A project I have had in the making for quite some time now has finally been launched to the public. This is an eco-friendly gift shop through Etsy.com and is geared toward recycling our throwaways and making them into usable spaces for our backyard wildlife. Products are made from reclaimed wood such as barnboard, driftwood and the sawmills throwaway pile. All woods that are considered garbage and would have been sent to the burn pile. Products to date include birdhouses, bee hotels and bird feeders, along with a variety of hand foraged seeds from my personal wild gardens. The point of it all is to offer stylish looking gifts for the backyard garden to attract wildlife and help refuel the environment with what we considered to be waste. Other products that will be in the shop include home decor items made from recycled woods such as plant hangers and shelving units.
The shop is in the process of growth and will continue to expand with more gifts that are being offered. Please feel free to visit the store and keep it in mind when purchasing your next garden feeder or when looking for small house hold storage units. Follow the link below and take a look at the shop.
All the best
I wanted to give a brief update on the progress of the reserve and let you know the plans for the seasons ahead. At the moment things have been slow besides brainstorming plans for the spring and summer seasons. This winter has fell a lot of snow, which has been great, but the snow to rain patterns have made it very difficult to pass the entrance to get inside the forest. Every spring a natural pond appears to the left of the entrance beyond the field that has been an important resting area for migrating ducks and waterfowl. During this part of the season the first 200 meters of forest becomes a large mangrove-like environment until the rain stops and water dissipates; this is when I have been beginning spring forest excursions. With the consistent snow, rain and thaw process of this winter season, this particular section of forest has become impassible due to safety reasons. Along with the uncooperative weather making it hard to be consistent with documenting animal tracks (the way I usually spend my winter) my wife has been pregnant with baby number 2, arriving in April, so our energy has been spent preparing our home for another member.
When the snow clears and ground thaws I will erect swallow boxes in the back field that separates our homestead from the forest. This has been a popular spot for migrating Barn Swallows, as well as a safe nesting area for 4 different species of sparrow and a hopeful .area for more ground nesting breeding birds. We will then continue to monitor owl boxes before starting the reserves first breeding bird survey. The spring will also be spent grooming trails and preparing selected areas for setting up surveying hides. We have been back and forth on the idea of guided walks through the forest, so in the meantime it's important to keep up on trail safety.
I have been quiet and very low key through this winter on the website but will be posting again regularly come spring. We are also in the midst of planning upcoming photography trips for the travel season and will be blogging about each one along with consistent photo galleries. I have been non-existent on all other media platforms and will most likely keep it that way , so keep up to date here.
All the best,
Being born and mostly raised in the maritimes has made it easy to take this part of the country for granted. From a very young age I remember hearing things were bigger and better anywhere else. This was partly true when I think of the footage that would mesmerize me as a child. I would sit in front of National Geographic films for hours watching the largest and most powerful creatures on the planet figure out survival, and see images of my own countries opposite coast flourish with massive mountain ranges. Now as I look back at all of the traveling I've put into my past it seems that I have been chasing these same majestic landscapes and searching endlessly for the wildlife that has amazed me from my younger years. While all other places on earth will always be as distinct and set apart as they are, I've always come back to the maritimes because it is truly my home.
Photography here in the maritimes has always been more challenging to me. It seems when you become so familiar with a place and the wildlife that encompasses it, it's easy to stop stretching yourself as a photographer while becoming stagnant of giving the subjects your used to seeing so often that same portrayal of beauty and awe you once did when it was new. Luckily I have lived on all sides and throughout this section of Canada, so until now I have had opportunity to continue to explore new spaces. Mineral prospecting in New Brunswick allowed me to explore different parts of NB's diverse environments and produced a solid map of the wildlife that use different habitats, which I still rely on today. After working periods in a certain area I would often go back on my own time, with my camera, and have a precise idea of where animals would be. Exploring through NB today, I revisit these areas which are still largely untouched by humans.
Nowadays I am learning a new territory here on Prince Edward Island and am getting used to a different kind of landscape. In my first year here I quickly became aware of the lack of animals and forest that I was used to. For years prior to moving here I literally surrounded myself with the life found within the forest as much as I possibly could while still making a living as a working citizen. The first few years on the island I found myself becoming more and more dissatisfied with my surroundings and began to search earnestly for something more then Red Fox, agricultural landscapes and beaches. I began to spend more time in the eastern part of the island where I found more forested areas, giving me a bit more of my natural senses that I've honed for years. It was here on the east coast that my wife and I bought our home and began creating our own wildlife safety haven. It was here that I finally had the time to sit back and think of the photographic journey I've had since my recent move and reflect on photographing the section of Canada that I have called home.
Over the years I have created a portfolio of east coast Canada that I am very happy with and it is something I take pleasure in adding to. The maritime's have given me more experiences to learn and grow from then any other area through my world travels. From close encounters with Black Bear and cubs, weeks spent with a struggling bobcat, explorations in coyote country or the seamless powerful clouds in the eastern skies, there are always encounters to look forward to and take advantage of here in east coast Canada. Having the time to watch weather patterns throughout a month to plan the perfect evening for sunsets or to have ample time listening to coyotes to get a sense of where they are moving to in the days ahead makes living here an unbeatable experience. Traveling sometimes seems so rushed and time is always of the essence while owning the perfect space for your own personal exploration in an area of the world that brings you nothing but comfort is timeless.
Robbie P. Gallant
As a naturalist, I spend a great amount of time in personal study. Discussion and research is key to exploring new and intelligent ideas and furthering our understanding of our natural surroundings.