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Mar 4, 2012
Category: Tall Tales With Jack
Posted by: bob

I am amazed at the situations the “Big Guy” constantly gets us into as we crisscross North America. For a moment, close your eyes and open your olfactory sensors and imagine you can smell the fragrance of a fresh caldron of seafood chowder slowly cooking on an old wood stove.

You sneak up to the huge pot, grab a pot holder and raise the lid a smidgen as you cradle your nose between the lid and the edge of the simmering brew. You inhale and hold your breath. Your mouth begins to water and you want to reach into the bubbling concoction with the ladle laying motionless on the counter top, but your mother had taught good manners, so you wait.

Just think of the anticipation we had as we headed up a seldom used logging road secure in the knowledge that our two gallon Tupperware bowl was nestled securely in the closed microwave oven a top the stove in the rocking motor home.

I couldn’t wait for dinner, and neither could the BIG GUY and his friend, a former professional player, Greg Steel, who was traveling with us. “As soon as we get to the end of the road up near the Nipisiquit Falls, we’ll pull in and set up for the night and feast on that bowl of chowder,” said the BIG GUY.

I can usually count on him to get us into and then out of situations, but this time he outguessed himself. Thankfully we were not moving fast up this bear track as I watched the road narrow and the tree limbs slapping our windshield and grazing the vents atop the roof. Old reliable was rocking and rolling from east to west and back again. I began to tremble, which is a trait we Chihuahuas have, but this time my premonition was correct. I lumped from the passenger’s seat next to Rusty and onto the floor and headed for the shelter and overhanging cove of the bed.

No sooner had I curled up in my fetal ball that we hit a deeper than usual rut in the road and lurched violently to one side away from the micro wave. Suddenly the door of the radio wave oven flew open followed by a flying container of homemade seafood chowder.

It looked like a difficult billiard shot involving three or four combinations of hits as it bounced off one wall across the space between the stove and clothes closet, then off the door of the seat cushion above my head and onto the floor of the still moving motor home coming to rest on its side, lid off and contents decorating ex-very square of most of the unit.

I let out a howl of fear and the BIG GUY just turned the interior of the motor home blue as he slammed on the brakes throwing the three of us into a self defensive mode so we wouldn’t break a limb as we stopped with a rude jolt forward.

 

So now you know how the tale of the seafood chowder almost ended. Now, let me tell you the rest of the story

 

Janet Brine is a talented Acadian miss with a culinary genius. When it comes to the kitchen she is without equal! Janet’s culinary genius was handed down from mothers to daughters since the arrival of North America’s first European settlers, the Acadians, in 1604.

Last summer, the Big Guy and I headed for our home fishing port, Petit Cap (Little Cap), New Brunswick. It was our annual week of lobster fishing with our buddies in this quaint corner of the world. We never miss opening day, the anticipation, hundreds of families and tourists lining the wharf for the traditional pre-dawn, send-off, the magnificent sun rise, laying the first string of traps, and at day’s end pulling one of the 75 pound nets to see if our established goals for the season will be realized.

 

Along on this trip was one of the Big Guy’s former professional hockey players, Greg “Rusty” Steel. Rusty was one of the first players sent to Kalamazoo, Michigan, by the parent Detroit Red Wings, in 1974. Kalamazoo was the newest brain child of Detroit Red Wings owner Bruce Norris and the Big Guy had been given the challenge of building it literally from the ground up. Kalamazoo was to become the newest member of the age old International Hockey League and Greg was one of the first players Detroit assigned to it for development.

 

Rusty and his former coach had remained close over the years and had experienced significant trauma in their respective lives that had kept them close. Rusty had just gone through a tragic event in his life and was on the road with the Big Guy to get away from it all and to clear his mind and spirit of the agony he had just experienced.

 

After a week of fishing and exposing Greg to the life of a helper on a lobster boat we were rewarded with a surprise gift from Captain Kevin, his brother Richard and their sister Janet--a large pot of homemade, Atlantic Ocean seafood chowder. This pot of gold brought drool to the corners of your mouth the minute your nose connected with the fragrance emitted from beneath the lid. Janet understandably didn’t provide her secret recipe when asked, and a gentleman never asks twice.

All we knew was the pot contained every freshly caught specimen of fish living in the Northumberland Strait, between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island--lobster, scallops, three different types of clams, halibut, succulent rock crab, Atlantic salmon, oysters, home grown new potatoes, sweet corn, fresh cream from the local farmer and an array of spices that only Janet understood.

 

Unfortunately, the sun was setting, the day’s catch had been logged in with the buyer and we were destined to head to the Nipisquit River four hours north before the stars came out. The Big Guy believes he has a quality called “infinite wisdom,” a quality we all who know him understand to be a figment of his imagination. Who in their right mind, obviously he was using his left brain, would believe that a full pot of fluid sitting atop a swaying motor home would stay put for four hours over the less than accommodating roads?

Rusty dosed for most of the four hours trying to recover from his week as a novice crewmember on a lobster boat where the backbreaking work of fishermen had caught up to him. I sat motionless on my bed between the two front seats, eyes fixed upon the microwave oven where the pot of seafood gold had been stowed.

We hit the cutoff point on N.B. Hwy 8 and made a hard left turn onto a Micmac Indian reservation, headed up a hill along the river then around a bend, crossed a rickety old wooden bridge and onto the narrow tree lined dirt road once used by logging trucks. The Motor Home swayed but the microwave oven door remained closed.

Rusty was unmoved by the rocking and rolling of the unit and blessed us with a crescendo of loud stuttering snoring sounds that would awaken the dead in a nearby cemetery if the windows had been open.

The Big Guy was singing aloud, out of tune, a traditional Acadian folk song, insisting he was as qualified as the artist on the radio…not!

We finally reached our destination, the Pabineau Falls on the Nipisquit River where I had understood we would park for the night. We all needed a break and a good night’s sleep so that when dawn broke over the falls we could lie face down over the lip of the rushing water and watch the salmon jump from swirling whirlpools over top of the eight foot high wall of cascading water.

What I believe and what actually happens with this crew are strictly illusions in my mind; there is no logic within this cargo ship.

Unfortunately, the small parking area was filled with romance and the stench of beer. Rusty awoke and was rewarded for his sleep preventing efforts with a trip to the lip of the rushing falls to check if the salmon were running and jumping. It was spawning season and the fish were destined to reach the breeding grounds, come death or high water.

I, on the other hand, meandered here and there sniffing out every exhilarating aroma I could find on every stone and bush within a 100 feet. Ah, the aromas of marking…I love it! It’s always a treat to relieve myself over the scent of others before me.

No sooner was I comfortable and looking forward to cuddling next to the Big Guy under the comforter and his enormous heat producing body when he climbed back into the driver’s seat, fired-up the engine and headed up the rutty, narrowing road into the night.

/span>OMG, (Oh my God) I said to myself! What is this guy trying to do? Where does he think he’s headed at this time of day? He cannot see the hand before his face even with his bright lights on and he’s hitting all these ruts at an incredible speed. I later overheard him say he was only going 5 mph, but it sure seemed faster than that in the creaking motor home.

And then it happened…an open oven door, a pot of chowder in the air and voila. The rest cannot be printed. Suffice to say the air turned blue and Rusty was ecstatic. I opened my eyes from beneath the overhanging pull bed and heard Rusty holler, “STOP, STOP!” And stop we did. Rusty threw open the passenger side door and recoiled to the main compartment door and pulled it open even before the Motor home had come to a complete stop.

/span>I watched in amazement as the burly Moose Jaw resident scooped up handful after handful of the scattered chowder. Nice job I thought. What a joy having Rusty along; this mess will be cleaned-up in no time. However, I am not always correct with my assumptions. As the Big Guy muttered inflammatory adjectives or verbs, Rusty began eating the reclaimed spoils. “What the hell do you think you’re doing,” shouted the Big Guy in disbelief. I must admit I was wondering the same thing.

“Are you kidding,” he shouted back, “Do you think I’m going to let any of this go to waste?” he said with his typical dry humor. “I’ve been dreaming about this meal all the way here and don’t have any intentions of not indulging in Janice’s chowder,” he continued. “Besides, a little dirt, sand and gravel mixed in won’t hurt me.”

OMG, is he serious I wondered? I wasn’t about to wait for my brain to respond to my self-proclaimed rhetorical question so I made a mad dash for the best and juiciest morsels of fish I could find. For an instant I thought I’d have to bite Rusty’s hand to keep him away from my chosen parcels, but we intuitively knew who would get what, and how.

I always knew hockey players were animals, but now it was confirmed. The two guys I was riding with were something else….completely nuts! But the chowder was good.

We still had a long way to go--1500 more miles and we’d be home. We also had a few more stops along the way, another week on the road. Do you know what sour cream and seafood chowder smells like after a week buried in a rug and unseasonably hot days?

Six months later after three detailing jobs and two intense attempts by Rusty to shampoo the interior when we finally made it home had not removed the odor of Janice’s homemade seafood chowder.

Hopefully, by next spring when we hit the road again, the chowder smell will be gone and the Big Guy will have learned a lesson on stowing vulnerable liquid food stuffs before heading a rut road in the bush.

It never ceases to amaze me!

I look forward to the spring and being on the road again.

 


Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: Tall Tales With Jack
Posted by: bob
jack_shadow

Welcome to Tall Tales with Jack! Jack, that's me, a feisty black and white Chihuahua. I'm in the country legally although my ancestors immigrated from the Province bearing my name hundreds of years ago.

I am proud of my lineage and roots. My family was here to welcome the Spanish Conquistidors to the New World in the 15th Century.

My relatives and I have had numerous conversations about the arrival of the Spanish and whether we should have bit them on the ankles and sent them home or whether their arrival was a bonus for our way of life.

In retrospect, it didn't turn out to well for our human brothers and sisters; they all died as a result of the infectious diseases the Spanish shared with us upon their arrival.

Another problem for us was we couldn't get rid of the invaders anyway because their leader Cortez burnt all the boats so they couldn't return even if we had asked them too. So here we are, living peacefully with each other on what has come to be known as the NAFTA Continent.

biopic My companion and I, "The Big Guy," have travelled across the country from east to west and north to south and boy have we had some experiences. Although I can't wait to climb into my perch in the motor home, I never know from one mile to the other whether or not we'll make it to the next pit stop in one piece.

We are photographers of nature and our life is spent tracking and creating images of interesting and exciting people, places and subjects in the wild and not so wild places we find along our routes.

Speaking of routes; we never use the Interstate, instead we use the Blue Highways and the dirt back roads of America, Canada and Mexico as our treasure troves for images, stories and features.

My column is intended to be a catharsis. I need to share my adventures with you because no one else would believe some of the adventures "The Big Guy" gets us into.

newbrunswick

No one that is other than the U-Haul Trailer Company who honored us with a feature on their web site after we did a magnificent job of recording the migration of threatened semipalmated sandpipers in Shepody Bay, in New Brunswick, Canada.

semipalmated-shadow

Shepody Bay is the western most point of the magnificent Bay of Fundy and a major re-fueling stop-over point for the little birds on their way from the breeding grounds in the Canadian Artic to their wintering grounds in South America. I'm tired thinking of how far these little 20g. birds travel during the course of a year...whew!

perfectday_shadow

Now that I have introduced myself and that other guy, I call my driver, I promise I'll have another column for you to enjoy very soon. I have the stories but at the moment my driver is calling, we are scheduled to hit the trail looking for another Tall Tale, in a few minutes. Stay tuned, I'll be back soon.

Your best friend:

 

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: Tall Tales With Jack
Posted by: bob

I don’t know about the “Big-Guy,” he can’t win for loosing, and he’s a treat to watch. We were meandering back to our winter home in Michigan in early March after spending a month in the Florida panhandle creating images and minding our own business when I decided I needed a pit stop and a bite.

The bite has a double meaning, sometimes it’s one of those awful Purina dog treats, a plain donut hole (sugar is fattening,) or a shared Big Mac with the “Big-Guy.” Then again if a clerk at the drive through window puts a hand through the window to pat me on the head while uttering those most insulting words, “Isn’t that little fellow cute! What kind of dog is he, eh?” I have a tendency to respond by nipping a finger or two before the “Big-Guy” can respond. It’s fun to watch their reaction as apologizes fly. Usually things go flying and the culprit gets the message, I’m not cute, moron, I’m a Rottweiler with an attitude, got into some bad dog chow a while back and lost a lot of weight.

When will people learn not to invader a dog’s space? Anyway, back to the story. We stopped at a McDonald’s in Evergreen, Alabama, pulled up to the order window and waited, waited and waited. By the time we finally got service the leaves had begun to turn color. Not because fall had arrived but from the color of the prevailing attitude in the vehicle. All we wanted was a simple cup of coffee, a single plain English muffin, a double order of scrambled eggs, nothing on them, three squirts of cream and Splenda added to the large cup (he even said please) and a stir stick. But then he made a fatal mistake, he asked for hot sauce…I hate it when he adds hot sauce. My ancestors may have enjoyed the stuff but it gives me gas and he doesn’t like me passing gas when he’s driving. He should have known we had a problem; it took three tries to get the phantom at the other end of the voice box to repeat the order coherently.

I understood the comeback but he uttered something under his breath like, “what country is this anyway? Jack, did I miss a border crossing somewhere along the way?” He wasn’t happy. He did have a point, after all if I can learn the language why can’t Americans? It was a strange use of the English, eh, American English language. I’ve traveled with the “Big-Guy” enough to know when his blood pressure is rising, and it’s not a pretty picture. He reminds me of the awful thermometer they use when I have my annual physical, (wish they had a head strip). He gets red as a tomato, his white hair and beard become crimson and his eyes bulge, a lot like mine, and he utters a soliloquy of incoherent adjectives, or is it adverbs….no, in his case I think they are verbs; he’s so animated. By the time we reached the drive through window after paying three bucks, the town of Evergreen was turning blue.

Then it happened. The order came five minutes later as we waited outside the pick-up window. I tightened my seat belt (I always use a seat belt) in anticipation of our Cape Kennedy take-off, standard for him when he’s irritated, but no, not this time. The man of many talents and redundancies opened the bag. Why did the idiot break with tradition? I ducked into the back seat after scurrying to get the belt opened, and hid under my bed. He was biting his lower lip, difficult for him, he doesn’t wear his top partial plate when we travel; for that matter he doesn’t wear his bottom partial plate either. Thank God, he’d have bitten through his lip if he hadn’t lost so many teeth playing hockey. To his credit he controlled himself, took a deep breath, looked at the unknowing employee standing in the window and said, “This is not my order!”

Oops, the poor thing made a mistake. “Yes it is!” she replied with authority. No, girl, you don’t say no to the “Big-Guy.” You use tact, smile, use some well developed customer service techniques and say, “I’m so sorry sir, what did you ordered?” He handed her the bag and explained his order again. Oops, obviously she wasn’t getting it; another mistake. She thrust the bag back at him and said, “This is your order, exactly what you ordered!” For a moment I held my breath, put my paws over my eyes and wrapped my tail around my ears. I prayed; “Oh God, please forgive me for all my sins and please keep him out of the clink and me out of the pound (I hate the pound, lousy food), and I promise I’ll never bite another window violator again.” Amazing what you do when a crisis is pending. The “Big-Guy” opened the bag buried hid head into the top and gracefully extracted it, smiled sarcastically and reached through the window and said, “This is not my order!”

I don’t know if the communication between the two was a case of missed communications or the difference between some educated in a private non-governmental school or a person educated in the failing public school system (government and unionized), but even I could understand the disconnect; and I don’t even speak either language. The exchange continued; the indignant young girl pushed her hand, bag in hand back out the window and snapped, “Sir, this is your order and it’s time for me to serve the next customer!” I guess she was saying stuff it and tough. Oops, was this the catalyst for an explosion? I prayed. To my bewilderment and undying faith that there is a God, the “Big-Guy,” simply placed the bag on the sill of the window and smiled. Then, as the supervisor approached the window he said, “I am sorry for the mix-up, Mam, but this is not my order and then explained for the third time exactly what he had ordered--a simple English muffin, dry, no butter, a double order of scrambled eggs and a large coffee with three cream, three Splenda and a stir stick.

The supervisor and employee put their heads together and conferred. Then without comment the bag was thrust back through the window with an accompanying glare from both. Before I could re-attach my seat belt we were in a launch mode and off we went. No fork, no spoon, no stir stick. You should have seen the “Big-Guy” try and drink his coffee with no Splenda or cream and eat the scrambled eggs while driving (without his beloved hot sauce). He offered me a bite and I couldn’t bring myself to eating the plain, tasteless powered eggs. I’d have rather eaten chalk and so would he. He’s still mumbling about Evergreen, Alabama, and we’ve been back over a month now. I hope he’ll recover some day, but I’m betting McDonald’s won’t be at the top of his fast food list…at least in Alabama.

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: Tall Tales With Jack
Posted by: bob

Holy cow! What a response from my first column. I appreciate the responses and invites received from our “Schools” program.

 

As promised sit back and enjoy another Tall Tale with me and “The Big Guy.” Travelling with my partner is sometimes thrilling and at other times downright scary. We are a team and our job is to capture nature at its best and worse as we travel across North America. Although I have four good legs “The Big Guy” is restricted to only one that works like it should. He’s aging and needs a new right hip and limps along while I want to run, jump and scramble up hills, into valleys and smell my way through the salt marshes we visit to photograph hundreds of migrating shorebirds.

“The Big Guy” decided he wanted to capture an endangered species of butterfly, The Nipisquit Ringlet, in the marshes of North Western New Brunswick in Canada. This pretty little marsh butterfly only lives in three salt marshes in the area and has a life span of two to three weeks. Capturing images of this little creature is a challenging. The best time of the day is early morning before they dry their wings in the rising sun and begin to fly. Have you ever tried to follow a butterfly in a breeze?

“The Big Guy” did for the longest time until I tugged on his rubber chest waders, after a few hours of watching his futile efforts, and pointed to the underside of a salt grass stem and suggested he try capturing that one. Voila! A picture of a Ringlet. I really don’t know what he’d do without my help? Coming from Mexico I am not a huge fan of the cold but I’ve learned to adjust and accept it if I want to travel across the country. However, I draw a line in the sand when “The Big Guy” forces me to venture into the marshes as the cold Atlantic tide is rising. My crazy partner gets his chest waders on and off he goes into the ankle deep water never paying attention to me and the fact that my legs are only four inches long. Besides I hate to swim, especially in the cold heartless Atlantic. Not only is it the swimming it’s the salt as well. My skin is so sensitive that when I’m forced to wend my way through the rising tide my skin dries out and then I begin to itch and it drives me crazy. Although my brain is much smaller than “The Big Guy’s” it functions much better, than his, most of the time. After thinking I would be left behind watching him venture off on another shooting spree thorough the marsh and jumping into the freezing water, to try and keep up, I came to the conclusion that I should wait and see. So I did. Once “The Big Guy” got himself situated and the tripod set-up for the shot he was hoping for I’d find a path to him by jumping from tuff of sea grass to tuff without touching the water.

I wouldn’t leave the comfort of my land base until “The Big Guy” got down in a prone position, in the water, and propped himself-up on his elbows watching the Ringlet and waiting for the appropriate light and look so he could create the best image. After all, photography is all about light and timing is everything. Early morning light is magnificent and makes the captures jump with life. The only trick is to locate the butterfly while it is covered with morning dew, that look like diamonds on a princess.

So while “The Big Guy” lies there, sometimes for hours, without moving I get to him and jump up on his back, make myself comfortable and enjoy the sun while my colleague gets himself wet and stiff while he lies there in the rising and descending tide. I keep trying to help him but he just won’t listen.

Then the fun begins; have you ever seen a walrus try and stand on his tail? You better believe I get out of the way the minute I see that butterfly fly. I know the shoot is over and I don’t want to get crushed if “The Big Guy” happens to fall like a tall timber as he makes his way to his feet. Could you imagine what I’d look like if that happened?

It did on another day and for awhile I looked like a sausage dog……I mean an Dachshund, that long short legged rat chaser. But that’s a story for another day. Until then……the motor home is leaving and I don’t want to miss another adventure with “The Big Guy.”

Your best friend:

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: Tall Tales With Jack
Posted by: bob

moose

Picture this: A moose and her calf being chased by an oversized ex-hockey player, being chased by an extremely oversized ex-coach. I sat awed at the site of two grown men trying to get a picture of the mother and baby on the Cabot Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands of Canada’s Nova Scotia. It was a Kodak, eh, Canon- moment, and I’m not referring to the picturesque beauty of the Trail but the site of these two behemoths trying to catch-up to the fleet footed beasts.

