Welcome to the web's newest educational blog! "NATURE-n-FOCUS" will provide informative, entertaining and thought provoking opinions and insights on the state of nature and wildlife across North America.
Nature-n-Focus is a commercial effort of professional photojournalist Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux. The opinions, observations and recommendations presented here are a result of my personal experiences and intimate interactions with the subjects presented in the images displayed on my web site www.nature-n-focus.com.
My images are presently or will soon be featured in stories, articles and editorials that will appear in my blog or in a variety of publications throughout America and abroad. As a published photojournalist, poet and columnist, my views and recommendations have been accepted, rejected and debated by politicians, naturalists, conservationists and environmentalists throughout North America.
As a professional photographer I have been invited to exhibit and present seminars on my body of work and the subjects that make up the Ferrin Collection. To date my exhibits have hung in galleries in Montreal, Quebec, and across the Atlantic provinces of Canada.
As I travel the continent I seek out the unusual, overlooked and often amusing side of life in the wild. Years of travel within nature and its residents have encouraged me to share my experiences with the reader.
My seminars and communication style is direct, solution-orientated and probative. I believe decision makers should be held accountable, make informed decisions and act pro-actively to protect the environment in which humans and wildlife co-exist.
The blog will introduce "explorers" to new destinations and background data that travel brochures lack. I'll introduce you to contacts that can facilitate your stay and uncover new sights and places for you to explore in the region.
Who am I?
I come to you with a diverse background:
1. Professional sports: I spent 23 years in the professional hockey, soccer and box lacrosse arenas. I have experienced the joys of winning and the despair of losing as a player, coach, and general manager. As the founder and commissioner of the American Indoor Soccer Association, a professional indoor developmental soccer league for aspiring Americans, I have debated the pros and cons of business with astute entrepreneurs and visionaries. Professional sports rewarded me with six league championships, induction into the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame (Vancouver Canucks Championship Team of 1968-69), many personal awards and an appearance in the North American Soccer League Soccer Bowl Championship game of 1980.
2. Political Activist: I had a 12-year career as a political activist in Washington, D.C. and my home state of Michigan. In the mid-80's I established a not-for-profit organization called the DADS Foundation. DADS encouraged, educated and increased the level of participation by parents in the education of their children. DADS became an instrumental contributor in the development of legislation to benefit the family in Michigan and Washington. DADS' philosophy was simple: "Demand accountability, be pro-active and focus on the family first." As Chairman of a State of Michigan Senate Select Committee on Children and Family Rights, I was instrumental in writing and introducing recommendations for nearly 100 pieces of legislation on children and family related issues.
3.Professional Radio/TV Talk Show host: Before radio talk shows became the rage, I was introducing Kalamazoo, Michigan listening audiences to my nightly provocative look at local, national and international issues. As the number one program in its time slot, listeners were entertained with behind the scenes tidbits that otherwise would have been buried in the archives of pseudo journalists.
4. Newspaper Editor: As the editor of Pat Robertson's Michigan Insert of his Christian Coalition monthly publication, my staff and I were instrumental in providing residents of Michigan with significant conditions impacting the family within the state. Sadly, our pro-life edition was rejected by Robertson and his associate Ralph Reed when they pulled our tribute to pro-life advocates immediately ending our association with the organization. My position as a pro-life advocate (from birth to natural death) is reflected in my motto, "Shooting memories, preserving life." I am a second amendment supporter as well as a protector of all life, human, animal and plant.
5. Photography: At the conclusion of 35 years in the public eye I made the critical decision to exit the entertainment and political arena and seek the solitude of nature while capturing it on film. Eight years ago I picked-up my camera, a Canon 1D, and headed off to seek my fortune, if not fame as a wildlife and nature photojournalist. As most of you know fortune is a hyperbole and fame comes to only a few masters of this beautiful art form. Fame and fortune are not my goals but bringing the wilderness to life for you is.
I encouraged you to interact with me on the BLOG and debate my views and positions. I ask that you be creative with your recommended solutions so that together we may resolve the delicate challenges before us. The environment is in peril and so are we. Correcting, altering or modifying man's impacts upon the world's future are our responsibilities.
However, fanatics need not apply. A) Animals are not at the pinnacle of the hierarchy of life, we are! B) Saving the environment does not come before saving and protecting human life! C) Creative solutions that can be introduced and acted upon by liberal and conservative mindsets is what is needed today, not conflict.
These and other debates are scheduled for the blog. You can count on candor. I am an independent thinker and no longer support any political party. I vote for the person who best represents my views.
