News, views, and plans for 2016 The Harrison Lewis Coastal Discovery Centre

While much of the Maritimes is getting hammered by snow it is a dark and dismal day on the Harrison Lewis hill. Such is frequently the case on this western end of the South Shore. Cold, wind, and rain. But we are dry, and warm by a fire in the kitchen range, and it is a perfect afternoon to at last put digits to keyboard in an effort to bring everyone up to date on what has been happening and what the Harrison Lewis Coastal Discovery Centre Society has planned for the coming season that gets underway in May.

    First of all, a long overdue message of thanks to long-standing members of the board who stepped aside as of our annual meeting in August. Jane Cook, whose summer home is across the bay in Port Joli, has been with us from the beginning, providing support and encouragement, as was the case with Peter Carver, past chair and as well, a summer resident with a home three doors over from the Centre. Ian Dingwall, great grandson of Harrison Lewis, stepped up filling the seat prematurely left vacant when his father, founding director and chair Lewis (Lew) Dingwall suffered a fatal heart attack. 

    New additions to the board are Doug van Hemessen, Atlantic stewardship coordinator with the Nature Conservancy of Canada; Sarah Gutowsky, a PhD candidate at Dalhousie University; and Michael Greenlaw, summer neighbour and student at Kings. Sarah, a biologist, has participated as student, teaching assistant, and lead instructor with the University’s Seaside Summer program bringing ornithology students to the Harrison Lewis Centre. 

    As far as activities this past year, in addition to four Seaside Summer programs, Anne Gray serving as manager brought together weekend workshops. There was Roger Savage (plein air painting); mushroom culture with David Boyle assisted by John Crabtree; scything with instructor Peter Redden; chainsaw workshops with Patrick Allan; and nature writing with Soren Bondrup Nielsen. 

    Plein air students and instructor alike made the most of views from the back deck of the main building. An example is Roger’s painting reproduced here that the artist has generously donated to the Society. As soon as we’ve permission in place we will be offering chances on the painting for a draw sometime this summer. Board member Susan Hoover has fond memories of Soren’s nature writing workshop in which she took part. "There were four of us, all with different interests and levels of skill. Soren was a good facilitator. We spent a great deal of time looking at moss and other tiny plants. A real eye opener. I really enjoyed this workshop."

    What now? Plans for the coming year. Dalhousie Seaside has booked four programs, we expect the Biology Grad students to return for a social weekend in September, and a committee headed by Doug van Hemessen is charged with scheduling a variety of workshops and programs, including new to us bird-by-ear courses. We welcome suggestions for ways to put this Centre to work with workshops, retreats, or events of various sorts with the desired focus being natural history and skills relating to home and farmstead life.

We look forward to hearing from anyone and everyone with a history with or interest in the future of the Harrison Lewis Coastal Discovery Centre.

Best regards, Dirk van Loon

On behalf of the HLC Society Board of Directors
Peter Rogers, chair
Stephanie Carver, secretary
Susan Hoover, treasurer
Willem van Loon
Michael Greenlaw
Richard McBride
Sarah Gutowsky
Doug van Hemessen
Christine Curry

The Harrison Lewis Coastal Discovery Centre
is a registered charity (#859077810) 
and can issue tax receipts for donations. 

Harrison Lewis Coastal Discovery Centre
339 Sandy Bay Road
RR 1 Port Joli NS B0T 1S0