Rusty (Steel) was a novice photographer, with a hand held point and shoot camera, who jumped from the motor home before the “Big Guy” had a chance to bring it to a full halt on the steep slope of the Trail. I watched in amazement as the “Big Guy” bolted out of the RV and made tracks after our traveling companion, Rusty.

Rusty had no idea of the threat he was presenting to the huge cow and didn’t realize the damage she could have inflicted upon him had she decided to get ugly. However, like all Maritimers this big moose was docile and laid back….thank God.

The “Big Guy” knew what to expect if she turned to defend her calf, learning the lesson himself in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming a few years back. He had been escorted from the park by a Ranger when he attempted to photograph a cow and calf alongside of the road just inside the east gate.

Even the “Big Guy” admits he was wrong and should have made himself more familiar with park rules, but the hockey player in him was too strong and he didn’t see any danger in his actions. He’s the first to admit it hasn’t happened again and he demonstrates great respect for all wild critters on their home turf.

But Rusty was off to the races and the “Big Guy” was in hot, well maybe panting, pursuit hollering at the top of his expanding lungs for Rusty to STOP. Thankfully the cow kept right on going, heading to the ditch alongside the highway and into the cluster of woods.

Once the “Big Guy” caught up to the wayward novice he took a minute, well about five minutes, to catch his breath before he uttered his first coherent sentence; “Do you realize you could have been killed?” he blurted out as he gasped for another liter of oxygen. “Killed?” responded red faced Steel. “Killed,” he repeated. At that moment the two mammoths from a by-gone era leaned forward placing their trembling hands on each others shoulders for vertical support, and refrained from any further dialogue until they had regained their respective stability and air replenishment.

What a site I thought out loud as I made my feelings felt in my own vociferous way. By the time the two less than athletic looking specimens arrived at the motor home they had regained their breath and composure and had a chuckle. It was easy for them to laugh out loud but no one considered me in their folly. Who would have driven the motor home if one had been killed by the moose and the other died of a heart attack from over exertion? Although I have four legs, the “Big Guy” has still not modified the gas and brake pedals to allow me to reach them even when he needs me to help him drive after a shoot.

A sedate lecture on wild animal habits and attitudes toward human threats ensued and Rusty, the Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan native had the clue he needed about future encounters with a critter and a camera.

The trip continued and no harm came to any of us, but a good lesson was learned, albeit after the fact. Never allow your enthusiasm overcome your need for caution when on the home ice surface of a more than adequate opponent.

That is why they are called wild animals. It’s also why we, humans, are endowed with the ability to reason and determine the difference between good and bad before it gets ugly.

Thanks for reading my latest installment.

Jack

 

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: Tall Tales With Jack
Posted by: bob

For months now I have been telling you behind the scenes stories about my travels with the Big Guy. I only weigh seven pounds so you can understand why I have an attitude and the bite to match; I have to look up to everyone including other dogs and primates. Although the Big Guy does his best to protect me, as well as everyone else, there are those occasions when the roles are reversed. This is a tale of one of those days.

      Before I begin my story, I have to let you know that I’ve been considering a change when referring to the Big Guy.  I thought that calling him the Big Dude would fit his personality better. What is a big dude? The dictionary describes it as “a man who is much concerned with his dress and appearance.” Well, that takes care of my thought for the day! My pal, sometimes referred to by his close friends as Don Quixote, is a free-spirit and oblivious to his looks or attire. He loves comfort and that applies to tops, bottoms, shoes, boots the whole wardrobe…which isn’t much, just washed and recycled every other day. Most people don’t know that the master of tilting windmills was once the wardrobe designer for Clem Kaddiddlehopper of Red Skelton fame. My friend forces me, to watch the Best of Skelton video re-runs in the motor home, night after night. What torture!

      Moving on! We had made our way into the backwoods of Northeastern New Brunswick, (Canada) where I was told we were going on Safari for whatever we could find. I looked up with that inquisitive look and asked, “Bears too, Big Guy?” “Bears,” he responded, with that impish grin that meant here we go again…more excitement. Jolly I thought, just what I needed, a hungry bear looking for an appetizer…me. 

      We motored an hour or so along old logging roads until we reached a partially secluded entrance, which looked more like a tunnel opening in Tora Bora than a pathway to excitement.  He made a sharp left turn and entered into another of his fantasy worlds. The path was barely wide enough for the motor home to squeeze through the trees blasting our sides and roof like a gauntlet of hockey players slapping their sticks on the boards. After edging our way forward over the rut filled trail for thirty minutes we burst into an opening, which exposed one of the most beautiful and secluded areas we had ever explored. We had found a convergence of two rivers, the Tracadie and one of her tributaries. A peaceful spot, overlooking a bronze colored body of water, shimmering in the fading sun, as it meandered between us and the succulent emerald meadow on the opposite side a few yards away. It was almost like the Big Guy knew where he was going. I wasn’t fooled; I’d been down that road before. There were times when he thought he knew where we were, only to find out we had no way to turn around nor to continue going forward and had to back out of his mess for over a mile or two. Never a dull moment with my jumbo leader!

      We positioned the motor home about twenty feet from the shore and opened the living quarter’s door. He wanted to unload the gear, set up quickly and be ready for the golden light and afterglow of the setting sun. While he worked, I surveyed and marked the territory as my own. Once we settled in we broke out our dinner, made ourselves comfortable, and hurriedly downed the vacuum packed dehydrated meals of pork and refried beans.

      Daylight dies quickly in the woods and this was no different; except an image with the addition of descending sunlight is most spectacular. The Big Guy wasted little time and positioned himself behind his Canon 1Ds camera mounted with a 500mm f/4 lens, adjacent to the water’s edge. He looked at me sitting peacefully at his feet and suggested we might catch a bull moose or another creature in this super setting, before we lost this magnificent light; it was fall and beautiful images are created when the sun sets low on the horizon.  

      Within minutes our wishes were answered. To our right, just beyond the cover of the shrub brush, I sensed a presence. I alerted the Big Guy. After years together, I knew my senses were significantly more acute to stimuli than his aging sight, olfactory or auditory functions, or anything else for that matter. He had also learned to respond to my communications, and this time was no exception.

      Momentarily, we saw the tan nose, poking through the green and gold leaves of the glistening shrubs. “Shhhh,” he whispered, “Shhhh.” I wondered if he was kidding. This was the front end of a west-bound bear, and he was headed in our direction. There was no time for a Shhhh’s only, Holy Cow! 

      “Hope she doesn’t have cubs,” he whispered through his trembling lips. Cubs…hell, I was hoping for a male. At least that way he may be more afraid of us than we are of him, but if he’s a rogue, we could be his dinner?

      There are a few things the Big Guy has taught me over the years about being in the woods. When we run into a bear, make a lot of noise and don’t try and outrun it.  If it attacks, fight like hell because the furry creature will kill and eat you. Black bears do what black bears do! Then he’d add a caveat; the bear will turn and run charge and bluff, or charge and kill you. This thought of “kill you” was becoming an obsession. I needed to refocus and do it quickly. Joy! I was trying to push the thought of being ripped apart limb by limb and wondering if the Big Guy would sacrifice me to save himself. After all, I’m a tender bite sized morsel for this big furry bruin. Besides, how far does loyalty go in a crisis?

      Then my world evaporated in a flash. Mr. Outdoorsman, champion, lost his mind, and violated all the rules he had been preaching. He went deathly silent, looked at the open RV door and decided he was still faster than a portly New Brunswick black bear with an attitude. As the big bruin moved from the cover of the brush to the clearing, it became apparent it was a he and not a she bear with cubs; one point for the good guys. Then like a bolt of lightning the big sissy, made a critical mistake; he bolted for the open door leaving me to fend for myself.

      No please God no, if he gets him I’m next; that stupid idiot was supposed to make noise and stand tall and beat his hairy chest or do something else obnoxious to ward off an attack. Oh no, run you, imbecile. The bear was three leaps and a spring from us and the RV was another leap beyond that. Unfortunately, the sprint had begun, as the Big Guy leaped for the open door, losing his fashionable crocks behind in his haste. If the tie goes to the runner, then the bear won!  Mr. Bear made a sweeping motion with his big black paw, making contact with the Big Guy’s right foot. There was a thud as the Big Guy bounced into the doorway, half of his ample body on the floor his other half (not his better half) dangling to the ground like Raggedy Andy. 

      Unfortunately for the bear but fortunately for us, the bear was startled and stopped dead in his tracks looking at the big toe, toe nail, dripping blood, hanging from his claw. He had just surgically removed the nail by the roots from the Big Guys right foot. What precision and accuracy an irate bear can have when he is possessed by determination. However, the bear’s hesitation provided the instant I needed to spring into action. 

      I raced for the back end of the bear and there dangling before me was the appealing pendulum, of reproductive organs, now vulnerable for my kamikaze assault. The Big Guy must have had so much adrenaline flowing though his system that he barely felt the pain. It must have been excruciating and raging through his body as he waited for the next assault. His big toe was spewing blood like a musical fountain in the middle of an urban lake. All he needed to do was reach up, grab the handle to the door and slam it closed before the bear realized there was no point in continuing his attack; except finding me and enjoying a tender morsel of chien (dog). 

      I give the Big Guy credit as he reached up for the door handle he shouted, “Run Jack, run” as he pulled himself to his feet.  Once the bear realized that he was not in possession of a hefty chunk of leg, he turned back toward the Big Guy. That was my cue to seize the moment, and I did!

      Up I went using all my strength to reach a new high jump record in the Chihuahua Olympics. There they were, swinging like the pendulum in a grandfather clock. Timing was everything, and I had no time to waste. Up I went, jaws ajar, and like a vice grip latched to a rusty bolt, I attached myself to the bears balls.

      I had never experienced the G-forces of a whirligig before but suddenly I realized I’d better tighten my grip and hang-on for my life. My normal 50 pounds per square inch bite miraculously increased to a 1,000 pounds psi, as I prayed. 

      The startled bear swirled half way around to his right to see what the hell was attacking his privates. With that I was swung to his left out of his line of sight. Then he swung to the left and I swung to the right. Poor fellow was having a terrible time trying to identify what on earth was inflicting the mysterious pain on his south end. The back and forth action continued three or more times and I began to feel the G-forces pulling at me with such force I realized I was about to lose my grip. If the beached whale, floundering and stumbling around in the doorway, would simply close the damn door I could let go and be gone. Then and maybe the two of us would prevail in this awkward situation.

      As I came around the fourth time I looked at the Big Guy, winked (after all I had my mouth full and couldn’t speak), saw him acknowledge my sign, while he finally jumped to attention, bleeding toe and all, slammed the door allowing me to release my grip as the G-forces reached their optimum thrust. 

      I was hoping above hope the bruin would disappear. If he chose to repay me for my rude introduction to his genitals I would end-up dead. I cart wheeled head over tail into the bushes, picked myself up, and dusted myself off, just in time to see his mammoth black ass heading into the river; no doubt trying to sooth his aching organs.

      I let out a howl in celebration of my victory over the furry monster and licked my paws as my way of patting myself on the back. Just then the door of the RV flew open and there standing on the top step was the cowardly wildlife photographer, with his toe wrapped in a bloody towel. As he cringed in pain my eagle eye caught the largest piece of left-over steak I had ever seen. He had it in his trembling hand, inviting me to come get his peace offering. It was leftover from the previous night’s meal, but who cares…it was steak. 

      I yipped in appreciation, stood on my hind quarters, my tongue hanging over the side of my drooling jowls, as he positioned the juicy morsel between my waiting lips and patted me affectionately on the head.  I’m not sure if I had that dreadful stupid begging look on my face, but who cares at a time like this? If the truth were known I wanted the juicy piece of sirloin more than the bear’s balls. A dog has got to do what a dog has got to do to merit a snack. There is a doggy God and he was with me that evening…on two counts.

      The Big Guy put a pressure bandage on his toe, fired up the RV and headed for the emergency room at the Tracadie Memorial Hospital. Four hours later, a blood transfusion and a handful of pain pills, the Big Guy and I curled up under our welcome comforter and a slipped into a well deserved night’s sleep. Our camp ground this night just happened to be the secure confines of the local Super Store parking lot. No bears, moose or whirligig.

      Another experience and more memory making moments!

      Jack

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: Tall Tales With Jack
Posted by: bob

Depending, on whether you are an optimist or pessimist, today is either the shortest day or longest night of the year. I choose to think of it as a time when days begin to get longer and spring is only 90 days away. Looking back 90 days I was just leaving the east coast of Canada and heading back to Michigan from our summer digs. Now I’ve settled in and have cleared my busy social calendar for a few days it’s time for me to share some of the interesting stories about our recent trip. When I say “our,” I mean me and the BIG GUY, better known in some circles as Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux…and you think I suffer from an identity crisis!

I was invited to be with the BIG GUY’s at his exhibition at the World Congress of Acadians in the Acadian Peninsula of Northeastern New Brunswick, Canada, in mid-August. The peninsula is not new to me; I’ve been tramping through the marshes, wetlands, beaches and backwaters with the BIG GUY for the past four years. What a trip!

When I first hooked-up with him he had already been exploring the region for two years so it helped me adjust quickly once I realized he knew where he was going and how in the name of good St. Peter he was going to find our way out of some of the places we ended up exploring and photographing.

If he wasn’t stuck (hard to do with a four wheel drive truck) in a bog or logging road somewhere I’d be sitting atop his prone whale shaped body, beached in a tidal marsh waiting to capture a rear butterfly or creepy crawly creature that he found exciting. While he was filling his chest waders with the incoming tide I would perch on his back enjoying the sun and my surroundings. I love bringing my private island with me everywhere we go.

However, once the doors to the World Congress of Acadians exhibition opened I realized why it was all worth it….The BIG GUY had captured the essence of the region, her creatures, landscapes and her people in a masterful way that even left me in awe. I’ve been around him too long to be awed by anything he does, but I must admit this was the exception!

I had established myself in my usual cozy corner under his desk, in my comfy basket and comforter (well wouldn’t you), and watched in amazement as visitor after visitor was awestruck and captivated by the BIG GUY’s images and the 35-minute DVD program he produced especially for the occasion. Can you believe, some attendees cried, some applauded (once, he even got a standing ovation), and everyone hung around after each showing talking, reminiscing and wanting to know more about the Peninsula and her features.

Frankly, I have never experienced anything like this in the years we have been together. Usually, I could circulate, sniff a few legs, and occasionally nip someone’s heel if they didn’t measure-up, but this was special. I never moved. I watched in silent amazement, and listened to the heartfelt feedback the BIG GUY received from appreciative visitors, whether former residents of the Peninsula, returning for the event or new folks coming to the region for the first time; thanks to the World Congress.

 

The visitors were not only paying tribute to six years of work, they were being educated about the environment and the Acadian people. That was another thing! Having the opportunity of being around so many Acadians at one time was overwhelming. I thought a pack of stray dogs, chasing a bitch in heat had fun, but nothing like these folks--story after story and tale after tale, with belly laughs after each storyteller finished.

These people know how to live and love. I saw more hugs between perfect strangers than sea gulls on a newly plowed field. Everyone appeared to become instant lifelong friends with as much as a salut! Not only was there an air of jocularity in the room but when the home made baked goods began appearing I could tell that it would take more than a month on Nutri-system to compensate for the caloric intake, if each of them decided to accept my pleading eyes inviting them to give me a treat. After all a guy has to do what a guy has to do. In my case, look cute, sit on my rear haunches and wag my tail.

At the end of the sixth day we were ready for a much needed rest. We had come, exhibited and shared our work and insights of the region with those who attended, and it was time to close-up and head for the tranquility of Cap Brule, our summer home, to spend some time recuperating, before heading back to our winter home in Michigan.

The Acadians and the World Congress of Acadians had demonstrated to the world what real people are like and how the love of their fellow man is fuelled by the faith they have in their creator, His mother and their strong family ties.

We’ll enjoy our time off, to allow the Big Guy to get a new hip on December 28th, and be ready to hit the trails again when the snow cover begins to melt in the spring. By April, we’ll be back in the wetlands, marshes and along the beaches doing what the BIG GUY and I do best, creating images of a paradise known to only a few.

Join us!

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: Tall Tales With Jack
Posted by: bob

 

Have you ever had your teeth cleaned? What an experience. I had mine done for the first and hopefully last time yesterday.

 

First “The Big Guy” enticed me into the rig he had assembled, (the RV pulling the car hauler with the God awful Nissan photo truck on it) and off we went. So why wouldn’t I think we were off on another one of our adventures?

 

I knew we were in trouble when the clap of thunder and the bolt of lightning or is it the other way around, smacked the pavement in front of us opening a hole in the street that we promptly drove into. And that was in the neighborhood before we hit the main drag. Everything inside the RV went sailing. For a minute I thought we were inside another tornado. I ducked and headed for the safest place I know under the passenger’s seat up front. When the rig stopped rockin’ and rollin’ I returned to my perch atop my elevated bed to assess the disaster inside our rolling home away from home.

 

What a mess…or maybe it was better organized now that it had been for a year or so? I was to shaken to really decide. Next thing I knew we pulled up at the front door of the Portage Animal Hospital (Michigan)….and I knew the unscheduled stop wasn’t for the Big Guy’s Benefit….he needed more help than these vets could offer. Therefore, it must have something to do with me?

 

I was feeling fine, had gotten over my anxiety bout in Canada a week or so earlier and so why this visit? Trusting as I am, I sauntered in, taking over the joint, and to my horror I was greeted by a wave of loving and caring ladies who wanted to share me among each other. I was swept off my feet squeezed, tickled, hugged, smooched and talked too like a new born human baby. I pleaded with the Big Guy for help by the idiot just smiled his Cheshire smile and encourage them to do whatever they had to do to make me well….I didn’t know I was sick. Since when do hiccups require this kind of fondling?

 

After an unceremonious weigh-in…their scales are off, I shook as I watched the backside (BIG) of the Big Guy head out the door. “I’ll be right back,” he assured me and then like a puff of smoke in a hurricane he was gone.

 

Next thing I knew I was on my back spread eagled like a Cabretto ready for the cooking rack in a Tijuana restaurant. Every inch of my underbelly was under examination. Not that I objected, but why? I heard Dr. Helmboldt, tell Dr. Lunney “we need to check his heart to see if he has an enlarged heart.” Of course I have an enlarged heart, I thought, I’m a dog and dog are born with enlarged hearts; don’t they love everyone?

 

Next a pair of warm and very gentle hands had me around the mid-section holding me close to the vest as I was carried; lovingly I must add, to the next room. Bright lights overhead and surrounded by a number of ladies, I was placed on a very cold metal table, (anyone ever consider installing a heater in those things, and helplessly watched as my foreleg was shaved, (where is that Big Guy when you need him) then a smiling assistant approached with a needle with an attached tube. When I awoke my mouth was sore and my mind was lost somewhere in a Bay of Fundy fog.

 

What had happened? Was I in another world? Dogs were barking, God awful cats were whining across from me while I tried to figure out what I had done to deserve this. The,this, was I had had my teeth cleaned.

 

Next thing I knew a delightful young lady approached with a Polaroid of the before and after shots of my teeth and mouth. Was that my mouth? Was it the same dog that had come in here a few hours earlier? Or, had they replaced my original teeth with a set of partials like the Big Guy, never wears…well almost never wears.

 

My new look must have been something special. Before the procedure the girls had held me at arm’s length from their face however, now I was being cuddled close to their face and they were kissing my runny nose and talking that awful human baby talk. Fortunately it was inflationary…my ego was taking it all in.

 

One of them let the “cat” why do we say that? Why can’t we say the dog out of the bag and looked me right in the eye and said, “Oh Jack you smell so good and your breath smells like the sweetness of morning dew on new mown hay.

 

WOW! Really, I thought. Maybe I should do this on a regular basis…..or better yet maybe the Big Guy should take better care of my teeth by brushing mine on a regular basis. In his case all he has to do is drop them into a Polident solution and extract them when he wants them and his job is done.  I, however, is a different story. If he takes care of me, like he should, I’d get to visit the ladies often for check-ups and more of the tender loving care I was getting with=out the sore mouth……right?

 

When the Big Guy arrived at closing time I was quite content to stay for a while longer and absorb more of the tender care and hugging I was getting. All I could say to my driver when he picked me up out of the arms of Florence Nightingale was eat your heart out!

 

Thanks ladies and the care givers at the Portage Animal Hospital. Hey dogs and cats reading this…don’t wait! Get your teeth brushed and cleaned and spare yourself any ill effects from the bacteria dirty teeth can cause and their related heart problems…which are serious.

