City Nature Challenge 2021 – April 30 to May 3, 2021

What is the City Nature Challenge?

Invented by citizen science staff at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (Lila Higgins) and California Academy of Sciences (Alison Young). The City Nature Challenge is an international effort for people to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe. It’s a bioblitz-style competition where cities are in a contest against each other to see who can make the most observations of nature, who can find the most species, and who can engage the most people.

Why participate in the City Nature Challenge?

There is nature all around us, even in our cities! Knowing what species are in our city and where they are helps us study and protect them, but the ONLY way to do that is by all of us – scientists, land managers, and the community – working together to find and document the nature in our area. By participating in the City Nature Challenge, not only do you learn more about your local nature, but you can also make your city a better place – for you and other species!

How to Participate – Create your own iNaturalist account

  • Visit
  • Download the app from the AppStore or Google Play
  • Sign In
  • Start sharing your observations
  • Get feedback from actual scientists, experts, and other naturalists

City Nature Challenge 2021 – Halifax Regional Municipality –

Help put Halifax Regional Municipality on the global nature scene! On April 30th to May 5th cities/places from across the planet, from here in our province to other locations around the world, will compete for the title of the most Biodiverse City. We need your help. Whether you’re an avid naturalist or a dog walker, everyone can participate: it’s easy, fun, and will encourage you to get outdoors.

We will be using the iNaturalist digital platform to record observations, under this project. Signup to iNaturalist today and then join our ‘City Nature Challenge 2021: Halifax Regional Municipality’ project! By joining the project you will be notified when news items are added to our project page.

If you’re new to iNaturalist, then we can help {either contact us via or follow instructions online at}.

iNaturalist – Sackville River Watershed –

Sackville Snow Days

This year, Snow Days is going to look a bit different. Still, we can have “snow” much fun!

Event page –

Link to Twitter post:

Link to Facebook post:

Sunday, February 14 1pm Virtual Tour of the Greenway Trail Online event – A guided tour of the Sackville Greenway Trail. The tour guide, Clarence Stevens, will be speaking about the flora, fauna and history. FREE Brought to you by the Sackville Rivers Association.

Sackville River Wilderness Area

Great news!! The Nova Scotia government just announced that it will create a wilderness park for Upper Sackville!! This is something the Sackville Rivers Association, CPAWS Nova Scotia and the local community have been working toward for many many years. It is a good thing for the river and a good thing for our community. 

CBC article:

Public consultation underway

The Nova Scotia government wants to hear from the public about the proposed wilderness park.

It’s crucial that they receive letters of support. You can send your letter of support to or mail it to: Protected Areas and Ecosystems, PO Box 442, Halifax, NS, B3J 2P8. 

Please tell them:

  1. You support Sackville River Wilderness Area
  2. You want the wilderness park made bigger

The official public consultation website is here: And you can find a map here: 

The public consultation runs until April 13th, but why wait?? Send your letter in right away.

What is a protected wilderness area?

The wilderness area designation for the public lands at Sackville River Wilderness Area means that the area will no longer be threatened with industrial activities, such as clearcutting, mining, or development. The natural area will be protected for people to enjoy forever.

The wilderness area encourages public use. The way that the area is currently being used is the way that it will be managed. You will still be able to hike, walk, bike, fish, hunt, canoe, ski, snowshoe, dogwalk, bike, etc. 

Conservation significance

  • Supports a clean and healthy Sackville River
  • Habitat for rare species: wild Atlantic salmon and turtles
  • Important wetlands and forests (including stands of old forest)
  • Wildlife corridor
  • Place for recreation in nature

Make it bigger

The proposed boundary for Sackville River Wilderness Area is too small. Tell the government you support a bigger wilderness park and that the boundary should include adjacent public lands on all sides of the protected area, but especially on the eastern side.

Thank you

Thank you for your support!! The Sackville Rivers Association has been waiting years for this wilderness park and we thank you for your help getting it across the finish line.

CPAWS – Help create 12 new protected areas in Nova Scotia!

On February 2, the Nova Scotia government announced it intends to create a number of new protected areas. This includes high-priority sites for conservation, such as Sackville River, Medway Lakes, Pomquet Beach, Wentworth Valley, and Eastern Shore Islands.

We need your help!

A public consultation is currently underway. It’s crucial that the Nova Scotia government hears from people who are supportive of these new protected areas. ALL of the new protected areas need to be established.

Additionally, two sites need to be improved.

  • The proposed boundary for Sackville River Wilderness Area is too small, and
  • The proposed boundary for Medway Lakes Wilderness Area leaves a large hole in the middle of the protected area.