Welcome aboard and keep abreast of what we are doing by becoming a member of our weekly live "Chat Room" exchanges. You are invited to post your thoughts on the blog and if a response is merited it will be forthcoming.
In 2005, Mascaret Magazine (Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada) published an article I had written prior to the annual hunting season. The article was titled, "The Meaning of the Bull's-Eye." Time is supposed to heal wounds, but it made an exception in this case. There is little one can do with indiscriminate and amateur hunters, or is there?
In the fall of 2007, during the height of the deer season in the State of Michigan where I make my winter home, I was introduced to a growing and unfortunate flashback I call, "non-lethal harvesting." My photographic travels take me into the hinterlands of the back country where I encounter hunters and too often the remnants of their hunt.
Whitetail deer are God's gift to passivity and grace but a trophy for hunting enthusiasts who venture into their domain with bow, shotgun, black powder muzzle loader or rifle. These harvesting tools in the hands of competent aficionados mean instant death to the baited beauties. However, possession of these weapons by incompetent charlatans can leave behind a trail of misery and pain.
Decked out in their mossy oak camouflage suits, ironically bordered with splash of blaze orange to protect them against a misfired round, the opening day "phenoms" leave behind a horrific trail of incompetence. The carnage resembled the abattoir of the infamous butcher of of Auschwitz, Josef Mengele.
This season was like no other. As I ventured into these wildlife sanctuaries I listened to many a hyperbolic tale of the trophy buck that got away, or the button fawn they think they dinged.
I listened to hunters describe how they watched from the comfort of their blinds as bucks, does and fawns in distress and pain struggled through the hardwood death chambers with arrows protruding from their sides, or bullet holes leaking life giving blood.
I cringed with each tale. According to the storytellers there seemed to be an excess of wounded deer this season. I learned that no less than five diminutive Cervidaes in my town had arrows dangling from their hides.
One in particular was harvested by a firearm hunter who felt sorry for the doe hobbling across his line of sight. "I shot her to put her out of her misery," he said in a sympathetic tone. He then confided in me, "When I tried to eat the meat I was shocked to find it unfit for human consumption. The internal bleeding and infection caused by the non-lethal arrow had destroyed it."
Harvesting is acceptable and necessary in today's overcrowded suburban communities where humans and wildlife meet. In Michigan, the number of reported deer killed by vehicles in 2005 was approximately 68,000 and in 2006 the number reported was 65,000. These accidents result in countless casualties and untold insurance claims. Maintaining the deer population at tolerable levels to minimize human animal interaction and to control the spread of infectious diseases within the herds is an honourable attempt to preserving both species. However, creating a festering cesspool of decaying carcasses by inept humans is unacceptable.
Decaying fawns, maimed and left-for-dead white-tails require that I speak up in defence of these helpless peace loving pawns of Mother Nature's bastard sons and daughters.
I have yet to find any justification for this eagerest behaviour. However, I have decided that prevention is the only cure. Therefore, I believe it fair to even the score between animal and man. I would like our lawmakers to consider and enact legislation that requires the hunter to pass a simple test; before the hunter can harvest the hunted he must meet an acceptable standard for killing. After all, inmates on death row, in Kentucky, have demanded that the U.S. Supreme Court determine if death by lethal injection is humane or does it cause pain and suffering to the murderer lying on the executioners slab?
And, why not, after all our society is a culture of death. We feel little remorse when we abort a child in utero; however, we cry bloody murder when "inappropriate" animal executions take place. Just ask PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). By the way, where is PETA on this issue?
I am frequently asked; "How do you feel about our second amendment right to own a gun?" My unfailing answer is, "I have no problem with guns. Guns do not create problems; irresponsible gun users create problems." A chestnut of a cliché used by many who offer no solution to the question of gun ownership except to restrict it!
Normally, the follow-up question is, "How do you feel about hunting?" My answer is the same, "I have no problem with hunting or hunters. Guns don't cause problems, the irresponsible use of guns by irresponsible hunters cause the problems." After all, as hunters and fishermen, our ancestors survived, flourished and provided for their families. Surviving was the primary role of the early settlers and hunting and fishing provided the meat, clothes and fuel needed. However, some of their descendents have taken their rights to hunt and fish a step or two too far.
Let me elaborate by beginning with the low life's on the totem pole of irresponsibility, poachers. I have yet to find a penalty severe enough for this segment of nefarious hunters. Losing their weapons, trucks, boats or even homes are not strong enough consequences for their actions. My wish list encourages lawmakers to establish and fund enforcement personnel and enforceable penalties on those who illegally and indiscriminately use their weapons to kill, maim or wound animals or birds out of season.
