Posted in Event Review

The Climate Action Summit

The Municipality of Annapolis hosted a Climate Action Summit at Cornwallis Park on Saturday. There were over one hundred and fifty citizens in attendance. Overnight snow greeted us, as we drove down Highway #101 to Deep Brook.banner_ClimateChangeWorkshopThe day was structured into three parts:

a) keynote presentations from the Municipality and COGS;
b) community presentations;
c) specific breakout groups after lunch.

The keynotes were Timothy Habinski, Gregory Heming and Ed Symonds. Timothy emphasizes the need for action rather than talk ‘Be brave and be kind’.
Gregory reviewed a number of past actions by the county, including the municipal climate change action plan, the forestry review and economic development 2050. Themes included local agriculture, local energy, housing, education and training, clean air, water and soil. The move towards the third Industrial revolution: the restorative economy and right livelihood. Ed described his work at COGS and in particular the role of community mapping.

Community presentations were made by Medway Community Forest Cooperative, Acadian Seaplants, Bruce Family Farm, Nikian Farm, CARP, SNBRA, Centrelea Community Centre, the Red Cross and citizens concerned about plastics.

After an excellent buffet lunch, the afternoon was the opportunity to go into more depth. The discussion groups included energy resilience, displaced persons, crisis response, natural climate solutions, food independence. Given the inaction of the McNeil government on forestry, my interest was to understand and receive an update from Extinction Rebellion  (XR) (Nina Newington) and the Healthy Forest Coalition (Donna Crossland).

By 4 pm, the enormity of the agenda and the cool temperatures in the Conference Centre forced an early retreat to the warmth of the woodstove back in Paradise.

There were a number of takeaways from the day.

1) there is an impressive number of engaged citizens in Annapolis County.
2) from the discussion on climate forestry, there is a need for private woodlots owners to think more about the economic dimensions of land trusts.
3) from a creative ‘humour ‘ perspective, I loved the concept from XR,
‘where is Stephen ?’ campaign. Right now, he is in China!
4) there is potential for a network of solar-powered community centres to mitigate climate risk

bookCover_rootedInTheLandThinking about the complexity of the climate change agenda, and our inability to comprehend the interaction between the discussion topics in the afternoon; on returning home, looking for solace, I pulled down off the bookshelf Rooted in the Land edited by William Vitek and Wes Jackson. Essays on community and place. Published in 1996. Almost twenty-five years ago.

I would recommend the essay by David Orr, ‘Re-Ruralizing Education’. He starts with this quotation from Will Rogers:

“It ain’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble.
It’s what we know that ain’t right.”

Another essay, in the same book, which struck a chord, by Eric Zencey, ‘The Rootless Professors’.

At the follow-up Summit in 2020, I look forward to seeing positive action and further celebration of rural Nova Scotia.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Roger Mosher, Bill Crossman and Heather Stewart for their company.
To the Municipality for organizing the Summit. And all the engaged citizens.
Edward for his graphics contribution. Larry Powell for his encouragement with the blog.

Reference

William Vitek and Wes Jackson(Ed). 1996. Rooted in the Land. Essays on Community and Place. Yale University Press.

Posted in Book Review, Event Review

Tantramar Marshes

This week, Heather and her Dad had an appointment at the Cumberland County Genealogy Centre in Amherst. They wanted to research the history of the Stewart and Ross families in the region. It gave me a wonderful opportunity to check out the bookstores in Sackville and Amherst.

bookCover_cultureAndAgricultureAt the Tidewater Books and Browsery, I found a small book by Graeme Wynn. Graeme is Professor, Geography at UBC. The book, Culture and Agriculture on the Tantramar Marshes is based on his M.A thesis at the University of Toronto. It describes the utilization of the Chignecto Marshlands between 1750-1800, the Acadian settlement, the Planters and the Yorkshire and Loyalist influxes.

Wynn is also the co-editor, with Colin Coates, of The Nature of Canada. This is a recent publication, which I picked up on my travels to BC this Summer.

