Mi’kmawey Forestry seeks locations of Wisqoq (Black Ash) in Nova Scotia

Black Ash at Brier Island, Aug 31, 2007.
Photo courtesy of Anne Mills

An Ad in the Chronicle Herald, March 24, 2018 highlights efforts the Mi’kmawey Forestry Team is making to re-establish and steward Wisqoq (Black Ash) in Nova Scotia, describes features that distinguish it from White Ash and asks that sightings be reported to Conner Howard, the Mi’kmawey Forest Stewardship coordinator.

More details about the species, its history of use by Mi’kmaw, and recovery efforts are given at wisqoq.ca. The website was set up specifically by Mi’kmawey Forestry “to act as a recovery tool by providing information on the species as well as promote hands-on recovery activities that will be conducted by Mi’kmawey Forestry.”

Twisted samaras of Black Ash

Under Resources, the website provides an article by Della Maguire on The Secret Powers of the Ash Tree – “From the moment of birth, to the time of passing, the ash tree has traditionally played a vital role in the lives of many Mi’kmaw families”; a thesis by Sara M Hill-Forde on Change over Time in Abundance and Distribution of Black Ash in Nova Scotia; and the Nova Scotia Status Report on Black Ash.

The species is Yellow-listed provincially (a species known to be, or believed to be, particularly sensitive to human activities or natural events). The status report describes Black Ash trees as “sparsely distributed across most of Nova Scotia, with several relatively large concentrations near Caledonia, Wentworth and Shubenacadie.”

So… be on the lookout for this species, especially in “poorly drained areas often along swampy woodland stream and river banks with moving water”. Check out the Identification page for features that distinguish it from White Ash and if you find some, send an e-mail to Conner Howard, the Mi’kmawey Forest Stewardship coordinator (chowardATmicmawconservation.ca) with the location and as possible, some photos.

View Mi’kmawey video for a nice overview of the role of Wisqoq in Mi’kmaq culture and their efforts to recover and sustain Wisqoq.

Mi’kmaq basket photographed in 2013 by the late Bill Freedman

Thx to MP for suggesting this post. Thanks Mi’kmawey Forestry.

ADDENDUM Apr 10, 2018

Anne Mills forwarded a link to an article about Black Ash in Newfoundland in Sarracenia (Newsletter of the Wildflower Society of Newfoundland and Labrador):

Uncommon Wildflowers of Newfoundland 17: Black Ash (Fraxinus nigra L.)
By Henry Mann, in Sarracenia Volume 22, Number 3 Winter 2018, pp25-28

Showy Lady Slipper

“As an interesting sideline, some have noted that the distributions of Black Ash and Showy Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium reginae) are almost identical, both here in Newfoundland and also in the greater North American context.”

Indeed, what a find to discover the two species together!

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