poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘conservation’ Category

preserving coastal marsh (day 24 and 25)

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The last few days of my virtual biking have reminded me of the need to preserve coastal areas, including barrier beaches and coastal salt marsh.  Day 24 and 25 of my virtual travels took me along Youghall Beach near Bathurst.  This barrier beach has been almost entirely developed with seasonal and year-round residences.



map showing distance travelled (map from Google Maps)


8-24  March 24, 2014   35 minutes (south of Youghall Beach to  Youghall)

8-25  March 25, 2014   30 minutes ( Youghall to south of Youghall) 


aerial view of Peters River salt marsh (right) and Youghall Beach (left)  (image from Street View)

aerial view of Peters River salt marsh (right) and Youghall Beach (left) (image from Street View)


Peters River salt marsh

Peters River salt marsh (image from Street View)


One of the reasons to protect barrier beaches from development is the close association with coastal marshes and their sensitive wild life.  For example, the coastal marshes in the Bathurst area, including the coastal salt marshes of the Peters River near Youghall Beach, are home to the Maritime Ringlet Butterfly.  The Maritime Ringlet (Coenonympha nipisiquit McDunnough) is a small butterfly with a wing-span of four centimeters.  It is buff-and-rusty-coloured, with a dark eyespot.


This butterfly is endangered, because it faces extinction.  It is ‘endemic’ to the salt marshes of the Baie-des-Chaleurs – this is the only place in the world where this butterfly lives.   The butterfly can only live in the salt marsh – the Maritime Ringlet caterpillar lives on salt marsh grasses (Spartina patens) and the adult uses Sea Lavender (Limonium nashii) as its nectar source.


Government and conservation groups in New Brunswick have worked together to educate homeowners about protecting the Maritime Ringlet Butterfly.  They list practical steps people can take to ensure the habitat of this endangered butterfly is protected.  These include: not filling in the marsh, not burning marsh grasses, not using vehicles in the marsh, not picking marsh wildflowers such as Sea Lavender, and not going into the marsh.  For more information on the Maritime Ringlet Butterfly and its protection, see


March 27, 2014  'Maritime Ringlet Butterfly'  Jane Tims

March 27, 2014 ‘Maritime Ringlet Butterfly’ Jane Tims


Copyright 2014  Jane Tims

between the salt marsh and the sea (day 21, 22 and 23)

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My virtual biking in early March took me along the last length of coast before Bathurst.  This is an area of coastal salt marsh and barrier beach.  It is also an area where a lot of coastal development has occurred.  My bike ride revived many memories of days when I worked on the provincial coastal policy.



distance travelled (map from Google Earth)


8-21  March 1, 2014   40 minutes  (Petit-Rocher-Sud to east of Nigadoo)

8-22  March 4, 2014   30 minutes (east of Nigadoo to  Beresford)

8-23  March 8, 2014   30 minutes (Beresford to south of Yougall Beach)


The prominent landscape feature in the area is a huge coastal salt marsh and a barrier beach.  I certainly understand why people would want to live near to the sea.  However, the development of the barrier beach can harm the beach environment, puts the health of the ecologically important salt marsh at risk, and sometimes creates a safety issue for the homes and cottages along the beach (people who live along the beach are at risk of coastal erosion, storm surge and walls of ice that build up along this coast).


Beresford Beach aerial

aerial view showing Beresford barrier beach, the coastal salt marsh behind it and the waters of the Baie-des-Chaleurs (map from Google Earth)


The community of Beresford has preserved a portion of the beach and marsh, creating the Passerelle, a long boardwalk to enable people to appreciate the marsh and the bird life there.  The Passerelle can also be seen in the upper left corner of the aerial view above (a white, curved structure crossing a corner of the marsh pond).


viewing area along Beresford Marsh

a view of the Passerelle boardwalk on the Beresford Marsh (image from Street View)


Once private land is developed, either for seasonal or year-round residential use, the only way to protect the beach and salt marsh is to encourage homeowners along the barrier beach to live as gently as possible.


Copyright  2014  Jane Tims



garbage day after Christmas

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One change has occurred in our household during the last few years – Garbage Day after Christmas.  Our garbage is collected at the roadside once per week, on Thursdays.  We used to have at least three big bags of garbage after the frenzy of opening presents and discarding the wrapping paper.  But, since I began wrapping presents in fabric, we have far less garbage after Christmas – no more extra bags of wrapping paper.

I disliked buying wrapping paper every year.  We usually spent a lot of money on wrapping paper and were always running out. It seemed a waste of money and not very environmentally friendly.

A few years ago, I changed to fabric for wrapping.  I waited for the sale on Christmas fabric at my local fabric store and bought several meters in various designs at about $2.00 per meter.   I also bought a large amount of stretchy metallic chord and some pretty ribbon by the meter.  I tore the fabric into different sizes, to cover a variety of gift sizes. I also tried hemming the fabric but I gave that up after tedium set in.  We have never noticed the difference between hemmed and raw-edged fabric.

a variety of Christmas fabric

a variety of Christmas fabric

The challenge of using fabric is closing the fabric securely around the gift, since it’s important to make sure the packages don’t come undone.  We tried various types of closures for the fabric-wrapped presents including tape (doesn’t stick), diaper pins (ugly) and plain ribbon (slippery).  The best way to close the presents securely is to use lots of stretchy metallic chord, supplemented by ribbon.

lots of ribbon

lots of ribbon

a present held secure with stretchy chord

a present held secure with stretchy chord

To secure tags is easy.  I use cut up Christmas cards for tags (I have enough card tags to last us 20 years at the current rate of gift-giving).  I secure the tags by tucking them securely under the ribbon or chord, or by punching a hole in the tag and securing it with string or ribbon.

pile of gifts wrapped in fabric

tags are easy to add

I asked a few people what they liked best about unwrapping paper-wrapped presents, and they always say the sound of the paper crinkling and tearing is a factor.  So this year, I included a thin wrapping of tissue paper with each gift, at a fraction of the cost of wrapping paper.

one layer of tissue paper

I now include one layer of tissue paper inside to add to the enjoyment of opening the gift

I think it takes a little longer to wrap gifts using fabric, but, to me, they are just as pretty.

The method pays for itself within 2 or 3 years.  You do have to ask friends and relatives to return the fabric and ribbon after they have unwrapped their presents!!!

fabric wrapped gifts under the tree

fabric-wrapped gifts under the tree – a couple of paper-wrapped presents are hiding out among the fabric-wrapped gifts … can you spot them????

Copyright  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

December 28, 2012 at 7:32 am

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