Returning to Amherst, I stopped at Dayle’s Grand Market.bookCover_seasVoice I had noticed on a previous visit that they had a good selection of books by Harry Thurston, who lives at Tidnish Bridge. This time, I purchased Animals of my own kind: new and selected poems and The Sea’s Voice: An Anthology of Atlantic Canadian Nature Writing. Two poems caught my eye. Chimney Swifts and Geography: on first discovering Elizabeth Bishop in a used bookstore in Manhattan. Heather had been part of the CARP chimney swift monitoring program in Bridgetown this Summer.
The Geography poem is dedicated to Sandra Barry, friend and writer living in Middleton.

The anthology includes excerpts from Joshua Slocum, Harold Horwood, Peter Sanger, David Adams Richards and Harry Thurston.

On our way home, we stopped for a late lunch at the Masstown Market. What an amazing example of entrepreneurship!

bookCover_artOfLoadingBrushOne last literary reference. Last Summer in Langley, BC I was reading Wendell Berry’s The Art of Loading Brush. It was a library book and I did not get to finish it. Last week, it arrived in Lawrencetown through inter-Library loan. As we were travelling to Amherst and New Glasgow, I was able to read Berry’s new agrarian writings. It is a combination of essays, stories and poetry. In the ‘stories’ section, I read ‘The Order of Loving Care’. It starts as follows.

“By now many of Andy Catlett’s mentors and old schoolmates among the writers, in Kentucky and elsewhere, have left the visible world to take their places only in the convocation of his mind. With that company of friends, while it lasted, he carried on a many-branched conversation that he had grown into and so had grown up in his trade.” p.179.

Check out the story: page 179-216.

Acknowledgements

Heather and John Stewart for their company on the road trip. The independent bookseller, Tidewater Books (see their bookmark below).

‘We employ local independent thinkers, artists, writers, musicians all with their unique point of view. Money spent at our store goes to support these important members of our community’.

Edward for his graphics contribution. Edward and Anne Wedler were previously owners of the independent bookstore, The Inside Story in Greenwood.

References

Graeme Wynn. 2012. Culture and Agriculture on the Tantramar Marshes. Tantramar Heritage Trust.
Colin Coates and Graeme Wynn (Ed) 2019.The Nature Of Canada. OnPoint Press.
Harry Thurston. 2009. Animals of my own kind. Signal Edition.
Harry Thurston (Ed) 2005. The Sea’s Voice: An Anthology of Atlantic Canadian Nature Writing. Nimbus Press.
Wendell Berry. 2017. The Art of Loading Brush: New Agrarian Writings. Counterpoint Press.

Posted in Art, Event Review, New thinking

AI in Plein Air Art

pleinAirArtists
My goal at the recent Art Impact AI workshop held in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, was to see how AI (Artificial Intelligence) might play a role in plein air art. The workshop was headed by Valentine Goddard and Jerrold McGrath.

The participant numbers were of a convenient size that we could delve into the subject matter at some depth. What struck me first was the diversity of backgrounds in attendance — from wood sculptor to theatre-savvy software developer, from cellular biologist to explorers of biologic/geologic forms, from filmmaker to former art director. But we all had the creative artistic mind and AI interest in common.

I learned all sorts of AI concepts such as Neural Networks, Machine Learning, CV, and Deep Learning, and dominant AI values such as transparency, fairness, accountability, and more. We were shown a book entitled Neural Networks for Babies by Fernie and Kaiser. We played games to immerse ourselves in the mechanism of AI thinking. “Finding the Criminal” game taught us about the significance of algorithm development, application, confidence, bias, and use/abuse. That type of game, upon later discussions with filmmaker Kimberly Smith from Canning, could have implications in his Movie Games project.

So, how does AI apply to my plein air art world? In the short term, I do not see AI having immediate impact. I do see where AI has the potential for the visual artist; playing a role in my art, down the road, as mentor, coach, teacher and critic. I do not see AI in art as something to be feared. I see AI as something to augment the creative learning process and development of the human artist — where AI and human collaborate.

