NCC meets the Newfoundland Sportsman Outdoor Expo
When my coworker Megan and I were setting up our booth a few weekends ago at the Newfoundland Sportsman Outdoor Expo, it didn’t take long to realize that things were about to get "wild." We were surrounded by displays of coyotes, ducks and bears (oh my!), the persistent sound of clucking and honking waterfowl and outdoors enthusiasts of all ages dressed in their finest camouflage attire.
Over three days Megan and I talked to hundreds of people, giving them a taste of what the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is all about. We described how our nature reserves are crucial for helping to protect representative habitat, species diversity and species at risk; we’ve protected over 13,000 acres (5,260 hectares) of unique landscapes in Newfoundland and Labrador!
In particular, we shared information about our latest work along the Salmonier River, where land conservation of riparian habitat will go a long way in supporting threatened Atlantic salmon populations. We also emphasized that NCC values the communities we live, work and play in. We seek ways to engage local communities and volunteers in our work, including hunters and anglers, and we encourage the use of our nature reserves for self-propelled recreation.
It wasn’t any stretch to pique the interest of the many avid anglers and hunters we talked to. As lovers of recreational outdoor sport, most people were keen to learn about protecting our wild spaces and many demonstrated their eagerness by contributing a donation or inquiring about how they could help NCC’s work. The much younger outdoorspeople (and some older) demonstrated their eagerness by helping salmon swim up-stream in our salmon river mini-putt game (it was a hit!...get it?).
It was evident that Megan and I have endless knowledge to gain from the Expo visitors and exhibitors. People shared their stories of spending time in remote natural areas and observing the patterns in wildlife year after year — the perfect kind of land steward. There were also a number of other organizations exhibiting at the show with whom we were able to make first contact and with whom we are excited to explore a future relationship. NCC’s success is built through creative partnerships and collaborations with all types of individuals, corporations, community groups, foundations and government agencies.
The Expo was a fun-filled weekend with friendly faces and new discoveries. I won’t soon forget the seven-year-old runner-up in the moose calling competition and the delicious combination of fruit salsa and salmon. I also discovered a delight for bow shooting while Megan unveiled a natural gift for duck calling. Overall, the event was a wonderful success in gathering many outdoors-minded individuals, providing an opportunity to share a common passion and respect for the outdoors and giving us a chance to spread the conversation about nature conservation.