My second wish would be that the "harvesting" of all animals be done in a more humane manner. More humane killing? Isn't that one of life's great oxymora? How can any killing be humane? Euthanasia is "mercy" killing. Abortion is the termination of a living soul. Drunk drivers who kill are impaired. War is permissible as long as you abide by the rules of the Geneva Convention, which prohibits certain types of inhumane killing of combatants?~@~Sno gas, chemicals or germ warfare. No mistreatment of captives, no attacks on facilities or compounds housing the wounded, injured or disenfranchised. I don't know about you, but none of this makes any sense to me?~@~Skilling is killing and killing is murder, even in nature!
If the killing of wildlife (hunting/harvesting) is lawful, couldn't we at least consider using a few more humane methods?
Let's consider one possibility. Future hunters should be required to pass a two-fold course of hunting etiquette before receiving permission to own and use a weapon. Not only should they be required to go through an extended course of instruction and firearm etiquette but a second series that mandates that no hunter, no matter what age, (children under the age of reason are not permitted to receive a firearm permit) can obtain a permit to hunt until they had succeeded in placing his/her bullet, arrow or the black powder ball in the heart or between the eyes of their intended victim. In the field it becomes either a "bull's-eye" resulting in an instant kill or a jail term?
Further, an applicant would be required to pass a government test that would require the shooter successfully hit the bull's-eye on ten consecutive attempts. After all, even snipers in the Canadian, British and American armed forces are required to meet similar stringent stipulations before graduating from sniper school where they earn the right to take human life. In fact, most of the military's apprentice work (before they begin killing their fellow man) is done tracking and killing elusive deer, and killing them humanely.
Some readers might consider this a foolish concept. After all killing your fellow man is not hunting, it's war. And hunting is not war it's considered a "sport."
If we must respect the rights of hunters then let us ensure that their harvest be done in a humane manner and that the pain and suffering imposed on animals be minimized. Claude Marchand, a naturalist and professional hunting guide, who lives in Northern Quebec, Canada, is a professional hunting guide who has established a standard all hunters should be measured against. He spends endless hours scouting for the RIGHT subject. His eye selects the best of the breed, his aim is true and the result is a "dead on contact" harvest. It's quick, clean and humane!
And why not?
If you torture a domestic pet and it dies, the law penalizes you. Just ask NFL ex-football hero, Michael Vick. What is the difference between a domestic animal and one in the wild? Why not maintain the same standards for the two? When the time comes for your pet to be put down, we do one of two things: We have the vet put Rover to sleep (we call it euthanasia) or we take it out behind the barn and put a bullet in its brain. At least that's how they did it to my horse when I was a child growing up in Atlantic Canada. My horse was put done swiftly, humanely and with respect, a bullet between the eyes!
So what is the difference between that type of mercy killing and hunting? A recent study suggests that all but earthworms, lobster and other invertebrates have feelings. That leaves a significant number for us to consider.
To many bird hunters, the pellet pattern from their shells is critical. Sometimes it is a tight pattern, sometimes it is scattered. Regardless of the pattern, not all birds brought down in flight are DOAWTG (dead on arrival with the ground) or water. Many of the birds and fowl are simply stunned, have a broken wing or some other type of debilitating injury. If it isn't dead, the hunter completes the process with a simple and quick snap of the neck. The subject is then dangled above the conqueror's head and "hail to the chief" is sung by the conquering hero's entourage before moving on to the next target. Bigger game is gutted in the field (known as field dressing) and mounted on the hood of the shooters car or truck as a sign of their manhood. It's a guy thing.
Friends who hunt have recounted stories that leave me stunned. One of those macho types became upset because a bear kept visiting the bait pile he had set up to attract deer. After a few visits this mental midget shot the bruin. When asked why he shot the bear out of season he responded that the animal was ruining his vacation and he was here to kill a dear and the bear was in the way. "No bear is going to ruin my week of vacation!" I've often wondered what the deer thought when they approached the bait pile only to find a dead and decaying bear lying across the pile of apples and carrots. There is a postscript to the story?~@?the shooter didn't get his deer.
Thankfully there are exceptions to every bad situation. One of these is my friend and avid outdoorsman Mike. He was introduced to nature by his father who taught him the fine art of making fly rods, tying flies, making a bow from scratch and honing the arrows so they would fly true to the mark. Mike's love of nature should be a template for us all. His idea of a good time is heading into the woods for a week with nothing more than his flint bladed hunting knife, his sleeping bag, compass, bow or black powder pistol and water.
