Starting up Friday Field Notes

It has been quite some time since the last HLC blog post, so here we are with our first post of 2018! We’ve decided that we will take turns blogging weekly, with posts happening every Friday. 

Who’s ‘we’, you ask? The people behind the HLC blog for this year are Jessica, Kaitlyn, and, perhaps, a lucky new staff member who is hired for the position of Field Station Assistant that is currently open. If you would like to learn more about us, then please feel free to check out our bios on the staff page.

It is Jessica here first taking a stab at bringing you up to speed on all things HLC-related.  This past month was a very busy month, which included organizing, seasonal planning, having our first workshop of the year, and hosting two Dalhousie University Seaside courses and a retreat. Between all these events, we have already seen over 80 people come through the doors. 

This started off with top-to-bottom cleaning reorganization of the main building or “The Cookhouse” to get things ready for the season. 

IMG_20180507_162300.jpg
IMG_20180518_134828.jpg

We also hosted a Spring Cleaning/Prep Day with staff, board members and volunteers to get the bunkhouses and surrounding property ready. Our youngest volunteer, Carmel, the daughter of one of our board members, Grant McNeil, agreed that it really was the best day ever! 

 "Best day ever!" according to Carmel's shirt :)

"Best day ever!" according to Carmel's shirt :)

Our first workshop of the season was a day workshop through the Never-2-Old Program called a “A Garden to Dye For,” which taught participants about plants that can be used as natural dyes and also gave people the opportunity to plant their own dye garden. We graciously thank Cindy Hagen, owner of Studio 138 in Shelburne, for leading this workshop. We also thank the Shelburne County Arts Council for their support of Cindy’s involvement with us! Cindy will be leading part 2 of this workshop in September during which we will actually be harvesting the dye plants and learning to dye textiles with them. Please also stay tuned for establishment of a permanent dye garden at the HLC! 

32498317_1843102679065829_5797953352767635456_o.jpg
32543007_1843102845732479_5457223491117907968_o.jpg

Next up, we had two Dal Seaside courses in – medical entomology (BIOL 3328) and ornithology (BIOL 3622). For the field component of their course, the medical entomology students were here for just one day and night to identify and collect various insects of medical significance. It is no secret that the South Shore of Nova Scotia is a hotspot for ticks, so the students were able to collect a number of ticks (mostly dog tick [Dermacentor variabilis] and just one deer tick [Ixodes scapularis]) to bring back to the lab. 

 Vials of ticks with your morning coffee, anyone?

Vials of ticks with your morning coffee, anyone?

Ornithology students had a longer stay of six days at the HLC, allowing them to learn all about a variety of bird species in an immersive field setting. This included a packed itinerary of dawn chorus walks, surveys at nearby Keji Seaside and Thomas Raddall Provincial Park, and work on their field projects. 

33298276_1852271811482249_2135519677294575616_n.jpg

This past weekend, we had a group in for a get-back-to-nature wilderness/wellness retreat. This was co-hosted by the Halifax Social Network and A for Adventure. Let me tell you, this crew had quite the impressive itinerary and packed A LOT in over the course of two days.  This included a smudging ceremony thanks to Kinsey Francis and her dad Andrew Francis of the Acadia First Nation, workouts and yoga on the beach, a hike at Keji Seaside Adjunct, bonfires, music, spoken word poetry, a brewery tour at Boxing Rock in Shelburne, and, what as a first for the HLC, a podcast taping right from our main lodge! They certainly made the most of their time here in beautiful Queens County.

IMG_20180603_133025.jpg
IMG_20180603_120407.jpg

If this is any indication for what the rest of the summer and fall will be like, then we are in for a real treat! For those interested in getting involved or learning more about what we do here at the HLC, please do not hesitate to get in touch at info@harrisonlewiscentre.org. Until next week!