Trails and DRHS students: 2.24 MT
June 9 – Pond Cove beach on Brier Island: 2.58 MT
June 12 – Marshalltown – Middle Cross Road (4.3km) – 409 kg
P.S. Ever heard of plogging? (group jogging events where participants fill trash bags as they go)
I wonder where a good plogging run would be most beneficial? let me know if you know of a trail or roadside that could really use a big group of ploggers to give it a go.
The public is invited to an information session about the Digby Railbed Trail
June 19, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Digby East Fish and Game
What do you think of the Municipality fixing up the railbed and making a trail of it?
The former railway runs 41.5 km through the Municipality of the District of Digby from Smith’s Cove to Digby and on to Weymouth.
The wide, relatively level and smooth, gravelled surface is well-suited to serving as an active transportation route and multi-use trail connecting Smith’s Cove, Conway, Digby, Marshalltown, Jordantown, Bloomfield, North Range, Plympton Station and Weymouth.
But it needs some work – mostly minor grading, ditching and brushing – but also a few culvert repairs, signage and some amenities like benches and picnic tables.
The Municipality has a plan and they’d like to hear what the public thinks of that plan before asking the Department of Natural Resources for approval.
Basically, the Municipality wants to make the trail a safe and attractive place for residents of Digby County and visitors to enjoy the outdoors, whether on foot, by bicycle, horseback, skiing or riding an ATV.
The complete plan is available online at www.digbytrails.ca/railbed.html and the public is invited to an information session June 19 at the Digby East Fish and Game.
That meeting is the perfect place to ask any questions you might have about the plan or the railbed trail but you can also get a hold of Jonathan Riley, Trails and Open Space Coordinator with the Municipality, anytime with questions, comments and concerns.
Call 902-245-2861 or email email@example.com.
This is a great time to enjoy the wildflowers in the Nova Scotia woods!
There is something blooming along every inch of the Balancing Rock Trail - many of the blossoms are quite small and you'll have to get up close (and/or use a magnifying glass) to really appreciate these intricate little splashes of colour.
The trail was very busy with hikers yesterday, especially in the afternoon when the sun came out. Many of the hikers were hurrying out to see the rock and hurrying back to their cars. But one couple from Germany was there in the drizzle with me in the morning and like me they were walking slowly and enjoying the shiny drizzle-washed greenery.
"It's like a rain forest, so lush," they said. Their favourite thing about the trail was how it cuts right through the wilderness - how it would be tough slogging without the trail to walk through bog and brush - but with the trail you get to see all the plants without the slogging.
It might be a fun game with the family to head out the trail and see how many different flowers or interesting plants you can find... I have put together a slideshow and a printable list of 15 wildflowers and interesting plants i saw at Balancing Rock yesterday. I'd love it if people would share with me what they are seeing out there. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
For more info and more fun like this, check out iNaturalist.
The Gulliver's Cove Trails Association, led by Wanda Van Tassell, is organizing a beach clean up at Gulliver’s Cove for June 4.
A class of Options and Opportunities students from DRHS are coming to help, plus and Wanda and I are hoping a good number of local people can also make it for some of the day.
“It’s going to be a big job,” says Van Tassell. “It must be five years since we’ve done a clean up here and this beach, the way it is structured, we’re one of those beaches that gets a lot of debris washing in.”
Wanda has seen a day of cleaning makes a big difference in the past.
“When it’s cleaned up, it’s pretty nice,” she says. “People come from all over to enjoy the shore here. They come looking for agates, for walks on the trails, they have picnics and lobster boils.”
The Gulliver’s Cove clean up is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 4 - but as far as that goes, anytime you want to go the beach and start gathering it up, your help would be welcome.
Digby Salvage and Disposal is donating a dumpster and the Municipality of the District of Digby has waived the tipped fees. Clean Foundation will be providing gloves and garbage bags and the Municipality is hosting a BBQ to thank and fuel the volunteers.
Public invited to discuss plan for recreation at Haines Lake
Public information session at Digby East Fish and Game about the former DNR base in Hillgrove
Thursday, Feb. 8, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
NORTH RANGE, N.S. - The Municipality of the District of Digby is inviting the public to discuss a proposed plan for their new recreation property on Haines Lake.
Municipal staff are hosting a public information session Thursday, Feb. 8 at the Digby East Fish and Game. Staff will be providing information about, and hoping to gather some feedback on, their ideas for the site of the former Natural Resources base in Hillgrove, which is a few hundred metres down the shore from the Fish and Game.
The plan for the Haines Lake recreation area is based for the most part part on feedback the municipality received at their open house in September.
More than 75 people attended the event Sept. 23, 2017. Staff offered tours of the property, answered questions about the site, listened to suggestions and feedback and collected 27 surveys about how people would like to see the property used.
“People at the open house told us clearly they wanted this to be a place for picnicking, enjoying nature, and accessing the water, whether that is swimming, canoeing or kayaking,” says Jimmy MacAlpine, Warden of the Municipality of the District of Digby. “Staff have been looking at ways to make some small improvements at the site to enable and enhance these activities.”
FOR MORE INFO: www.digbytrails.ca/haines-lake.html
Municipal staff have been looking at options for fixing up the waterfront and the buildings on site including using part of the former DNR offices for use as washrooms, change rooms and activity shelter.
The Digby Area Recreation Commission used the site last summer for kayak camps for youth and opened the site three evenings for anyone, young or old, to try kayaking.
The plan for 2018 is to continue with the same sort of programming with possible additions of other water-based or nature-oriented programs.
“We’re open to partnering with local groups or organizations who want to host or hold outdoor recreation or education programs,” says Bob Powell, recreation manager of DARC. “A public session like this is a great way for us to learn what kind of programming the public wants, and people can contact us anytime with suggestions.”
The Municipality bought the 20 acres on Haines Lake from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for $1,000 in early 2016. The property is about 15 minutes from town on the Ridge Road and has about 120 metres of lakefront.
A plan for Haines lake recreation area
Date: Thursday, Feb. 8
Time: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Where: Digby East Fish and Game
For more info: www.digbytrails.ca/haines-lake.html
For information or questions, concerns or comments,
Trails and Open Space Coordinator
Use interactive Google maps for directions to