One fall, Mike and I went off on a two week bear hunt together. He instructed me on the ins and outs of the elusive black bear, described and explained in detail how to read the various intersecting game trails, the frequency with which the bear crossed in the area and any other behaviour patterns he had. Mike's primary goal was the size of the animal. He only wanted the biggest and oldest critter, not some insignificant, young, unsuspecting creature. On the fifth day, he established his harvesting location and two days later he was rewarded for his efforts. One shot from a handheld duelling pistol using black powder and a single round ball. One shot, a bull's-eye, right in the heart. The bear dropped in his tracks. Death was instantaneous.
However, most critters are not so fortunate. More often than not the animal is hit and then cannot be found. The animal has gone off to die an agonizing death under some brush or in its den, some sooner, some later. A death we would not wish upon our worst enemy.
As good and conscientious as some hunters are, there are those who leave me sick and appalled. Those irresponsible and insensitive reprobates who believe a gun and license give them the right to kill or mane anything with a fur coat or on the wing. They are the same people I hear about who make a point of shooting fawns, button bucks, two and four point deer and moose calves, etc.
So why can't we change the law? Why can't we make it a fair fight? As our professional military snipers say, "one shot, one kill!" Why don't we make it "no license granted until these humane killing standards are met?"
Maybe it is time to outlaw baiting and tree stands. Maybe it is time to pit man against beast on a level playing field where "man's superior mind" gets to challenge the instincts, cunning and survival skills of the animals he pursues. What if we had to leave our ATV's, 4 x 4's and motor bikes at the wilderness door and walk in? Are we afraid to give God's creatures a fighting chance to kill us or be killed? Wildlife chooses to flee from danger, not attack. Statistics may show that more humans are killed by other humans every hunting season than by wild animals. Hmmm!
I believe it is our right to possess guns. I believe that every man, woman and adolescent (who has reached that elusive age of reason) has that right, but I believe that responsibilities are associated with gun ownership and violators of those rights should be penalized. Wild animals, pursued for the hunt, should be given an opportunity to survive the chase. After all isn't it the chase rather than the capture that matters most to the human race?
Hunters, may I suggest that we do so in a manner that respects the wildlife we treasure and provide them with the respect we'd seek for ourselves if we were the hunted.
Humanity can be humane, if not to each other, at least to God's magnificent creatures.
As for the politics of the matter, it's time for conservative and liberal, pro-life and pro-choice, the NRA and PETA to bond as one under our constitution and fight for the preservation of all life, human and animal, from conception to a humane death.
Welcome to the first issue of the Nature-n-Focus blog, straight from the heart of a dedicated protector of the family, nature and all living creatures, both human and animal, from conception to natural death.
Need I say more about my position on life, death or the preservation of our earth.
As intelligent humans we are doing a poor job of guarding our most precious reserves, both human and environmental.
As I travel through this new dominion called cyber space I hope to reveal and convey not only thoughts that have crossed my mind and action steps we can take as a civilized and intellectually superior beings.
Let me establish my foundational beliefs and from there we can begin our discussions on whos right, whos left and whos on the fence with no opinion or courage. I have no problem with critics on either side of the fence all I ask is you decide which side you are on. I can deal with you on either side and for those of you in the middle consider me the guy with his hand on the lever of the electric fence who will send a charge up-you forcing you to fall to one side or the other.
If we are to debate or discuss lets do it in a civilized way and see if we can agree to disagree, be honest and forightright and remove ourselves from the politicians corrupting our society today.
If you have an opinion that is anti-family, pro-government and given to giving-up our rights to stay free from government intrusion and oversight of our freedoms we will have a difficult time coming together. However, if you are honest about our rights express our opinions and criticisms of our perceptions of life as we are presently living it then we will have a good time renewing the sound fundamental base upon which our nation was established.
As a professional nature photographer and writer I have many opinions and observations to share and I will not hold back on any point I believe we need to expose or discuss as believers in a free society under pressure from domestic terrorists, most of who can be identified in Washington and the Capitols of each State in the Union.
Its time to return the nation of the United States of America to the people and restrict how much we are giving up to a few, demented egotists who are eroding every right we have or is it had?
Im open to feed back and a healthy discussion.
From the desk Of Bob Ferrin Jr.
For a man with a name like Belliveau-Ferrin (Acadian-Irish) why wouldnt I be ecstatic to announce the re-launch of the Nature-n-Focus web site on St. Patricks Day, 2009?
After six months of creative work Nature-n-Focus is back up and running with many new, interactive and educational features. Blogs, poems, children stories the entire family can enjoy, travel logs, our gallery of nature images, and educational in-school programs are a small part of our new features
and there is more to come!