​Please take a moment to write a letter of support to the Nova Scotia government for these new protected areas. In your submission, you may want to consider saying the following:

  • Protect all of the sites
  • Expand the boundary of Sackville River Wilderness Area to include adjacent public lands on the eastern side of the protected area
  • Expand the boundary of Medway Lakes Wilderness Area to fill in the big hole that occurs in the middle of the protected area

The best letters are short, to-the-point, and written in your own words. If you have a personal connection to nature, or to any of the proposed protected areas, please mention that. Even if you’ve never been to any of these areas, it is still important to say that you support nature conservation and the creation of these protected areas.

Send a letter today. Nova Scotia’s wilderness is counting on you!

SRA Celebrates Protection of Sackville River – Lewis Lake Wilderness Park

SACKVILLE – The Sackville Rivers Association (SRA) is overjoyed at the announcement by the Nova Scotia government that Sackville River Wilderness Area will soon receive a protected area designation.

“This is absolutely wonderful news”, says Walter Regan, President of SRA. “We are thrilled to know that these ecologically significant lands will forever be protected for the community to enjoy. These lands are critically important for maintaining the health of the Sackville River.”

“This new park will protect around 1,700 acres of forest, and habitat for the Wild Atlantic Salmon in one of the fastest growing areas of Nova Scotia”, adds Regan.

This new wilderness park borders the Sackville and the Shubenacadie watersheds. The Sackville River crosses the southern portion of the park, which contains wetlands and riparian zones that help maintain a healthy river. These ecosystems can offer services such as water purification, groundwater recharge and runoff control to improve habitat for species living in the Sackville River. 

Public consultations will begin shortly. It’s crucial for people to write in and support this new protected area.

For the past year, SRA has been running a campaign called “It’s Our Turn”, to encourage the Nova Scotia government to officially protect the public lands at Sackville River – Lewis Lake. This campaign acknowledges that the site has been promised for protection since 2013, but was always overlooked by the Nova Scotia government in favour of other sites.

“I want to thank the Minister of Environment directly,” says Regan. “He promised to get these lands into the next announcement and that’s exactly what he did. Thank you Minister Wilson”.

Sackville River – Lewis Lake was announced as one of 20 new protected areas in Nova Scotia. It contains important natural ecosystems, including intact forests, wetlands, rivers, and habitat for Atlantic salmon and wood turtles. This site is also important for connectivity and is a key linkage in the Halifax Greenbelt.

As one of the last remaining patches of intact wilderness in the area, the new park acts as a corridor for local wildlife to find food, habitat and passage to the nearby Pockwock and Waverly Salmon River – Long Lake Wilderness Areas. 

“Sackville River – Lewis Lake is a great place for people in our community to go out and enjoy nature,” says Walter Regan. “We can go walking, biking, swimming, fishing, and just appreciate our own backyard.”

SRA would like to thank our partner, the Nova Scotia Chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS-NS), for working with us to protect these important lands. 

For more information, please contact:

Walter N. Regan

President, SRA


CBC News story – 20 new sites to be protected, reaching Nova Scotia’s land protection goal

Advocates applaud the move, say the government should strive to protect even more than 13% of its land

Shaina Luck · CBC News · Posted: Feb 02, 2021 7:15 PM AT | Last Updated: February 2

Chris Miller (left) and Walter Regan (right) at Lewis Lake in the Halifax Regional Municipality. (Contributed by Walter Regan)

Nova Scotia announced its intention Tuesday to protect 20 new sites, achieving the goal of protecting 13 per cent of its land — a milestone that environmental advocates applauded and urged the government to surpass.

One of the sites to be protected will form the Sackville River Wilderness area, the first of its kind in that area of the Halifax Regional Municipality. 

The news was three decades in the making for an elated Walter Regan, president of the Sackville Rivers Association.

“I couldn’t breathe for two minutes,” he said. “And then after I started breathing, I started hooraying, hooraying, hooraying.”

Regan said his organization and others have been lobbying for this protection since 2011, although he has personally been working to conserve the river for 32 years. 

“COVID has shown us the importance of inexpensive, easy, accessible wilderness and wild areas. Blue Mountain, Sandy Lake, Lewis Lake would become refuges — refuges of peace and quiet that people will go there with their families,” he said. 

The Cherry Hill Beach Nature Reserve in Lunenburg County will protect publicly owned coastal land. (CPAWS-NS)

Regan said there are seven developments near the Sackville River and he calls it a “fight” to protect as much green space as possible. 

“We are becoming more and more of an urban civilization, and we need areas that we can call green and wild,” he said. 

Chris Miller, executive director of the Nova Scotia chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, said his organization is very excited by the news. 

“For a lot of these sites, we’ve been waiting a long time,” he said, noting the Sackville River site is important for species such as the Atlantic salmon and wood turtles. 