In plein air art that AI augmentation also includes the process of seeing and interpreting the geography that surrounds us as an artist.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Participants in the Art Impact AI Dartmouth workshop, for their lively and insightful discussions.
Valentine Goddard and Jerrold McGrath for heading the Art Impact AI workshop.

REFERENCES

Neural Networks for Babies, by Chris Ferrie and Dr Sarah Kaiser,  Sourcebooks, March 2019
Movie Games, by Kimberly Smith

Posted in Event Review, Opinion

Wearing the Land

bookCover_uncommonCommonArt2019In Wolfville earlier this week, I picked up the brochure for Uncommon Common Art. The theme for 2019 is ‘Wearing the Land’. From the curatorial statement by Bonnie Baker:

‘We wear the Land with the marks of our occupation. Habits of movement and occupation wear paths across terrain. In shaping the land, the land also shapes us. How we occupy and move through the landscape impresses itself on our imagination, our minds, our identities as well as our bodies. We build relationships to the land through traditional knowledge, beliefs, memories, kinship and use’

bookCover_islandWithinAt the Blue Griffin used bookstore in Middleton, I found Richard Nelson’s book The Island Within. Nelson is a cultural anthropologist. From the Preface:

“As time went by, I also realized that the particular place I’d chosen was less important than the fact I’d chosen a place and focussed my life around it.” p xii.

Yesterday, Brian Arnott visited us from Lunenburg. The topic for discussion was ‘small communities in rural Canada’ (see 100 Ways of being a Small Community). Brian has read Joseph Weiss’ book on Shaping the Future on Haida Gwaii and was interested in hearing more about the role that the Haida played in community development. Both Heather and I had enjoyed a year on the island.

As part of the visit, I offered a field trip to Lawrencetown. We looked at a number of recent developments: Shakes on Main restaurant run by the Carleton Road Industries Association (CRIA), the WineMakers Tavern and the new health clinic, being built near the Library. Finally, a look at the new residence at COGS, we then retreated to Lunn’s Mill for a beer, lunch and stories of Haida Gwaii.

Last night, the Extinction Rebellion organized a climate change panel for local candidates in the upcoming federal election at the Bridgetown Legion. After an introductory overview by Haig Vaughan, we have questions for the NDP, the Veterans Coalition party and the Green Party. But the most telling discovery of the evening was that neither the Liberal nor the Conservative candidate showed up for the debate.

In response to Brian’s question about rural communities, I return to Richard Nelson.

“Since coming to the island, I have sought perspective from some very old ideas, ideas that have guided the relationship between people and their natural surroundings through most of human history, ideas that have been recounted in many places, many traditions, and over many centuries.”p.xii.

Acknowledgements

Brian Arnott for his inquiry into rural communities. Heather Stewart for creating the Haida Gwaii experience. Edward for his sharing his graphic skills.

References

Uncommon Common Art web site uncommoncommonart.com
Richard Nelson. 1991. The Island Within. Vintage Books.
Joseph Weiss. 2018. Shaping the Future on Haida Gwaii: Life beyond settler colonialism. UBC Press.

Posted in Event Review, New thinking

Climate Emergency / Watermark

On Monday, we attended the Council meeting of the Municipality in Annapolis Royal. There was a motion before council for a Declaration of Climate Emergency. It was supported with a short presentation by Nina Newington from Extinction Rebellion. A sizeable gathering of citizens were in the Council chamber to witness the event. Of course, interest had been raised by Hurricane Dorian.

Tim Habinski, the Warden made the point that action on the ground happens at the municipal level. This is true, although it does require the collaboration of all three levels of government. This reminded me of a song by Dave Gunning from Pictou County. He performed at the Evergreen Theatre in Margaretsville the previous evening. The song was ‘These Hands’. These lyrics have been included in a children’s book. To be successful, we need ‘all hands on deck’.

That includes a wide array of citizen groups, as well as the educational institutions in the county. For example, David Colville at COGS has developed and maintained a network of climate stations throughout the Valley. Would that be a useful resource ?

Or if we want to monitor changes in land use, whether through natural events or human activities, we could use drone photography.