The Nature-n-Focus web site will offer provocative and factual blogs in three areas of expertiseNature, Politics, and Sports.
Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux, the man behind the site, has an extensive background in all three areas and is considered qualified to offer insightful opinions, observations and suggestions in each of these highly volatile spheres impacting our culture and society today.
Bob spent twenty-three years in the professional sports world as a player, coach, general manager and ultimately league commissioner. From sports he moved to another high profile arena, politics, where he and his colleagues provided education, guidance and oversight of programs and policies that impacted parents and families within the state of Michigan and across the country. As founder of the DADS Foundation, Bob and his colleagues demanded fiscal and social engineering accountability from state, federal and local government and public education officials before implementing their untested theories upon trusting families. Twelve years of dedication to families and oversight of questionable bureaucratic decisions paid dividends. The efforts of the DADS Foundation and Rutherford Institute produced approximately 100 pieces of state legislation, which provided a shield for families, children and society, in the state of Michigan.
After serving twelve years in the public sector Bob retired and headed into the woods to develop his passion of interacting with nature on a more personal and hospitable level. Hence, Nature-n-Focus was born. A decade has passed since its inception and it is our hope to provide you with an insiders view of the world as we see it.
We hope our opinions and observations will stimulate debate, comments and a call to action on behalf of our children and grandchildren to protect our earth, its creatures, both human and animal. We hope we can encourage you to interact and intercede with your elected public servants, at all levels of government, to insure the future health and welfare of all our citizens, especially our children, those in-utero and those born into this sometimes hostile environment.
Welcome to Nature-n-Focus!
Do you sometimes feel sorry for yourself? I do and far too often. Then God decides, throug a friend, to make me aware of others and their ability to overcome adversity and to produce the genius within all of us. The phpoto album you are about to review comes from one of my heroes. He is Autistic, like my cousin and the children of a number of my friends. Pitty was not his state of mind conquering the challenge he had been given was however and he is my hero. Take time to reflect upon his efforts and the brilliant work of the photographic artists who contributed to his slide show...and have a beautiful day!
Download the Power Point Presentation Here
Yours in nature photography;Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Nature-n-Focus and photo-journalist Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux are honored to present an art and educational photographic exhibition at the World Congress of Acadians in Bas-Caraquet, New Brunswick, August 18-23, 2009. The exhibition will feature the array of migrating shorebirds that pass through this ecological paradise each spring and autumn. The Acadian Peninsula is North Americas most important migratory route between the birds South American wintering grounds and their Canadian Arctic breeding and nesting habitat.
Bob, who considers the Maritime Provinces of Canada his maternal home, has spent the better part of the last eight years capturing the migratory shorebird inhabitants on their re-fueling stop-overs on these food rich wetlands, beaches and marshes. Bob has documented the good, the bad and often the ugly consequences of ecological intrusion and the impact of man on the environment. His documentary style and his artistic approach to presenting his subjects have provided him with the unique qualities of detailing his subjects in their natural state while at ease with Bob as he becomes a part of their daily lives.
Bobs commitment to storytelling will provide the visitors an opportunity to interact with the artist and share in his findings, insights and opinions of existing conditions, pending problems and pro-active solutions.
The Nature-n-Focus exhibition by the Acadian-American Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux is on display at the City Hall of Bas-Caraquet, New Brunswick, August 18-23, between 10 AM and 9 PM.
Admission is free and a good time will be had by all attending the Acadian World Congress. Acadians know how to have a good time!
Wildlife photojournalist Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux invites you to attend his solo exhibition and virtual tour of North America’s most important migratory bird flyway; the Acadian Peninsula of New Brunswick, Canada.
Bob is the featured nature and wildlife artist, showcasing the Acadian Peninsula, the Acadian culture, her tragic history, and her most important resource, the warmth and beauty of her people. The solo exhibition will be open to the public during the World Congress of Acadians, in the Acadian Peninsula, of Northern New Brunswick; August 8th—23rd.
The Acadian Peninsula stretches from Neguac to the south east along the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Grande Anse, to the west along New Brunswick’s most picturesque shoreline, the Baie-des-Chaleurs.
The honor of presenting the fruits of his six-year odyssey of capturing and documenting the migrating shorebirds of the region has been bestowed upon him by the organizers of the 2009 world-wide reunion of America’s first permanent, European, settlers.
The Expo d’un Belliveau, “La vie côtière acadienne en images / The Acadian coastal life in images” features more than 100 images of the region her people, her migrating shorebird visitors and a history of the Acadian people. Bob has also prepared a dynamic bilingual Power Point Program, to run throughout the day along with the exhibition.