 

For more information of how it’s done contact:     www.portageanimalhospital.com

 

 

 

Sincerely;

 

 


Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: Tall Tales With Jack
Posted by: bob
Traveling with the Big Guy is an experience. He is pathological; living on the edgeis a way of life. Recently, even I was left speechless. He was using a mason jarfilled with fireflies as a reading light.
Bugs bug me, and bugs buzzing around as I try and sleep bug me even more.A buzzing Pyractomena borealis, better known as the firefly, really gets myattention; the flashing light, on and off and on and off, drives me crazy. My pupilsopen and close and open and close with every blink, making this Chihuahua mad.
I haven’t mastered use of the fly swatter so I’m forced to snap my jaws, withunimaginable cunning to catch and render an irritating fly ineffective. The BigGuy and I have never had a misunderstanding about eliminating noisy and peskyflies as we sleep.
By eliminating the pests, I’ve kept my colleague from knocking his brainsout, while he tries to nail the pest as it lights on his head or enters his ear cavity. Ifhe only knew how silly he looks beating himself upside of the head. He does havean excuse…he played pro-hockey too long without a helmet.
The blinking of the tail assembly was irritating me. I consider using thepocket sized fire extinguisher to snuff the flickering flame, but couldn’t break theseal on the bottle.
Little did I know the chemical reaction when Luciferin combines withLuciferase and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and oxygen creates the light? It’snot a burning fire it a fringing glow lite!
Chemistry isn’t my forte; I flunked it in obedience school. It’s not the BigGuy’s either; he flunked it in high school. Therefore, I knew I had the green light(no pun intended) to put an end to my misery, or so I thought.
Apparently two scientists, Lloyd (1971) and Sivinski (1981), determined theflashing tail light signaled danger; the greater the danger the brighter the light. DidI mention those guys call the light aposematism?
Apparently, the light in the tail is supposed to let an attacker, me, know thatthe bug tastes bad. Hell, I wasn’t going to eat the thing I just wanted to create apower surge to blow his fuse.
By now I figured the Big Guy was asleep, at least it sounded like he was.The RV was rock’n and roll’n, just like it does when he’s comatose in a deep REMstate. I freed myself from under the comforter, readied myself for my assault onthe next fly-by, then snapped and missed.
My actions startled the Big Guy. He sat bolt upright, banging his headon the overhead reading lantern, his eyes wide-open like Dansk Crystal platters,pointing toward the front of the RV. “See that?” he exclaimed. “See that?”
See what, I thought.
“Jack, Jack,” he said with delight, “We have a new power source forreading, and it’s free!”
I figured the bang on the head had loosened scar tissue in his brainfrom the seven concussions he had while playing hockey without a helmet.
Light for reading what, I wondered?
With that he jumped from the bed and chased the firefly, trapped it in hismassive hand and watched with delight as it flashed on and off and on and off.
He’s mad, I thought! He was grinning from ear to ear as he walked towardme. “Jack, we have to capture a mason jar full of these critters. What, I thought?
“We can use them as a light when we read,” he said.
Now I know he has lost it, I thought.
“Stuff them in a mason jar and shake the bottle whenever we want to read.If they’re frightened, they’ll glow all night long,” he said .
Without hesitation he slipped into his pants, opened the door, grabbed atropical fish net hanging on the wall (he used it for catching crustations for macroshots) and off he went. I was close behind.
I’ve watched him do crazy things, but watching him chase fireflies in themiddle of the night with a tropical fish net topped everything. Light after lighted
bug was snared and dropped into the Mason jar.
After an hour or so we returned to the RV, exhausted from the thrill of ourpursuit, and watched with amazement as the jar lit-up like a 60 watt bulb.
Call me crazy, or better yet call him crazy, but enterprising has got to be theBig Guy’s middle name.
He amused himself sitting quietly with his book, shake the jar, and read bythe light of the fireflies. When he was done reading he’d place the jar on the tablebeside the bed, fall asleep, and the lights within the jar would dim and eventuallygo out.
Each morning the jar was opened, the bugs released and, the next night theprocess began again.
I don’t want to say the Big Guy is cheap but his attempt to save a penny hadbeen taken to a new level.
JackTraveling with the Big Guy is an experience. He is pathological; living on the edgeis a way of life. Recently, even I was left speechless. He was using a mason jarfilled with fireflies as a reading light.

Bugs bug me, and bugs buzzing around as I try and sleep bug me even more.A buzzing Pyractomena borealis, better known as the firefly, really gets myattention; the flashing light, on and off and on and off, drives me crazy. My pupilsopen and close and open and close with every blink, making this Chihuahua mad.
I haven’t mastered use of the fly swatter so I’m forced to snap my jaws, withunimaginable cunning to catch and render an irritating fly ineffective. The BigGuy and I have never had a misunderstanding about eliminating noisy and peskyflies as we sleep.
By eliminating the pests, I’ve kept my colleague from knocking his brainsout, while he tries to nail the pest as it lights on his head or enters his ear cavity. Ifhe only knew how silly he looks beating himself upside of the head. He does havean excuse…he played pro-hockey too long without a helmet.
The blinking of the tail assembly was irritating me. I consider using thepocket sized fire extinguisher to snuff the flickering flame, but couldn’t break theseal on the bottle.
Little did I know the chemical reaction when Luciferin combines withLuciferase and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and oxygen creates the light? It’snot a burning fire it a fringing glow lite!
Chemistry isn’t my forte; I flunked it in obedience school. It’s not the BigGuy’s either; he flunked it in high school. Therefore, I knew I had the green light(no pun intended) to put an end to my misery, or so I thought.
Apparently two scientists, Lloyd (1971) and Sivinski (1981), determined theflashing tail light signaled danger; the greater the danger the brighter the light. DidI mention those guys call the light aposematism?
Apparently, the light in the tail is supposed to let an attacker, me, know thatthe bug tastes bad. Hell, I wasn’t going to eat the thing I just wanted to create apower surge to blow his fuse.
By now I figured the Big Guy was asleep, at least it sounded like he was.The RV was rock’n and roll’n, just like it does when he’s comatose in a deep REMstate. I freed myself from under the comforter, readied myself for my assault onthe next fly-by, then snapped and missed.
My actions startled the Big Guy. He sat bolt upright, banging his headon the overhead reading lantern, his eyes wide-open like Dansk Crystal platters,pointing toward the front of the RV. “See that?” he exclaimed. “See that?”
See what, I thought.
“Jack, Jack,” he said with delight, “We have a new power source forreading, and it’s free!”
I figured the bang on the head had loosened scar tissue in his brainfrom the seven concussions he had while playing hockey without a helmet.
Light for reading what, I wondered?
With that he jumped from the bed and chased the firefly, trapped it in hismassive hand and watched with delight as it flashed on and off and on and off.
He’s mad, I thought! He was grinning from ear to ear as he walked towardme. “Jack, we have to capture a mason jar full of these critters. What, I thought?
“We can use them as a light when we read,” he said.
Now I know he has lost it, I thought.
“Stuff them in a mason jar and shake the bottle whenever we want to read.If they’re frightened, they’ll glow all night long,” he said .
Without hesitation he slipped into his pants, opened the door, grabbed atropical fish net hanging on the wall (he used it for catching crustations for macroshots) and off he went. I was close behind.
I’ve watched him do crazy things, but watching him chase fireflies in themiddle of the night with a tropical fish net topped everything. Light after lighted
bug was snared and dropped into the Mason jar.
After an hour or so we returned to the RV, exhausted from the thrill of ourpursuit, and watched with amazement as the jar lit-up like a 60 watt bulb.
Call me crazy, or better yet call him crazy, but enterprising has got to be theBig Guy’s middle name.
He amused himself sitting quietly with his book, shake the jar, and read bythe light of the fireflies. When he was done reading he’d place the jar on the tablebeside the bed, fall asleep, and the lights within the jar would dim and eventuallygo out.
Each morning the jar was opened, the bugs released and, the next night theprocess began again.
I don’t want to say the Big Guy is cheap but his attempt to save a penny hadbeen taken to a new level.
Jack Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: What I Think
Posted by: bob

Back in February of this year, shortly after Obama was sworn as President, he made an astute observation: “We are in the middle of an economic crisis!”

Damn, that was brilliant. What was his solution? He’s still looking.

However, here’s a suggestion Mr. Obama: ask all your rich Hollywood type friends and other dignitaries you have in your hip pocket to put up their art, precious metals and antique collections for public auction. You might significantly reduce the present deficit.

According to the New York Times, (02/25/09) an auction of the art work of Yves St. Laurent and his lover, Pierre Berge grossed .7 million from the sale of 18 works.

I wonder if any of the proceeds were donated to the poor, or those in need of immediate health care, or other less fortunate Americans

Get creative Mr. Obama………start by tapping into the pockets of your closest friends and leave those of us in the middle class alone.

That’s What I Think!

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: What I Think
Posted by: bob

 Tea-Parties have become the rage of a generation of younger people encountering the oppressive tactics and intimidation from the zealous liberal thinking population of the United States. “So, What’s New?” In the mid-eighties the DADS Foundation was established here in Michigan to counter the issues of that era….the same issues prominent today.

Unlike the eighties parents, their off-spring are aware and fearful of the consequences of inaction. The primary reason is the tools we have today, internet, social networking systems and outspoken researchers and students of oppressive activities like Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and Shawn Hannity. There are others, doing good work and they too must be thanked for their commitment to developing in us an awareness that will provide the anchor or life-ring for our children and grandchildren.

Thursday, October 22, 2009 is a big day for America; The Federal Government will vote in favor of their effort to silence opposition to the Obama Juggernaut leading us into oblivion as a nation. The leaders of the Communism, Islamic jihadists and other subversive elements in the world don’t have to worry about the demise of the United States all they have to do is wait for the George Soros led Obama flock of sheep to take us up the ramp as the Judas Goat that they are and into the slaughter house of democracy.

      For twelve years The DADS Foundation in conjunction with the Rutherford Institute and faithful volunteer parents waged war on this very form of repression. Speeches were made, facts were presented and accountability sought from public servants and their bureaucratic lackeys and to a degree we were capable of stalling the march to oblivion we are facing today.

      DADS is proud that we were instrumental in introducing and getting signed into law approximately 100 pieces of legislation on behalf of family values, effective drug prevention programs in our schools and other valuable measures to halt the speedy decline within our society. On the other side of the coin were the perpetrators of destruction, People for the American Way (an oxymoron), The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), the State Teachers Unions and Departments of Education and Health and others whose sympathies lay with perverted self-serving entities with no morale backbone.

      However they had good company! Many on the right-wing some call them the “Christian Right” were complicit with the agenda espoused by the decedent purveyors of death to a moral society. The Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, self-serving evangelists whoring the unsuspecting public out of their savings and a lack of back-bone in the majority of parent population who were unwilling to act upon knowledge and facts that were repeatedly presented to them.

      We are today were we have been placed by one generations lack of Faith and the Will to confront evil. So who can we look too today? Tea-Party organizers and complaining adults?

      We can, however, before we go to far in our commitment of support let me point out a few flaws in their approach to dealing with the destructive forces they will and are encountering:

      1, don’t wait for leadership from the pulpits of Beck, Limbaugh and others, get involved yourself and get educated on the issues before you. Give-up some of that precious security and get out and face the enemy. You won’t have far to look; your neighbor may be one, definitely your public school and its teachers are another, your union bosses are another and even within your church community itself. Ferret them out, confront them with the facts and demand they be accountable for their answers;

      2. be sure your Tea-Party group has a simple “small bite” agenda to accomplish what it can in your own backyard. The big picture is too big for you now…your time will come. Do the little things now and do them right;

      3. Become informed on the issues before us and be factually accurate before you make statements the opposition can use to discredit you. Once you are loaded with accurate data never back down from your opponent and demand that they be accountable for each of their responses. Make them stay on point and do not allow them to shout you down, switch the topic in mid stream or make you out to be an ill-informed spokesperson;

      4. Work to develop power within the precints and find committed leaders within each to carry-out the bigger plan from within and on a lesser scale that ultimately will merge into a superlative model to destroy your opponent;

      5. Cultivate power brokers of your own on school boards, in the media, in conservative organizations and require them to be committed and ask them to perform simple tasks that can be3 monitored to see if in fact they are working for the greater good of your cause;

      6. Develop articulate and charismatic spokespersons who can present your case for conservatism in a dignified manner and still be forceful enough to win the debate with the uninformed ideologies on the opposition;

      7. Not everyone can or will be willing to take the point position. Do not shun them. Instead find their niche, provide them with resources and direction for their role in the plan and use their talents to support your efforts. DADS had the best researcher in the national parent movement and that is the key that made DADAS so successful and the most serious threat during our time on the front lines;

      8. Use modern day tools to reach as many parties as possible, on both sides of the issue and even those straddling the fence. The more you activate the opposition the more opportunities you are provided to debate the issues and to insure the fence-sitters will fall to one side r the other. Usually, a fence sitter will fall to the side of reason rather than into the abyss of destruction they intuitively know is wrong;

      9. Build a financial chest for rainy days. The funds are available however contributors must see hope at the end of the day for the plan, a well developed plan of attack and leaders who are committed to a successful outcome…….no timidity allowed;

      10. It will become extremely warm in the activist kitchen and if you are concerned about the heat you should stay home! You will be slandered, your berliefs will be attacked, you will be branded with unthinkable allegations that are fabricated and that you will find difficult to defend, even when they are untrue, you will be threatened and your children may be made to pay a price as well…but what is the price of freedom from demagoguery?

      Take a minute, find a source that you believe will fortify you against the attacks and attackers find allies and go forth and do battle. In the end you will win out over evil. Good always wins when confronted by perversion, decadence and avarice. Be humble, be prepared and bring with you the shield of knowledge and wisdom.

      That is What I Think!

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: What I Think
Posted by: bob

Do you have or are you going to DRESS-UP the banner on this section so it POPS when people go to it?

In your estimation how many words do you think the reader will endure with this section before they opt-out? 

      I awoke this morning, as I have for the past 23,676 mornings with an attitude! It was going to be a Mayday or a Hayday but I had not decided which as I opened my eyes, shook the cobwebs from my head, rubbed my eyes and made my way to the brewing pot of coffee in the kitchen.

      However, my Mayday was not the normal “internationally recognized communications distress call, used by ships and aircraft,” it was a determination if today would be the day the United States of America would succumb to the Obama administrations call for Population Overthrow and become a dictatorship.

      Have I now joined the Obama enemies list? So be it!

      America is out of control. It’s being lead and ruled by nefarious special interest prostitutes who care nothing for you and me.

      I have a number of radical suggestions in my BLOG “Retaking America!” however, before you click on it you ought to decide that you too have seen and heard enough over the years from Washington and State Capitols to begin organizing to take our country back…before it is too late.

      That is what I think!

 


Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: What I Think
Posted by: bob

 Today, is a special day in many countries around the world; Veterans Day, Armistice Day, Poppy Day. Whatever term applies to you today means a lot to me. My grandfather was shot, wounded and almost lost his life at the Somme in WWI, my father was wounded on the shores of France after the invasion of Normandy in WWII, and I was a child in-utero in an Army field hospital at the same time and was close to the action during the bombardment of England by the German V1 and V2 rockets that killed hundreds of thousands.

      With the recent Islamic Jihad massacre at Fort Hood, Texas, I wonder if today should not also be celebrated in defense of Human Life. Every television I have scrolled through looking for HOPE from the Obama Administration and activists who believe as I do, that life, all life from conception to natural death is precious and should be honored. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a network, including the right of center FOX Network, correcting the body count from the slaughter to what it is: fourteen.

      The young Chicago soldier, recently returned from her tour of duty in Iraq, was pregnant with their six week old child. When Obama and the Army saluted the dead they forgot, or deliberately avoided naming the in-utero child during the solemn ceremony. There is a lot of talk about the political correctness that may have caused this tragedy, or the fact we should not identify the Muslims as a radical group of terrorists for the sake of peace. Peace is celebrated on November 11 as the end of war and the celebration of PEACE. Should not the unnamed baby have been included in the memorial? Where is Right-to-Life? Where is FOX? Where is the Catholic Church? Where are the pro-life activists? Where are simple decent people? Is America finally succumbed to the P.C. virus?

      What in God’s name are we afraid of? Where are the brave hearts who should be leading the LIFE parade? Get out from under your rocks, America. The Obama decaying America, preceded by the cowardly liar Clinton following in the footsteps of an equally Supreme Court decision in the ‘60’s, Roe versus Wade, giving the culture of death a foothold has a vaccine--you and me! It’s time for us to stand, extend our arm and find the courage to STOP America’s madness; the killing of the unborn for any reason at any time godless individuals feel the need to be free from the punishment of a child.  Enjoy the memorable poem written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.

In Flanders Fields  
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow  
Between the crosses row on row,  
That mark our place; and in the sky  
The larks, still bravely singing, fly  
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago  
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,  
Loved and were loved, and now we lie  
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:  
To you from failing hands we throw  
The torch; be yours to hold it high.  
If ye break faith with us who die  
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow  
In Flanders fields. ‘

      Possibly, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae would be ashamed of those of us who follow in the footsteps of those gallant men who died back then. In reading the final stanza I am touched and motivated to reach out and catch the thrown torch on behalf of children in-utero. To challenge the foes of life and to stand and defend the unprotected and innocent from the despicable hands of infanticide providers cowards who fear worldly retribution

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: What I Think
Posted by: bob

Let me get this straight...

We're going to maybe have a health care   

plan written by a committee whose head says he  

doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn't   

read it AND exempts themselves from it,

signed by a president that also hasn't read    

it and who smokes, with funding administered by a 

treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes,

overseen by a surgeon general who is obese,

and financed by a country that's nearly broke.

What could possibly go wrong?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Cash for Clunkers" Results:

It’s taken 95% of the Obama bumper stickers off the road.  


Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: What I Think
Posted by: bob

 Political correctness is off the chart and needs to be stopped! Offending others is a way of life and people ought to develop a thicker skin and get over it! Those who can’t or won’t ignore slurs or putdowns have to much time on their hands and should find a new line of work…let me explain.

      Let me begin with your hand. Simple enough? You have five digits on each hand. Each has been given a name. Growing up you probably learned the names of each extremity and never asked why each had a specific street, not to be confused with a scientific name, correct?

      For example, the thumb; you can give a thumbs up and that is acceptable. If you gave a thumb down sign the world could come to an end. It certainly did in the Roman Coliseum when Christians were fed to lions or losing Gladiators were killed to satisfy the perverse pleasure of the roaring crowds. Was this an indication of too many people having too much time on their hands?

      Next in line of digits is the index finger; why is it called the index finger? Could be that it was used, in the old days to finger through the paper work in search of a specific document so that it could be indexed for the proprietor’s benefit and record keeping purposes. It might have been used to signal your success as the best of your trade by holding up the finger to signify or identify, index you, as number one. It could have been identified as the index finger because it was used to point-out, to others, points on interest or importance by pointing that finger in the direction of the target, while three others pointed back at you. There was a lot of indexing back then. There are other uses for the index finger but I will leave those to your imagination.

      Then there is the insulting and infuriating middle finger. Why? I have never figured out why the middle digit has caused so much harm in society, after all it is simply the longest of the five fingers on your hand, so why the fuss? If it was combined with the other four fingers it would be considered a friendly wave. If used in conjunction with the index finger and thumb it is the letter “U” in signing vocabulary. There are other worthy uses of the middle finger like the letter “P”which is an inverted middle finger…so why all the anger when that passing motorist signals you with the middle finger extended upward? Is it not simply an indication that “U” are special? I have never figured out why we react so violently to digital waves. What am I missing?

      Then you have the ring finger. That one is easy. Doesn’t everyone wear a ring on either the left hand signifying marriage? While a ring on the right hand ring finger indicates a need for public awareness due to deep rooted insecurities.

      Finally we come to the “Pinky” finger. Have you ever seen a pink little finger? It appears that if you wear a ring on that finger you may well be a member of the third unit of the sexually liberated population, a homosexual. However, it could be a sign that real men aren’t concerned with their sexuality and have no fear about wearing a pinky finger ring among their friends. I used to wear a beautiful Sapphire in a brushed platinum setting on my pinky when I was younger.…because I liked the look. Got a problem with that big-boy?

      So here we are trying to understand why all the fuss about the digits on our hands. Here is what I think; the politically correct movement of far left loonies has such sensitive skin they can’t deal with truth. At least that is my impression coming from the great White House in Washington and the Dome we call Congress. May I suggest that they keep applying their skin cream to keep their outer layer conditioned for the affection of their own sexual preferences?

      I might suggest that they keep their filthy hands off my mouth and my written word and do something productive with their perverted lives. I am pushing back dear politically correct goons and look forward to challenging you at every turn when I use a word or two you may find offensive. 

      In  the next edition of What I Think I’ll provide a syntax  of words that will offend the sensitive thin skin of perverted and demented members of our society. It’s PUSH BACK time my friends and you can read it here!

      Love too all! 

That’s what I think.