Other sites include Cherry Hill Beach, which forms a publicly owned protected coastal area and is important for piping plovers, said Miller. The Barneys River site contains one of the only publicly owned old-growth forest areas left in Pictou County. 

The Wentworth Valley Wilderness Area in Cumberland County contains large areas of old trees. (Photographer: Irwin Barrett, contributed by CPAWS-NS)

The Eastern Shore islands site contains temperate rainforest while the Wentworth Valley site contains large areas of ecologically significant forest. 

“We’ve been waiting for a period of a couple of years for all of these sites to be officially announced,” Miller said. 

In some cases, more land will be added to sites that are already protected. A public consultation process is required for those areas, which will happen over the course of 60 days online. The government said it will launch the consultation website soon. 

Decisions on formal protection will take place in the coming months, after the province gathers and assesses feedback from the consultation process. 

“Although we are a small province, Nova Scotia continues to be a leader in land protection,” Environment Minister Gordon Wilson said in a news release. “I’m very pleased to move these sites forward for protection.”

Hawkin Hall Lake is in Beaver Bank, north of the Sackville River. (Photographer: Irwin Barrett, contributed by CPAWS-NS)

Miller urged Nova Scotians to have their say.

“This is the final, final step in a very lengthy process to protect these sites,” Miller said. “It’s really important that people who care about nature, people who like to spend time in the woods and in remote places, that they write in and they participate in this public consultation.” 

Miller added that he encourages the province to be even more ambitious about land protection by matching the federal government’s targets of 25 per cent of Canada by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030. 

The Medway Lakes Wilderness Area in Annapolis County will be expanded under the new protections. (CPAWS-NS)

The sites to be protected include:

  • Cherry Hill Beach Nature Reserve, Lunenburg County.
  • Barneys River Nature Reserve, Pictou County.
  • Big Meadow Brook Nature Reserve, Hants County.
  • Blue Sea Beach Provincial Park, Cumberland County.
  • Dunns Beach Provincial Park, Antigonish County.
  • Eastern Shore Islands Wilderness Area (expansion), Halifax Regional Municipality.
  • Economy River Wilderness Area (expansion), Cumberland and Colchester counties.
  • Eigg Mountain-James River Wilderness Area (expansion), Antigonish.
  • Five Islands Provincial Park (expansion), Colchester County.
  • Glendyer Nature Reserve, Inverness County.
  • Les Caps Nature Reserve, Inverness County.
  • Medway Lakes Wilderness Area (expansion), Annapolis County.
  • Middle River-Framboise Wilderness Area (expansion), Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
  • Monks Head Provincial Park, Antigonish County.
  • Pomquet Beach Provincial Park, Antigonish County.
  • Porcupine Brook Nature Reserve, Annapolis County.
  • Portapique River Wilderness Area (expansion), Cumberland and Colchester counties.
  • Sackville River Wilderness Area, Halifax Regional Municipality.
  • Staples Brook Nature Reserve, Colchester County.
  • Wentworth Valley Wilderness Area (expansion), Cumberland County.

Shaina Luck


Shaina Luck is a reporter with CBC Nova Scotia. She has worked with national network programs, the CBC’s Atlantic Investigative Unit, and the University of King’s College school of journalism. Email:

Nova Scotia To Achieve Land Protection Goal

The following proposed sites will go through formal consultation:

  • Dunns Beach Provincial Park, Antigonish County
  • Eastern Shore Islands Wilderness Area (expansion), Halifax Regional Municipality
  • Economy River Wilderness Area (expansion), Cumberland and Colchester counties
  • Eigg Mountain – James River Wilderness Area (expansion), Antigonish
  • Five Islands Provincial Park (expansion), Colchester County
  • Medway Lakes Wilderness Area (expansion), Annapolis County
  • Middle River-Framboise Wilderness Area (expansion), Cape Breton Regional Municipality
  • Monks Head Provincial Park, Antigonish County
  • Pomquet Beach Provincial Park, Antigonish County
  • Portapique River Wilderness Area (expansion), Cumberland and Colchester counties
  • Sackville River Wilderness Area, Halifax Regional Municipality
  • Wentworth Valley Wilderness Area (expansion), Cumberland County

The following sites are also intended for protection:

  • Blue Sea Beach Provincial Park, Cumberland County
  • Big Meadow Brook Nature Reserve, Hants County
  • Barneys River Nature Reserve, Pictou County
  • Cherry Hill Beach Nature Reserve, Lunenburg County
  • Glendyer Nature Reserve, Inverness County
  • Les Caps Nature Reserve, Inverness County
  • Porcupine Brook Nature Reserve, Annapolis County
  • Staples Brook Nature Reserve, Colchester County