Birch Cove 3

By Kate Watson

Twenty people came together on a damp Wednesday evening to explore a popular urban wilderness in Dartmouth.

Halifax Diverse, a nature literacy program geared towards engaging members of the public with nature, organized an event with John Charles, a planner who’s involved with Halifax’s Urban Forest Master Plan, and well-known local historian and naturalist Allan Billard.

Participants learned about the environmental stewardship that has earned Birch Cove the coveted “Blue Flag” designation.

Billard shared stories from the history of the area, ranging from the beginnings of the Shubenacadie Canal in the mid-1800s to the Keeler farmstead in Crichton Park in the 1900s to growing up as a boy there in the 50s. Charles shared a little of the evolution of the park from its manicured state in the mid-80s to the much more naturalized forest that is there now.

Both spoke about the importance of preserving places like Birch Cove as links to our past and green oases for all to enjoy.

“The whole idea of having a forest and riparian area like this is dear to my heart,” said Charles.

The group heartily agreed!