You will not only share in the history and life in Acadie through the eyes of the artist but he is sure to regale you with stories of how he captured each image, its content, its subject the interaction between photographer and subject and the “laugh-a-day” antics of his constant companion Jack…his precocious Chichauaha.
The six day exhibition, the first of its kind for the region is assured to be an educational and entertaining success filled with the who’s who of naturalists and Acadians alike. 150,000 Acadians and their friends and families are expected to converge on the region during their homecoming. Although the exhibition is open to the public, free of charge, Nature-n-Focus and the exhibit organizers have extended 3,000 invitations to Acadians across the world to attend the noted nature and wildlife icons presentation.
The exhibition at the City Hall in Bas-Caraquet is open daily 10 A.M.—9:00 P.M. with Bob on hand to answer your questions and share the beauty he discovered while interacting with all residents of the Peninsula in what the locals call, Paradise.
For more information contact: Expo d’un Belliveau, email@example.com or 1-866-512-3686.
“Welcome to the Acadian Peninsula, my people and my roots. Come join me as I walk with you on our virtual tour of this special paradise in my corner of the world!” See you there or on the internet at www.nature-n-focus.com...
Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
My dreams have not always come true, during my sixty-four years of life, but that may all change here in paradise, the Acadian Peninsula.
Awhile ago, Marcel David and l’Acadie Nouvelle made their readers aware of my dream, “The Acadian Peninsula National Park.” A project, I believe, whose time has come!
I consider Dorchester, in southeastern New Brunswick, my maternal home however, the natural beauty of the Acadian Peninsula, from Neguac to Grande Anse, has become my adopted one.
As a passionate wildlife and nature photojournalist, I am enjoying the sights, sounds, aromas and fragile beauty that exists in the Peninsula. I have experienced the exhilaration of sleeping under the stars, on an abandoned beach, and being awakened by the beckoning calls from my friends, the endangered Piping Plover. I’ve experienced the joy of fishing for crab, lobster and herring with the hardest working people I know. I’ve watched the satisfied oyster fisherman come ashore with his catch and witnessed the painful looks on the faces of the hardworking fish plant workers.
I watched the magnificent Bald eagle capture a meal, before my eyes, in Bertrand and watched whales breaching off your shores. I’ve photographed the steel-necked Gannett as it plunges from 100 feet or more, like a rocket, into the ocean to retrieve its meal and the experience of having an Osprey eat its dinner of flounder, six inches above my head, as I sat silently in my blind observing this magnificent creation devour its catch of the day.
I thank God, everyday, for the opportunity of spending time in the paradise you call, the Acadian Peninsula.
Life is good!
Sharing my experiences with new friends, longtime residence and future generations is my calling. A few years ago I was honored when the Club des Naturalists de la Peninsula Acadian, initiated me as a new member of their enthusiastic organization. And subsequently order a series of my images to use as yearend awards for their deserving members. I’m looking forward to working tirelessly with them on future projects. Likewise, being honored by the organizers of the World Congress of Acadians with a solo exhibition of my Acadian Peninsula images is an extreme honor as well for which I am truly humbled.
Unfortunately, during my six year odyssey, in the Peninsula, I have witnessed the increasing fragility and sensitivity, of the regions ecosystems. My experiences have triggered an urgency and passionate desire to tell you about the opportunity we have to develop an aggressive strategic plan to protect and preserve our unprotected natural wonderland.
Are we too late? Is there still time?
You be the judge.
A recent scientific report has revealed that the Red Knot, a regular migrant through the peninsula, will be extinct by the year 2010. Piping Plovers that inhabit our beaches declined significantly in 2005. Twenty-eight (28) of the thirty-five (35) migrating species of shorebirds passing through the peninsula each year are in decline. Thirteen (13) are in significant decline and three (3) are on the species-at-risk list.
So why should we care?
Years ago coal miners would hang a canary in a cage deep down in the mine. If the canary’s beautiful singing stopped and the bird was found dead on the floor of the cage……that meant lethal gas was building and in a few minutes, if they did not exit the mine, they too would also be dead.
The same is true, today, above ground. If our creatures are dying-off what does it tell us about our environment? It clearly tells us that our very existence as a human race is in peril. If our environments cannot support basic fundamental life why should it support us?
My inspiration, for the establishment of the Acadian Peninsula National Park, evolved as I witnessed the lack of protection afforded endangered Piping Plovers at Miscou, Pokemouche, Pigeon Hill and Ste. Marie/St. Raphael. Three nests and their contents, twelve eggs, were lost one summer when I was there. It could have been prevented. But my appeals, to government agents, for help, were ignored. As a private citizen, I knew I had to act!