 
Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: What I Think
Posted by: bob
Associated Press reported this story October 29, 2010: Here's What I Think! I await your comments:

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — William Lynch's life spiraled out of control in the 35 years since he alleges he and his brother were molested by a Jesuit priest: He struggled with depression, had nightmares and tried to kill himself twice.

"Many times I thought of driving down to LA and confronting Father Jerry. I wanted to exorcise all of the rage and anger and bitterness he put into me," Lynch told the newspaper. "You can't put into words what this guy did to me. He stole my innocence and destroyed my life."

Most of Lindner's family severed contact with him years ago after discovering he had molested his nieces and nephews when they were as young as 3.

Here's the question of the day: "Why was Lynch arrested? Why did he have to post bail? Why haven't the charges been dropped by now? Are the Jesuits not a forgiving order of cover-up priests?

I understand Lynder. I was a victinm at Loyola, (Montreal, Quebec),by a Jesuit priest, in the 60's. The order knew about his problem, allowed him to continue teaching 12 yr. olds, and when the heat was turned up they moved him to Northern Canada, where he taught at an Indian school, molested approximately 150 children there.

The Indian children filed a class action suit, in Toronto, Ontario, won their case and the priest simply passed away while the rest of us find ourselves in the same boat as William Lynch.

Did I mention the priest was George Epoch, S.J.?

Is there any justice?

My solution:

All pedophiles, go to prison for the rest of their life! They are are incurable. They MUST be confined in a super-max, institution, (prison)confined to their cells 24/7, no contact with anyone, except their spiritual advisor or the guard.

After all like Linder, according to his superior, the Rev. John McGarry, the provincial, "Lindner has recovered and resumed his work at the retirement home, where he helps care for 75 infirm priests. He is not allowed to leave the home unsupervised," he said.

McGarry continued, "As you can imagine it's very emotionally distressing to go through something like this. He hasn't spoken a lot about it," McGarry said. "He's living a quiet life of prayer and service within our community."

Exactly, all pedophiles should live out the rest of their lives in "a quiet life of prayer and service within our community."

What better way to prepare for eternal life?

The Jesuits should become advocates for Lynch, have him set free, hdemand al;l charges be dropped and expunged from his arrest record, apologize to him, again, and restrict Linder from ever setting foot outside the retirement home again.

Set Lynch free!

Have the Jesuits forgetten the teachings of Matthew and Luke, in their Bible: Matthew: 18-6: "On the other hand it would be better for anyone who leads astray one of these little ones who believe in m,e, to be drowned by a millstone around his neck, in the depths of the sea." And, Luke: 17-1 & 2: He said to His disciples: 1. "Scandals will inevitiably arise, but woe to him through whom they come. 2. He would be better off thrown into the sea with a millstone around his neck than giving scandal to one of these little ones."

Being the compassionat person I am, let'ds not implemnent the death penalty...that is too good for these extremely demented individuals. Let's give them plenty of time to pray and ask forgiveness.

That's What I Think!

Your comments welcomed: Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: What I Think
Posted by: bob

I'm glad this came back around. I've been wanting to send this on to folks that never saw it the first time. Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota, points out some interesting facts concerning the 2008 Presidential election:

  • Number of States won
  • by: Democrats: 19 Republicans: 29
  • Square miles of land won
  • by: Democrats: 580,000 Republicans: 2,427,000
  • Population of counties won
  • by: Democrats: 127 million Republicans: 143 million
  • Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won
  • by: Democrats: 13.2 Republicans: 2.1


Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: Reflections
Posted by: bob

simpleTime1 Life was simple way back then

The longboats lifted from the floor
Heave too men the first mate roared

We had no time to sink or swim
We hit the bottom up to our chin

We bobbed and rode the waves to shore
Not all we dragged could be restored

We laid exhausted on the sand
The cold Atlantic claimed no man

We raised-up all and gave HIM praise
Then looked before us through the haze

A sheltered cove we were amazed
With granite walls that left us dazed

A sigh of wonder and of awe
How would we all survive ‘till fall?

Here we were in Acadie
It’s sixteen-four and we are free

We set about our simple plan
An agile man who feared no man

Women most robust indeed
But eyes were blinded by our needs

Courtships lasted just that day
simpleTime2 By evening none could stand the pain

Morning found us on our knees
Reciting vows our God was pleased

Married by the man of God
We planted seeds with new found speed

We raised our crops and worked our land
And made the home our palace grand

Families grew and multiplied
And spread their seeds and fortified

And built for them a unit strong
Filled with love, much peace and song

The church had taken each high place
And held our records in that place

Our births and deaths and unions too
When marriage was the thing to do

Life was simple way back then

We were convinced by men in black
And hooded angles wit the knack

As long as we gave God his place
In every home He’d give HIS grace

All of us the big the small
Pushed and pulled we did it all

Our tables were the center of
A universe filled with love

We learned to count and do our math
And spell our words and make mom laugh

Mother showed us we were loved
She was the one we called our dove

Father taught us right from wrong
To keep our word meant we were strong

Greed did not exist back then
Instead we learned to love our friends

If a family down the road
Struggled with their daily load

We put our shoulders to their wheel
And moved their wagon no big deal

Life was simple way back then

This tale I tell you is the truth
I stand here tall as living proof Must reach the top and drop the rope
To those below then up the slope

The roar behind us added speed
We prayed we would be spared indeed

We survived the mighty climb
Then stood upon the cliffs so fine

And pondered life no looking back
This was to be our paradise

Life was simple way back then

We fished the sea and tilled the land
We stayed the course a disciplined plan

Two years passed we lacked for not
Except a damsel’s silk like frock

Strong men filled our daily pot
By night we were a restless lot

Spring had come, a schooner docked
We stood there praising the pretty flock

God had ears HE heard our prayers
And guided neat men to the stairs

Our evenings were such simple fests
We welcomed friends and sometimes guests

We listened to each point of view
And learned so much from elders too

About each stage that life would bring
And how we should prepare for stings

We had respect for those whose years
Had taught them how to deal with fears

We needed not an altered state
To find ourselves or please our mate

We made a plan for life anew
And stayed with it and saw it through

We stood by God and read HIS word
The Ten Commandments taught and heard

Life was simple way back then

We honoured men and women too
And blessed their unions for we knew

It takes a man and woman too
As equal partners to make anew

Our folks took charge the village new
That dad and mom knew what to do

We did not need the village too
Our parents then we had two

Our school was home and chapel when
We bowed in prayer and then took pen

We loved our friends and judged them not
T’was in HIS image we grew a lot

We romped and played in air so pure
That drinking dew was sure to cure

Sunday was our day to rest
We’d kneel and pray and say we’re blessed

We were a stronger people then
Who earned respect

How ever did we make it through?
No drugs, no thugs, no witches brew

Just getting high on life back then
And so I ask you once again

"How have we gone so wrong, my friends?"

Life was simple way back then

What ever happened, when did it end?

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: News
Posted by: bob

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.

Welcome!


Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: News
Posted by: bob

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.

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: News
Posted by: bob

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 who’s right, who’s left and who’s 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 let’s 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.

It’s 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?

I’m open to feed back and a healthy discussion.

From the desk Of Bob Ferrin Jr.

 
Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: News
Posted by: bob

For a man with a name like Belliveau-Ferrin (Acadian-Irish) why wouldn’t I be ecstatic to announce the re-launch of the Nature-n-Focus web site on St. Patrick’s 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 expertise—Nature, 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 insider’s 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!

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: News
Posted by: bob
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 Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: News
Posted by: bob

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 America’s 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-over’s 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.

Bob’s 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!

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: News
Posted by: bob

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, naturenfocus@gmail.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

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: News
Posted by: bob

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! 

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: News
Posted by: bob

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:


Craig A.SMITH
Manager of Operations-Maritimes
Wildlife Enforcement
Gestionnaire des Operations-Maritimes
Application de la Loi sur la Faune
Environment Canada
P.O. Box 6227
17 Waterfowl Lane
Sackville, N.B.
E4L 1G6
Tel. 506-364-5036
Fax/Telecopieur (secure) 902-490-0721

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: Articles
Posted by: bob
Published Mascaret, Moncton, N.B.

There’s a jump to his step, a glint in his eye and a non-ending stream of superlatives coming from his heart. If it weren’t for the fact Pete Hicklin is vintage Acadian you might confuse the CWS (Canadian Wildlife Service) biologist with a leprechaun. 

The affable Hicklin introduced himself to me, on the “Perfect Day” in July 2000. I was standing on the edge of a bluff, overlooking the Grand Anse of Shepody Bay, and a little inlet known as Johnson’s Mills. I was intensely focused upon one of Mother Nature’s wonders, the synchronized “ballet-du-vol” of the semipalmated sandpipers. 

As a child and adolescent growing-up on Buck’s Flats I had witnessed the spectacle many times, but never before had the program come with play-by-play commentary. Hicklin, the veteran bird biologist, had slipped in behind me, looked over my shoulder, saw the images appearing on the digital LCD on the back of my 1DS and began whispering in my ear, “I’d like that one and that one and that one is nice too.” “I hope you got it?” he’d say with a hint of anticipation, “it’s the perfect day you know. I’ve never seen anything so beautiful in my twenty-five years of researching these birds, anywhere,” Hicklin added. “A photographer’s dream,” I added. 

The thing I liked most about Pete was his no pressure approach to getting what he wants. 

Pete is an enterprising unleashed atom. If he needs it he asks and if you “get it” he’ll teach you how to share it. I applaud this approach considering the unfortunate federal budget reductions being inflicted upon our conservation and wildlife services. 

I’ll address the federal budget cuts in environmental protection in a future column but today’s focus is preserving this once thriving species of sandpiper and their sub-species now in decline. 

Back in the mid and late fifties when my friends and I covered ourselves with the chocolate ooze of Bucks Flats in hopes of a sneak attack on a “peep” little did I know that the Dorchester Cape mud held the richest deposit of Corophium volutator (mud shrimp) in the world. The same little critters required by the “semis” to double their weight in preparation for their four day non-stop flight to their wintering grounds in South America. 

When a hungry Peregrine Falcon, the semi’s natural enemy, swooped in for a meal, our swarm of thousands vanished and the show came to an abrupt end……for the day, but not our conversations on the future of his precious semis. 

Hicklin and I have become good friends and comrades-in-arms since our first meeting that day on the bluff and he’s spent countless hours sharing stories, telling tales and providing insightful solutions to the problems being encountered by migrating shorebirds across our continent. 

Pete’s Master’s Degree from Acadia University has served him well but his twenty-five years of service to his country and research of our environment has served us best. “I saw my first flock of roosting Semipalmated Sandpipers in the Bay of Fundy on July 26, 1974 and from that day forward I was hooked,” said Hicklin. Hicklin points out that since that time negative changes have taken place that need addressing. “The Maritimes Shorebird Surveys, in place since 1974, indicate that declines which began decades ago are continuing: for example, counts in the 1990s were lower than those in both the 1980s and 1970s. Not only did a number of species show statistically significant declines, but the proportion with negative changes was significantly higher than those with positive values,” Hicklin mused. 

“Causes of declines in shorebird populations are difficult to pinpoint, if only because of the birds’ extensive migrations and their potential to be affected at many different stages of these annual migrations. Habitat loss, such as the infilling of wetlands in the 1960s and 1970s across North America and the conversion of natural grassland to agricultural land has been implicated in the declines of a number of temperate species. Furthermore, the impacts of climate change on the birds’ breeding habitats and, consequently, the production of fledglings, for a number of species remains unclear,” Hicklin continued. 

Hicklin was quick to point out problems with other speciae as well. “Since the 1970s, counts for adults of 6 species of shorebirds (Red Knot, Least Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Dunlin and Spotted Sandpiper) declined significantly. But overall, of 16 species censused on a regular basis, 13 showed negative population trends and only 3 showed positive values. The other species illustrating declining trends are: Black-bellied Plover, Ruddy Turnstone, American Golden Plover, Sanderling, Hudsonian Godwit, White-rumped Sandpiper and Pectoral Sandpiper. The three positive stories in Atlantic Canada are the Semipalmated Plover, Willet and Whimbrel, added Hicklin. 

So where do we go from here and how do we become pro-active members of the broader community called “the existence of future generations”? 

“Over the past several years, national shorebird conservation plans in both Canada and the U.S. have been developed, culminating in the publication of the Canadian Shorebird Conservation Plan and the U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan. In Canada, regional shorebird conservation plans have also been developed in order to deliver on-the-ground shorebird conservation through partnerships between governments and non-government organizations. For example, over the last few years and in collaboration with the Canadian Wildlife Service, the efforts of Ducks Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy of Canada have resulted in securing important marshlands in the Maritimes and sandpiper roosting sites along the shores of the upper Bay of Fundy. These efforts will prove to be of great benefit to our migratory shorebirds over many years and generations, to come. “But there is still much to do” Hicklin concluded. 

Hicklin’s observations are critical components to a long range plan and goals intended to reverse the downward spiral of these beautiful creatures 

One way the everyday photographer can assist in the protection and development of protected areas is to take the time to capture the good, the bad and the ugly on film. Provide the data to authorities and media outlets that “care” and be sure you follow-up on their actions. Push for results that favor environmental protection and species preservation. 

Our efforts are not just about animals and animal welfare it’s about our survival as a human species-at-risk. 

The semis will return to Johnson’s Mills and Mary’s Point this month. They’ll feed and fatten-up until they leave around mid-August. The first to arrive will be the females, followed by the males and then the juveniles, born in the artic nesting grounds this summer. They’ll grow from 20 grams in weight to about 36-40 before heading south. 

You’re invited to share their special days, to enjoy their aerial acrobatics and to watch one of the marvels of nature as it unfolds before your eyes. Learn from the experts on site, confine yourself to the viewing areas, keep your pets off the beach, educate a friend and commit to solving the problems confronting the 13 species of declining shorebirds passing through New Brunswick each spring and summer. 

Maritimers are blessed with one of God’s great creations here in our midst. The burden and responsibility for the survival of semipalmated sandpipers lies with us. 

If we’re fortunate, life provides each of us with opportunities to share the wonders that abound around us. I was fortunate to share one of those days with one of God’s special people and a friend. Thanks to Pete Hicklin and his unselfish colleagues at Environment Canada and Canadian Wildlife Service we may have the opportunity to enjoy another “Perfect Day” soon! Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: Articles
Posted by: bob

Published Mascaret, Moncton, N.B.


If you meander along the sandy shoreline of East Brule from Cap Brule Road to the inlet separating Brule from Cap Bimet you’re struck by the plush firm sand under foot, the sparkling tidal pools resplendent with hermit crab, sand dollars, feeding shorebirds, bank swallows and man-made obstructions with jagged edges awaiting an unsuspecting victim.

At low tide the concrete blocks with rusting steel pipes protruding from their ends appear like sea anemones awaiting their prey.

At low tide they can be easily avoided. But when the tide moves in and children find themselves at play along the shore danger lurks beneath the seductive sparkling surface.

As a grandfather of five energetic and active children it bothers me to find these obstacles obstructing one of New Brunswick’s most pristine beach play-grounds. As a newly arrived home owner at the shore I enquired about the apparent WW II bunker remnants and their purpose. Local longtime residents suggested that years before they had been placed there to prevent beach erosion. The obvious question was by whom?

It was suggested that in years gone by it was acceptable to dump the trash into an eroding area in an attempt to prevent it from being absorbed by the sea. Apparently, at the time of the misdeed, there were no laws prohibiting the practice.  

Being somewhat direct I approached the property owner and asked about the debris and its purpose. I was summarily told to get off “his” beach and to stay off his beach or suffer the consequences that a trespassing claim might bring. As an added insult to my injured persona I was told to keep my grandchildren off his property or they would be dealt with accordingly.

This demand made of me by the cottage owner, Pierre Boudreau, came as a surprise.  Not only was it not the Acadian hospitality I had been assured of in the region when I bought the home but it defied all principals of the law governing beach usage on New Brunswick’s beaches.  Boudreau believed the sandy beach belonged to him.  From his front door all the way to where, P.E.I. directly across Northumberland Strait before us? As a matter of fact property owners only own the land above the highest high tide line of the year.  Everything below that watermark is public domain.  The man obviously was preying on the apathy and ignorance of his neighbors.

Boudreau’s bad attitude is not a trait of the peaceful Acadians I know. It is, in fact, the attitude of an old man obsessed with a need to own and control everyone and everything in his path.

I was not dissuaded and carried my investigation further. The sewage pumping station, adjacent to the Boudreau cottage, and running overflow drains underground and into the sea next to the pile of debris, was built in 1971. According to municipal authorities Boudreau’s father had negotiated the contract with the Village of Shediac to allow them to access the property where the pumping was to be located.

I began to wonder if anyone had obtained a variance to dump trash and concert blocks onto a public beach. If the debris is above the high-water mark it must belong to the owner. If the debris is below the high water mark it must belong to Environment New Brunswick or Environment Canada? Regardless of how it got there, someone needs to pay to have it removed.

The Beaubassin Planning Commission pleaded not guilty to the folly. They stated that they had had nothing to do with the dumping and had never given permission to fill any beach area along this shore. I pressed manager Ron Boudreau, of the Shediac Sewage Commission to give me an answer.  He finally proclaimed that a soon to be held meeting would resolve the problem. Unfortunately, two years later we are still awaiting the meeting.  

I think it’s time for property owners in conjunction with Environment New Brunswick, Environment Canada, and the Shediac Sewage Commission et al to remove the mess and return the beach to its original state.

Why am I so adamant?


Protecting your land, as long as the law permits, is fine. However, if as one property owner claims the entire beach is his, he should clean it up.  There are jagged edged rusty razor sharp outcroppings with the potential of inflicting significant damage to anyone who comes in contact with them. The time and distance required to get appropriate help to anyone seriously injured by these outcroppings may be too long and too late.        

Boudreau became belligerent, aggressive and threatening when I approached him with the suggestion that he clean up the mess on his property. . It appears that the only resolution can be found in the courts. Responding pro-actively has always proved to be the prudent way to approach a problem.  However, a lawsuit may be required to get the attention of Beaubassin Planning Commission, Shediac Sewage Commission and Beaudreau. Solving the problem now before someone is injured, and possibly seriously, is the right thing to do.  The cost to all, if an injury occurs, may be to high a price to pay for everyone.  

Common sense should prevail, however, “common sense is not so common.”

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: Articles
Posted by: bob

Published Mascaret, Moncton, N.B.

The legal hunting season is over but hunting is not. Whether you reside in Cape Tormentine, Coles Island or Haute Aboujagane, the probability exists that if you own a gun, a significant weapon, your cooler either is, or could be filled with venison, bear, and moose in the near future. 

For many in the know, it is just a matter of time. According to a variety of knowledgeable sources, the probability of poachers being successful increases if you own a significant piece of property in, on or near a woodlot or boggy land. 

I was impressed in 2004 by the presence in the back woods of Aboujagane of DNR officers, both during daylight and twilight hours. The Irving clear cuts, woodlots and lakes tucked away between highway 15 and 16 and the Trans Canada Highway near Scoudouc abound with the type of creature I enjoy photographing in the fall of the year. 

A four hundred and fifty pound black bear is not uncommon if you know where to sit and patiently wait. It’s not surprising when a 26 point Bull Moose, as ugly as he may be, saunters by a few feet from you and ignores your presence. This magnificent beast stops for a moment, surveys his surroundings, shakes his head in disbelief and continues toward his favorite lily pond now exposed by the unscrupulous clear cutting that has go on over the winter. 

If jogging is your pastime, you may enjoy and evening jog along a logging road with a Coyote or two. Every once in a while, a fox will pop in, take a look and scamper off. If you sit patiently in a clearing, you will see the 14 points of a white tail buck before the big fellow actually comes into view. 

A walk along these unused logging roads guarantees you an encounter with the timid porcupine as he waddles toward his favorite tree for his usual dinner of bark or juicy leaves. If you are lucky, he may scamper up a tree and remain clinging there for dear life, at eye level, as you carry on a conversation with him, reassuring him that you are the least of his problems. 

I have enjoyed more wondrous morning, evening and daylong sessions with Gods creatures than I can remember, but nothing breaks my heart more then when I come across a carcass, a victim of irresponsible, unchecked, ruthless killers better known as “the poacher”. It goes without saying that the penalties for illegal hunting are significant. Our problem however, is that our Government fails to provide the necessary resources or the manpower required to enforce the laws protecting nature and her creatures. 

Consequently, poachers are willing to risk it all. Apparently the potential of losing their truck, their weapon, jail time, and maybe even their home, when caught, doesn’t concern them. They are bold, they are blatant, they are ruthless, they are cunning and they are killers. 

