“Calling all Hemlock Heroes to Sporting Lake Nature Reserve” Oct 4th-22nd, 2021

Received today:

YOU may wish to join volunteers to save old growth hemlocks from certain death from Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) infestations at Sporting Lake Nature Reserve located inside the Tobeatic Wilderness Area.

What’s involved? Join volunteers with Hemlock Conservation- Nova Scotia to measure tree diameters (hugging trees is accepted social behaviour!), drill a few tiny holes in each tree trunk, and help insert small canisters containing chemical treatment; a type of ‘tree vaccination’. Micro-injections of IMA-jet (containing imidacloprid, a chemical you may already use on pets to kill ticks and fleas) will eventually circulate to the crown to control HWA.

Accessing Sporting Lake requires an approximate 4 hr canoe trek on Sporting Lake Stream, a small rocky brook with two portages, the longest of which is 1100 m. The excursion is physically demanding, but the beauty of irreplaceable old growth awaits.

Why are the hemlock dying? Hemlock forests across southwest NS are dying from HWA, a tiny, invasive, sap-sucking insect. The trees need more time to adapt to this newcomer and need our help to actively control HWA populations over the next decade or longer. Forest scientists are researching a long-term remedy by using tiny natural insect predators to control HWA, but chemical vaccination control is necessary in the interim.

What do I need to bring? You will need to be self-sufficient, though group meals are supplied.
*You will also need to be double-vaccinated.

What do I need to bring? You will need to be self-sufficient, though group meals are supplied. *You will also need to be double-vaccinated.

Gear required:
• canoe and all required safety gear
• tent
• warm sleeping bag
• clothing for cold, wet conditions
• wilderness gear ( (e.g., water purification, knife, fire starter, head lamp or flashlight, first aid kit, snacks)
• water bottle(s)

Our Volunteer Coordinator will provide a full list of recommended gear and volunteer waiver.

Group meals are suitable for ‘not-too-picky’ omnivores. Special dietary requirements cannot be accommodated due to remoteness, but volunteers can bring their own food.

How do I sign up? Contact Volunteer Coordinator: jennika@medwaycommunityforest.com
Jennika Hunsinger, Medway Community Forest Coop (MCFC) will send more information and help place you
on the schedule. You can choose dates over 2-7 days. We accommodate up to 12 people each day.

When? Oct 4th-22nd, 2021

Who is ‘Hemlock Conservation-Nova Scotia’? A diverse group of dedicated volunteers who have united to save hemlock forests. They are led by an emergency medical doctor, a lawyer, as well as foresters and biologists. Together, a program of ‘vaccinating hemlocks’ is underway (not unlike vaccinations against COVID- 19).

Departments of Environment and Climate Change and Natural Resources and Renewables are supporting this pilot project to treat hemlock trees. The Nova Scotia Nature Trust, Medway Community Forest Coop, and generous sponsors are assisting.

Why save Sporting Lake Nature Reserve? This reserve features one of the most majestic old growth hemlock forests found anywhere in Nova Scotia. Tall, graceful conifers rise from a tapestry of moss on an island in Sporting Lake. Mortality from HWA will come quickly without Hemlock Heroes to render aid to these forest elders. Become a Hemlock Hero today!


Hemlock-dominated Old Growth forest at Sporting Lake. Photo by Donna Crossland

Screen Capture from a NSE webpage (click on image for source):

Some of the Comments on WWNS

CS: Again, just sharing my personal opinion here. I am very uncomfortable with relying on volunteers to inject trees with insecticides. Not to mention treating one of Nova Scotia’s most pristine nature reserves… Don’t get me wrong at all, I love hemlocks and want to see actions taken to protect them against hemlock woolly adelgid, but this concerns me.

DC: It is understandable that some people wrongly envision spraying or some kind of reckless operation in one of our most pristine landscapes. Insecticides will be applied strictly following the label and using a closed system with no exposure to the environment. There will be three licensed operators over-seeing the operation, plus staff from Envrionment and Climate Change. It is time-consuming and rather delicate so there is lots of room for volunteers.

MJR: Hey CS. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but this project is going through with support from NS Environment, and leading the group are some very well respected foresters and ecologists, including myself. Volunteers will have a variety of tasks, and no one will be breaking rules regarding handling insecticides. I’d ask that before you spread generalizations to please get the facts first.

ARC: in case anyone is wondering where this is:

LMDR: I go in a heart beat if I weren’t still working. One of my favorite spots in the Tobeatic. Besides they probably wouldn’t take me 😆 to old and cranky and easily distracted.

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