Become a citizen scientist with iNaturalist

Did you know that, armed with nothing more than your cell phone or camera, you can contribute meaningfully to science by uploading photos you’ve taken of living things while out enjoying nature? You can join the tens of thousands in Canada who in 2018 uploaded nearly half a million observations to iNaturalist! That’s a significant contribution to the 15 million global observations submitted for the year. Once uploaded, members of the iNaturalist community help identify whatever you’ve observed. Those observations that can be confidently identified become “research grade”, and then can then be used by scientists to help understand & protect the areas we enjoy so much.

WRWEO’s awareness of & use of the iNaturalist platform on the Bluff Trail started with participation in the HaliBlitz 2017 event hosted by the Ecology Action Centre and the Canadian Wildlife Federation. At this event, we had the pleasure of learning from expert hike leaders & helping as volunteers. Judging by the great turnout and enthusiasm of everyone we met, Halifax has an appetite for learning more about life in our area, and is willing to lend a hand to help advance the scientific study of the ecosystems in which we live.

Encouraged by this experience, and having board members who have used the platform over the last year, we made it even easier to see which species have been observed on our own trail by defining an iNaturalist place for the Bluff Trail in late 2018. Every observation you make and submit to iNaturalist will now appear on this page. If you’d like to get involved, all you have to do is join iNaturalist and start uploading your observations. Those of us already signed up will be able to see your contributions as they are submitted, will help ID those contributions, and help you acquire the skills you need to improve your observations & your identifying skills.

In fact, even photos from past visits can be uploaded, so you don’t even need to wait until your next visit to the trail! Just upload your photos (it can be one or more photos) for each observation, check they have a date, time, approximate coordinates, accuracy expressed in metres, and submit. If you are confident you know what it is, you can include that, or else you can wait for help from the community to determine what it is you observed.

So don’t be intimidated. Join up, take lots of photos, upload, and have fun learning while you explore! We look forward to seeing what you’ve found and you will be contributing to the knowledge of the living things in and around The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail. Here is a brief getting started guide from the iNaturalist site to help orient you.

P.S. We’re sure most of you know this already, but if you are a new observer, do respect the wildlife while you’re observing it. Please don’t pick or otherwise stress out your photographic subjects, and stay on the trail to minimize your impact to their environment.

Call for applications: Five Bridges Wilderness Heritage Trust Environmental Stewardship Grants

The Five Bridges Wilderness Heritage Trust (“the Trust”) is a volunteer community organization dedicated to protecting and enhancing the environment and conducting research, promoting recreation, and educating the public relative to the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area (“FBLWA”).

The Trust wishes to promote local volunteer initiatives by making funds raised through the Bay Treasure Chest available to support projects that are consistent with the Trust’s goals and objectives. The theme of this round of grant applications is “Trails Development.”

Application Deadline: April 1, 2017

Detailed information and application instructions can be found on the Trust’s web site:

Grant poster, 2017

Tuesday, September 6th at 10AM at City Hall: BMBCL

Your help is needed to protect what could be the largest urban park in all of Canada. The long-promised but yet-to-be-delivered Blue Mountain Birch Cove Regional Park is under threat. It could be a mini-Keji for Halifax, but a terrible report from an independent facilitator, released in June, is recommending that a massive urban sprawl development be allowed inside the core of the future park. Immediately following the release of the flawed Independent Facilitator’s Report, Councillor Reg Rankin quickly put forward a very bad three-part motion for council to debate and a vote on. After several delays his motion comes up for the big vote at Council this Tuesday, Sept. 6th. Read more

Colin Stewart Conservation Award

We are very proud that one of our own, David Patriquin, was presented the Colin Stewart Conservation Award on Thursday, April 7, 2016 at the Museum of Natural History on behalf of Halifax Field Naturalists. Here are Richmond Campbell’s comments from the presentation:

I am humbled to present the Colin Stewart Conservation Award to a truly innovative and indeed transformative conservationist: David Patriquin. Many of us already know him well and know how deserving he is of this recognition. But we know also how modest he is, and for that reason most of us still don’t know more than a small part of all that he has contributed to conservation locally, regionally, and province wide. To give the broad picture (and to keep this presentation within six minutes) I have divided his accomplishments into three categories.

The first category is his unremunerated conservation effort toward Protection of the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area under the NS Wilderness Areas Protection Act, achieved in October 2011 in no small part due to Dave’s giving the scientific basis for protection. In the words of Peter Labor, Director, Protected Areas & Ecosystems Branch, NS Environment (letter of October 14, 2014):
Continue reading “Colin Stewart Conservation Award”

Your Fall Foliage Contest winners

Ed. Apologies to Willard Larkin, the first and fifth place winner, whose pictures were misattributed, and now have been correctly attributed to him.

The votes are in, and the Bluff Trail Fall Foliage Contest is over! Thanks, everyone, for participating: entrants, judges, and donors alike, and especially to Tim McGee for organizing the event. The top three winners and their photos are as follows:

Nature is ... the ultimate artist, by Willard Larkin
Nature is … the ultimate artist, by Willard Larkin
Untitled, by Henry Rojo
Untitled, by Henry Rojo
Rhodora and Granite, by Mimmi Henriksen (at Cranberry Lake)
Rhodora and Granite, by Mimmi Henriksen (at Cranberry Lake)

See the Contest page for the complete list of winners, the winning photos, and the prizes they received.

Become a trail warden

The Halifax Regional Trails Association (HRTA) is holding a Training Workshop for Trail Patrol Wardens on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at the Lakeside Community Centre, 1942 St. Margaret’s Bay Road, Lakeside beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Work as a volunteer Trail Patrol Warden provides an opportunity to become an ambassador of goodwill while you use your local trail for your own health, wellness, and enjoyment. Wearing a brightly coloured vest takes no extra effort, and greeting other trail users is an enjoyable experience.

Wardens provide a variety of benefits to trail users. More specifically, they provide

  • an active “trail watch” program,
  • reassurance to other trail users by their visible presence,
  • a positive example of volunteerism in their community,
  • friendly conversation with other trail users,
  • information about trail etiquette, rules, laws, and safe practices,
  • information about distances, travel times, and access to amenities,
  • reports on issues on the trail that require attention,
  • communication with with enforcement officials if required,
  • excellent public relations for their sponsoring organization,
  • opportunities to recruit other volunteers,
  • assistance with event management,
  • occasional assistance with mechanical breakdowns, and
  • occasional first aid if required.

To become a trail warden, you must

  • be nominated by a member organization of HRTA,
  • be of good character,
  • be willing to spend time on your trail on a reasonably regular basis,
  • complete a training workshop, and
  • be certified.

For further information, or to put forward your name as a candidate for the December 2 workshop, please contact Tom Musial, BLT R2T Association,

Help a Trail – McIntosh Run Maintenance

If you’d like to help a trail, the McIntosh Run Watershed Association is inviting the community to help trim brush, Saturday, September 19th, 9:30 – 11:30 am.

We’ll be meeting at the Drysdale Road bridge, beside the Spryfield Lion’s Rink. If you have work gloves and branch-cutting tools please bring them along. No power tools please! We do have some extra tools and gloves, so please come even if you don’t have any.

Seeking bids on brush cutting and deadfall removal



The Woodens River Watershed Environmental Organization is seeking bids on brush cutting and deadfall removal – if you are interested in submitting a bid, please contact us at to obtain more information and a bid submission form. References are required. Response deadline is Sept 16, 2015. The response deadline has been extended to Sept 23, 2015.