I have encountered them in the woods. They are braggarts and are more than willing to share locations, sizes, types of species, patterns of behavior and respond to any question I might have relative to where I can get up close and personal for that once in a lifetime shot. Once that information is provided, it never ceases to amaze me how quick they are to quip, “Get your shot now. I have my eye on him and I am going to take him down fairly soon”. 

Let it be known that I have no problem with legal hunting. I believe that hunting has been with us since the beginning of man. Man for his part is a hunter. He has been since the earliest times, his role has always been to provide for his family. I have no intention of preaching a sermon on gun control, gun registration or removal of any gun from the hands of any man or woman. Frankly, I believe it is our right and our duty to have and to own a weapon. However, it is also incumbent upon us to be responsible, be trained, and be licensed and to be held accountable for the improper use of that weapon. 

There used to be an assumption that poachers were those who had to feed their family in a time were lean. That time no longer exists. The cost of licenses and weapons, cost of ammunition, the cost of a vehicle to transport the kill, all overshadow the need to provide for one’s family. Poachers are individuals who have complete disregard for the laws of nature and probably all laws in general. Most of the poachers I have met learned their irresponsible habit from their fathers, uncles, grandfathers and even some from their great grandfathers. For many it is a game. It is a game of pushing the envelope as far as possible without getting caught. It is not a game of outwitting the witty creature, because with baiting, tree stands and dogs, ATV’s, GPS units and unlimited access these days to once treasured, secluded locations the animals don’t stand a chance. 

Society and civilization are encroaching upon our wildlife. Clear cutting has opened vast acres of forest land and now, when new growth begins to appears, bears, deer and moose become the casualties of the clear cut. My stomach turns when I hear one of my Aboujagane poachers brag about the fact that he knows where the 26 point Bull Moose is and the area that he frequents. Even though it is long after the hunting season, his intentions are to jack it some night, bring it down, quarter, pack it off in the back of his pickup truck and fill his freezer. For those of you who don’t know the term “jack”, it means to hunt with a powerful light, which blinds the creature. While he is standing there with eyes fixed on the beam of light radiating from your powerful lantern, you shoot it. Done under the cover of darkness and far removed from DNR Law enforcement, the culprit gets away clean, leaving only the innards and remnants of what was once, a majestic beast. 

Then there are those who proclaim that if you live between Port Elgin and Cape Tormentine, between Melrose and the Amherst Shore, that sitting in your kitchen, overlooking your apple orchard you are guaranteed a freezer full of illegal venison. Simply open your kitchen window and blast away at the deer, bear or other creatures eating the succulent fallen apples under your apple trees a few feet away. Those plentiful trees planted long ago by an ancestor to serve your grand mothers needs now serve a vial disservice….as bait for an illegal deer meal. 

And then there is the strapping young man earning his living as a fisherman, who blatantly states that “When I hunt my deer in Coles Island and spend .00 for 300 lbs of apples and grain and I lay out my bait pile in the hopes of attracting that big white tailed buck and a bear comes by, as bears do in Coles Island, and begins to feast on those apples and the grain and defecates in the area, I choose to shot him on the spot”. He’s not a trophy, he is a nuisance. And no I didn’t claim the body and harvest the meat, I left him there to rot and when my buck comes back, I’ll kill him too.” 

Poaching is an unforgivable sin and poachers should be prosecuted to the limit of the law. Instead of manifesting bad behavior, or perpetuating bad behavior, quite possibly the time has come for Dad’s to enjoy a sport and to enjoy bringing up their sons with them, to hunt, to fish and to become part of a wilderness filled with natural wonders in N.B. Possibly it is time for Dad’s to bring up their sons to love and respect the creatures that abound here and to report all poachers to the DNR so that the abundant harvest and pleasures, available to us in Nature, may continue uninterrupted in perpetuity. 

Maybe the time has come?

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: Articles
Posted by: bob
Mar 4, 2012
Category: Articles
Posted by: bob

Ken Dryden, Canada's Environment Prime Minister 2016?

Is there a better prospect, as Canada's Prime Minister 2016, than Ken Dryden? Dryden, a candidate for the liberal party, was elected recently to the riding of York Centre, a suburb of Toronto.

For those of you born after 1970 and who may (heaven forbid) not know of Canada's legacy as a world hockey power, Ken Dryden was an NHL All-Star goaltender with the Montreal Canadiens and Team Canada '79 of that era.

To his credit, Dryden, while the professional athlete, was simultaneously obtaining his law degree from McGill University. For those of us who also played, coached and watched during that generation admitted that Dryden deserved the title as "the coolest man on ice". The pressure of playing in the world's greatest sports organization (Montreal Canadiens) and before the toughest fans in professional sports seemed to fuel the "fire in the belly" needed to be the best of the best in his field.

As we spring forward to the present and look to the future we're obligated to ask, "Who in the liberal party was the genius behind the Dryden capture?â"

Consider the potential the Dryden name brings to the table: He is respected and recognized across the western hemisphere by its powerful political players. His undergraduate degree in history from Cornell University, in upstate New York, was obtained at one of the great environmental universities in North America.

What Anglophone could better reach and understand the challenges presented to us in Quebec? By its people, its culture and the disaster a break in the confederation link would mean to the dominion if it was allowed to be broken. Dryden's has potentially powerful allies in the Quebec effort, if he needed them, in his former teammate and Quebec power broker Serge Savard. Savard is one of the most successful businessmen in the province and a leader of the province's influential arts and culture community.

Undoubtedly, there are other attributes this man among men will bring to the back bench in Ottawa, but how long will he be a "back-bencher"? He's never been a back-bencher in his life and don't expect him to be one in Ottawa.

Don't blink! This cream will rise to the top faster than Jean Chrétie's memory forgets the definition of scandal.

The questions about Dryden are obvious. Can Ken Dryden be his own man? Can he tackle the tough issues before Canada's future generations? Can he become a member of the liberal team or will he become the team's leader?

Canada's future requires immediate and microscopic political attention. Years of inertia and double-speak are dooming us. Most of tomorrow's problems were there yesterday. Most of today's problems are the same ones presented to the electorate before the elections of years gone-by. Why are we still addressing the same issues again today?

What is a politician anyway? A public servant or glorified member of the public dole? When was the last time your elected public servant served you? Or do you care?

It begs the question, why do we continue to elect impotent and shameful politicians who do little, say much, and accomplish less?

Our elected obvious leaders are under the influence! If we could only develop a believable truth test and administer it regularly we might be further ahead.

Unfortunately public servants are marionettes of the puppeteers of power. These influence peddlers can buy anyone for a price. Say it won't be so, Ken!

Wouldn't it be a joy to refer to a Canadian icon as our next environmental prime minister? Or, will we be obligated to heap him onto the same smoldering political compost heap in our legislative chambers at both the provincial and federal levels?

Let me introduce you to a few "four" letter "ists" words that must be removed from our political vocabulary and suggest they be added to our everyday accomplishment: Environmentalists, conversationalists, naturalists, activists, ecologists, and more.

So, Mr. Dryden, are you prepared to meet the challenge before our children and grandchildren's generations?

Let's start right here in New Brunswick. Why is your party encouraging the importation of toxic waste from the United States to the pristine area of the province called Belledune? To be incinerated? And where will the fallout fall? Are the people and eco-sensitive marshes and waters, wildlife and fish of the Acadian Peninsula expendable? How about he the Pedicodiac? Is the Riverview causeway/dam so vitally important to the selfish needs of the influence peddling residents of Lake Pedicodiac that its impact could be causing an international wildlife crisis? The dumping of Lake Pedecodiac waste into the Grande Anse of Shepody Bay may be destroying the sensitive feeding grounds of hundreds of thousands of migrating shorebirds.

What about applying existing environmental restrictive regulations to former political hacks who want to destroy a sensitive marsh and replace it with a tourist development plot in Cap Brule? There's plenty more, Ken! Plenty more!

When are we going to find a leader with enough intestinal fortitude to refill the depleting coffers of Environment Canada – and especially the wildlife research and protection areas instead of allowing them to shrink to extinction levels?

When can we count on you to step in and reverse the devastation being caused to our fishing industry, its people and the industries that matter so much to us here? Obviously, your colleagues in the party from our local ridings aren't capable of accomplishing a thing in that regard. And, apparently they don't want to either.

You made a choice, Ken. You have turned down your political sheets and you‘re about to climb into bed with ?. It won’t take us long to see who you choose as bed mates. Hopefully, your choice will be for life. To-date, the choices of other recent prime ministers have been the choices of death. To continue down that path only assures our grandchildren of no hope for a future.

Your leadership on the ice as a sports icon and soft spoken demeanor off the ice is now center stage. Can you star again? Or, will you be a tarnished memory in the history books of time?

The lineup is set, Ken, the metaphorical puck has been dropped, and this former pro hockey player and member of the same great traditional hockey family would like to literally walk you through each point of concern and introduce you to the real people these uncontested issues will and are affecting.

Before you decide on your bed fellows, Ken, give me a call (506-532-2121). Let's go dutch-treat so no one can ever say that an eco-activist was guilty of paying for something so obvious or being called an influence peddler.

"Shooting memories and preserving life" is my mantra, and I'd like to keep shooting, but the days remaining are growing shorter and shorter.

Best wishes, Mr. Dryden, and God's blessings on your newest and most promising high profile public servant role.

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: Articles
Posted by: bob

Huck Finn and I shared the same dreams. Huck realized his in and around Hannibal, Missouri, I realized mine and grew into manhood in Dorchester, New Brunswick, Canada; Buck’s Flats, Johnson’s Mills, the Cherry Burton Road, the flat iron and the town square were playgrounds, and nature and her creatures my playmates.

The responsibilities of adulthood, parenting, meeting career goals and surviving life in the fast lane temporarily interrupted my relationship with Mother Nature.

 

However, my maternal grandmother’s love of nature had proved infectious and returning to the cherished days of my youth was simply a matter of time.

Visits to local zoos, an occasional stroll down a paved big city bike path, or arguing over sun bathing rights on an overpopulated freshwater beach didn’t fill nature’s call. The Maritimes, my home, was beckoning and I needed to return where breathing deeply was healthy, drinking from a babbling brook was a way of life and PCB, in the swimming hole, stood for pretty cute blonde, not some cancer causing chemical.

 

Home was a place where we ate shad, tuna, haddock and halibut and my day at the beach was shared with feisty sea gulls, not thousands of human ants.

 

As retirement beckoned, I enthusiastically packed my camera gear and headed for an extended stay in the woods, along the beaches and in the salt marshes of the Tantramar and Beaubassin eco-systems of Fundy’s tidal shore.

The scent of the sea was magnetic. My anticipation mounted, as I navigated each bend in the road that brought me closer and closer to l’Acadie and the Acadian paradise I had left years before.

 

 

My naiveté and belief that time had stood still quickly faded as I ran the gauntlet between Riviere du Loup and Edmunston where even money says you will hit a moose as you drive through the forested gauntlet. The revitalized Trans Canada Highway was leading me into paradise lost and not the Shangri-La of my youth. What had happened to the home I once knew”?

Pulp plants along the St. John River had poisoned this magnificent estuary. The Miramichi was no longer the pride of salmon rivers, the Restigouche and Madapedia rivers are fading memories of great salmon and trout runs and the tidal bore needs a push to make it up the dammed Petitcodiac.

Voracious clear-cutters had systematically violated every virgin timber stand in the province; foreign interests are making it worthwhile to deplete our fishing resources. Greed has dried up our cod. The once plentiful shad no longer populate the Bay of Fundy. There is a moratorium on Halibut fishing and our haddock stocks are waning.

Our beloved lobster is threatened. Contaminated shell fish warnings dominate our sea coasts and most of our oysters have a government mandated thirty day de-contamination “clean-up” process they must meet before they are deemed eatable. We sell our mercury laced tuna to the Japanese and Americans, only to buy back the polluted behemoths in a processed form, in neatly wrapped lunch packs we feed to our school age children.

 

We have mastered the art of “roe-ing” the very future out of our herring schools. We squeeze their eggs into instant-freeze packs and send them of to the lucrative Asian market. However, as conscious stewards of our fishing resources, we quietly smoke and salt their shriveled lifeless remains and send them off to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, making us good stewards of a dying industry. What cannot be smoked, we sell to fish-processors who give us back fertilizer for our gardens.

We allow local and provincial governments to indiscriminately develop our coastlines while destroying their sensitive eco-systems, as we systematically dismantle funding resources for important environmental protection programs.

Why does it appear that Mother Nature finds herself in a constant battle with local politicians? Why is it that only a few of us are willing to reach out and take her by the hand and extricate her from the brink of ecological annihilation?

When I committed to conservation through photo-journalism eight years ago, I left behind a twenty-three career in professional sports and twelve years as a political activist in the United States. Apparently, my dream of becoming a retired, laid-back easy-going photographer is rapidly coming to a close. I had expected to create a homestead on the shores of Northumberland Strait at Cap Brule for my grandchildren with the hope that they would experience the same joys there that I had in Dorchester. Unfortunately, that may not happen if I do not get involved in the conservation and preservation challenges we are faced with here at home.

When I returned to the shores of Shepody Bay, my childhood playground, six summers ago, I cringed. The magnificent aerial displays of the million or so migrating semipalmated sandpipers that congregate there every from mid-July through August were gone. That number had dwindled to a quarter-million.

However, on the bluff overlooking Johnson’s Mills I had a providential and enlightening encounter with a diminutive leprechaun, from the offices of Environment Canada’s Wildlife Services bureau in Sackville.

Peter Hicklin was conducting his annual semipalmated sandpiper research along the shores of Buck’s Flats and the beaches I had patrolled as a boy. Being the opportunist I am, I moved alongside Hicklin and began listening for his impromptu comments….“I like that one,” he’d utter, to no one in particular. I quickly realized that “I like that one,” was a Hicklinism that meant take a picture, you fool! The aerial acrobatics provided by these feathered wonders was nothing less than special. To quote Hicklin, a veteran of twenty-five years of researching these birds, “This is the perfect day!”

Hicklin and I have spent countless hours discussing the future of shorebirds migrating through Atlantic Canada, and the stories are almost always the same….we, the private sector, must extend our helping hands to Mother Nature before it is too late!

The building of the causeway/dam in Riverview has deprived the regions around Dorchester Cape, Buck’s Flats, Johnson’s Mills, Daniel Flats and Mary’s Point of the abundant food reserves it has supplied millions of migrating semipalmated sandpipers in the past. Instead of a rich fertile feeding ground for migrating shorebirds the region is becoming a vast burial ground for the lipid rich Corophium (shrimp like invertebrates) living there in the chocolate colored sub-straits.

Since the process of flushing the lake behind the dam began, worthless silt has accumulated on the feeding grounds denying the birds access to the reserves needed to affect their lengthy 4,000 km, non-stop flight to their South American wintering grounds.

In 1950, as a boy of 14, I watched a million “peeps” swarm over the bay in their patented wing-tip to wing-tip acrobatic flight. By 2004 only 75,000 were on hand to carry-on the show.

Sad!

Sadder still is the knowledge that although New Brunswick hosts thirty-five species of migrating shorebirds on their way to and from their Artic breeding grounds each year their numbers are dropping precipitously.

Of the thirty-five species re-fueling on our shores, twenty-eight are in decline, thirteen are in significant decline and three are on the “species-at-risk” list. A recent scientific study reveled that the once abundant Red Knot will be EXTINCT by the year 2010.

The Red Knot has become a victim of uncontrolled over harvesting of the horseshoe crab in the Delaware Bay, off Cape May, New Jersey.

Members of Environment Canada’s Wildlife Services departments have allowed me to listen, learn and respond to nature’s call for help. As a result of their generous efforts I have been able to capture and share thousands of educational images that help educate the public to some of the pressing problems before us.

Over time I hope you enjoy our walk through nature and the insights I have to offer. My wish is for you and me to work together to effect an integral change in how we go about conserving and preserving our environments for future generations.

The subject matter available is unlimited. I look forward to drawing you out of your comfort zone with thought provoking insights that will require you to act. No fence sitters allowed.

I invite you to walk with me through the devastated wastelands left by clear-cutters acting with impunity or serious government oversight. Let me introduce you to the splendor of my new found paradise I call the Acadian Peninsula or the magnificence of the 36-foot high tides of the Bay of Fundy.

Come ride with me and my fishermen friends as we catch a wave, a boatload of fish and enjoy the cool morning sunrise under the Confederation Bridge between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Or walk with me along the tidal sand bars of my home along the Northumberland Strait and be mystified by the hundreds of shorebirds sharing the beach with us.

span>At day’s end I’d like to introduce you to the heavenly cuisine of Acadie and the people who know fish and how to prepare a succulent seafood meal that will leave you spoiled for all future fruits de mer.

However, there is a dark side and you’ll need to see it for yourself. I’ll ask you to join me in making a difference there and in your own “backyard.” I’ll show you how bureaucrats are not good for the environment, why enforcement of environmental and wildlife protection laws is virtually impossible within the labyrinth of red tape.

I’ll take you inside the local lobster industry and explain why it is in dire straits.

I’ll help you understand why saving the environment for our grandchildren is the most important commitment we can make for the future.

I am reminded of the days when coal miners, deep in the mine, hung a canary in a cage. As long as the canary sang, all was well. The moment the singing stopped or the bird died, everyone bailed out… they were next to go.

Welcome to my world! The “fat-lady” my still be singing…but the environmental canary maybe wailing its final song? Let’s make a difference!

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: Articles
Posted by: bob

New Brunswick is home to a small population of sparrow sized migratory shorebirds known as Piping Plovers. These annual visitors to the Acadian Peninsula region of Northern New Brunswick are considered, “Species-at-Risk.” In other words, they are on the verge of extinction. However, we the people, naturalists, environmentalists, tourists and local nature lovers, have within us the ability to STOP this precipitous decline if we choose to respond to their call.

I have patrolled these sensitive nesting areas for the past eight years and have enjoyed an intimate relationship with the birds and the beauty of their nesting habitat. Unfortunately, these sand and pebble colored residents of the beaches are so well camouflaged it works against them, especially when 4 x 4 vehicles or itinerant ATV riders roll over the nests and chicks who are comingled with the rocky seashore they choose as their temporary home.

The approximate global population of Piping Plovers consists of some 6,000 adults, of which approximately 2,000 are found along the coastline of Atlantic Canada.

Beginning in April, the Piping Plover arrives in New Brunswick from its southerly wintering grounds--Florida, North Carolina and the Bahamas.

They search for suitable nesting beaches that provide food, security and protection for their brood of chicks.

The prognosis for this species at risk may be improving. Studies and research conducted by the federal government (Environment Canada – Canadian Wildlife Service; Canadian Heritage – Parks Canada); provincial Department of Natural Resources and Energy; and non-government organizations such as the Piping Plover Project of the New Brunswick Federation of Naturalists and the Irving Eco-Centre – La Dune de Bouctouche—have begun to show a few positive signs.

But how do you define HOPE?

Is it governmental concern for the survival of the species? Is it finding adequate funding for more research and protection programs, encouraging volunteer groups to do the work the Federal and Provincial Governments cannot or will not, or, as some feel, all of the above?

Instead, HOPE can only be defined as a concerted effort by concerned citizens to step-up and do what we can with or without the cooperation of faceless bureaucrats in the nation’s capitol.

Legislative leaders and bureaucrats are so self absorbed with their own importance and survival that they have no clue of the world around them. As concerned citizens, can we wait for ineffective policies and unfunded programs to respond to matters of urgency? The simple answer is NO!

Government employees walk on egg shells when asked to help privately initiated programs. The standard bureaucratic response is “Please don’t make waves!” Job security comes first for a bureaucrat, and ruffled political feathers can make life in the bureaucracy a hell-hole for anyone who attempts to tell our public servants what is needed. So while bureaucrats kowtow to ineffective politicians, hope for the future of the Piping Plover dangles in the balance.

Why is the Piping Plover endangered?

The three main threats to the Piping Plover’s survival are: (1) habitat loss or degradation; (2) predation; and (3) human disturbance.

Habitat loss

Piping Plover nests and their off-spring have become victims of unpatrolled nesting beaches by uneducated users of vehicles, tourist foot traffic and unleashed dogs.

The quantity and quality of habitat available for nesting Piping Plovers has also decreased because of beach destabilization that has resulted from draining wetlands for subdivision and cottage development, public beach sites and other community park development programs. These disturbances physically alter the characteristics of the land adjacent to these sensitive beaches and make them unsuitable for nesting.

Beaches also become unsuitable from natural causes such as vegetation encroachment or erosion caused by ice scour and storms. These natural habitat losses normally would force Piping Plovers to relocate to new beach areas; however, with an increasing amount of coastal development, few habitats exist that allow plovers the option of finding suitable alternative nesting sites. As a result, Piping Plovers are often forced to nest in areas of sub-optimal habitat. The number of young produced in sub-optimal habitat is usually lower.

