Posted by bob on Mar 4, 2012in News
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!