Or if we are concerned about changes in the coastal zone, we could use the LiDAR technology at AGRG ?

To slightly change the subject. This week at the North Mountain coffee shop in Berwick, I picked up a copy of Christy Ann Conlin’s new book Watermark. I wanted to see whether today’s authors are addressing the questions raised by rural society and its values ( in the spirit of Ernest Buckler).

Watermark is an interesting word. From Wikipedia,

“It is an identifying image or pattern in paper that appears as various shades of lightness/darkness when viewed by transmitted light. Watermarks are used to discourage counterfeiting.”

In Conlin’s work, it refers to a human quality that is inherent from upbringing. In my world, I think in terms of ‘watermarks’ on the landscape. For example, this week, we picked up thirty bushels of drops in the orchard, planted by Raymond Hunter.

As part of our background research into Hunter brandy, I received the following email from his son, Willy Hunter (September 16th.)

“Ray often said, that even when he planted trees when he was 80, he wouldn’t know who would harvest the apples, but someone would.”

Next week, we shall start picking from the trees.Heather and I are that ‘someone’.

Acknowledgements

Willy Hunter for sharing the rich stories of the Hunter family life in Clarence, Paradise and Lawrencetown. Heather for sharing the orchard work.
Edward is travelling in Cape Breton this week. We will add his graphics later.

Reference

Christy Ann Conlin. 2019. Watermark. Anansi Press.

Posted in Event Review, Nature

Down Memory Lane

Yesterday, we hosted the Ernest Buckler Literary Event Society (EBLES) evening at the Temple in Bridgetown. Highlights included the NFB film by Chuck Lapp Inner Mountains, Inner Valleys starring RH Thompson. cover_InnerMountainsInnerValleysThis set the scene, giving us a biography of Buckler’s life. Later in the program, we listened to readings by Ken Maher, Anne Crossman and a play “A Glance in the Mirror‘, featuring Ken Maher, Gordon Keel and Gloria Saesura.

The Buckler theme was complemented by the works of other writers: John deMont, Whit Fraser ‘from away’ and local authors: Marilyn Jones_Bent, Dianne Hankinson LeGard and Bob Bent. After dinner, we enjoyed the music of Kim Doolittle and Caleb Miles. Altogether, a very full afternoon and evening.

bookCover_LastBestPlaceOne last story, related to the event. On Friday, Heather and I were in Windsor to pick up a couple of rain barrels. We stopped at the Readers’ Haven, a second-hand bookstore in town. I found a copy of John DeMont’s earlier book The Last Best Place (1998). In Part one: Dreams, Legends and the Meaning of Place.

On page 11 from Ernest Buckler:

There was a strange sound of stillness
about it all. As if pine needles and
dead leaves and the grey rocks
and the clean-smelling brook
with the pole bridge they
passed over were all singing
together a quiet song,
like the drowsy hum
of wires or of bees.

This morning, we decided to drive down memory lane. We took the Morse Road from Bridgetown to West Dalhousie. We wanted to see again the Buckler home which we had rented in 1980 from Bill O’Neill. Afterwards, we drove along the old gravel road to Perotte. We stopped at the graveyard by Gibson’s Lake and found the Ernest Buckler headstone. We noticed along the graveyard fence, scratchings in the sand, evidence of turtle nests.map_BridgetownToAnnaRoyal

As we drove to Perotte, we stopped several times to avoid large, adult snapping turtles. This, again, reminded us of last night, and Ernest Buckler.

Once in Annapolis Royal, we stopped at Lola’s for a traditional, full English breakfast. We then completed the loop and returned home on Highway #201.

For the more energetic, you might want to read Kent Thompson’s Getting Out of Town by book or bike. He describes the Buckler circuit as one of the best bicycle rides in the province. Along the way, he reflects on Buckler’s writing and life.

When you take the Morse Road, you may hear the fervent conversations about the loss of forest cover and its impact on the wildlife and birds. It is likely the Extinction Rebellion.

Acknowledgements.