The obvious question is “does commercial expansion trump protecting of a wildlife species? The answer is not necessarily yes.

Predation

The eggs and young of Piping Plovers are vulnerable to several predators commonly found in these areas. The main predators of Piping Plover are crows, foxes and gulls, but raccoons, weasels, mink, owls, small birds of prey and even domestic and feral dogs and cats may kill adult birds and chicks or destroy eggs.

Agricultural and housing developments near nesting beaches can attract predator populations and increase the risk of nesting failure. Beaches with ineffective or insufficient litter management also tend to maintain unusually high predator populations and can lead to lower survival rates for young birds.

Human disturbance

Increased beach visitation by people, and unrestricted or supervised recreational vehicle use on beaches, poses a considerable threat to critical nesting habitat throughout the nesting area. New recreational equipment including all-terrain vehicles, personal watercraft, wind surfers and kayakers make it possible for humans to access areas that were once difficult to reach. Therefore, many formerly isolated nesting areas now receive an increasing amount of human traffic.

Off-road vehicles are especially problematic. Vehicles may crush eggs since the nests are well hidden in the sand and resemble small round pebbles. Vehicles create ruts in soft beach sand that make movement for small chicks difficult and, if sufficiently deep, may actually trap chicks so they cannot escape. Vehicles imbed seaweed in the sand so developing plovers cannot access their food often located there.

Studies have demonstrated that fewer chicks survive on beaches with heavy human disturbance. When Piping Plovers are disturbed, they spend a great deal of time and energy in trying to distract potential predators or in some other way of trying to protect their chicks. On very cool and very hot days, young plovers must be sheltered by the adults since downy chicks are unable to regulate their own body heat effectively. Since chicks must grow very rapidly in order to be able to fly within 25 days after they hatch, the chicks must spend their time continually feeding during favorable weather conditions in order to gain the necessary body weight. Research indicates that chicks that are unable to achieve a critical body weight by ten days of age do not survive.

What can you do to help?

  1. Learn more about Piping Plovers, the threats they face and educate others about responsible beach use in nesting areas.
  2. Contact an agency in your area working to protect the Piping Plover. You could become a Piping Plover guardian or help in some other way with the recovery of the species.
  3. Respect all areas with signs and fencing identifying them as sensitive wildlife areas or nesting areas. Move through the area quickly and adhere to the posted signs and observe the birds from a distance with binoculars or with a spotting scope.
  4. If you think a Piping Plover is nesting in an area you are visiting, do not try to find the nest or linger in the area. Report your findings to the local Wildlife Service.
  5. Always keep pets on a leash while you are on a beach with nesting Piping Plovers, or when young chicks are present.
  6. Never leave litter on a beach. This may attract potential predators to the area.
  7. Follow laws and regulations restricting the use of off-road vehicles in sensitive habitats. If you are unsure if vehicle restrictions are in effect, contact the nearest office of the Department of Natural Resources.

Make a difference:

    1. Help your political leaders develop a plan that restricts vehicles and pedestrians from accessing the nesting areas during breeding, incubation and chick development times.
    2. Become a volunteer and beach watcher in conjunction with a local conservation group.
    3. Educate friends and family about the need to protect sensitive nesting areas.


My friends and I would appreciate you help.

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: Articles
Posted by: bob

There’s a jump to his step, a glint in his eye and a non-ending stream of superlatives coming from his heart. If it weren’t for the fact Pete Hicklin is vintage Acadian Breyon” (according to the American Heritage dictionary; a subatomic particle with a mass equal to or greater than that of a proton, such as a nucleon), you might confuse the CWS (Canadian Wildlife Service) biologist with a leprechaun. Actually, Pete is a WW II concoction of an Edmonson New Brunswick miss and an Australian warrior.

 

The affable Hicklin introduced himself to me, on the “Perfect Day” in July 2000. I was standing on the edge of a bluff, overlooking the Grand Anse of Shepody Bay, and a little inlet known as Johnson’s Mills. I was intensely focused upon one of Mother Nature’s wonders, the synchronized “ballet-du-vol” of the semipalmated sandpipers.

As a child and adolescent growing-up on Buck’s Flats I had witnessed the spectacle many times, but never before had the program come with play-by-play commentary. Hicklin, the veteran bird biologist, had slipped in behind me, looked over my shoulder, saw the images appearing on the digital LCD on the back of my anon 1DS and began whispering in my ear, “I’d like that one and that one and that one is nice too.” “I hope you got it?” he’d say with a hint of anticipation, “it’s the perfect day you know. I’ve never seen anything so beautiful in my twenty-five years of researching these birds, anywhere,” Hicklin added. “A photographer’s dream,” I added.

 

The thing I liked most about Pete was his no pressure approach to getting what he wants.

Pete is an enterprising unleashed atom. If he needs it he asks and if you “get it” he’ll teach you how to share it. I applaud this approach considering the unfortunate federal budget reductions that has hampered the critical work of wildlife and conservation research scientists across North America for years.

I’ll address federal budget cuts in environmental protection in a future column but today’s focus is preserving this once thriving species of sandpiper and their sub-species now in decline.

Back in the mid and late fifties when my friends and I covered ourselves with the chocolate ooze of Bucks Flats in hopes of a sneak attack on a “peep” little did I know that the Dorchester Cape mud held the richest deposit of Corophium volutator (mud shrimp) in the world. The same little critters required by the “semis” to double their weight in preparation for their four day non-stop flight to their wintering grounds in South America.

When a hungry Peregrine Falcon, the semi’s natural enemy, swooped in for a meal, our swarm of thousands vanished and the show came to an abrupt end……for the day, but not our conversations on the future of his precious semis.

Hicklin and I have become good friends and comrades-in-arms since our first meeting that day on the bluff and he’s spent countless hours sharing stories, telling tales and providing insightful solutions to the problems being encountered by migrating shorebirds across our continent.

 

Pete’s Master’s Degree from Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada has served him well but his thirty-two years of service to his country and research of our environment has served us best. “I saw my first flock of roosting Semipalmated Sandpipers in the Bay of Fundy on July 26, 1974 and from that day forward I was hooked,” said Hicklin. Hicklin points out that since that time negative changes have taken place that need addressing. “The Maritimes Shorebird Surveys, in place since 1974, indicate that declines which began decades ago are continuing: for example, counts in the 1990s were lower than those in both the 1980s and 1970s. Not only did a number of species show statistically significant declines, but the proportion with negative changes was significantly higher than those with positive values,” Hicklin mused.

 

“Causes of declines in shorebird populations are difficult to pinpoint, if only because of the birds’ extensive migrations and their potential to be affected at many different stages of these annual migrations. Habitat loss, such as the infilling of wetlands in the 1960s and 1970s across North America and the conversion of natural grassland to agricultural land has been implicated in the declines of a number of temperate species. However, the impact of climate change on the birds’ breeding habitats and, consequently, the production of fledglings, for a number of species remain unclear,” Hicklin continued.

Hicklin was quick to point out problems with other species as well. “Since the 1970s, counts for adults of 6 species of shorebirds (Red Knot, Least Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Dunlin and Spotted Sandpiper) declined significantly. But overall, of 16 species censused on a regular basis, 13 showed negative population trends and only 3 showed positive values. The other species illustrating declining trends are: Black-bellied Plover, Ruddy Turnstone, American Golden Plover, Sanderling, Hudsonian Godwit, White-rumped Sandpiper and Pectoral Sandpiper. The three positive stories in Atlantic Canada are the Semipalmated Plover, Willet and Whimbrel, added Hicklin.

So where do we go from here and how do we become pro-active members of the broader community called “the protectors of future generations of migrating shorebirds”?

 

Over the past several years, national shorebird conservation plans in both Canada and the U.S. have been developed; The Canadian Shorebird Conservation Plan and the U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan. In Canada, regional shorebird conservation plans have also been developed in order to deliver on-the-ground shorebird conservation programs through partnerships between governments and non-government organizations. For example, over the last few years and in collaboration with the Canadian Wildlife Service, the efforts of Ducks Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy of Canada have resulted in securing important marshlands in the Maritimes and sandpiper roosting sites along the shores of the upper Bay of Fundy. These efforts will prove to be of great benefit to our migratory shorebirds over many years and generations, to come” stated Hicklin. “But there is still much to do!” Hicklin concluded.

Hicklin’s observations are critical components to a long range plan and goals intended to reverse the downward spiral of these beautiful creatures

One way the everyday photographer can assist in the protection and development of protected areas is to take the time to capture the good, the bad and the ugly and make it available to others on the web or the appropriate government offices. Once submitted we need to push for results that favor environmental protection, conservation of sensitive areas and species preservation.

Our efforts are not just about animals and animal welfare it’s about our survival as a human species-at-risk.

The semis will return to Johnson’s Mills and Mary’s Point again next year they’ll feed and fatten-up until they leave around mid-August. The first to arrive will be the females, followed by the males and then the juveniles, born in the arctic nesting grounds in summer. They’ll grow from 20 grams in weight to about 36-40 before heading south.

You’re invited to share these special days, to enjoy their aerial acrobatics and to watch one of the marvels of nature as it unfolds before your eyes. Learn from the experts on site, confine yourself to the viewing areas, keep your pets off the beach, educate a friend and make a commitment to solving the problems confronting the 13 species of declining shorebirds passing through the Atlantic flyway each spring and summer.

Maritimers are blessed with one of God’s great creations. The burden and responsibility for the survival of semipalmated sandpipers lies with us.

If we’re fortunate, life provides each of us opportunities to share the wonders that abound around us. I was fortunate to share one of those days with one of God’s special people and a friend. Thanks to Pete Hicklin and his unselfish colleagues at Environment Canada and Canadian Wildlife Service we may have the opportunity to enjoy another “Perfect Day” soon!

Pete is finishing his reports and writing his papers based upon his years of research and should have them completed within a year. After thirty-two years of dedicated service Pete has retired from service with the Canadian Government while he completes his passionate effort to tell us all of the wonders of these magnificent little creatures.

Once completed we’ll have the opportunity oif sharing his words of wisdom and guidance to us for the future preservation of not only Semipalmated sandpipers but all migrating shorebirds along the eastern coastline of North America.

Thanks Pete for all you have done!

Especially being the Perfect Mentor.

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: Articles
Posted by: bob

New Brunswick is home to a small population of sparrow sized migratory shorebirds known as Piping Plovers. These annual visitors to the Acadian Peninsula region of Northern New Brunswick are considered, “Species-at-Risk.” In other words, they are on the verge of extinction. However, we the people, naturalists, environmentalists, tourists and local nature lovers, have within us the ability to STOP this precipitous decline if we choose to respond to their call.
I have patrolled these sensitive nesting areas for the past eight years and have enjoyed an intimate relationship with the birds and the beauty of their nesting habitat. Unfortunately, these sand and pebble colored residents of the beaches are so well camouflaged it works against them, especially when 4 x 4 vehicles or itinerant ATV riders roll over the nests and chicks who are comingled with the rocky seashore they choose as their temporary home. 
The approximate global population of Piping Plovers consists of some 6,000 adults, of which approximately 2,000 are found along the coastline of Atlantic Canada. 
Beginning in April, the Piping Plover arrives in New Brunswick from its southerly wintering grounds--Florida, North Carolina and the Bahamas. 
They search for suitable nesting beaches that provide food, security and protection for their brood of chicks. 
The prognosis for this species at risk may be improving. Studies and research conducted by the federal government (Environment Canada – Canadian Wildlife Service; Canadian Heritage – Parks Canada); provincial Department of Natural Resources and Energy; and non-government organizations such as the Piping Plover Project of the New Brunswick Federation of Naturalists and the Irving Eco-Centre – La Dune de Bouctouche—have begun to show a few positive signs. 
But how do you define HOPE? 
Is it governmental concern for the survival of the species? Is it finding adequate funding for more research and protection programs, encouraging volunteer groups to do the work the Federal and Provincial Governments cannot or will not, or, as some feel, all of the above?
Instead, HOPE can only be defined as a concerted effort by concerned citizens to step-up and do what we can with or without the cooperation of faceless bureaucrats in the nation’s capitol. 
Legislative leaders and bureaucrats are so self absorbed with their own importance and survival that they have no clue of the world around them. As concerned citizens, can we wait for ineffective policies and unfunded programs to respond to matters of urgency? The simple answer is NO!
Government employees walk on egg shells when asked to help privately initiated programs. The standard bureaucratic response is “Please don’t make waves!” Job security comes first for a bureaucrat, and ruffled political feathers can make life in the bureaucracy a hell-hole for anyone who attempts to tell our public servants what is needed. So while bureaucrats kowtow to ineffective politicians, hope for the future of the Piping Plover dangles in the balance. 

Why is the Piping Plover endangered?

The three main threats to the Piping Plover’s survival are: (1) habitat loss or degradation; (2) predation; and (3) human disturbance. 

Habitat loss

    Piping Plover nests and their off-spring have become victims of unpatrolled nesting beaches by uneducated users of vehicles, tourist foot traffic and unleashed dogs. 
The quantity and quality of habitat available for nesting Piping Plovers has also decreased because of beach destabilization that has resulted from draining wetlands for subdivision and cottage development, public beach sites and other community park development programs. These disturbances physically alter the characteristics of the land adjacent to these sensitive beaches and make them unsuitable for nesting. 
Beaches also become unsuitable from natural causes such as vegetation encroachment or erosion caused by ice scour and storms. These natural habitat losses normally would force Piping Plovers to relocate to new beach areas; however, with an increasing amount of coastal development, few habitats exist that allow plovers the option of finding suitable alternative nesting sites. As a result, Piping Plovers are often forced to nest in areas of sub-optimal habitat. The number of young produced in sub-optimal habitat is usually lower.
The obvious question is “does commercial expansion trump protecting of a wildlife species? The answer is not necessarily yes. 

Predation

The eggs and young of Piping Plovers are vulnerable to several predators commonly found in these areas. The main predators of Piping Plover are crows, foxes and gulls, but raccoons, weasels, mink, owls, small birds of prey and even domestic and feral dogs and cats may kill adult birds and chicks or destroy eggs. 
Agricultural and housing developments near nesting beaches can attract predator populations and increase the risk of nesting failure. Beaches with ineffective or insufficient litter management also tend to maintain unusually high predator populations and can lead to lower survival rates for young birds.

Human disturbance

Increased beach visitation by people, and unrestricted or supervised recreational vehicle use on beaches, poses a considerable threat to critical nesting habitat throughout the nesting area. New recreational equipment including all-terrain vehicles, personal watercraft, wind surfers and kayakers make it possible for humans to access areas that were once difficult to reach. Therefore, many formerly isolated nesting areas now receive an increasing amount of human traffic.
Off-road vehicles are especially problematic. Vehicles may crush eggs since the nests are well hidden in the sand and resemble small round pebbles. Vehicles create ruts in soft beach sand that make movement for small chicks difficult and, if sufficiently deep, may actually trap chicks so they cannot escape. Vehicles imbed seaweed in the sand so developing plovers cannot access their food often located there. 
Studies have demonstrated that fewer chicks survive on beaches with heavy human disturbance. When Piping Plovers are disturbed, they spend a great deal of time and energy in trying to distract potential predators or in some other way of trying to protect their chicks. On very cool and very hot days, young plovers must be sheltered by the adults since downy chicks are unable to regulate their own body heat effectively. Since chicks must grow very rapidly in order to be able to fly within 25 days after they hatch, the chicks must spend their time continually feeding during favorable weather conditions in order to gain the necessary body weight. Research indicates that chicks that are unable to achieve a critical body weight by ten days of age do not survive. 

What can you do to help?

Learn more about Piping Plovers, the threats they face and educate others about responsible beach use in nesting areas.
Contact an agency in your area working to protect the Piping Plover. You could become a Piping Plover guardian or help in some other way with the recovery of the species.
Respect all areas with signs and fencing identifying them as sensitive wildlife areas or nesting areas. Move through the area quickly and adhere to the posted signs and observe the birds from a distance with binoculars or with a spotting scope. 
If you think a Piping Plover is nesting in an area you are visiting, do not try to find the nest or linger in the area. Report your findings to the local Wildlife Service. 
Always keep pets on a leash while you are on a beach with nesting Piping Plovers, or when young chicks are present.
Never leave litter on a beach. This may attract potential predators to the area.
Follow laws and regulations restricting the use of off-road vehicles in sensitive habitats. If you are unsure if vehicle restrictions are in effect, contact the nearest office of the Department of Natural Resources. 

Make a difference:
Help your political leaders develop a plan that restricts vehicles and pedestrians from accessing the nesting areas during breeding, incubation and chick development times.
Become a volunteer and beach watcher in conjunction with a local conservation group.
Educate friends and family about the need to protect sensitive nesting areas.

My friends and I would appreciate you help.

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 4, 2012
Category: Articles
Posted by: bob

"The Meaning Of the Bull's Eye" is intended to get all lovers of wildlife and hunters closer together in the control and harvesting of wildlife. The points advanced in this article are fair and just for both sides; animal and human. Comments are welcomed!"

Feb 16, 2012
Category: Reflections
Posted by: bob
birdsofafeather
You come from the city
To walk our beach
But do not know
Of what you seek.
 
birdsofafeather
You splash on the lotion
Thongs and a hat
Your bodies in motion
You’re off like a bat.
 
birdsofafeather
You look at the sand
The sea and the surf
And have nay a clue
Of our mother earth.
 
birdsofafeather
The whispering wind
Is deaf to your ear
And likewise the surf
That prowls without fear.
 
birdsofafeather
Glistening diamonds
Gifts from the Son
Dancing on wave tops
A million if one.

Why can’t you stop?
Just stand and stare
At life as it is
All around you there.

Our beach is alive
It bustles with life.
Each grain of sand
Has overcome strife.

So why not slow
To a moderate pace
And listen a while
In this sacred place?

We creatures here
Both big and small
Have found the meaning
Of it all.

This gift of space
We’ll gladly share
Our peaceful place
With love to spare.

So walk our beach
For now you know
The gift of life
We cherish so.
Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Feb 9, 2012
Category: Articles
Posted by: admin
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. In the fall of 2009 he was honored by the Montreal Canadiens when his name was included on the plaque in the Molson Center, home of the Canadiens, in Montreal, of the players who played for the greatest sports organization in the past 100 years. However, my grandfather was was more than an Acadian hero, he was 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 values. Thanks, Grampy!
Feb 9, 2012
Category: News
Posted by: admin
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. Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Oct 19, 2010
Category: Reflections
Posted by: bob

Men like me, wrinkled and free

See life through the eye of the fly rod.

We cast a few, then spit and chew,

And cuss the one we blew.


We tire fast with each missed cast

Then seek the dryer ground.

We seek a path to park our ass

And share the gaffes that make us laugh


Alone no more, each takes the floor

The tales do make us roar

We liars all, don’t keep a score

And simply call for more.


Our noses grow, our stories too

Our life now laughs galore.

But there we sit and sip our brew

For that’s what lying fishermen do.


We take a breath and tie a fly

And grab the rod once more

Before we go we spit and chew

Then off we go for more.



Our boots now dry we’re set to try

Another cast or two

We pinch a plug and tuck it snug

The juice will work for sure


Then off we go to spit and chew

And cuss the one we blew.

It matters not if what we caught

Is nothing but a dream.


It’s friends we have beside us now

Not salmon by the score

We’ve found the love within our life

That lifts our heads once more


And there again as worthy men,

We cast our fly up stream

We reached our dream in mid-stream

Young men we are once more.

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Aug 11, 2010
Category: Reflections
Posted by: bob

Gannet2

Gannet, oh gannet
What have you become?

Your neck is broken
Your diving is done.

You lay on the sand
Out in the sun

Once crystal clear eyes
Now only a glaze.

Oh, mighty bird
So free and so strong

You’ve wandered so far
Wandered so long

Being the compass
On our seas

The brightest star
For all to see.

Death is approaching
It’s coming in waves.

Gannet1 It’s coming will end
What’s left of your days.

The sun bleached sand
Is now your bed.

I’m here for you
I’ll lay your head

Upon my lap
Until you’re dead.

The tide’s come in
Now you are gone
And life without you
Will continue on.

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Jun 5, 2009
Category: Reflections
Posted by: bob

buggies_back

A bearded man in denim garb stands upon his throne

 

His flock of eight stand and wait, for him to sing his song.

 

buggies_back

“Team!” He chants into the wind, “Let’s bust some sod today!”

The mammoth beasts dig in their feet and strain against the weight.

 

buggies_back

Their golden manes and sculptured frames strain into the rain

They dance in step the traces stretch they plow off through the plain.

 

buggies_back

The preacher man then rests his flock six furlongs up the row

He stoops to pray upon the way the earth will shortly grow.

