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Students get first-hand look at Bachman's beauty

by Robert Hirtle

 MAHONE BAY - A recent outing by a group of local students has served to epitomize the idea as to what the Mahone Islands Conservation Association (MICA) is all about.

 On June 18, thanks to the generosity of MICA members Syd and Sandy Dumaresq and the Municipality of Lunenburg's (MODL) recreation department, 17 students of the school along with 18 adults were given a trip to Bachman Island in order that they might have a first-hand glimpse at why island properties in Mahone Bay should be saved for future generations.

 MICA and the Province of Nova Scotia contributed the financial resources which resulted in the purchase of the island for public use back in November of 2006.

 "It's really a realization of the MICA mission coming to life," says Sherrill Harrison, who chairs the group's publicity committee. "The purpose was to educate Grade 5 students at Bayview Elementary about the importance of preserving the islands."

 Launching from the Lunenburg Yacht Club, the party was transferred to the island courtesy of a Cape Island boat owned by Mr. and Mrs. Dumaresq, who also provided food for a hot dog roast and picnic that was part of the day's activities.

 Life jackets were provided by the Lunenburg County branch of the Red Cross and MODL looked after insurance matters.

 Bringing her expertise to the adventure was Rosmarie Lohnes, who owns and operates Helping Nature Heal, a company which specializes in organic gardening, landscaping and educational services.

 Ms Lohnes provided a "walk and talk" through the woods which covered such issues as erosion and the natural succession occurring in vegetation on the island.

 Although learning while having fun was a priority of the trip, giving both the children and the adults an opportunity to visit a publicly owned island, many for the first time, was the key to the initiative.

 "This is the first sort of tangible thing we've had where the community has worked with us, come together and done an event about what these islands are being saved for," Ms Harrison says.

 Another idea that resulted from the excursion was the suggestion that a number of like-minded groups could come together and, perhaps with the help of summer students, create a trail on the island to allow visitors an opportunity to see more than just the beach and shoreline.

 "It's really something that should be worked on," she says.

 While this was the first trip organized to allow students to personally visit a publicly owned island in Mahone Bay, it won't be the last.

 "MICA will continue to do these trips to Bachman's and other islands," Ms Harrison says. "It is something that Syd Dumaresq as chair of MICA's education committee feels very strongly about continuing."

posted on 07/05/11
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