ShoreLINES: Heritage Notes from Parks Canada's Special Protected Places in PEI - Fall 2012
Top Moments of 2012 in PEI National Park
2012 has been a banner year for Prince Edward Island National Park with 75th anniversary celebrations, new learning opportunities and natural and cultural heritage protection. To sum it all up, here is a list of top moments of 2012 in PEI National Park.
Brackley Beach Birthday Party
On Saturday July 21, the Brackley Beach Birthday Party attracted over 1000 visitors! Apart from the hot, sunny ideal beach day, the main draw was the Great Island Sandcastle Competition, in which over 35 teams participated.
The Discovery Tent was also very popular and it featured displays from the Island Nature Trust, the Canadian Cancer Society and the Discovery Centre from Halifax. Parks Canada was pleased to provide opportunities for interactions with sea critters in the tent and an art corner where more than 100 original art works were produced! The Red Cross were also on hand to demonstrate safe boating and over 60 visitors also had the opportunity to try stand-up paddle boarding, courtesy of Sporting Intentions.
An evening beach campfire set on the backdrop of a spectacular sunset was a wonderful end to a picture-perfect day.
Big Week of Birding
The first ever “Big Week of Birding” was held from June 1-10. During this ten-day period, experienced and beginner birders helped Parks Canada ecologists gather information on bird species that call PEI’s north shore home, including bird species at risk that could be in PEI National Park.
The week was a huge success! A total of nine teams and/or individuals submitted data and a number of others competed just for fun. A total of 110 bird species were detected, including four of the “Most Wanted” bird species: Canada Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Bobolink and Piping Plover. Information gathered on bird species at risk will be shared with other agencies and departments for conservation and recovery purposes.
American Eel Recovery
Together with the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI, Parks Canada ecologists sampled coastal ponds for fish and the American Eel, a threatened species in Canada. To help learn more about the American Eel in the park, eels were tagged with PITs (passive integrated tags). The PITs work by emitting a weak radio signal that contains a unique code. The PITs will provide Parks Canada with information about American eel population and biology, and answer many questions about the length of time eels remain in coastal ponds before returning to the Sargasso Sea to spawn and about their movement between ponds!
Learn to Camp
On June 16 and 17th, Parks Canada was pleased to host over 100 new campers overnight at Stanhope Campground at a Learn to Camp event. Parks Canada worked closely with our new partner, the PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada, to recruit for this event and most of the participants were newcomers. This national event, which was put on with the help of our partner, Mountain Equipment Co-op, was a resounding success. While enjoying the great weather, participants were able to learn valuable camping skills while enjoying sandcastles, seafood and star-gazing.
Piping Plover Chicks
The endangered Piping Plover once again returned to PEI National Park’s sandy beaches to breed in the spring. A total of three pairs of the endangered birds established nests in the park. It was a challenging season as the plovers lost nests to flooding and predation. The good news is that one of the pairs was successful in hatching all four eggs in its nest and all of the Piping Plover chicks survived to fledge. We hope the young plovers will return to the island’s north shore to raise their families.
Happy Birthday PEI National Park!
A 75th birthday party was held for PEI National Park in Charlottetown on Tuesday, April 24 – the anniversary of the day the park was established. Guests enjoyed a variety of musical and cultural performances throughout the evening that ranged from aboriginal drum beats to Acadian fiddle strings. A short, insightful look at the history of PEI National Park was also presented, courtesy of Dr. Ed MacDonald, Associate Professor of History at UPEI.
A variety of images, past and present were on display for the launch of the 75th anniversary time capsule. Guests contributed a variety of items for inclusion in the time capsule, including birthday cards, retro postcards, a clay replica of a Piping Plover egg, books and personal birthday greetings. There is still time to contribute to the PEI National Park time capsule! For more information, please call (902) 672-6455.
Gulf of St. Lawrence Aster
The Gulf of St. Lawrence aster, a threatened plant species in Canada, was reintroduced at Blooming Point. Over 100 plants and seed heads that were grown by biologists at the University of Prince Edward Island were transplanted on the aster’s preferred and traditional habitat – relatively sheltered sandy areas that experience periodic flooding.
On Wednesday, July 25 the third annual Bioblitz was held at Cavendish Grove. Alongside park ecologists and interpreters, over 150 visitors discovered the species that call the ponds, forests and shores in PEI National Park home through a variety of fun activities for the entire family.
75th anniversary Art Contest
In June, Parks Canada held the PEI National Park 75th Anniversary Art Contest, open to all grade 4 and 6 students across the island. “Spectacular Prince Edward Island National Park” and “Caring for the Park” were the two categories for artwork submission. Congratulations to Julia Bovaird from Spring Park Elementary and Cameron Ralph from Englewood who were the individual winners of each category, as well as Jacques Chaisson’s Grade5/6 class at École Pierre Chiasson and Melissa McKinnon and Stephanie Rooney’s Grade 6 class at Englewood for being the winning the classes.
Individual winners received binoculars, PEI National Park passes or a weekend of camping and the winning classes received special art instruction from fine artist Maurice Bernard!
It has been quite a year and there is still more to come!
Stay tuned to our website www.parkscanada.gc.ca/pei and our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/PEInationalpark for information on our fall special events, including the 75th anniversary lecture series, and the dog-friendly “Walk in the Park.”
In 2012, Parks Canada is celebrating 75 years of natural and cultural resource protection in Prince Edward Island National Park.