 

buggies_back

With head still bowed he speaks aloud, “The ground is wet today.”

His eyes then rise toward the skies he asks the Son to pray,

 

buggies_back

For warmer days, much drier days before the seeds he’ll lay

And soon a gentle southern breeze will warm, and dry by May.

 

buggies_back

“Team! He chants once again, “Move ‘em out, and bust some sod today!”

The mammoths raise their muscled necks and waltz on to and fro.

The bearded man all denim clad his sharp eyes watch below,

As yards and yards of rich black sod turn over row by row

 

He lifts his eyes up to the skies and thanks the God he knows

 

No matter what today will bring, not rain, nor wind, or snow

Can take away the joy he has for all he’ll ever know

An Amish life, a simple life, a peace they love to show.

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 9, 2009
Category: Reflections
Posted by: bob
fall_5900
Burning leaves, brilliant trees
Red and yellows mix together
Cider filled with autumn cheer
Fall is in the air.
 
fall_6210
Birds are looking to the sun
For clues on where to go
Morning songs no longer sung
Fall is in the air.
 
fall_8085
Scurrying squirrels, red and grey
Acorns on the tree
Swollen checks and scratching feet
Fall is in the air.
 
fall_1385
Apples scattered from their fall
Deer and bear share them all
Feasts aplenty will soon be gone
Fall is in the air.

 
fall_1718
Days grow short, nights grow long
Frost is everywhere.
Blackened skies, star-filled eyes
Fall is in the air.

 
fall_8445
Golden rays light amber stays
Your arms around me dear
We rest a while and share a smile
Fall is in the air.
 
fall_8554
We wake, we walk a quiet talk
We listen to our God above
Then thank Him for our gifts of love
Fall is in the air.
 
Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Mar 9, 2009
Category: Reflections
Posted by: bob

I sat alone in the warm morning sun,
And wondered aloud, "My God, what have we done?"
Where have they gone, the trees that I love?
They were here yesterday, but now there are none,
The Pine and the Spruce, the Maple and Oak,
The Walnut and rich land that held their deep root.

Dazed, I gazed at this wasteland of brush
And wept for the amputees dismembered, for what?
Some dead, others dying, some face down,
Their backs to the sun seeping into the ground.
Good soldiers once, straight, strong and true,

Sacrificed now for the gain of a few.

The boughs of trees, their arms outstretched,
Now corpses of clear-cuts, lest we forget.
No crosses, no green grass, no flowers in bloom,
Only death and destruction, the sweet smell of doom.
My lover the wind then whispered to me,
There are more dead and dying on down to the sea.

The big Cats came and did their deed,
They clawed and scratched and slashed her clean.
Mother Earth now stands defiled, ashamed, ruined, the Virgin’s Child.
God help me handle Her distress, where do I turn, whom can I call,
This mess, my friends, concerns us all.
To turn our backs, to turn away, we seal our fate and die today.

Her wounds keep filling day-by-day with ooze and goo that won’t go away.
West Nile, the curse, is growing here, fed by stagnant pools that cheer,
Evolving death brought this day on wings that sting and bite and prey.
And feasting maggots gather round, enjoying carrion newly found,
Beneath the ghosts fallen here, tall timbers once who had no fear,
For life was given from above when man and beast respected love.

ode1

Does anybody give a damn about tomorrow’s breaching dam?
The Cats are gone, they are not here, but so are creatures once revered.
Can we count on their return? God only knows what date and plan.
But this we know, for it is true, pesticides are killers too,
And pesticides we find them here, causing death to friends so dear.
How can humans now undo the shameful acts of the few?
We bow and cower to the power of the lobby and their might,
Will we stand like pillars all, or meekly crawl from fear and fright?
We call upon our leaders too, as public servants they work for you,
But greedy men now do the deeds, and will destroy our future seeds.
To be the Phoenix of fallen trees, we need God’s love so we can see,
A vision firm, a path sincere to right the wrongs abounding here.

As I sat in deep despair and wept for those abandoned here,
A mighty moose, now in rut, stumbled through this abject muck,
I watched him muse; he seemed confused, his homestead now removed!
His mighty head he would raise and cast an unbelieving gaze,
The bogs were gone, the willows too, and no sweet grass for him to woo
His young lass and others too, who’d give his life a chance brand new.

The massive creature tarried here, exchanged a glance and then a glare,
Who are you? Why are you here? Can’t you stop this madness clear?
I was ashamed, embarrassed too, and closed my eyes in hopes he knew,
My hands are tied, my tongue is too, I tried to tell him, but he knew,
I am a coward this is true, I am afraid to stand for you,
While men of power and of might, gleefully watch our tails in flight.

A tear welled in this David’s eye, and I too began to cry,
I cannot sit upon my throne, this stump that once was a home
To creatures both big and small and none of whom deserved to fall,
Victim to those who knew the deadly crime they were to do.
With Stihl and Velmont both brand new, they cut and sheared and stuck it to
This land of plenty we all knew that sang to us the whole day through.

It’s time we stopped this clear-cut wrong and seeded her with vibrant song.
Why not begin the sweet refrain by blocking roads to further gain.
Then let us take a tree or two and plant in rows a forest new,
And then in time we will hear the songs of birds caress our ears.
How can these men of greed defame our efforts to reverse their shame
For the dirty deeds they’ve done to feed the greed of fathers’ sons?

When man has set his corporate tact, there is no way to turn him back.
“I am the god of men today, so nature lovers you will pay,
From this land to corporate store, for Judas did his earthly chore.
I as god you may be sure, that man and beast forevermore,
Will abide by what I say, like politicians in my pay.
I trust you know, of this I’m sure, no hope but hell lies at your door.

ode2

And if you push and shove too far, you’ll end up like a child of rape.
I care not for the pleas of men, I pity lambs like you, my friend.
This earth is mine, it’s mine I say! I set the rules by which you play.
I never lose, the gold is great, the golden rules are those I make!
Count on me to rape this land and leave her barren like dessert sand,
Where winds will blow across the plain, cold and cutting, causing pain.”
I wakened from this dreadful dream, the sounds of terror, a shriek, a scream,
From miles away could it be another chainsaw ripping free through

A woodlot destined to go down to ground and die there too?
Another bomb, another day, the bastards hear no word I say.
Shame on them, shame on me, I’m sorry, Moose, for losing sight
Of your needs and of your plight, but count on me to stand and fight.

ode3

I will, I promise, rise above my selfish need to waste my love,
In sheltered tombs above the ground, where apathy and greed abound.
I understand I cannot flee from powers that would threaten me,
With time away and in a cell, they’d keep me in that man made hell.
But I will speak and make it clear they bring you death of which to fear,
A death to organs that you need, it’s not your fault, it is their greed.

They spray their crops with killer dew that leaves some dead, some dying too.
No chance have you to understand, don’t eat the food in this tall stand.
Pesticides we must beware are sprayed about without much care,
For human life or creatures too, and both of us are destined to
Succumb to toxins if we knew upon which plants we’d find this dew.
So man must stand in your stead, and stop the killing before you’re dead.

ode1

The day will come, we all agree, when seedling growth will be set free
To cover up and hide away the scars and remnants here today.
And who will know what we saw upon this battle field so raw?
Can we count on life brand new, free from those who said they knew?
Or will the future hold in store a fate as shameful as before?
Or must we make our stand today to prevent more rotting clay?

Mr. Moose, you know the drill to fight the fight, impose your will.
Thank you friend for your might to right the wrong, to meet the plight,
That reckless men have dumped upon you, the land and other pawns.
If only humans knew the truth, and took the time to stand with you,
And learn about your way of life, out here beyond their daily strife,
The two of us could guarantee, no more clear-cuts would there be.

ode5

Listen, Moose, it’s very clear, our word has spread so let us cheer,
That all mankind responds with fear to the mess created here.
Moose, it’s time to up the stakes and call upon the human race,
“Take a stand!” it’s very clear, we must defend our children dear,
All God’s children conceived in love, yours and mine, from above.
It’s time to be clear-cut too, rigid pillars reborn, renewed.

We men of might have arrived to end their plight, we’ll stand and fight.
We sing our song for creatures here, a haven for them free from fear.
Where man and beast are free at last to share the love in nature’s grasp.
Where what we hear is on the wing, brought to us by winds that sing.
Through the leaves, free from sin and stands of giants, limb to limb.
We pray to you this simple prayer, “Can you leave our Virgin fair, undefiled like Her Child?
And leave us here in His domain, where He will reign and end all pain?

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Category: sports
Posted by: bob

   When I was twelve years old…I was discovered! I was on a hockey rink doing what all healthy twelve year olds do in winter in the north, playing hockey. However, unknown to me, I was being observed by the trained eyes of a scout with the Montreal Canadiens organization. My life was about to be changed forever!

      Hockey was a game, my friends and I played on the frozen streets, ponds and open air rinks where a warming shack with a wood burning stove saved us from frostbite and a hot chocolate for a nickel gave us the strength to play all day in below zero temperatures. Most of all we were having fun doing what we would eventually do for pay. 

      Fifty years later, an energetic group of sweatshirt clad middle aged dads and moms with their children in tow, have brought the game back to its roots, at the  “Hockey Night in Cadillac”   Pee Wee “B” classic in the northern Michigan community of Cadillac.

      In mid-March kids from across the State of Michigan gather with their fathers and mothers to showcase their talents; committed athletes and devotees to the world’s most challenging game, ice hockey.

      Pee Wee “B” kids aren’t heading for college on a scholarship or major junior hockey stardom in a few years, nor are their parents obnoxious and devoid of manners.  Unlike the AAA Pee Wee travel teams this tournament is structured as a reward for families who have made the commitment to their child’s passion to skate, learn fundamentals and participate in sports to the degree that they are able. As a member of a team, competing in friendly games, acquiring physical and social skills, participate in youthful interaction and growing as a healthy contributors to society is the sole motivation these kids, parents and coaches have.

      The Petoskey Penguins, Southwest Michigan Freeze, Cadillac Vikings and KOHA Flames are unlikely names of future Stanley Cup champions, but you’d never know it by the intensity of play they exhibited over the three day weekend in the tiny Northern Michigan community. As a former professional player and coach I had a vested interest in the games, not as a scout for my alma mater the Canadiens but in my grandson and his dad who were taking part in the activities at the St. Patties Day Hockey Tournament taking place at the rickety hockey barn they call The Wexford County Civic Center.

      Hockey barns and open air sheets of ice are my choice of venues for all youth hockey games. Kids would appreciate the toughness they develop skating against the wind while freezing their cheeks as they make their moves while trying to avoid a center ice check or completing that finesse move upon reaching the goal.

      There were no complaints in Cadillac, only accolades from parents, spectators and kids alike for the volunteers who devoted their weekend to the best of all tournaments I have had the pleasure of attending.

      The rules were simple and straight forward, go play hockey and have a good time. Don’t worry about mistakes, you will make them, don’t worry about goals for and against, there will be both, don’t worry about the officiating, they’ll make mistakes too, but like you, they’ll be honest ones, and for goodness sake have fun and be a good team player.

      Cadillac Youth Hockey knows how to throw a party, eh, tournament--opening ceremonies where all kids and coaches get introduced. Who needs the “Joe,” (Joe Louis Arena-Detroit) when you get the same treatment in Wexford County Civic Center?  All parents shared in the applause for their team and every other parent’s team as well.

      Who needs a million dollar organ when you salute the flag as the arena sound system blares the National Anthem from a worn-out cassette tape that does the job; honoring our country.

      Each coach gets a key to his dressing room, but never locks the door?  No need here.  We’re all here for the same reason.  Many down state rinks need fulltime security policing the halls to protect against thefts and vandalism, but in Northern Michigan they don’t even lock their doors at night.

      There are five minute 4 vs 4 overtime periods and if still tied then another 5 minute 3 vs 3. They’re all sudden death, and with these kids a parent’s heart is sure to go into a-fib at one time or another.  You just never know at this level, and that’s what makes the experience so rewarding!

      James Whelan, CAHA President, said it best in his open letter to the attendees: “As President of the Cadillac Area Hockey Association, I would like to welcome you to our tournament. We will do everything possible to assure you have a pleasant experience here.” Jim, pleasant experience was an understatement; it was the way the game should be played and the way parents and gracious volunteers make the greatest game greater. To you, your association and all the volunteers who made us feel welcome; I say thanks from one grandfather who has never enjoyed hockey more than at the St. Patties Day Tournament in Cadillac Michigan.

      America, maybe the rest of us should consider bringing the “Hockey Night in Cadillac” experience to a rickety barn near our communities. Old-time hockey is not dead it’s just dormant, waiting for someone who understands the essence of the game to awaken another “Hockey Night in Cadillac” adventure. Even rickety old barns have a front row place in the age of modern technology.

      Who won? No one cared…A good time was had by all!

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Category: environment
Posted by: bob

It was a blessing for me to spend a lot of my time with my grandparents on the east coast of Canada. Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux

Category: environment
Posted by: bob

The ground shook under the motor home as Jack and I slept on the shores of Lake Yellowstone. We awakened to the brief and gentle rocking and rolling of the RV, looked at the clock, and realized we were locked in the dark before the dawn.

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux

Category: environment
Posted by: bob

I believe in bio-fuels and their use as gas for our vehicles in the future; however, I do not believe in corn based products and the impact on our economy, world health and developmental costs.

Where’s the logic in turning food into fuel when it could be used to feed starving families at home and across the world?

I was parked in a farmers’ field in Kansas a year or so ago creating images in America’s heartland when the giant John Deere pulled up beside me and a jovial old-timer climbed down from his lofty cab and welcomed me to the land of Dorothy and Toto.

We leaned against the oversized tires, he chewing on a straw and me squinting into the blinding sun discussing the state of the country and his future as a Kansas farmer.

He enlightened me about a number of scary facts that need to be shared with you the American buying public and tax payers. “How we doing,” I asked. “Not that well,” he responded. “No kids to take over the farm, no farmers left to run them and corporations moving in taking them over by the ton,” he offered.

I asked him to explain and by the time he was done I had decided it was time for me to begin pinching my pennies and saving as much cash as I could for the rainy days ahead. “I’m 74 years old and me and my brother run over 1,000 acres of land ourselves. The kids don’t want to stay here and work hard; they’d rather move to the big city (Kansas City) and work in computers, retail or banking where they make big money, the easy way,” he offered.

So what can we expect for the future, I asked? “You will see our family’s farms being sold to big corporations for a song, because none of our kids want to inherit them. They’d like the money but what can you get for something nobody wants to buy unless you sell it cheap to a big company with lots of money and time to wait you out,” he said forlornly.

I asked him if he and his brother were able to make a good living as wheat and soy bean farmers on the Great Plains. “We do OK but not as well as the fellows who sold their souls to the ethanol companies who have offered our friends an opportunity to earn mega bucks if they’ll grow genetically altered corn for the production of fuel,” he said.

I wondered how much of the crops in the area were committed to the growing of ethanol corn. “Most of it is now and only our 1,000 acres are growing feed and retail corn for human consumption,” he offered.

Is there a significant difference in the return to farmers between ethanol and human consumption corn, I asked. “The ethanol guys are making a killing now because the price they are getting for ethanol corn is considerably more than what we get. We could have bought into that offer as well, but we are old-time guys and believe we should grow corn for food and not for gasoline,” he concluded.

We continued our conversation for the better part of the next hour and no one seemed to be in a rush to go anywhere or do anything at that point. It was like old days for me, sitting around with the boys chewing the fat and doing each other one better with a yarn or two. However, my new friend wasn’t stringing any yarns; he was lamenting the coming of the new dawn in farming and food supply.

British Petroleum (BP) has made a concerted effort to enter the ethanol and bio-fuel arena and putting their money where their mouth is. Their most recent venture in cooperation with the Verenium Corporation will be established in Florida. The new plant will produce twenty-five times more bio-fuels than their pilot project in Mermentau, LA.

BP was thrown out of Russia recently when the Soviets decided to nationalize the company’s oil and gas resources. BP has invested $125 million in Verenium and will assume a 55% stake in the project as well.

So why should we care?

While American ethanol producers are paying exorbitant prices and starving the world of valuable resources for the hungry masses BP has realized that sugar is a better option for the cost effective production of ethanol. First, it will allow for the continued production of human consumption corn to be grown and turned into a life saving resource; second, corn ethanol is extremely expensive to produce and refine; third, corn ethanol is excessively corrosive and cannot be transported in normal tank rail or big rig tank cars; fourth, sugar is economical and very affordable; fifth, sugar is in abundance when imported from Brazil; sixth, sugar ethanol is virtually non-corrosive and can be transported in shipping containers like most fuels; seventh, the Congress must remove the protection they have imposed on the import of sugar from South America. However, the sugar beet growers of the USA will have to wave their strong lobby against the importation of sugar.

Can you imagine that: A lobbying group representing the American Sugar Beet industry has been holding up the importation of cheap sugar for fuel, starving and killing humans worldwide and all because of their hubris and greed.

Will it ever end?

Next time you hear a government bureaucrat talk about world hunger or ethanol, remember the corrupt sugar beet industry, lives they have cost and how much money they have forced you to doll out in additional taxes while they stuff their pockets with earmarks.

I am tired of paying for the corruption going on in Washington and the hypocrisy of the green generation—whackos! You?

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Category: News
Posted by: bob

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

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Category: political
Posted by: bob
The best news I read this month was the United States was part of an economic boom this year; over 4 million new babies had been born an increase over previous years. However, the census bureau had to spoil my day by stating that 40% were to unwed mothers. Where were the fathers, or should I ask, Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Category: political
Posted by: bob
When all is said and done one word identifies the problems in America today: GREED! The Obama gang is up to no good and leading our nation down a path of destruction and into the arms of a waiting George Soros. Soros is one of the most nefarious individuals I have come to learn about in the past 30 years as I have worked within the various government bureaucracies at the state and national levels. I won Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Category: political
Posted by: bob
If there are images in this attachment, they will not be displayed. Download the original attachment BLOGS DRAFT: POLITICAL FEBRUARY 15, 2009: Chuck Schumer is either a fool or a deceitful crook masquerading as a United States Senator. Recently he had the audacity to make the following statement: Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Category: environment
Posted by: bob
At a recent exhibition of the Ferrin Collection, a collector of my work asked, Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Category: environment
Posted by: bob
Summer has finally arrived Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Category: environment
Posted by: bob
N.Y.Times, 2/20/09: Arkansas; The State Senate, God bless them, has banned abortion (partial-birth) in layman Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Category: environment
Posted by: bob
Happy Valentine Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Category: political
Posted by: bob
Want to help the economy and save the economy of the country? You have to make a tough decision, however, save trees or save our moral backbone in some of the toughest markets in America. This month alone, The L.A. Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, are up for sale. The Gannett Co., publisher of the nation Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Category: sports
Posted by: bob
I was sitting on the fifth floor balcony of my condo in the panhandle of Florida, soaking up the sun and watching the dolphins frolicking a few feet off shore having a feed of succulent bait fish in the surf. The sun was energizing my aging body with a full dose of vitamin D while I relaxed with the local Sunday paper. Below the fold on the front page of the sports section was a headline, Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Category: sports
Posted by: bob
Have we finally reached the lowest point imaginable in youth sports? If a recent report in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal is correct, we have, and the actions of the owner of an ice rink complex in Kalamazoo, Michigan are an example of perverse attacks on children. According to the Journal, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in California has determined that we have. The law passed by the California legislature and signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, in 2005 never took effect. The original lawsuit claimed that the sale or rental of violent video games to children, 18 years and younger, violated the minors Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Category: sports
Posted by: bob

Having spent 23 years in the professional sports business as a player, coach, general manager and league commissioner I feel confident that my insights, opinions and predictions are sound and conclusive. I encourage you to comment on my views and to debate all or part of the content of the blog, and to offer a counter opinion. I welcome your feedback.

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Category: environment
Posted by: bob

On the Reflections Page on my site there is a poem which I wrote a few years ago, “Ode to a Clear-Cut.” I invite you to read it and contemplate after you finish today’s blog.

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux

Category: environment
Posted by: bob

It doesn’t get any better than this! It’s minus 10c, the wind is calm, and the sky is clear. Its 2:00 AM on this brisk February morning and the full moon casts its eerie shadows across the open area of my backyard called the “studio”. I’m sitting perfectly still, in my photo-blind, alongside the cold dark creek that runs beneath the tips of my toes. I’m warm although cold as anticipation of what’s to come; burns inside me.

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux

Category: Articles
Posted by: bob

Published Mascaret, Moncton, N.B.

Conservation is a fascinating word. Obviously its root comes from the word conserve, to save, to preserve, to protect from and to prohibit evil from negatively impacting the subject. Conservation however, is a complex word wrought with dichotomies.