To my fellow EBLES Board members: Jane Borecky, Anne Crossman, John Montgomerie, Nancy Godfrey. To Heather Stewart on turtle watch for CARP. Edward Wedler for his contribution.

References

EBLES Reading Where We Live: A Celebration of Local Writing. June 29, 2019.
John DeMont. 1998. The Last Best Place: Lost in the Heart of Nova Scotia. Doubleday Canada.
Kent Thompson. 2001. Getting Out of Town by Book and Bike. Gaspereau Press.

Posted in Event Review

The Valley Brand

logo_VRENThursday morning at the Berwick Fire Hall, it was the Annual General Meeting (AGM) for the Valley Regional Enterprise Network (REN). The team presented the accomplishments for the 2018-19 year. The details, including the Annual Report and the Business Plan 2019-20, can be found by contacting staff through the web site.

As a member of the Board until late this Spring, I was interested to hear about future directions. Therefore, the item that attracted my attention was the hiring of Pierre Tabbiner to develop a ‘Valley’ brand to promote the region as a whole.

From a geographic perspective, the physiographic region extends from the Windsor gateway, following the Annapolis River to the Digby Gut, including historic Annapolis Royal. Middleton remains the ‘Heart of the Valley’.map_annapolisValley_satelliteView

From a municipal unit perspective, the Valley REN includes the Municipality of the County of Kings, Municipality of West Hants, the towns of Berwick, Kentville, Middleton, Windsor, Wolfville, and Glooscap First Nation.

From a literary perspective, e.g. Ernest Buckler ‘The Mountain and the Valley’ the emphasis is upon Bridgetown, Centerlea, West Dalhousie, Annapolis Royal. He talks in terms of different attitudes and values within the region.

Here are some of the questions that I would ask our Councillors in Annapolis County and Annapolis Royal. Given, they have decided not to join the Valley REN how do we ensure that the marketing of the region truly represents the diversity of interests in the Valley? And not only the Valley, but also North and South Mountain and the Bay of Fundy shore? Certainly, tourism does not stop at Middleton.

Current evidence suggests that a different value set exists as we move further west in the region. For example, the independent, activist mindset of citizens engaged in the maintenance of our forest landscape. For example, the Municipality support for land use planning at the local level. The emphasis upon the history of the landscape centred on Annapolis Royal. Is agricultural land use different in Kings County from Annapolis County? What about the Valley REN emphasis upon manufacturing?

My hope is that there is a rich conversation from across the region, and all interests are heard about the ‘Valley’ brand. This may ultimately result in a more inclusive, representative Valley REN. The ball is firmly in the court of our municipal councillors.
The same argument can be made with regards to the status of high-speed Internet services in the region. Or Valley Waste management. Or CleanTech.

paradiseCornerCafeJust stopped for lunch at the Paradise Corner Cafe, chowder and homemade meat pie. Their byline is:
‘Paradise a Place of Community. A Place to Relax, Past and Present’.
Highly recommend.

Saturday, we drove to Great Village to attend the AGM of the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia (EBSNS). The agenda included poetry readings by Margo Wheaton and Harry Thurston. Rita Wilson spoke about her children’s book: A Pocket of Time: Elizabeth Bishop’s Poetic Childhood, to be published this Fall.

I noted two lessons for the Ernest Buckler Society (EBLES). As part of the centenary celebration,EBSNS held a writing competition, the contributions were published as Echoes of Elizabeth Bishop (edited by Sandra Barry and Laurie Gunn). EBSNS celebrated its twenty fifth anniversary this year. The second lesson is that a number of the speakers had been Artist in Residence at the Elizabeth Bishop house in Great Village. Perhaps something similar could happen in Centrelea or West Dalhousie.

Final comment.

The quality of the communication materials from the Valley REN is excellent. It is attractive, well-written, and easy to digest. If we could extend these services to meet the needs of all citizens in the Valley region, we would have something of high value and world class.

The existence of both the EBSNS and EBLES shows an intimate appreciation and sense of place. I anticipate that there are other EB’s waiting to be discovered.

Acknowledgements

To the Valley REN team for their contribution to the AGM. Thanks to Sandra Barry, Secretary of the EBSNS for hosting their AGM. To Edward Wedler for his graphics.To Heather Stewart for sharing the driving.

Posted in Event Review, Opinion

The Pastoral Economy

Last weekend, we went to New Glasgow for Fathers Day.banner_johnnyMilesRunningEvent Besides the celebration, we checked out the chimney swifts at the old school (we estimated over two hundred). Heather participated in the Johnny Miles Running Event (it was started in 1975).

En route to New Glasgow, we connected with Edward in Bedford. We wanted to discuss the involvement of Nova Scotia Plein Air in public events. He had been working with the Halifax Northwest Trails Association. Heather had been working with Clean Annapolis River Project (CARP) What are the logistics for engaging artists in the larger landscape?

As part of the information exchange, Edward gave me a copy of a book by Art White. It is a collection of short stories about living in the Valley, around Clementsport.

2bucklerBooksbookCover_MountainValley

Returning home, I revisited Ernest Buckler’s “Ox Bells and Fireflies”. In the Introduction, Alan Young has the following description.

” ‘The Mountain and the Valley’, ‘The Cruelest Month’ and ‘Ox Bells and Fireflies’ are indeed ‘regional’ in their conscious attempt to portray the life and character of a recognizable locale within a specific historical and social framework, at the same time all three belong to the much wider literary context known as ‘pastoral’ and partake of a mythology that transcends the bounds of what is merely national or regional.”

This set me thinking about a short story competition. There is a precedent in ‘Echoes of Elizabeth Bishop’, edited by Sandra Bishop and Laurie Gunn.

I came up with two quick candidate titles.TickBobolinks

“Deer Ticks and Bobolinks”

This would describe the impact of changes in climate and agriculture on the Annapolis Valley.

“High Tech Haven”

This would be based on the location of a new secondary school in the Annapolis Valley, equipped with the latest technology (e.g a combination of Gordonstoun Nova Scotia and an expanded COGS.

Meanwhile, as a result of citizen pressure, there has been an adjustment in the forest cutting above Bridgetown, with respect to nesting migrant bird species.

If we are to invent a ‘new rural society’, it will be imperative to monitor changes in the climate, the landscape and the economic practices. This could be achieved by a ‘community information utility’, managed at the municipal level.

elizabethBishopAndHouseNext weekend, the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia (EBSNS) is hosting their AGM in Great Village, on Saturday June 22nd. Guest speaker is Harry Thurston, poet and naturalist, living in Tidnish. Check out his book from Gaspereau Press, “Keeping Watch at the End of the World“.

Acknowledgements

Edward Wedler for his artwork and sharing his experiences. Sandra Barry for her connection to EBSNS. Extinction Rebellion for their citizen engagement with the Department of Forestry.

References

Art White, 1994. From Away, Here to Stay. Stories from the Valley. Pen Pal Publishing.
Ernest Buckler, 1968. Ox Bells and Fireflies. McClelland and Stewart. Introduction by Alan Young. 1974.
Sandra Barry and Laurie Gunn (ed), 2013. Echoes of Elizabeth Bishop. Elizabeth Bishop Centenary (2011) Writing Competition. Published by EBSNS.
Harry Thurston.2015. Keeping Watch at the End of the World. Gaspereau Press.

Posted in Event Review

The Green Interview: Margaret Atwood

This blog follows closely on the heels of the previous one on ‘Writing v. Reporting’. It could be considered a postscript.

logo_theGreenInterviewAnne Crossman sent me the link to a ‘green interview’ by Silver Donald Cameron with the author, Margaret Atwood. Cameron has just been appointed to the Farley Mowat Chair of the Environment at Cape Breton University (CBU). Graham Gibson (Atwood’s partner) received an Honorary Doctorate at CBU for his contribution to literature and environmental activism. Cameron has conducted over one hundred ‘green interviews’ since 2009.

