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May 2000 

Reports from:


Hi all, here's news of how the picnics went... Add comments...

Annette Poirier and Billy MacDonald

First to report in at 5 PM Sunday...
The event was very positive. About 30 people showed up ranging in age from 5 to 75. There was a walk about the clearcut and some lively discussion as well as a minute of silence and poetry readings. A media person form our local paper was on hand and took lots of information so we are hopeful that we will get some informative coverage. And the rain held off too so that was a blessing.

We got excellent coverage in our local daily, The Evening News. Billy and I are shown on the front page in color wearing our signs and the caption reads "Picnic with a purpose; saving our forest land". The inside story is a third of a page and quotes directly form an information flier we put together although the sources are a bit wrong. It also mentions the massive clearcutting that has been going on in Liscomb. We had the pictures of Liscomb you provided at our picnic and the reporter was quite affected by the aerial view. Now we wait to see what the industry's response is in today's paper.

Several people have approached me and expressed their dismay at what is happening to the forests. They said that people don't know what to do. I myself and am all fired up and ready to continue working on this issue. I am new at this, but it appears to me that people need some kind of avenue for becoming mobilized. Although the protest cards are a good idea, I don't think they are enough. It needs to be more visible. Any thoughts?


Our picnic was very positive too. One real plus was having Annette's daughter Carmen with us, as she is attending French immersion at a nearby university. (We had only met a couple times before but she was able to recognize me one day. Apparently my rubber boots were the give-away!) Anyhow, she got along very well with my daughter, which always warms me to people :) Also, her playing of a flute Billy gave her was how we ended our period of silence and several people have remarked on how beautiful it was.
We had 19 people for the clearcut part. (Youngest was 10 mo. and the oldest was definitely over 65 but how much I'm not sure.)
People were to get here at 2:10 but some got here earlier so I ended up giving some of them a broom and dustpan as I was not ready (very typical!:)

Then we went to the clearcut from my house, only a short drive away. We walked around and spoke of what we knew of the site and the shame of the waste and destruction, then we had the reading from Suzuki,s _The Sacred Balance_ and then we had our time of silence followed by the flute playing and some more checking out of the clearcut and what is coming up now.

When we got back to my house people were pretty hungry so we had a snack before heading out to do this nature walk I had set up. (Some people had left by then.) Eventually 6 people (including Carmen & the German family) stayed on to have supper with my daughter and I, leaving once it was getting dark... Good to be with such lovely people for "mother's Day" supper.

We have an article and even a photo to accompany it ready for local papers and that is great. Will send that before long.
all the best, Jan
I wrote about the Picnic for this "left bio" (Left Biocentrist) list I'm on. Anyhow, I wish he (someone who is feeling rather discouraged by where we seem to be headed) could have been here for the "Picnic in a Clearcut" we had on Sunday (a very appropriate way to celebrate Mother's Day, which has its roots in activism but was co-opted by florists & other commercial interests). A young German couple (Axel & Angelika), both foresters, came along to our Picnic. Anyhow, they want to do healthy management around here and we do need that. They do look at the forest differently than some of us
might; they see trees they would cut out where others are keen to leave as is. But they agree on the need for protected spaces (with no "management") and I have come to have a strong appreciation for the good that some human interventions can bring, including into some forests.

They also have 2 young children, so that surely contributed to my feeling of hopefulness.... My daughter, who is 11, tends to dislike strongly meetings and other activism stuff so it was a real delight to see how happy she was to be with Carmen (who would have been with the Pictou Picnic is she weren't down here attending a French immersion program) and Axel & Angelika's 3 yr-old son, Franz. They made a boat out of boxes and went "fishing" and also
"caught" people and subjected them to medical treatment (this being a big theme with Sophie lately, who is very into playing "Monkey Doctor"). ...
Meanwhile, we adults lingered over dandelion, kale, clover, etc. salad and good conversation...


Sounds like a great picnic. Ours went well too. We had Neil Livingston as well as my husband, Rik, doing filming - so watch ATV news for coverage perhaps tonight.

We had about 35 at our picnic and the rain held off. Our clearcut was a former even-aged tight stand of mainly black spruce - clearcut about 3 years ago - there was no regeneration happening, the ruts from the equipment were still visible going off in every direction up the barren hills from the road access. Wade Prest was there to explain that this stand was typical of many in the province already cut over at least once. He explained that the better treatment would have been to have started 40 years ago with patch cuts every 10 years and perhaps some planting of red spruce to provide an uneven aged stand that would be ready for selection cuts and wood of higher value and a forest still standing into the future. Perhaps the saddest part was to understand how devastating this latest clearcut was for the soil quality and that at this point neither planting or regeneration would offer much hope for a future forest here for either wildlife or forest industry. As always, I learned something new.

Incredible day with mural creation on canvas, performance theatre, not to mention the toilet facilities (gotta see the pics to see how well equipped we were), with saxophone echos, heartfelt sentiments shared and then joined by swallows swooping overhead. I planted forget-me-nots just come in bloom at the base of the tallest stump, Shannon transplanted maple seedlings from the city.

Most of us followed up the picnic with a walk through nearby Abraham's Lake old growth forest . Ahhh... what a contrast to the afternoon in a barren windswept clearcut. Another world entirely.
We'll get photos up on the web... do you have any pics of the day? We can scan here if you mail pics or if you have access to a scanner, email some to us for the web.

PS I've since had a call From a B&B owner upset about the clearcutting being done on private land on the east side of Scot's Lake. Says he's concerned for the view of tourists, and the run-off into the lake as in places the cut goes to the water and the clearcut land rises steeply from the lake. The owner is also President of the Seaside Tourism Association, apparently there is also a Scot's Lake Homeowners Association. He's asking someone take a look and advise what he can do.

He knows landowner but doesn't think talking to him would do any good. Any ideas??   -Pam


 Related Features

The Ecology Action Center
A site that documents the effects of clearcutting, with links to resources.

Sierra Club of Canada, Atlantic Region
addresses issues ranging from climate change and ozone depletion to toxic chemical contamination and loss of biological diversity. Why not join them and Take Action?

Clean Nova Scotia
Clean Nova Scotia is a non-profit environmental education organization with a focus on waste reduction, reuse, recycling, composting and climate change education.

Atlantic Region Green Lane
A guide to the wildlife of the Nova Scotia area with sections on pollution, conservation, climate, wildlife, research, and laws. Published by Environment Canada.

"If you donít change course,
youíll end up where youíre headed."

Ancient Chinese Proverb.

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