To members of Nature Conservancy, it means protecting habitat so that birds and other forms of wildlife will always have a sanctuary to which they can retreat, stopover or next upon.

To members of Ducks Unlimited it means marshy land with plenty of nutrients for migrating ducks who can stop, fill up, replenish their depleted reserves before moving on to their wintering grounds in the south and where hunters can “harvest” a quota, a bounty, or an excess of migratory fowl.

For a biologist, whose primary focus is the protection and conservation of a species, the harvesting of a few samples of captured birds may be justified so that extensive research can be done to determine their prognosis for the future.

For an absolutist, conservation means no research, no harvesting and allowing nature to take its course without human interference.

To a pro-lifer, it means conserving and protecting the life of the unborn, human or animal.

To a pro-abortionist, it means harvesting the human life for the preservation of the environmental habitat so that over population does not take place.

To a pro-choicer, it means allowing the individuals in question the opportunity to make a free will choice as to whether to harvest or allow to be born, the product of their union.

To a hunter, conservation means protecting the land and habitat where harvesting can take place through any number of means, shotguns, rifles, pistols, arrows, muskets or snares.

To a photographer, conservation means shooting memories while preserving life.

As a realist in the world of conservation, the ideologies that may have driven me decades ago have been modified so that today, cynicism is the determining factor by which many of my decisions are made. I have no problem with hunters harvesting members of the animal population as long as it is done within the law as prescribed by the bureaucrats and politicians who can see the seasons. I have no problem with researchers sacrificing the lives of a specific number of subjects needed to do evaluations to determine the present status and potential future status of the species. My preference however, is to allow nature to take its natural course and to preserve all life, human and animal regardless. Once conception has taken place, then it is the obligation of the natural law to determine the ultimate success or failure of the product on the union. In my travels and associations with hunters, it never ceases to amaze me when I watch as products of their interest are knocked from the sky, filled with lead, mortally wounded or tearing through a thicket with an embedded arrow, never to be found, but knowing that ultimately their wounds will cause their death. There is no harvest here, only death and destruction of the species in the most inhumane way.

It never ceases to amaze me how a goose or another member of the waterfowl family can be knocked from the sky with a wide pattern of buckshot, suffering from a broken wing, a perforated eye or a concussion only to have that species delivered to the hunter by a soft mouthed dog so that subtly and sometimes not so subtly the creatures neck can be broken to justify the harvest and to put the creature out of its misery.

Conservation, human or animal is a complex procedure in today’s society. Billions of dollars have been raised to conserve land that affords protection for wildlife so that the avid outdoorsman and hunting enthusiast has a geographical domain upon which life can be taken and justified. So often the same protectors of creature habitat are in favor of removing all protection from unborn human life. It is also interesting to listen to the argument about freedom of choice and freedom of speech. To oppose freedom of choice is insensitive, mean spirited and cruel. To oppose protection of habitat and the creature comforts required by wildlife is also looked upon as being cruel, mean spirited and unacceptable. Obviously it depends on whose ox is being gored.

In the wonderful world of nature that we live in, and this planet that we see slipping away, I for one choose the following solution:

Let us let life live, born and unborn, human or animal

Let us as humans control the drives that result in consequences some might call negative, that we choose because of our selfishness to terminate.

Let us continue to preserve and conserve territory where our animals, where teachers of nature can thrive, procreate, raise their young and flourish. And if we are to harvest these creatures of nature then let us do it in a way that is truly humane.

Let us change the laws and mandate that hunters must hunt as the creatures they are hunting hunt. That we must stalk in the open and pit our human intelligence against their animal instincts. That we must kill with single shot the object of our pursuit. That if we are not able to accomplish our objective and that we are found out, then we must pay a penalty, a monetary penalty and possibly a civil penalty (loss of license for an indeterminate period of time). Let us require that all those who would harvest be required to go through stalking training like our aboriginal forefathers used to provide for their families. Let us determine what the replacement price is for each subject harvested and have an add on replacement surcharge for each subject harvested, the cost being over and above the purchase price of a license. This surcharge per subject will replace the reduction in funds that has taken place over the past few years by budget constraints at the Federal and Provincial levels. Let us also hire enforcement officers who will police those areas most important to the survival of the species so that laws, presently in place, restricting access at critical times by unscrupulous individuals who endanger the lives of habitat users, can be dealt with legally and criminally and civilly. Let us empower our neighbors to submit those names and license plate numbers of our neighbors who would indiscriminately destroy habitat or creatures willfully and maliciously by violating existing laws. Let us not only impose severe financial penalties on these violators but also more importantly require that they attend educational programs and perform extensive community service to make amends for their illegal activity. Let us also encourage more donors to give generously of their properties to conservation organizations so that they will be encouraged by the government to do so and in return receive far greater tax benefits while living and protect their estates once they are dead. One final thought…let us impose sanctions upon companies whose trash is found scattered helter skelter in our preserves, sanctuaries and natural habitats. Let us add a new dimension to recycling: for every time we find a Tim Horton’s coffee cup in the deep woods, along the shoreline or floating on the surface of one of our bays let us collect it and return it to a distribution center where our bureaucracy then issues TH with a standard fine for clean up and to those human pigs who enjoy littering, discarding and cluttering our natural habitats with their biological or man made waste products, who are found out, once again, let us have them not only pay for the cleanup but be required to go through extensive training on why carrying out what you carry in is good policy. Not only will we educate our adult population but also roll models will be established that will positively impact the youth of our nation. Corporations, whether Tim Horton’s, Irving Oil, Irving Paper or others will take it upon themselves, voluntarily, to begin an extensive educational program throughout their region that will encourage users of their products to recycle rather than discard the no longer significant containers. As we develop an appreciation for ourselves first, a love for the beauty of nature, an appreciation for the cleanliness of our environment, an awareness that a little energy goes a long way to protecting habitats, we may then simplify the definition of conservation and include once again, the conservation, preservation and protection of all life, human and animal and become true photographers who shoot memories while preserving life.

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Category: Articles
Posted by: bob

Published Mascaret, Moncton, N.B.

As human beings we were provided providentially with a characteristic called “freewill”. So why is it that so many of us avoid the logic potential associated with “freewill” and allow it to be pushed aside by supreme ego.

Eco tourism is a gift. A prosperous blending of Mother Nature’s gifts and our ability to translate the natural into financial success. For whatever reason I have found that common sense is not so common. It took 5 years from conception to the opening of the Ecological Park in Lameque…… a dream of naturalists and conservationists, an opportunity for mankind to commune with hundreds of species of plants, insects, birds and wildlife. So why did it take so long. Why after 25 years is an ecological project of significant magnitude still nothing more than idle chatter by the village council in Dorchester. Successful eco tourism is hampered by a three-letter word…ego. Logic would tell us that a collective set of intelligent beings could in short order conclude that a plan put in place and in motion to protect wildlife and their habitat is best done sooner rather than later.

The Ecological Park at Lameque is now in its 3rd year of operation and I cordially invite readers to make the 3-hour trek to this quaint corner of New Brunswick. Not only is the Park itself worth the visit and a guided tour, but the culture of our Acadian brothers and sisters is a must see and do interactive opportunity. Photo opportunities are vast, the seafood is fresh, the aquarium at Shippigan is a must, the Acadian Village in Caraquet is an absolute ……and dropping in on Canada’s Rockwell…Donald McGraw at his gallery in Pokemouche is mandated.

The Acadian Peninsula is a collection of villages and towns along the Bay of Chaleur, Northumberland Strait and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Wholesome people with big dreams who have risen to meet the challenge presented to them by what they have on their doorstep…gifts from Mother Nature. But, like Dorchester at Johnson’s Mills, nothing comes easy. The Acadian Peninsula is a treasure. It is unknown to most, including the residents as the last identified migratory shorebird stop over point in North America. Thirty-three (33) species of migratory shorebirds make their way north and south at various times during the year. From magnificent breeding plumage to recently fledged chicks heading back, the 33 species can be observed at different locations and different times across the Acadian Peninsula from early May through mid-October.

Dorchester has a treasure also. During a six week period, from mid July to the end of August, the heaviest concentration of south bound semipalmated sandpipers, semipalmated plovers and a host of other migrating shorebirds stop in at Bucks Flats and Johnson’s Mills, five miles from the village center of Dorchester. They gorge themselves on the Corophium, better known as mud shrimp, double their weight and then soar into flight on their 4500 mile, nonstop flight to South America and their winter grounds. A few curious bird lovers have experienced the incredible aerobatic displays, provided by thousands of these sparrow sized birds as they deke and dive as they search the mud flats for their long distance fuel reserves.

Nature Conservancy of Canada is buying up a lot of the shore property now. They have a small interpretive Center and yet Dorchester has done very little outside of its back woods attempt at a Sandpiper Festival to capitalize on the extreme potential to educate vast numbers of north Americas population and to reap the financial rewards that come with controlled eco tourism.

It is becoming apparent that the innate logic that we are born with as humans is not necessarily applied when two or more are gathered in the name of conservation. Unfortunately, when groups of naturalist, bird lovers, environmentalists and conservationists get together around a table to discuss the best way to educate, protect, preserve and enjoy nature and its inhabitants, the dreadful disease of inertia has a tendency to take over the process. Inertia, the Siamese twin of ego; brought on by a severe case of “if it isn’t done my way, it’s not going to get done” is a doomsday scenario.

The Semipalmated sandpipers of my childhood (mid-fifties) numbered around a million. By 2004 that number had dropped to approximately 78,000 according to Canadian Wildlife biologists.

The inertia plagued brain-trusts in my maternal home of Dorchester could help these birds but a few “big fish in small ponds” are unable to commit to a broadened effort to develop the region as an eco tourism educational and research center. Maybe the Dorchester town council should take the drive north to Lameque and see how it can be done. Learning is the first step to saving a dying breed of migratory shorebird.

Does anyone in Dorchester have any common sense?

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Category: Articles
Posted by: bob

Published in Come on In!, Moncton, N.B.

I was shocked! Shocked I say! So much so that I had to pull my “gas guzzling” pick-up truck to the side of the highway so I could wipe the tears from my eyes. I was overcome by the news alert I had just heard blaring over my radio. Occupants of passing cars must have wondered why the Santa look alike in the foreign vehicle was in hysterics.
“News Alert,” the voice on the radio blurted out, “United States President, George W. Bush has just acknowledged that Global Warming exists!” shouted the excited reporter. “However, China has resisted reductions in emissions, arguing that it is still a developing country and needs to balance environmental improvements while maintaining economic growth,” the reported continued. “The Group of 8 Summit, in Germany, has just awarded poorer nations around the world, $350 million if they will curb their irresponsible deforestation programs,” he went on. “Hostess of the Summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, herself a physicist, assured the Group of 8 attendees that British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had already made a conditional pledge to support world wide emissions controls,” concluded the reporter. “We now return you to our regular schedule of programs,” said the deep baritone voice buried deep inside the dashboard of my car.
Just imagine, we have arrived at the year 2007 and the world is awakening to the fact that their might be a problem on planet earth.
The Group of 8, or maybe they should be called the Group of the Naïve, are the most industrialized nations in the world; (Canada, United States, Russia, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Italy and France) and together they are responsible for the majority of the world’s air pollution… until now!
While President Bush won’t endorse the Kyoto Accord on carbon emission controls, he proudly informed the Summit attendees that American industry has been instructed to “voluntarily” reduce carbon and chemical emissions into the atmosphere. However, in the interest of truth and fairness, G.W. is not the only cowboy wearing a black-hat while minimizing the crisis confronting God’s Green Earth.
Scientists have determined that by the year 2020, the newest major player in our booming global economy, China, will use four times more coal than the U.S. and dwarf the United States carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Apparently, the hundreds of millions of oppressed worker bees in China’s slave labour pool need more power to fuel their less adequate manufacturing machines.
A recent study disclosed that China is opening two new coal burning energy plants a week to meet these needs. Unfortunately, for us, it does not appear that any world leader has the gallstones to demand that China consider the impact of its projected pollution emissions. And why should it? No one else is taking the issue seriously.
As a matter of fact, my fellow Canadians, we are not without shame! "Canada is the homeland of the world’s worst polluter!"
According to a recent study of the world’s leading industrial nations, the by-products from the oil sands being processed at Fort McMurray, Alberta are the single biggest polluter in the world. Ouch!
The Group of 8 has determined that growing Third World economies like India, Korea, Brazil, and especially the Congo and the island of Madagascar should be awarded huge amounts of money “IF” they will refrain from their massive deforestation programs. The latter two are using clear-cutting (like our logging companies in New Brunswick do) and massive burning programs to eliminate millions of acres of once virgin timberland. The fall-out from these massive deforestation programs (burning) and fossil fuel burning energy plants are carried on trans-global winds eventually ending-up on and in the pristine shores and waterways of New Brunswick.
I was recently babysitting two of my six grandchildren, at their home in Hollywood, California and was surprised to learn that most of the pollution and smog in the area is not a product of the daily bumper to bumper traffic and the millions of cars travelling the roads and freeways of Southern California but Asian pollution collecting on the western edge of the coastal mountain ranges along the pacific coastline from Mexico to Alaska. Ultimately, this poison laden concoction ends-up being deposited in the pristine waterways in New Brunswick. This condition is compounded by our own lack of respect for the environment and our contribution to the growing problem called Global Warming. Melting Ice Caps, rising water temperatures (3 degrees higher in Caraquet Bay in 2006 over 2005), rising sea levels, expanding ozone holes over the poles, and waterways filled with PCB’s and other carcinogens are a recipe for disaster.
Once again we are confronted with the age old question; “What do we do now?” First, we must become pro-active! We must stop pointing the finger of blame at others and accept responsibility for our own lack of attention to the problem. When I was a lad I was reminded that every time I pointed the finger of blame at someone else I had three fingers pointing back at me. I was also reminded that my idealism was somewhat naïve and regardless of how hard I tried I would not change the world BUT I could have an impact on my little corner of it if I chose to embark on the adventure. Making this choice is the most difficult of any you will make in your lifetime. It requires you to become informed and once you possess the knowledge you are required to act upon it.
Therefore, let’s begin with an introspective look at our province and how we can become pro-active contributors of change. Why can’t we become a model for the rest of Canada? North America? The world? If we, collectively and comprehensively, resolve our own problems we become a united body of concerned and unselfish citizens in our corner of the universe.
Starting at home what do we intend to do with: Energy New Brunswick’s Belledune power plant ( 3.2 megatons green house gas emitter [GHG] per year), and other provincial polluters; The Irving Oil refinery in St. John (3.3 megatons of GHG); the Coleson Cove power plant (2.9 megatons); and the Dalhousie power plant (1.6 megatons). Three of these polluters are answerable to the Premier through his surrogate Energy New Brunswick. Therefore we must ask the question, “What will the Graham Government do to clean-up its own house as an example of stewardship for the rest of us?”
David Coon, head of the New Brunswick Conservation Council applauds Premier Graham’s efforts to correct the pollution problem in New Brunswick. However, I question Coon’s support of the Government’s use of a band aide to cover a major wound oozing enormous amounts of polluted puss.
Let me present my idea of a pro-active Global Warming Reduction Plan:
  1. Why don’t we leave everything just as it is? For now! Let the government freeze all emission levels and emission producers; no more no less, for a period of time.
  2. Let us start over and do it right this time! If we do not we will continue spinning our political wheels with tainted decision makers in control. We don’t need anymore grey murky water; we need a clear and present strategy, drafted by a comprehensive and coordinated planning commission that represents all affected parties, including you and me.
  3. Let’s focus our efforts on a long term strategy to eliminate most of the pollution, create and mandate new and cleaner modes of producing energy, implement and enforce a rigid air quality standards grid for industry and consumers, and initiate a thorough clean-up plan that will remove and destroy the remnants of the problems that are with us today.
The first question any logical human would ask is “How much will it cost?” The answer is a relatively simple one: “How much are we willing to pay for life?”
If the Provincial and Federal governments were to place a moratorium on further power plant or refinery construction would we be willing to pay the price in increased fuel costs? Or rationing? Perhaps we should consider a Research and Development assessment (tax) on all licensed drivers to help pay for new discoveries in pollution emission controls? Home owners or communities could demand to receive a tax credit if they erect solar panels or energy producing wind turbines in their back yards or communities! Maybe the government could give willing home owners substantial grants or no interest loans to convert the inefficient insulation in their homes to more energy efficient ones? Imagine that, home owners could not only generate their own energy but sell their excess to the power companies for a profit. Unfortunately among us are a number of purists who will scream, “Not in my back yard!” and argue that too many of these energy producing machines constitute an eye sore and detract from the aesthetics of the neighbourhood. As future new home buyers are we willing to pay premium for a home that meets the new standards for energy efficiency?
Maybe our local insurance companies will join our unselfish effort? Isn’t it in their best interest to reduce our car and home premiums if we go “green”? One way might be to limit driving privileges to those under 21? School and after school work programs only. After all, aren’t adolescents the cause of more accidents and excessive fuel consumption than any other group?
Why not introduce a well managed and mandatory car pooling program within our cities? California has carpool lanes (two or more occupants only please) and they get where their going ahead of the crowd, too. In my plan, employees who carpool to work, three or more per car, would be entitled to drive into the inner city without penalty. All others would be required to park at mass transit depots and embark on a free transit system that travels exclusively within the city limits. Employers and employees would jump at this opportunity. You car pool to the drop-off sites, hop aboard your spacious “contemplation trolley,” resplendent with TV monitors carrying business and up-to-date news, and reclining seats with built in head phones carrying “your” kind of motivational music, air conditioning and a customer service representative ready willing and able to provide free re-turn able umbrellas and rain gear for those less than perfect days, and embarkation and debarkation assistance when requested. Et voila, in no time you arrive at your destination relaxed, refreshed and far more productive that you would if you had to fight morning traffic and compete for a parking space.
Economically, you win; your fuel costs are reduced by 2/3rds or more, so you are earning money. You are reducing carbon emissions and improving the air quality. You are more productive at the office. You are home and at work on a regular schedule. You are a more compatible companion for your spouse, and a better parent; less rattled, tired and frustrated…….let’s hear it for the next generation! By becoming more unselfish, you have reduced the chances for road rage, there will be fewer accidents, lower insurance costs, and a more compatible population of workers and co-workers every day…..utopia? We could also impose a “Pay for Use” assessment on all provincial inter-urban roads. You use them, you pay for them! Politicians were afraid to impose this sanction a few years ago but Premier Graham should “Just Do It” and get it over with. Once we establish our revised plan, we will be ready to address our present problems.
Why will my approach be considered “Back-ass-wards” by some? Simple, if we do not set our goals for a revised approach for cleaner air and a reduction in the amount of carbon dioxide we emit into the atmosphere, we will find ourselves mired in the muck of yesterday while trying to plod our way to tomorrow. However, do we have the intestinal fortitude to demand that our elected public servants get down to business (eliminating all political interference) of solving the problems before us, NOW? Are we the people, as the ruling government, prepared to force industry and government bodies to join with us, in a mutual effort, or allow them to remain chattels of high powered lobbyists and unsympathetic multinationals? With all we know, if we are not prepared to get serious, now, we’ll go on killing ourselves slowly and leaving nothing but a polluted, sickening environment for our children and future generations to come. If we don’t move creatively now then maybe we will be forced into adopting some of the extreme proposals of the Green Peace organization, the Hemlock gang, insurance companies and other groups that espouse forced population sterilization, euthanizing the elderly (that’s our generation), those who pose a burden on our economic system, and those requiring medical attention after their productive years have passed them by.
I consider our culture one of contradictions! We want life but espouse death. We want clean water but continue dumping PCB’s and Mercury poisons into it. We want wholesome foods but continue feeding our meat providers and spraying our crops with chemicals. We crave clean air but keep pouring contaminants into the atmosphere. We want someone else to lead instead of becoming leaders ourselves. Once upon a time, a long time ago, I was read a story entitled, “Bad things happen when good people do nothing!” If the shoe fits, and it does, we should not wait any longer we must take-up the mantel of change and urgently press forward to Save Ourselves Soon, by saving our corner of the world or assume the fetal position and accept the inevitable outcome.
The passers-by, gawking at me in my truck, wiping tears from my eyes thought I was laughing uncontrollably when in fact I was wrought with frustration and disgust in a world that cares not for itself. Lets show that we can and will make a difference!
Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
Category: Articles
Posted by: bob
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. In the fall of 2009 he was honored by the Montreal Canadiens when his name was included on the plaque in the Molson Center, home of the Canadiens, in Montreal, of the players who played for the greatest sports organization in the past 100 years. However, my grandfather was was more than an Acadian hero, he was 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 values. Thanks, Grampy!

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux

Category: News
Posted by: bob
“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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Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
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