Government programs don’t work!
Drastic times require drastic actions!
My Acadian roots have instilled in me the love that my ancestors had for the land upon which they lived, worked and raised their families. Acadians have always had a respect for nature and her abundances. My Acadian ancestors were judicious with their kills, (for food only), managed their marshes (for feeding their livestock) and harvested only what they needed from the sea.
Acadians learned to work within nature and not destroy her. We learned to preserve her and not overextend her. And as Acadians we learned that our hard work ethic and family values were enriched by our oneness with the very land we lived on, woods and marshes we hunted in and the seas we fished.
Acadians are a brilliant people! We never would have overcome the hardships nature and our fellow man imposed upon us if we were not survivors. We are an enterprising people capable of logical thinking and problem solving. We are resourceful people capable of turning our decling resources into productive commodities. We can be problem solvers if we choose and solve a problem we must!
Before us today is a crisis; a crisis of preservation, exploitation and deterioration. Our very existence as a society hangs in the balance.
My Belliveau roots have given me the self-confidence to know that one-man, me can make a difference. The only way we can fail to protect, preserve and educate our fellow Acadians and friends is to do nothing. And I know that we are NOT a people who stand-by and do nothing when we are called upon to be pro-active.
Here is my “Call-to-Action” for all residence of the Acadian Peninsula:
1. Come together, across the peninsula, as committed communities and establish the Acadian Peninsula National Park. The park will preserve, protect and honor the natural resources that abound here. Let us give the Red Knot and Piping Plover a chance to live.
2. Join with me in the establishment of the Acadian Peninsula Centre d’Interpretation of migratory shorebirds. A centre where we, eco-tourists, our families and our school children can visit, learn and spread the truth about the wonders these magnificent birds bring through our region twice each year. Where we will learn why we need to protect them and their habitats before we lose both.
3. Form a Committed to Action, “TEAM 90-9.” TEAM 90-9 is my way of helping save the endangered Piping Plover population here in the peninsula. Only 120 of my feathered friends are left in the region. I am told that less than 2,000 survive around the world. I know that due to my personal efforts in the past no fewer than seven new babies are alive because one man committed to a plan of action to protect and preserve the species. Form your own TEAM 90-9 and give Give the Piping Plovers one nine-hour day, during the 90 day breeding, nesting and fledging season and collectively you will protect the environment where these beautiful creatures are trying to survive. You set the standard for preservation and respect for all things wild and free. You get to teach, interact and educate tourists, dog walkers and VTT riders and drivers about the peril they create when they disrespect these sensitive natural habitats.
I am living my dream. I acknowledge, I am the luckiest man alive. However, I too have an obligation for the freedom and carefree lifestyle I am permitted to live…..I want to tell you about my experiences, my travels and the joys that living among nature gives me. Come join me and share my dream.
The Acadian Peninsula National Park, given to the world during the World Congress of Acadians in Caraquet 2009; A Centre d’interpretation des Oiseaux Rivage; and become a member of TEAM 90-9.
Together we can preserve, protect, educate and grow in our paradise, the Acadian Peninsula. Let us begin to develop the model of ecosystem preservation here in the peninsula and show the world the true meaning of “The Spirit of Acadie.”
Bravo Marcel David and l’Acadie Nouvelle for bringing this Acadian’s dreams to you. Bravo!
CARAQUET, N.B. -- October 13, 2010 -- Leo Joseph Mallet, 72, of Six Roads, New Brunswick pleaded guilty on October 12, 2010, in New Brunswick Provincial Court in Caraquet, under the federal Species at Risk Act for disturbing Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus melodus) nesting sites.
Mr. Mallet was ordered to pay $500 in fines. This is the first time in Canada that charges and fines have been issued under the federal Species at Risk Act for the disturbance of Piping Plover nesting sites.
This Act prohibits the killing, harming, harassing, capturing or taking of endangered species such as the Piping Plover. The Piping Plover is also protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994.
On June 2, 2010, Mr. Mallet was operating an all-terrain vehicle on Plover Ground North Beach in Gloucester County, New Brunswick. The presence of all-terrain vehicles on beaches where nesting Piping Plovers are present can have serious consequences for these small shore birds and negatively impact their breeding process.
The Piping Plover breeds on the sandy and stony coastal beaches of Atlantic Canada between April and August. The Plover establishes territories, lays eggs and raises young on the open beach between the ocean and dunes. Camouflage is the Plover’s main defence, making the sand-coloured adults, chicks and eggs very difficult to see.
The Piping Plover was designated endangered in 1985 by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. The Plover was listed under the federal Species at Risk Act in 2003. Provincial endangered species or wildlife legislation to protect the Piping Plover exists in all of the Atlantic provinces.
