In 2016, the Friends of McNabs Island Society celebrated our 26th year as a society! We organized many activities and events including guided tours, work parties and the beach cleanup. We continued to answer inquiries from around the world and to present to groups interested in McNabs Island.
The 25th annual McNabs Island Clean-up was held June 5th. 250 volunteers collected another 450 bags of garbage and recyclables from the island beaches. We had the help of divers who cleaned up the waters around Ives Cove wharf. Again the recurring items found along the beach debris are Tim Horton’s cups and plastics of all kinds, from broken fish crates to plastic tampon applicators. The most unusual find was a double-sized box spring found near Hangman’s Beach.
Since 1991, the Friends have collected over 12,500 bags of garbage from the beaches of McNabs and Lawlor Islands Provincial Park - making the clean-up effort the largest and longest-running beach cleanup in the Maritimes. These cleanups are costly, costing us about $2,500 each year. We are fortunate to receive some donations from Waterfront Development, McInnes Cooper and Nature’s Way to help pay for the transportation costs.
Island Projects & Activities
Last year, with the help of volunteers including a group organized by the CBC’s Do Crew, we placed new park benches along the trails. The Teahouse was further cleaned up and we continued to raise money to restore the building so it can be used as a seasonal outdoor education centre.
We furthered the work cleaning out and restoring the Victorian Gardens on the island and had help from volunteer arborists with the Atlantic Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture. We received the Gold Leaf Award from the Association for Outstanding Beautification Activities for our efforts to restore this English Garden designed and planted in the 1880s.
The Friends 26th Annual General Meeting was held on April 13, 2016 at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Guest speaker was coastal engineer Vincent Leys who gave an excellent presentation on how rising sea levels and storms are impacting the Maugers Beach Lighthouse and McNabs Island. Long-time member of the Society, Doris Schrader surprised us by presenting us with a $10,000 cheque at our meeting. Our Special Friend of the Island Award was given to Waterfront Development for their support funding the new trail signs, more composting toilets and improvements to Garrison Pier.
We hired two students Amber McMunn and Alex Miller through the Canada Summer Jobs program last year. They offered guided tours throughout the summer and worked on updating the McNabs Island Kit for Schools to include material for high school students.
We participated in Oceans Day events and presented at the Oceans Literacy conference held at Dalhousie on June 11th. In the summer we held two sold-out guided tours on July 24th and August 21st. Our Fall Foliage Tours was held on October 16th with 200 people taking part in a variety of guided tours.
The society published one newsletter in 2016: October (Vol. 25:1). We have an active Facebook page with 1,600 likes, our Twitter account has 2,574 followers, and we’re on Instagram too. We have over 270 members.
For the past 27 years the Friends have been the voice of McNabs Island – answering numerous requests for information from local residents and people around the world – fundraising to improve the trails, and park facilities – all to make McNabs Island a welcoming natural environment park for all to enjoy.
Friends of McNabs Island Society
April 12, 2017