A day at Sandy Point with NCC

Volunteers at Sandy Point CV event, St. George's, NL (photo by NCC)

Volunteers at Sandy Point CV event, St. George's, NL (photo by NCC)

September 16, 2016 | by Aiden Mahoney | 0 Comments

It was a beautiful August morning as we waited excitedly on the wharf at St. George's for the search and rescue Zodiac that would take us across the narrow channel to Sandy Point. Along with Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) staff and other Conservation Volunteers, I was looking forward to spending a day cleaning up the beaches on this unique island. The forecast said it would rain, but what do the weather people at CBC and NTV know anyway?

Sandy Point has natural wealth. This breathtaking landscape with sand dunes and salt marshes is a real contrast to Newfoundland’s mainly rugged and rocky coastline. NCC owns 70 acres (28 hectares) on this small island, and its beaches are important nesting habitats for numerous bird species at risk.

Charlie Joyce (Photo by Aiden Mahoney)

Charlie Joyce (Photo by Aiden Mahoney)

The first person I met was Charlie Joyce, from Barachois Brook, who showed us old pictures of Sandy Point. He moved away from the island in 1965, but still loves to go back for a visit whenever he can, this time as a volunteer with NCC. Charlie gave us a history lesson about what it was like to grow up on an isolated island as we walked the beaches and collected marine garbage. Charlie is now 69, but no one would have guessed, as he has more energy than most of the young folks who were with us.

Spending a day cleaning up the beaches of Sandy Point and listening to Charlie's stories (Photo by Aiden Mahoney)

Spending a day cleaning up the beaches of Sandy Point and listening to Charlie's stories (Photo by Aiden Mahoney)

Charlie showed us patches of wild peas that grow on the island and remembers them being cut and used to feed cattle in the winter. He shared fond memories of the friends he grew up with and the friendliness of the people who lived there when it was a busy fishing community. He told his stories with refreshing freedom, a lightness of heart and an awesome sense of humour.

The conversations and many hands made light work, and we managed to remove more than 250 pounds of garbage from Sandy Point's beaches. Thanks, Charlie for making our trip to your beautiful island — and our beach cleanup — such a rewarding experience.  

We come and go, but the land is always here. And the people who love and understand it are the people who own it, for a while!

  • Group photo, Sandy Point beach sweep, NL (Photo by Aiden Mahoney)
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    Group photo, Sandy Point beach sweep, NL (Photo by Aiden Mahoney)
  • Light house on Sandy Point, NL (Photo by Aiden Mahoney)
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    Light house on Sandy Point, NL (Photo by Aiden Mahoney)
  • Conservation Volunteers doing a beach sweep at Sandy Point, NL (Photo by Aiden Mahoney)
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    Sandy Point beach sweep, NL (Photo by Aiden Mahoney)
  • Conservation Volunteers hauling marine trash along the beach (Photo by Aiden Mahoney)
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    Sandy Point beach sweep, NL (Photo by Aiden Mahoney)
  • More than 250 pounds of garbage was removed from Sandy Point's beaches (Photo by Aiden Mahoney)
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    Pile of garbage removed from Sandy Point's beaches (Photo by Aiden Mahoney)

 

About the Author

Aiden Mahoney is a keen and active supporter with the Nature Conservancy of Canada in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Read more about Aiden Mahoney.

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