Atwood considers herself a writer of ‘speculative fiction’, in the tradition of Jules Verne and George Orwell. Her interview with Cameron was framed in the context of ‘celebrating literature and the environment’. She is a knowledgeable writer on the state of the environment and climate change. Interview topics included Project Drawdown, plastics in the ocean, sea level rise, the extinction revolution and planting trees. In her words, if we are seeking hope, we must begin at the micro-level.

logo_futureLibraryOne of Atwood’s action has been to contribute to the ‘Future Library of Norway‘, a concept developed by Katie Patterson. She submitted a manuscript which will not be read for one hundred years.

This link ties in well with today’s Brain Pickings by Maria Popova. It includes the illustrated story of Wangari Maathai ‘ Planting Trees as Resistance and Empowerment’.

References

CBU green interview. https://www.cbu.ca/mowat-chair
Future Library of Norway
Brain Pickings June 9th. newsletter@brainpickings.org

Acknowledgements
To Anne Crossman for joining the dots between Silver Donald Cameron and Margaret Atwood. Edward Wedler for his graphics contribution.

Posted in Event Review

SwiftWatch and AIRO’s birthday

This week, Heather has been participating in Maritimes SwiftWatch.logo_martimesSwiftWatch

MTRI (Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute) and CARP (Clean Annapolis River project Society) are monitoring the roosting behaviour of chimney swifts at the new chimney at the old Bridgetown High School site. Every evening at dusk the chimney swifts circle and then dive into the chimney to roost for the night. On a clear Summer evening, this natural phenomenon attracts considerable interest from the residents of Bridgetown. It could be considered a tourist attraction. It is certainly an example of citizen science.

logo_localLogicAIROTo catch up with the activities at AIRO (Annapolis Investments in Rural Opportunity), I arranged to meet with Jane Nicholson. I had not realized that it was their third birthday. In their latest newsletter, they describe the types of businesses that they have supported, in line with their 2017 report: Local Logic: how to get there from here. Examples include restaurants, brewery, marina, trades, experiential tourism, retail and many others. There is considerable interest in the AIRO model from other jurisdictions. Jane was also kind enough to loan me a new book by Michael von Hausen,  Small is Big: making the next great small to mid-size downtowns.

logo_writersAndCompanyOn CBC Writers and Company, Annie Proulx was Eleanor Wachtel’s guest. Proulx is best known for her books, The Shipping News and Barkskins. In the interview, she talks about ‘geographic determinism”.

‘I think that where you live dictates who you are, what you do, who you marry, your work, what you eat, how you die, what happens to you afterwards. It’s all place.’

bookCover_biography1984Another item that crossed my desk was from May 24, 2019, The Guardian Weekly. It includes an extract from The Ministry of Truth: a biography of George Orwell’s 1984 by Dorian Lynskey. The following two quotations caught my attention.

‘Orwell felt that he lived in cursed times. He fantasized about another life in which he could spend his days gardening and writing fiction instead of being ‘forced into becoming a pamphleteer’.

‘Central to his honesty was his commitment to constantly working out what he thought and why he thought it and never ceasing to reassess these opinions. To quote Christopher Hitchens, one of Orwell’s most eloquent admirers ‘It matters not what you think, but how you think’.

Acknowledgements

To Heather Stewart for sharing her swift monitoring duties. To Jane Nicholson for sharing the AIRO story. To Edward Wedler for the graphics.

References

Bird Studies Canada. Maritimes SwiftWatch. Check web site www.birdscanada.org/ai

AIRO Annapolis Investments in Rural Opportunities

Michael A. von Hausen. 2018. Small is Big. Making the next great Small to Mid-Size Downtowns. VIU Press.

CBC Writers and Company. From The Shipping News to BrokeBack Mountain, Annie Proulx on the importance of place in her fiction.

The Guardian Weekly. 24 May 2019. The Clock struck 13. p54-57. Extract from The Ministry of Truth: a Biography of George Orwell’s 1984. by Dorian Lynskey

Postscript.

Chronicle Herald. June 1, 2019 Page D2. Don Mills. ‘Regional hubs could cure rural malaise’. An alternative view on rural communities in Nova Scotia.