Editors Note: If you see or suspect an individual is harassing an endangered species call:
Manager of Operations-Maritimes
Gestionnaire des Operations-Maritimes
Application de la Loi sur la Faune
P.O. Box 6227
17 Waterfowl Lane
Fax/Telecopieur (secure) 902-490-0721
The news module was installed. Exciting. This news article is not using the Summary field and therefore there is no link to read more. But you can click on the news heading to read only this article.
The recent World Of Acadians in the Acadian Peninsula of New Brunswick, Canada has taught me another lesson: You learn by doing and find out just how much you don't know about areas of expertise you think you have covered.
Am I confusing you?
Let me explain. For the past six years I have become an expert on the Acadian Peninsula in Northeastern New Brunswick Canada. I know every knook and cranny, every back water hide-out, and every date a migrating shorebird will present itself and on which shore, beach or mud flat.
I have learned about rare plants and where they are, endangered butterflies and seductive sunsets. I know when and where every fish species in the Gulf of St. Lawrence will be close by and which birds they will attract and how to record the images they offer up to an enthusiastic photographer. I have become a member of the community and know my ancestors, the Acadian people of Canada's Maritime Provinces and their strugglers to survive and be accepted by their neighbors.
I have interviewed, photographed and lived with many of them been reintroduced to my culture and my history for which I am truly thankful. We are a beautiful people, full of Joie de vivre, hospitality, faith, and tenacity. We are the world's greatest example of survivors and we are proud of our efforts to exist but humble about our successes. We are artists, laborers, academics and businessmen and women. We are committed to our families, our children and our Roman Catholic faith.
When I was invited to present on exhibition of my photographic art at the World Congress of Acadians 2009 I was honored and humbled. However, I knew my efforts had to be worthy of my people, be an example of our love for nature and show how we are and continue to work within the environmental challenges that confront us today.
Having a collection of thousands was an advantage but providing a showcase of framed pictures was the least of my concerns. I needed to allow the creative side of me to shine through and to honor my ancestors, relatives, our culture and the region with something dynamic, perpetual and available to the world-at-large.
It took two months and a team of creative and professionals to create the complete package that would touch each and every visitor who entered the Centre Municipal of Bas-Caraquet where the exhibition would be displayed.
And come they did! Not only did they learn, admire and reflect they left with a new sense of self-worth for their heritage and the beautiful area they had left behind for economic reasons but retained in their hearts. They took with them images and DVD of the program to share with others wherever they may live. They have become the best tools for introducing the world and especially the rest of Canada and now the United States to the wonders of the Acadian Peninsula.
Our home page is playing a snipit of the DVD and the full program is available to you by contacting us at www.nature-nfocus.com or calling our toll free line at 1-866-512-3686.
Because of the overwhelming success of the week long exhibition I have determined the time has come to invite you to join me in my walks through this wonderland or as the locals call it, "Paradise"
Beginning in the spring (April) 2010 I am inviting small groups of interested nature photographers and bird watchers to tour the Acadian Peninsula with me and experience the splendor of North America's most important migratory shore bird flyway. You will not only see, hear and photograph these magnificent specimens in breeding condition you be treated to a cuisine that without equal, hospitality that will bring you back year after year and an experience your friends will not believe.
There is so much to see and do in the Acadian Peninsula that one week may not be enough but there will be more trips, tours and adventures in the future. If you have an interest in the experience of a lifetime, going back into history 50 years and becoming a member of the most layback way of life on the planet join me.
For myself, I learned just how much I have missed during my life trying to succeed when success was here at my finger tips in a low pressure, high energy environment with more to do than any person could complete in a normal lifetime.
Join me in April for the first of many adventures into the peregrine of natural history that has captured me for the past six years.
Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
“A Tribute to A fighting man; My Grandfather”
Marcel Belliveau holds a special place in my heart. He was not only a hero, he was a fighter who overcame obstacles on the ice surface as a member of the vaunted Montreal Canadiens of 1914-15, but a patriot who fought for his country and paid the price for our freedoms. I dedicate this story to all veterans and the bravery and valor they gave in defense of our freedoms. Thanks, Grampy!
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As events transpire that have an impact upon our lives I will share them with you in the form of the Nature-n-Focus NEWS Release. I will attempt to identify steps we can use to solve issues, be effective stewards on behalf of our families, community and nation. Invite you you become a pro-active contributor and participant in implementing positive measures for the environment, our society and our personel wellbeing. join with me in being a force for interactive problem solving.
Articles written by Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux