First Contact: Alien-like Immortals Discovered at Hopewell Rocks

Millions of people from all over the world have come to explore the sea stacks at Hopewell Cape.  In the Bay of Fundy, the highest tides on Earth create exceptional landscapes, and tidal erosion makes this Amazing Place one of the most unique in the UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve.  The formations at the top of the beach draw much focus, while little attention is paid to the strange creatures that live along the low tide limits.

Sea Anemone. Photo credit: Kevin Snair

Recently, Kevin Snair, the supervisor of interpretive services at the Hopewell Rocks and professional photographer, decided to start surveying the most extreme limits of the intertidal zone.  Kevin explains, “Working at the Hopewell Rocks has given me a big responsibility as a knowledge keeper.  When visitors arrive my job is to answer their questions, and that drives me to keep learning more about this place."

Intertidal Explorer Portrait. Photo credit: Craig Norris

What Kevin found next to the chocolate coloured, sediment-loaded water, were very alien-like life forms that were not expected this far up the Bay of Fundy.  For years Kevin has been collecting historic photographs of the sea stacks to compare with his own to track erosion.  "If I had a time machine, I'd go back here," he says, "Five hundred years ago it would still be recognisable, but 1000 or 1500 years ago, it would be a different Hopewell Rocks."  He recognises how much this place changes over time and he is well aware that the rocky bumps further down the beach are actually old stumps from sea stacks long ago destroyed by the tide.  It is those very same “stumps” that provide habitat for all the sea life.

Mother Inlaw. Photo credit: Craig Norris

One of the primary reasons the organisms he discovered were able to remain largely undetected for so long is the habitat they prefer at the lowest intertidal zone.  Only during spring tides, when the moon and the sun are aligned, do their gravitational forces combine to create the largest tidal range.  This is when the tide recedes far enough to expose these mysterious creatures, but even then, they are only uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes.  For Kevin to explore the lowest intertidal zone at Hopewell, he had to know the tidal cycles very well.  "The clock on my wall at home is actually a tide clock," he remarks.  "Most people don't understand that the moon's gravity is the primary driver of the tides, so the trick is to get to know the patterns of the moon and then you automatically know when the tide will reach its spring range of 14 meters (46 feet)," Kevin explains.

Sea Stack Stumps. Photo credit: Kevin Snair

A typical seaweed community covers the old sea stack stumps along most of the beach.  Winkles, whelks, and limpets are some of the creatures Kevin often finds within the knotted wrack and bladder wrack.  It is below this zone where stuff gets really weird.  “Earlier this season I took a group down to do the first ever survey, and that's when we found three species of sea anemones,” reveals Kevin.  “We found red anemones, silver spotted anemones and painted anemones,” he says with a grin.  These species are found elsewhere in the bay, so they aren’t unique, but finding these little gems in the muddy upper bay is a surprise.

Sea Floor Explorer. Photo credit: Craig Norris

Sea anemones are relatives of corals and jellyfish, which fasten themselves to rocks using an adhesive foot.  They have venomous tentacles that can fold inside during low tide and in an extraordinary twist, they don’t seem to age.  As long as they are not eaten, poisoned or starved, they could be immortal.  Exposed only on a few of the very lowest tides each month, they usually stay safe and hidden from sight; except for one thing.   When Kevin took us out, we photographed an interestingly patterned piece of sediment on an anemone.  "Once we looked closer, we realised it had legs, eight of them!" exclaims Kevin.  It turned out to be an anemone sea spider feeding on the anemone.  "When we started reviewing other photos on a large computer screen, we found more and more sea spiders camouflaged in the mud around the anemones; they’ve probably been here all along,” says Kevin.

Sea Floor Explorer. Photo credit: Craig Norris

Given the chocolate coloured water, it is tough to tell how much further the rock platform extends.  “It might go on for a few meters or a couple hundred before it is buried in mud, but one thing is for sure, there are probably a lot more of these guys beyond the low tide mark,” states Kevin.  Often sea anemones take algae into their bodies to gain energy from photosynthesis in exchange for protecting the algae.  “It is hard to imagine that much light could reach them in this water”, Kevin suggests.  “We do know that a lot of fish like flounders, cod, gasperaux, sturgeon, striped bass, sculpin, dogfish, skates and some others live in these muddy waters too.  There really is a diverse range of life at the Hopewell Rocks."

Translucent Sea Anemone. Photo credit: Kevin Snair

While sea anemones can grow quite large in some environments, that isn’t the case here.  “They are really hard to find; kind of like looking for coins scattered over a large muddy beach, other times they hang upside down from rocks” Kevin warns.  "But you should go out with someone who knows what to look for and get down to the water's edge to experience the full range of the tide and hopefully see some special wildlife.  Be careful where you step, though!"

Sea Spider. Photo credit: Kevin Snair

Since there are only two spring tides a month, one on the full moon and one on the new moon, that limits the number of opportunities to see the lowest part of the beach uncovered.  Kevin explains, "During each moon, you have several days that might have a low enough tide to expose the sea anemone garden.  With the short window during the slack low tide, there likely isn't more than six total hours a month of exposure.”  That means when you see the full moon or a new moon near the horizon during summer, the sea anemones could be out of the water.

Silver Spotted Anemone. Photo credit: Kevin Snair

Despite a large number of people that have been visiting the Hopewell Rocks for centuries, it is not surprising the sea anemones were unknown until Kevin's discovery.  Oral history tells us that Mi'kmaq people visited the Hopewell Rocks each fall during harvest for feasting, dancing, singing and spiritual ceremonies.  Perhaps they had a greater awareness of the life at the intertidal extremes.  They certainly would’ve visited a different Hopewell Rocks many hundreds and even thousands of years ago.  The formations, like the recently crumbled “Elephant Rock” wouldn’t have been formed that long ago.  If it had, it certainly wouldn’t have been referred to as the largest African mammal.  If we could know about the Mi’kmaq view of the long lost rock formations back then, we would likely learn as much about them as today’s names say about our culture in the 21st century; E.T. Rock certainly comes to mind in the age of space travel.

Hanging Anemone. Photo credit: Kevin Snair

In our area of the world, along the Bay of Fundy, we have many opportunities to experience unique places like the Hopewell Rocks.  The Amazing Places Challenge is encouraging people to get out and visit all 50 Amazing Places in the Fundy Biosphere Reserve to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.  What better way to celebrate than to spend time on the land visiting the very “Canadian” Amazing Places.

This article is the first of seven in the Amazing Places Challenge series.


Financed by The Government of Canada


Welcome to the Canada 150 Amazing Places Challenge

The Fundy Biosphere Reserve has 50 designated Amazing Places along trails throughout the reserve.

For Canada’s 150th birthday the FBR is challenging residents and visitors to get active and hike to all the Amazing Places.  When you arrive, take a selfie of the feature or with the sign, and then send them all to the FBR to become a certified Amazing Places Challenge finisher.  There are many of them, and some are difficult to get to, so this tremendous challenge could take people years to complete.

You will know an Amazing Place the moment you see it… It may be a vista so powerful and majestic that it will literally take your breath away.  Or, it may be a scene or a place that will simply cause you to take pause in order to soak it all in, a place where you can draw on a deep well of energy emanating from the serene beauty of the view. An Amazing Place can be different things to different people: mystical, magical, grandiose, bizarre, unique, breath-taking and awe-inspiring, or even a combination of all of these things. It certainly can tell a story.

Often people forget or sometimes they have no idea of the wide diversity of great trails and even greater destinations we have in this part of New Brunswick.  To inspire would-be Amazing Places Challenge participants, the FBR asked VideoBand to write a series of photo essays about some of their favourite Amazing Places.  The objective was to not only visit them and take some photographs but to think of the most unique activity that could be done at each place and then visit them at the perfect moment.  The result is a series of seven photo essays following interesting local characters celebrating their favourite activities in their favourite Amazing Places.  Once you see these Canadians doing what they love, where they love, it will be difficult not to want to join them!

The series opens with a feature article on extreme low tide ocean floor exploration at the Hopewell Rocks.  People normally visit the sea stacks in Hopewell to see how the highest tides in the world have carved the bedrock into one of the most amazing places on Earth.  Instead of focusing on what everyone already knows, we take you to one of interpreter Kevin Snair’s favourite things to explore in Hopewell, the strange sea life living at the limits of the ocean floor, only occasionally uncovered by the tide.

Strange yet beautiful creatures lurk at the low tide limits of Hopewell Cape. Photo credit: Kevin Snair

From there we continue to highlight the incredible Bay of Fundy tides by taking you along on a fat-bike ride across the ocean floor at Waterside Beach and Redhead.  To Zoe Levesque and her friends, fat-bikes are a very efficient self-propelled way to explore the vast intertidal zone in Waterside.  Biking over sand, gravel and sea-carved bedrock shelves is probably the most fun way to interact with the sea bottom. 

Exploring the wave-cut rock bench on fat tires at Red Head. Photo credit: Craig Norris

Nearby at Cape Enrage, you can find another popular Amazing Place that has been discovered by many visitors.  However, if you think like Kevin Snair, you want to explore all the nooks and crannies to find the essence of the place and get every last drop of amazingness.  Kevin does this by scrambling across the seaweed covered rocks on the Cape Enrage reef during a spring low tide.  The water is so low at this time that the islands on the end of the reef become attached so you can get even farther out into the bay.

Standing at land's end for a brief moment while the tide turns. Photo credit: Kevin Snair

Another way to experience the intertidal zone and get up close to all those wave-carved rocks and their undersea life is by boat.  Kayaking the coastline in safe conditions can show you an entirely different perspective on a seaside Amazing Place.  We went kayaking with James Little, who is an avid Bay of Fundy kayaker, at Martin Head, a place well known for sea floor activities of a different kind.

Paddling past a calm and stoic Martin Head. Photo credit: Craig Norris

The landscape is much different at the far northeastern end of the bay.  So we went dyke biking with Mount Allison University student Taylor Crosby and a few friends for a brilliant sunset and a full moon ride home.  The mud at the upper end of the Bay of Fundy turns some people off, but they don’t know how to make the most of it, unlike Taylor who is a “slider”.

A big-sky and big-mud sunset biking on the Tantramar dyke lands.

For many, interacting with the Bay of Fundy’s silty mud is not on their to-do list.  The author, Ben Phillips, has found a way around the mess of the mud when visiting these beautiful places; do it when the mud is frozen.  Although winter can pose some safety challenges, I’ve been able to go to new worlds in the winter.  Those new worlds are not 39 light years away either; they can be as close as a few hundred meters from downtown Moncton. 

Navigating an ice-wall labyrinth on the frozen Petitcodiac River. Photo credit: Craig Norris

By far the most challenging Amazing Places activity, but also the least well known, was venturing deep into the winter wilderness with climbing instructor Greg Hughes.  Snowshoeing back to Walton Glen Gorge, then descending the hazardously, steep walls, Greg showed us what world class ice climbing looks like in New Brunswick.  Getting here is an ordeal in the summertime, let alone a cold, slippery and dangerous winter day.  This life-threatening adventure is for professionals only. 

Repelling back down the frozen Sea Monster ice wall in Walton Glen Gorge. Photo credit: Ben Phillips

This series will show you just what can be done at the Amazing Places, but no matter what you are doing while you are there, they are just as amazing and offer those on foot just as much adventure.  Visit to get more information on the Amazing Places Challenge.  Other UNESCO Biosphere Reserves across Canada are now adopting Amazing Places to help you find Canada’s hidden gems. 


This project is funded by the Government of Canada


Striking Balance Fundy Episode Set to Air

October 12, 2016

MONCTON, NEW BRUNSWICK – A national spotlight is set to shine on the UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve (FBR), thanks to TVO’s upcoming Striking Balance documentary series. The Striking Balance series premiered on TVO on October 4 and is narrated by Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy.

Produced in association with The Nature Conservancy of Canada, the Knowledge Network, Parks Canada, and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, the Striking Balance series is set to air through this fall. It explores eight of Canada’s breathtaking UNESCO World Biosphere Reserves, sharing stories of little-known, but amazing scientific and cultural discoveries happening across this vast and resource-rich country.

Striking Balance, the Fundy Biosphere Reserve, and Parks Canada are hosting a public screening of the Fundy episode on Friday, October 14 and Saturday, October 15 at the Salt and Fir Centre in Fundy National Park at 7pm. The events are free to the public and all are welcome to come and watch this exciting 50-minute exploration of Fundy’s salmon, people, tides, shorebirds, and forests.

Fundy Screening LARGE

“We are excited to welcome back the Striking Balance team for this public screening of the episode,” says Megan de Graaf, Executive Director of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve. “It was such a great experience to be part of this nation-wide project, and such a great opportunity to share Fundy’s story with people all across Canada.”

“The Biosphere Reserve concept was a kind of revelation for me,” says Zach Melnick, Director of Striking Balance. “The idea that people were not outside of nature, but a part of it, ultimately became the focus of the Striking Balance series. We’ve been touring to each Biosphere Reserve from the series, co-hosting public screenings of the episodes to launch the project and invite local communities out to see the episodes on the big screen. We’re really looking forward to showing folks from the Fundy region the stories we captured.”

“The Striking Balance team did a fantastic job of collecting some of the most important stories of our region, especially those that relate to the challenges we face, and the solutions we are collectively developing to those challenges,” says de Graaf. “We face unprecedented problems with how climate change is affecting our forests, how the Inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon are navigating changes to their habitat, how white-nose syndrome is decimating our bat populations – and there is some truly inspiring work going on in the region to see us through these problems.”

The Striking Balance team held a first visit in the Fundy Biosphere Reserve in October 2014 and again in July 2015, interviewing staff and board members as well as various partners, such as the New Brunswick Museum, Parks Canada, the Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Fort Folly First Nationand Mount Allison University.

Check out the Striking Balance series’ website, Facebook page, and other social media feeds for “behind the scenes” photos, videos, and comments from the Striking Balance crew as they travel the country. Updates will also be posted here on the Fundy Biosphere’s website and the Fundy Biosphere Reserve’s Facebook page.

“Surviving the Fundy Footpath" Could Bring Worldwide Attention to the Fundy Biosphere Region at Banff Mountain Film Festival. Test Screenings to Offer Local Audiences a Sneak Peak.

Published May 17, 2016 

The Fundy Biosphere Reserve, in partnership with the Fundy Hiking Trail Association and VideoBand Productions, is proud to present a community tour of test screenings for Surviving the Fundy Foothpath, a six-part web documentary series that follows Bruce Persaud, a city slicker from Toronto, with zero camping experience, as he attempts to complete one of Canada's toughest multi-day hikes. This hilarious series will have audiences cheering for the underdog and flirting with the idea of hiking the trail themselves.

The test screenings tour will begin on May 25th, 2016 (7pm to 9pm) at the Chocolate River Station in Riverview, with a Q&A for director Craig Norris as well as the stars of the series. Members of the media are invited to attend.

The Fundy Footpath traverses 60 km of the Fundy Escarpment between St. Martins and Alma, New Brunswick. Descending in and out of 19 steep ravines, it totals more than 3,000 m in elevation. Completing the footpath is like climbing to the peak of Mt. Washington, twice, back to back.

On the Fundy Footpath, when you’re not scaling the mossy ravines of the fog forest, staring off from a towering cliff top, or sleeping on a barrier beach, you’re exploring the sculpted sea floor of the mega-tidal Bay of Fundy during low tide. Physically demanding and surprisingly tough, many hikers are caught off-guard during their first Fundy Footpath expedition.

“There’s been an increase in recent years of hikers needing to be rescued from the Fundy Footpath,” say Megan de Graaf, Executive Director of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve. “Since our mandate focuses in part on building the capacity of our partners and communities, we launched this project to better prepare hikers for the Fundy Footpath experience and to build the capacity of the Fundy Hiking Trail Association, who manages the Footpath.”

Ben Phillips, Conservation Scientist with the Fundy Biosphere Reserve, explains: "We were looking for someone who had never hiked the Fundy Footpath for our video series, then I met Bruce. He is from Toronto and had never even camped before. His idea of a hike is on a concrete sidewalk, but he surprisingly agreed to learn everything about backpacking the Fundy wilderness all on video. We put together an expert support team for Bruce including Alonzo Leger who built the Fundy Footpath, his son Marc Leger who is the current Fundy Footpath Trail Master, filmmaker Craig Norris of VideoBand Productions and myself."

“Bruce is just a very likable guy,” says Craig Norris. “We meet Bruce within the first minute or two of the film, he introduces himself in 10 words or less, and from that moment forward you like the guy. Honestly, I think characters like Bruce come along once in a filmmaker's career. He was the perfect person to introduce the Footpath to the world.”

The hike took place in mid-August 2015 and was captured on high quality video. Beyond just survival, and of course, the bonding and camarderie among hikers that undertake such an adventure, the video series showcases with breathtaking imagery just how unique and incredible the Fundy Footpath is as a hiking experience.

"The Fundy Hiking Trail Association believes that trails are the perfect medium to connect people with nature," says Marc Leger. "The Fundy Footpath is a tough trail that challenges adventurers and nature seekers alike to earn each amazing view and beautiful beach along its route. We had hoped that with the proper support and guidance, even the most inexperienced hiker could appreciate not only the scenery but the struggle involved with completing the Footpath. Bruce’s journey affirmed our belief in the value of this wonderful trail through this spectacular landscape."

Audiences in the Fundy Biosphere Reserve region have a chance to preview and provide feedback on the Surviving the Fundy Footpathvideo series this spring and summer, before the series is submitted to the Banff Mountain Film Festival. If selected, the film will be screened during the 41st Banff Mountain Film Festival and could be selected for the World Tour presented by World Expeditions.

The videos will eventually be released via the web after touring the film festival circuit.

See the poster below for upcoming screening dates and locations in the Fundy Biosphere Reserve.

SFF Poster May10

Get your ticket on Eventbrite!

Follow us and join-in on the discussions on Facebook:


The Surviving the Fundy Footpath project has been made possible thanks to funding by Mountain Equipment Co-op, Parks Canada, the New Brunswick Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture and the Festival international du cinéma francophone en Acadie.

A big thank you to our community screening partners!

riverview  fundypark parks canada  inspire  
adairs  sentier fundy trail logo


Fundy Biosphere Reserve Launches Partnership Program

Posted Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve (FBR) is proud to announce the launch of a Partnership Program, which recognizes businesses and organizations in the region who support the work of the FBR.

“Since obtaining designation from UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve, the Fundy Biosphere Reserve has been working with our local communities to deliver projects in conservation of nature and culture, sustainable development, and capacity building,” says Dr. Yves Gagnon, Chair of the FBR.

To achieve its next phase of development, the FBR is pleased to announce today its 2016 Partners:

“These companies and organizations have shown their support for our work by committing resources, either cash or significant in-kind contributions, to the operations and programs of the FBR,” says Megan de Graaf, Executive Director of the FBR.

“We would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the above organizations for their commitment to the Fundy Biosphere Reserve, and for supporting work that contributes to protecting the environment, creating vibrant communities, and building a healthy economy,” adds Gagnon.

The FBR continues to seek and accept new partners to join its Partnership Program and help build its core funding. Interested businesses and organizations that focus on people, planet, and profit can find more information at There are many different levels of partnership, all of which can help improve the partner’s visibility among residents and visitors to the region who have an interest in its natural and cultural attractions and thus regularly follow the FBR’s communications.

The FBR welcomes anyone who would like to learn more about its projects and activities, as well as its new Partnership Program, to visit its website at

New Classroom Resource Makes Local Knowledge on Climate Change Accessible for Students

Posted October 14, 2015

The UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve (FBR) is celebrating National Science and Technology Week (October 16-25, 2015) with a new classroom resource that will facilitate climate change education and foster environmental awareness and scientific literacy among students.

“Students in New Brunswick classrooms tend to learn about complex or major scientific events in the context of the United States or in the tropical rainforests of Brazil,” says FBR Executive Director, Megan de Graaf. “The Fundy Biosphere Reserve wants to change that. And one of the most pressing issues right in our own backyard is climate change.”

Climate Change in Atlantic Canada is an impressive multimedia project showcasing thought-provoking interviews with experts and locals who have decades of first-hand experience with the local climate, such as beekeepers, farmers, snowplow drivers, fishers, gardeners, and First Nations elders.


Climate Change in Atlantic Canada series description:
“Across Atlantic Canada, coastlines and communities are being adversely affected by climate change. As temperature, sea level and storm surge increase, adaptation initiatives are being planned and implemented to navigate the impending storm. This is their story.

In 2011, with funding from the NB Environmental Trust Fund, FBR Conservation Program Manager Ben Phillips began to interview local climate knowledge-holders. The project also included some climate data analysis to explain local trends in our weather, such as temperature highs and lows, snow fall and melt dates, number of drought days, and rain event amounts and duration. The project rapidly evolved into an exciting collaboration between the Fundy Biosphere Reserve and Dr. Ian Mauro (previously the Canada Research Chair in Human Dimensions of Environmental Change at Mount Allison University, now Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Winnipeg). Working with Mauro’s team, a year’s worth of video footage was carefully assembled into short documentary films, which aim to increase awareness about the real world experiences of Atlantic Canadian coastal communities, and how they are on the front lines of climate change and responding to it.

The Fundy Biosphere Reserve then researched and developed lesson plans to go along with each video in the series, so that the videos could be used as a teaching tool in middle and high school classrooms.

De Graaf explains: “We worked with specialists in pedagogy to see where within the New Brunswick curricula our materials were best suited and how we could effectively deliver them. The result has been engaging lesson plans and materials for teachers to use with very little preparation needed. We’re now ready to disseminate the materials as widely as possible throughout schools in New Brunswick - as well as throughout the Atlantic provinces.”

Teachers can access the Climate Change in Atlantic Canada videos and classroom lesson plans - at no cost - by visiting The materials are available under the "Education" tab (password: climateeducation). Schools can also request a free presentation and training session for their teachers by Fundy Biosphere staff on how to use the education materials in their classrooms by contacting FBR Executive Director Megan de Graaf at [email protected] More information on the project is also available on the Fundy Biosphere Reserve’s website at

Atlantic Canada’s Oldest Red Pines Discovered in NB Protected Area

Posted July 15, 2015 

(News release written and shared by the New Brunswick Museum)

Ben phillips July 15 release
Click here for more images.

It has just been confirmed that two red pine trees found in New Brunswick are approximately 300 years old, making them the oldest known individuals of the species in Atlantic Canada. They were discovered two weeks ago during the New Brunswick Museum’s “Biota NB” event held in the Nepisiguit Protected Natural Area (PNA).

The trees were identified by Mount Allison instructor and dendrochronologist Ben Phillips who was participating in the event. Phillips is also the Conservation Scientist for the Fundy Biosphere Reserve. 

“I was actually looking for old white pine with some other Biota NB folks when I spotted a large, knarly red pine and it didn’t take me long to get over to take a closer look,” explains Phillips. “The bark was unlike any I’d seen before on red pine, so I knew this was a special tree, but I was expecting it to be hollow like many very old trees.”

Protected Natural Areas such as Nepisiguit preserve some of the province's remaining old growth forests. Discoveries such as the 300 year-old red pines are significant because red pines usually only reach a maximum age of 150 to 200 years old and most die much earlier. Spared from the chainsaw, these great-grandmother pines have re-seeded downslope, creating an entire stand of old growth red pine.

Phillips was able to determine the age of the tree through tree ring count and an understanding of red pine growth in a forest setting. Using an increment borer, Phillips extracted a pencil sized core extending from the center of the tree to the bark. 

“Turned out it was solid all the way through and the rings were extremely tiny and tight together,” he reveals. “It was obvious right away that this tree was many hundreds of years old, then I looked up and saw a nearly identical red pine only meters away.”

Phillips began studying dendrochronology, the science of tree-rings, as a student at Mount Allison over a decade ago, and has never come across centuries old twin trees of any species. 

“New Brunswick’s Protected Natural Areas conserve much of the province’s little remaining old growth forest”, states Phillips. “Without this protection and the NB Museum’s event, I wouldn’t have had a reason to go exploring for these trees. Now that we know they are there, it brings some pride and a little bit of a sense of awe back when thinking about today’s diminished NB forests. Hopefully this will inspire us to do more to save the old forests we have left because a little-known world of creatures depend on those old trees.”

Dr. Donald McAlpine, the organizer for NB Museum’s Biota NB and provincial zoologist with the New Brunswick Museum explains, “Each year we bring biodiversity scientists together from across North America and take them out to discover and catalogue the diversity of organisms in the province. This year we were working in the Nepisiguit PNA, next to Mount Carleton Provincial Park, when Ben found these two extraordinary red pines. These weren’t the only discoveries during this event, as species from mushrooms to earthworms were recorded in NB for the first time.”

The 2015 NB Museum BiotaNB in the Nepisiguit PNA was funded, in part, by NB Environmental Trust Fund, NB Department of Natural Resources, NB Wildlife Trust Fund and Stantec.

In 2005 Phillips found the world’s oldest living Red Spruce tree in Fundy National Park which is still alive and now over 465 years old.

For more information:

Caitlin Griffiths or Aristi Dsilva, Communications & Marketing
(506) 654-7059 or (506) 643-2358

Fundy Biosphere Reserve Welcomes Striking Balance (Canada-Wide Documentary Series) Crew

Posted July 6, 2015

A national spotlight is set to shine on the UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve (FBR), thanks to TVO’s upcoming Striking Balance documentary series. The Striking Balance film crew from Ontario is currently visiting the Fundy Biosphere Reserve.

Produced in association with The Nature Conservancy of Canada, the Knowledge Network, Parks Canada, and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, the Striking Balance series is set to air in September 2016. It will explore eight of Canada’s breathtaking UNESCO World Biosphere Reserves, sharing stories of little-known, but amazing scientific and cultural discoveries happening across this vast and resource-rich country.

The Striking Balance team held a first visit in the Fundy Biosphere Reserve last year (August and October 2014), interviewing staff and board members as well as various partners, such as the New Brunswick Museum, Fundy National Park, the Rocks Provincial Park, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Fort Folly First Nation, Albert County Museum and Mount Allison University.

"After filming for 18 days in the Fundy Biosphere Reserve last fall, and a winter of post-production, we are excited to return once more to capture the flora and fauna of the Upper Bay of Fundy in its summer splendor,” says Striking Balance Producer Yvonne Drebert. “In our previous expeditions, we focused on interviews with some of the area’s most active and interesting residents, scientists, and conservationists. To compliment their stories, we’ll be concentrating on both the natural and man-made landscapes of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve while filming this July."

“It’s wonderful to have the Striking Balance film crew here, shining a spotlight on the exceptional beauty and diversity of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve,” says FBR Executive Director Megan de Graaf. “The crew will surely be able to capture some of our Amazing Places, the most popular and spectacular hiking destinations within the Biosphere Reserve, which we continue to highlight and promote.” In fact, the FBR’s newest project is focussing on producing more videos to help people discover these amazing hiking destinations. FBR Conservation Scientist Ben Phillips and owner of VIDEOBAND Craig Norris will be filming footage this summer to produce instructional videos for residents and visitors to hike the Fundy Footpath.

“Another great project we’ll be able to update the Striking Balance team on is our Forests of the Future project,” adds de Graaf. The Striking Balance crew interviewed FBR staff and key partners on this project last year, when the FBR was leading research into how climate change would affect the Acadian Forest and had just finished planting 2,500 climate-change resilient trees within key areas of the Biosphere Reserve. The FBR has since produced maps showing current as well as projected forest composition within the reserve and an educational pamphlet for foresters, woodlot owners, municipal planner and nurseries, which identifies the best tree species to start planting right now to ensure healthy forest composition and health in the future. These resources and more details on the project are available here:

Check out the Striking Balance series’ website (, Facebook page, ( and other social media feeds for “behind the scenes” photos, videos, and comments from the Striking Balance crew as they travel the country. Updates will also be posted on the Fundy Biosphere’s website ( and the Fundy Biosphere Reserve’s Facebook page (

Champlain’s Exploration of Fundy Topic of Speaking Event

June 18, 7 pm, Resurgo Place, Moncton

The New Brunswick Museum (NBM) and the UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve (FBR) announce the presentation of exciting new discoveries surrounding Samuel de Champlain’s visit to the Bay of Fundy in 1604.

Dr. Paul Bogaard, Professor Emeritus of Mount Allison University and long-time Board member of the FBR, will present his reconstruction of Champlain’s voyage to the Bay of Fundy in 1604 at a speaking event tonight, June 18 at Resurgo Place in Moncton. Dr. Bogaard promises a couple of surprises – he will share evidence of previously-unknown stops and discoveries made by Champlain during the voyage.

Read the news release here

Champlain's Exploration of Fundy - An Illustrated Talk by Paul Bogaard

Invitation NBM FBR PaulBogaardPresentation June2015


Fundy Biosphere Reserve Releases Projections for Future Forests

Posted Tuesday April 7, 2015


The UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve (FBR) is releasing today the long awaited results of research into climate change-resilient tree species in southern New Brunswick.

The FBR recently completed an analysis of which native tree species has the most chance to prosper under changing climatic conditions over the next 100 years, as well as those that will most probably merely persevere, and which could even decline. Northern trees species like spruces, fir, birches, and poplars will likely face more insects, disease, extreme weather, and competition, which would lead to slower growth and higher mortality. By contrast, southern species such as maples, oak, pines, beech, hemlock, and cherry should have a longer growing season and thus, faster growth.

"There are many examples around the world of forests being affected by climate change already," states Ben Phillips, Conservation Scientist with the FBR. "We must expect local effects on our forests today, and for those effects to worsen. We will most probably end up with a vastly different forest by the end of the century, especially if we continue to leave climate change unchecked. Now with this research adding to the scientific literature, we have a better idea of what to do about it."

"We have created a pamphlet that describes the eight 'winners' for the changing climate," says Megan de Graaf, Executive Director of the FBR. "This pamphlet describes the trees and their preferred growing conditions, so that woodlot owners, foresters, municipalities, and the general public are armed with the right information about what to plant and where."

As the climate changes and less-resilient species begin to decline and disappear, the Acadian Forest composition in southern New Brunswick (as well as throughout the Maritimes) will also change. This means that the forest as we know it today will later contain fewer of those northern species, and probably more of these "winners". But the forest will need help from residents of the region, notably in planting these resilient species.

"In addition to the pamphlet, we have made other resources available on our website, like a digital, paper-free pamphlet, maps, links to planting guides and a technical report," says de Graaf. "This project has mainly focused on the research up to now, so our next step is getting the word out and working with folks to manage the forest for the future."

The other component of this research is related to forest corridors. As climate change and deforestation affect the forest, wildlife can become cut-off. "Some birds can easily fly from patch to patch, but animals like turtles, flying squirrels, or frogs need continuous forests to move any distance," Phillips reveals. "We are working with other organizations to try and establish forest corridors based on areas with climate change resilient trees, helping plants and animals move freely around the FBR or to and from Nova Scotia. This is just the beginning of a new way of thinking and we have much left to learn!"

The project was funded by Environment Canada's EcoAction Community Funding Program, the Gosling Foundation, and by the NB Environmental Trust Fund. The pamphlet and supporting material are available here:

Fundy Biosphere Reserve Joins World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves

Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve (FBR) is expanding its international reach as a new member of the World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves, a network of twenty island and coastal biosphere reserves.

Established in 2012, the World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves aims to study, implement and disseminate island and coastal strategies to preserve biodiversity and heritage, promote sustainable development, and adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. One of the network’s headquarters in the island of Jeju (Republic of Korea) focuses on climate change issues, while the other headquarter in Menorca (Spain) specializes in sustainable development.

“Island and coastal areas biosphere reserves around the world have different natural, cultural, socio-economic and political characteristics. In spite of that, they still have similar problems that can be addressed in a common way,” says FBR Executive Director Megan de Graaf. “Climate change and sustainable development are both issues that the Fundy Biosphere Reserve and its communities have some leadership experience in. For example, our Climate Change local knowledge videos and education materials, as well as our Amazing Places, which promote sustainable tourism, are projects that will be shared with and potentially replicated in other Biosphere Reserves.”

“Coastal climate change deeply concerns the FBR”, adds Dr. Yves Gagnon, Chair of the UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve. “We will benefit from working with colleagues who are dealing with this issue in other regions of the world and share some of the same exceptional environmental, ecological and social assets as the Fundy region. The Board of Directors of the FBR is very proud that our Executive Director, Megan de Graaf, has been invited as a Speaker to the next international meeting of the Network.”

The Fundy Biosphere Reserve is currently the only biosphere reserve in Canada to join the World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves, and de Graaf will participate in the Network’s next meeting in March in Valletta, Malta. The network hosts yearly meetings, where issues specific to island and coastal BRs are discussed in practical and strategic ways. Island and coastal biosphere reserves, such as the Fundy Biosphere Reserve, are particularly vulnerable to climate change, the impacts of which, in many regions, will increasingly cause poverty, natural disasters, depopulation, loss of traditional culture and the detrimental effect of invasive species.

Current Network Participants:

  •  Mata Atlantica, Brazil
  • Fundy, Canada
  • Juan Fernandez, Chile
  • Nanji Islands, China
  • Mount Kuwol, Democratic People's Republic of Korea
  • West Estonian Archipelago, Estonia
  • Archipielago Sea Area, Finland
  • La Selle, Haiti
  • Siberut Island, Indonesia
  • Future Portland Bight, Jamaica
  • Yakushima, Japan
  • Islas del Golfo de California, Mexico
  • Palawan, Philippines
  • Santana Madeira, Portugal
  • Gochang, Republic of Korea
  • Jeju, Republic of Korea
  • Shinan Dadohae, Republic of Korea
  • Komandorskiye Islands, Russian Federation
  • Island of Principe, Sao Tome & Príncipe
  • El Hierro, Spain
  • Fuerteventura, Spain
  • Gran Canaria, Spain
  • Lanzarote, Spain
  • La Palma, Spain
  • Menorca, Spain
  • St Mary's, St. Kitts & Nevis
  • Cat Ba, Vietnam

Fundy the Focus of Canada-Wide Documentary Series


Posted October 1st 2014

The UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve will be hosting an Ontario film crew beginning October 2, 2014, as they officially begin production on TVO’s Striking Balance, a 8x50 minute docu-series that will explore eight of Canada’s breathtaking UNESCO World Biosphere Reserves.

Produced in association with The Nature Conservancy of Canada, the Knowledge Network, Parks Canada, and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, Striking Balance will share stories of little-known, but amazing scientific and cultural discoveries happening across this vast and resource-rich country.

Little Salmon River

“The Fundy Biosphere Reserve has a rich culture, history, and environment,” says Megan de Graaf, Executive Director of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve. “It’s clear to anyone who lives in this region that this is an exceptionally beautiful and special place, and the Striking Balance series will capture that in all its glory.”

The Fundy episode will feature impassioned researchers, elders, residents, students, community groups and entrepreneurs as they struggle to strike a balance between environmental conservation and economic prosperity.

“The Fundy Biosphere Reserve acts as a laboratory for sustainable development,” continues de Graaf. “We are continually working with our communities on critical topics, such as climate change adaptation, sustainable tourism, and promoting cultural heritage, to ensure that both the communities and environment are strengthened.”

The Fundy Biosphere Reserve’s climate change adaptation and forest conservation work will be featured at length in the Striking Balance episode.

Prosser Ridge Lookout

“We have been researching the future of local forests here to assess which trees may be the most resilient to climate change,” says Ben Phillips, Conservation Scientist with the Fundy Biosphere Reserve. “We are taking this knowledge to our communities, so that urban foresters, woodlot owners, and community planners can make informed decisions about our forests.”

Various Fundy Biosphere Reserve partners and their activities, such as the New Brunswick Museum, Fundy National Park, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Fort Folly First Nation, and Mount Allison University will also be featured in the episode.

“From salmon to bats, this episode will explore very interesting local research,” continues Phillips. “It will even include students from Mount Allison University who are investigating the first impacts of climate change on local forests. The students will be using planes and tree-rings to better understand an epidemic of bark beetle killing old growth red spruce trees.”

Residents as well as visitors to the region are thus invited to check out the Fundy Biosphere’s website at and to visit the Fundy Biosphere Reserve’s Facebook page. To get a taste of what viewers will be in for, check out the series’ Facebook page,, and our other social media feeds. You’ll see “behind the scenes” photos, videos, and comments from the Striking Balance crew as they travel the country, discovering Canadian stories that will change how you think about the natural world and our place within it.

Can the Acadian Forest Survive Climate Change?

Posted August 5 2014

(Free Upcoming Outdoor Workshops in August 2014)

Through its Climate Change Resilient Forest Corridors Project, the Fundy Biosphere Reserve has identified climate change-resilient tree species and mapped out where those species are most likely to survive and thrive over the long term within the Reserve - an area of over 430,000 hectares of the Upper Bay of Fundy coast, stretching from St. Martins to the Tantramar Marsh, near Sackville, and inland to Moncton.

This summer, we have planted 2,500 climate resilient trees in order to create forest corridors between the Reserve's protected areas. These corridors will allow wildlife to pass through more easily and also ensure that the forests continue to thrive as the climate changes.

Below, you will find information on free upcoming outdoor workshops in August, where we will be presenting our research and connecting with the public, encouraging communities and local landowners to plant climate resilient tree species on their lands.

Workshop Poster FBR

Amazing Places Project Cures Nature Deficit Disorder

Posted July 3rd 2014

The UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve has just wrapped up the launch of a series of 8 videos showcasing some of its Amazing Places, which will no doubt incite visitors and residents alike to spend some time in the great outdoors this summer discovering the region’s hidden gems.

Thanks to an interactive new website – – it is now possible to not only discover the Fundy Biosphere Reserve’s fantastic landscapes and natural phenomena through eye catching Planet Earth-style videos, but also access maps, trail descriptions as well as Google Earth information on each destination in order to plan hiking, camping and day trips to visit each Amazing Place. The new website and videos are the results of a collaboration between Craig Norris of VIDEOBAND and FBR Conservation Program Manager Ben Phillips and were made possible thanks to financial support from Mountain Equipment Co-op, the New Brunswick Department of Healthy and Inclusive Communities and Parks Canada. The videos were launched publicly this past spring, with a new video being released each week through May to the end of June 2014. All videos and related content for each destination and trail is now thus available for viewers – just in time to start planning summer activities and vacation ideas.

AmazingPlacesHomepage ENGL

The Amazing Places website provides access to spectacular short nature documentaries showcasing the beauty as well as educating on the flora and fauna of each destination.

AmazingPlaceTraildescription ENGL


Detailed trail information helps plan hiking, camping and day trips to visit each Amazing Place, including hiking difficulty, access to camping sites and access potable water. Google Earth maps even let visitors check out a trail’s topography trail prior to setting off on their adventure.

“Amazing Places encourages people to spend more time outdoors, discovering all these great places that we have right in our own backyard”, says FBR Conservation Manager Ben Phillips. “Busy lives, a bombardment of advertising and too much screen time are causing what researchers refer to as ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’. The result of less time spent outdoors often has physical health implications, but we’re now recognizing the huge mental health impacts. The research is showing your brain shifts into a kind of restorative mode when in nature. With this project, we’re approaching people through their screens with inspirational videos to remind them to reconnect with nature.”

“We hope our project will inspire a sense of appreciation for nature and thus the desire to want to protect it, which is well in line with our conservation, sustainable development and capacity building objectives”, adds FBR Executive Director Megan de Graaf. “Our Amazing Places project have already gathered huge amount of public interest, so much so that our colleagues in other biosphere reserves throughout Canada, namely in Ontario, have expressed an interest to implement a similar initiative in their own regions.”

Residents as well as visitors to the region are thus invited to check out the Fundy Biosphere’s Amazing Places at The Fundy Biosphere Reserve also invites the public to share photos of themselves visiting the Amazing Places on its Facebook page.


UNESCO-Designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve Executive Director Named Canadian Delegate to UNESCO Meeting

Posted June 2, 2014

The UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve is pleased to announce that Executive Director Megan de Graaf will be one of three Canadian delegates to the 26th International Coordinating Council meeting of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program, which will take place June 10-13 in Jönköping, Sweden.

In addition to leading the Fundy Biosphere Reserve’s successes over the last two and a half years, Ms. de Graaf has been increasingly active in the national and international Biosphere Reserve networks. Her invitation to participate in this important international conference is a good indication of how much the Fundy Biosphere Reserve’s initiatives, such as its Amazing Places project, Charter program, and research into the local effects of climate change, are regarded in high esteem and attracting national and international attention.

“I am looking forward to working with my two Canadian partners to cement strong relations with our colleagues worldwide,” says Megan de Graaf, Executive Director of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve. “I also hope to position Fundy as a Biosphere Reserve with dynamic projects and engaged communities, one that is a model for other Biosphere Reserves world-wide.”

Since being designated in 2007 as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, the Fundy Biosphere Reserve has been able to shine an international spotlight on the beauty of its natural landscapes and the importance of conservation in its region. Ms. de Graaf’s presence at the conference could help establish new partnerships to propel the FBR even further in the coming years.

The International Coordinating Council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme meets yearly to make important decisions regarding the international standards and policies of the MAB programme, including deciding on new sites for UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

UNESCO-Designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve Welcomes New Members to its Board of Directors and Reflects on Past Year’s Successes at AGM

Posted May 13, 2014

The UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve is pleased to announce the appointment of two new members to its Board of Directors, Guy Gautreau and Denise Roy. The new directors were elected at the FBR Annual General Meeting, held at the Molly Kool Centre on May 10, 2014 in Alma, New Brunswick.  

Guy Gautreau hails from the Village of Memramcook, and his past experience as the municipality’s community coordinator, as well as his keen interest in hiking and local food issues, will add greatly to the capacity of the Board. Denise Roy joins the Board from the Greater Moncton region, and as a nature conservation enthusiast, her knowledge and enthusiasm will certainly benefit the Board in many ways. 

Some members of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve Board of Directors and staff out for 
a hike in Fundy National Park, prior to the AGM.

“We are very pleased to welcome our two new Board Members,” says FBR Chair Dr. Yves Gagnon. “I’m very proud of the work accomplished this past year by our Board and staff. The UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve’s profile continues to grow and it maintains a strong leadership presence nationally and internationally throughout the network of Biosphere Reserves.”

“This past year was one of continuing successes and enormous public interest in the UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve,” adds FBR Executive Director Megan de Graaf.

FBR Chair Yves Gagnon, Conservation Program Manager Ben Phillips and ExecutiveDirector Megan de Graaf pause at one of the FBR’s Amazing Places, Squaws-Cap Look-off, in Fundy National Park. 

Indeed, the FBR’s documentary film, The Whitney Journals, was on display at the Royal Ontario Museum and secured peer validation through the Phoenix Award by the New Brunswick Environmental Network. The film, along with a series of short documentary videos about climate change in Atlantic Canada produced with Dr. Ian Mauro, will be used in middle and high school classrooms to give students an opportunity to learn about climate change from locals with decades of first-hand experience (

Short Planet Earth-style videos documenting some of the FBR’s unique Amazing Places were featured in Canadian Geographic Travel and three of the videos were screened at the Silver Wave Film Festival. The videos have been launched publicly this spring, with a new video being released each week through May and June 2014 ( The Amazing Places project focuses on nature conservation education, promoting active outdoor exploration, and a sustainable visitor and resident experience. The FBR believes that by fostering pride of place through these videos, residents of and visitors to the Fundy Biosphere Reserve will become champions of this region.

All projects undertaken in 2013-14 are featured in the FBR’s Annual Report available here.

The AGM was part of a joint Open House event with the Molly Kool Centre. The organizations forged ties over a hike in Fundy National Park and potluck lunch. Member of the surrounding communities along the Upper Bay of Fundy were invited to come visit the newly renovated Molly Kool Centre as well as learn more about projects being lead by both organizations.

AGM participants were treated to an impromptu Kitchen Party. Actors dressed in period costumes brought the history of Captain Molly Kool and the village of Alma back to life with stories, song and dance, to give a taste of this new theatrical performance, which will take place at the Molly Kool Centre throughout the summer.

Invitation: 2014 Annual General Meeting

Posted May 10, 2014

You are invited to the UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve's 2014 Annual General Meeting on Saturday May 10, 2014 in partnership with the Molly Kool Centre.

Event starts at 10am with a family-friendly hike in Fundy National Park. AGM will be held in the afternoon after a potluck lunch (finger foods only - no utensils or plates).

All are welcome. Bring your family and friends along!

Invitation Fundy Biosphere Reserve AGM 2104

Fundy Biosphere Reserve Launches Series of Short Nature Documentaries

Posted April 25, 2014

This series of short nature documentaries features amazing hiking destinations in the Fundy Biosphere Reserve. Episode one launches Friday, May 2nd, 2014 and new installments will be released every Friday for 8 weeks. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive email notifications when new episodes are available.

Across the landscape of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve, over 350 kms of hiking trails have been etched onto the surface since the 1950s. Along those trails 50 Amazing Places highlight the very best nature has to offer in this extraordinary coastal region. Now you can preview these local gems before setting off to visit them by watching the Amazing Places documentary video series. A total of eight videos have been completed for the 2014 hiking season with more to be added.

People have been awe struck by the features of this land for centuries. The Amazing Places project was started to make sure they remain wild and natural forever. By providing a guide to these places, this project aims to inspire people to both appreciate and conserve, not just our most prized destinations, but the entire world around us. There is no better way to create a deep connection to the Earth, than to hike over its roots and rocks, breathe its fresh air, feel your heart beat and walk out into the untamed reality of an Amazing Place.

Visit to see the videos and follow the project.

Celebrating Mary Majka

Posted February 17, 2014

The UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve wishes to publicly recognize the impressive legacy of naturalist and social activist Mary Majka, who passed away last week at the age of 90.

"Mrs. Majka has made an indelible impression on the people and environment of this region," states Dr. Yves Gagnon, Chair of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve. "Many of us in New Brunswick have been working for years in conservation and sustainable development with Mrs. Majka as our model for passion, conviction, and success."

"Mrs. Majka's legacy is to challenge us all to be better," says Megan de Graaf, Executive Director of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve. "We have seen first-hand how her tenacity of spirit has resulted in better protection of species like the migratory shorebirds of the Upper Bay of Fundy. Due to her tireless work, both visitors and residents of this region have access to interpretation about these endangered birds and information on viewing ethics when visiting this sensitive area."

Not only a committed advocate for environmental protection, Mary Majka was also strongly invested in preserving the cultural history of the region. Ken Kelly, Fundy Biosphere Reserve Board member and Chair of the Captain Molly Kool project, says that Mary was instrumental in moving this project forward. "She recognized from the very beginning that Molly Kool's pioneering spirit made her a forerunner in women's rights, and that her legacy should be preserved for generations to come. Captain Kool was a New Brunswicker and truly an icon for the status of women, as is Mary in her own right for what she leaves behind."

The staff and Board of Directors of the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve would like to extend sincere condolences to Mrs. Majka's family and friends, and express the desire to see her influence and legacy continued for future generations.

The Whitney Journals on Exhibit at the ROM

Posted October 19, 2013

On October 19, the exhibit Carbon 14: Climate is Culture opened at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. Carbon 14: Climate is Culture explores the growing global issue of climate change through the eyes of scientists, artists and cultural informers. It features information about local knowledge and climate change compiled last year by FBR staff working with Mount Allison University's Dr. Ian Mauro. Of particular interest is our video documentary The Whitney Journals, which chronicles observations of weather, bird migration, vegetation, and other natural indicators in southern New Brunswick noted by the Whitney family for nearly 40 years. The ROM exhibit asks: how does landscape change a culture and how does culture change a landscape? We're doing our part to address that question!

IMAG0137A visitor experiences videos created by Dr. Ian Mauro, Craig Norris, and Ben Phillips (Fundy Biosphere Reserve) about climate change in the Atlantic region, including The Whitney Journals. The exhibit remains open until February 2, 2014.

FBR Wins the Phoenix Award

Posted September 17, 2013

The Fundy Biosphere Reserve was awarded the Phoenix Award yesterday at the New Brunswick Environmental Network's AGA, for the "thought-provoking and accessible presentation of climate change through the production of The Whitney Journals". Thank you for your support!

IMG 0930 
Giselle Barker of the NBEN presents Megan de Graaf, Executive Director for the FBR, with the 2013 Phoenix Award.


Fundy Subject of Planet Earth-style Short Docs

Posted August 21, 2013

Today, the UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve launched their first ever Trail Amazing Places video.  Filmed in Fundy National Park, it showcases Dickson Falls using state-of-the-art filming techniques similar to those seen in BBC’s popular nature documentary series, Planet Earth.

“We’re very proud of the Dickson Falls video” said the project’s director of photography, and owner of VIDEOBAND productions, Craig Norris.

“We take our audience into tiny bird nests perched on the mossy gorge walls flanking the waterfall.  Not only do you get to see a flycatcher feed its chicks, you also get to see the parents swoop into the nest in super slow motion.  We have slowed their movements down ten times, which really highlights their astounding agility.”

Super slow motion is just one of several advanced techniques being employed for this short doc series.  “We have a lot of fire power on this project - two great examples are our 18 foot crane, and our motion-controlled time lapse unit,” Norris explained.

“The crane is an 18 foot steel arm with a robotic, computerized head. It’s kind of like using a helicopter to fluidly swoop the camera over things like waterfalls,” Norris added.

“Our array of equipment gives us a lot of options in the field, the crane gives us a bird’s eye view, our underwater cameras adopt the perspective of fish in rivers, and our time-lapse equipment can compress time, producing a seconds-long Bay of Fundy tide cycle video. By combining all these techniques we are constantly giving our viewer a unique perspective of the location,” said the 33-year-old filmmaker.

According to Ben Phillips, the project’s co-director, and Conservation Program Manager of the UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve, this new generation of camera equipment is more portable than ever, but that doesn’t mean transporting it to remote locations is easy.

“With all the camera equipment and camping supplies we’re typically packing over four-hundred pounds of gear into the forest.  We rely on Fundy Biosphere Reserve staff, in-kind support from organizations like Parks Canada, and volunteers to help us access the Amazing Places,” said Phillips.

The remoteness of the locations is part of the allure according to Norris.  “We have to hike five or ten kilometers, our gear is heavy, and honestly it takes a tonne of work to lug everything to a place like Moosehorn falls. But once you get there, and you set up an 18 foot crane on the edge of a waterfall at sunset, you realize you’re doing something that’s never been done before, and you recognize you have a chance to create a video that actually does the place justice.”

According to Phillips the intention of each video is to explain important characteristics of each Amazing Place.  “The videos explore a wide variety of interesting animal and plant species like the endangered Inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon, the incredible sandpipers and other shorebirds, animals like great blue herons and beavers, giant old growth trees, many strange and wonderful insects, tiny mosses and lichens, carnivorous plants - there really is a lot to explore within the Fundy Biosphere Reserve.”

Phillips, who is also an instructor at Mount Allison University and has a background in physical geography, has opted to bring that perspective into the video series as well.  “We’re looking at the formation of some of these places and explaining why they exist. The videos explore the formation of landscape features like bogs, waterfalls, glacial moraines, river deltas and mud flats.”

The Trail Amazing Places project originally launched in the spring of 2011 as a nature-based engagement tool.  “We mapped all of the official trails in the Fundy Biosphere Reserve and then selected 50 Amazing Places along those trails,” explains Phillips.  “Each Amazing Place was given a sign with a QR code smartphone portal to an interpretive webpage so visitors can access them on location.”

The project has become the Fundy Biosphere Reserve’s flagship activity over the last few years.  “Our mandate is to support conservation, sustainable development, and capacity building.  This project meshes those objectives so seamlessly,” shares FBR Executive Director Megan de Graaf.  “The UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve launched the Trail Amazing Places project to promote these amazing natural and scenic sites and to encourage people to seek them out.”

The reasons for creating such a project were numerous according to Phillips, “we wanted people to establish deeper connections with nature and to give them a cool new way to learn about local conservation.  Getting people out hiking is also a great way to promote healthy lifestyles and it is obviously a great tool for tourism operators.”

The 2.0 version of the project has all the same objectives but focuses on high quality video content. “Web-based video offers us the opportunity to connect with people at their convenience and point out all the interesting diversity the Amazing Places have to offer.”

This version of the project has been funded by Mountain Equipment Co-op and Parks Canada.  Fundy National Park, Mount Allison University’s Canada Research Chair, Dr. Ian Mauro, and The Postman Post Production Studio have also provided in-kind support.

So far the team has completed shooting at eight locations and is aiming to complete several more before the snow flies.  According to Phillips the most challenging test is ahead, “there are remote places in New Brunswick so amazing that most people wouldn’t even believe they exist here.  Walton Glen Canyon is our next and biggest challenge.  Getting our gear all the way back to the Eye of the Needle is going to be an expedition!”

Fundy Biosphere Reserve Launches Local Climate Change Documentary

Posted June 18, 2013

The UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve celebrated the launch of a documentary video, The Whitney Journals on the evening of June 17 as part of their Annual General Meeting. The video explores nature observations collected by the Sussex-based Whitney family for nearly 40 years and the analysis of these observations as chronicling the effects of climate change on the local environment.

“The Whitneys have taken pains over the last 40 years to record a variety of important nature observations on their farm,” says Megan de Graaf, Executive Director of the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve. “Lee and Alice Whitney have been friends of my family for years, and they were keen to see their impressive nature journals used for such a project.”

Two years ago, when the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve began this project, they realized that a lot of important nature-related information had been collected over the years by people in and around the Fundy Biosphere Reserve. With this video, the Fundy Biosphere Reserve highlights the fact that citizens can be scientists too, and experts on changes to their environment.

“Our analysis of the Whitneys’ journals tells us that our local climate does indeed seem to be changing,” explains Ben Phillips, Conservation Program Manager for the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve.

FBR AGM 170613 007From Left to Right: Craig Norris, Megan de Graaf, Lee Whitney, Alice Whitney,
Ben Phillips 
and Dr. Yves Gagnon.

According to the Whitneys’ records, since the early 1970s, the frost-free growing season is now 25 days longer, the breeding season for spring peepers has expanded an extra 29 days, robins are appearing a full one month earlier in the spring, and lilacs are showing a seven day advance in their growing season. The Fundy Biosphere Reserve hopes to continue building this project in the future with more such citizen-sourced materials.

“This project perfectly highlights our interest in sustainable development, conservation, and in building the capacity of our partners and communities,” says Dr. Yves Gagnon, Chair of the Board of Directors for the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve. “We wanted to share the impressive scientific resources that were these and other journals with everyone in the Fundy Biosphere Reserve.”  

The Climate Change Proxy Materials project was possible thanks to funding from the New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund. The project began in 2011 to encourage people to become “citizen scientists” by regularly recording nature observations and sharing them with the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve for analysis, thereby providing communities with knowledge of the effects of climate change at a local level. Watch the video on YouTube: and follow the project progress on Facebook at Fundy Biosphere Reserve.

For more information on the Environmental Trust Fund, click here

Fundy Biosphere Reserve Releases Climate Change Video

Posted April 19, 2013

The Fundy Biosphere Reserve has released a short documentary video exploring citizen-sourced data on climate change in southern New Brunswick. The documentary explores 35 years of weather journals recorded by the Whitneys in Kierstead Mountain, New Brunswick. Specifically, the documentary examines how some bio-indicators, such as spring peepers, robins, lilacs and trees, have been responding to climate change. These examples are illustrated and animated to offer an engaging perspective on locally-sourced citizen science. Watch the documentary to find out how climate change might be affecting the region of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve and why it is important for local people to monitor their local environment. For more information, please visit the webpage for the project.

Directed by Ben Phillips & Craig Norris

Animated by Blake Stilwell

Funded by the New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund

Special Thanks to Lee and Alice Whitney

Special Thanks to Dr. Ian Mauro, Mount Allison University

A VIDEOBAND Production

UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve Receives Significant Mountain Equipment Co-op Funding

Posted February 22, 2013

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) has just announced funding for the Fundy Biosphere Reserve and their project Trail Amazing Places 2.0. Fundy Biosphere Reserve’s Trail Amazing Places 2.0 project received $35,000, which was the full amount requested and the highest amount available in MEC’s Capacity Building category. Out of 88 applications submitted to MEC in the Capacity Building category in late 2012, only 10 organizations were funded for a total of $208,379.

“This is great news for us, and for residents and visitors to the Fundy Biosphere Reserve,” said Megan de Graaf, Executive Director of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve. “We began the first Amazing Places project as way to identify and promote places of environmental significance such as biodiversity, topography, landscapes or views that depict the unique environment of the region. With this funding from MEC, we will be adding incredible web content including innovative nature video interpretation explaining the importance of these places. This project therefore encourages conservation, nature education, and healthy living all in one.”

“We saw enormous merit in supporting the next stage of the Amazing Places project,” said Andrew Stegemann, Community Program Manager at MEC. “We value innovative projects that emphasize the conservation of ecologically and recreationally important places where we adventure and that sustain us. It was clear to us that the FBR is dedicated to promotingboth sustainable outdoor activity and conservation, which is very compatible with MEC’s goals.”

FBR TAPs 2.0 - Screen Res

“Many of the Amazing Places featuredinthis projectwill be familiar to people, such as the Sea Caves in St. Martin’s and the Hopewell Rocks”, continued de Graaf. “But others are equally spectacular but less well-known, and we want to showcase them all to the people and communities in the Fundy Biosphere Reserve”.

The Amazing Places project allows people to use their smartphones to access web-based interpretive content via signs placed at each Amazing Place, as well as explore all of the trails and Amazing Places in the FBR through a Google Earth application. As the new project is unrolled, people will have access to more Amazing Places, more interpretive information, and extensive videos of the experience that each Amazing Place can offer.

UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve is Making the Most of the World’s Attention

Posted November 22, 2012

The UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve and Vision Alma are working together to make the most of the world’s attention on the Bay of Fundy, by having co-hosted a workshop for local businesses, tourism operators, interested individuals, and municipalities on November 21 in Hopewell Cape, NB.  The objective of the workshop was to network and collaborate together on projects and packages, ultimately making the most of the UNESCO designation for the benefit of local communities and visitors.

“We know that the world is looking at the Bay of Fundy as a unique natural feature, and a beautiful place to visit,” says Megan de Graaf, Executive Director of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve. “We have so many experiences to offer visitors, and we think it’s important that we all work together to make sure that the international, national, and local tourism markets know what incredible experiences can be had here.”

“The designation of the region in 2007 by UNESCO as the Fundy Biosphere Reserve is a terrific benefit to the tourism sector of this province,” de Graaf continues. “It distinguishes this region as ecologically and culturally unique in the world, which appeals to travellers who are looking for authentic and enriching experiences.”

The UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve is an area of over 430,000 hectares of the Upper Bay of Fundy coast, stretching from St. Martins to the Tantramar Marsh, near Sackville, and inland to Moncton. It is a community-based initiative comprised of individuals and representatives of various stakeholder groups, organizations and local communities working to promote the sustainable development of the region by enhancing the research and innovation capacity and by creating a forum for various groups to share information, knowledge and best practices.

“Since designation, the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve has been helping tourism operators and businesses become more sustainable through our Charter Membership Program, and working with partners to promote their sustainable tourism practices. We think it’s now time to take the next step and collaborate on experiences and packages that show the world how special this region is.”, said Dr. Yves Gagnon, Chair of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve.

“In 2010 Vision Alma was created to reinvigorate the tourism industry in Alma”, explains Andrew Casey, Co-Chair of Vision Alma. “One of the key elements is to develop opportunities with partners to strengthen our collective tourism offer. We think that this workshop, which focused on networking with and within the Fundy Biosphere Reserve, allowed us all to brainstorm together about how we can make the most of the UNESCO designation.”

UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve Wants You to Get Out and Hike

Posted on October 5, 2012

The UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve and Minister Trevor Holder were pleased to promote the hiking trails and tourism opportunities of the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve by hiking Fuller Falls, near St. Martins, at 2pm on Friday, October 5.

“The autumn is a great time to experience the beautiful views and excellent hiking trails of the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve,” says Trevor Holder, Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Healthy Living. “We are keen to encourage New Brunswickers, and visitors to the province alike, to explore beautiful places like Fuller Falls, and what better time to do it than now, when the weather is cool and the scenery so beautiful. So get out and experience these lovely sites and enjoy some outdoor exercise at the same time.”

“The UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve continues to promote sustainable development, in particular the tourism industry and the excellent hiking trails of this area,” says Dr. Yves Gagnon, Chair of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve. “Since designation in 2007, the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve has been helping tourism operators and businesses become more sustainable through our Charter Membership Program, and working with partners to advertise hiking trails like Fuller Falls to the public.”

Fuller Falls is a 15m high, veiled-type, two-tiered waterfall on Fuller Brook. It is located about halfway between the western entrance gate and the interpretation centre at Big Salmon River on the Fundy Trail Parkway, east of the village of St Martins. The UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve has identified Fuller Falls as an Amazing Place in the region, through the Trail Amazing Places project.

051012 FBR THolder Trail Event Photo 1

From left to right: Brian Clark (General Manager of the Fundy Trail Parkway), Megan de Graaf (Executive Director for the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve), and Trevor Holder (Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Healthy Living). In the back we see the sign for the Amazing Place Fuller Falls.

“Many of the Amazing Places featured in this project will be familiar to people, such as the Sackville Waterfowl Park and Cape Enrage”, said Megan de Graaf, Executive Director of the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve. “But others are equally spectacular but less well-known, and we wanted to showcase them all to the people and communities in the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve”.

Designed as an engagement and education tool, Trail Amazing Places is based on Google Earth and other web resources. “We’re using smartphone technology on the signs at each of these Amazing Places to make the experience truly interactive for those who get active and explore in the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve,” says de Graaf. “We’re really looking for people and communities to get involved and to explore our unique region.”

Brian Clark, General Manager of the Fundy Trail Parkway, points out that Amazing Places like Fuller Falls are excellent places for people to visit to gain an appreciation for the region’s natural beauty: “Fuller Falls is a real gem, and like other scenic points along the Fundy Trail Parkway, it’s easily accessible for everyone. The Thanksgiving long weekend is the perfect opportunity for people to explore the Fundy Trail Parkway and the whole UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve”.

Trail Amazing Places was funded by Trans Canada Trail, Loblaw, Environment Canada, Business New Brunswick, and New Brunswick Department of Culture, Tourism, and Healthy Living.

Annual General Meeting

Posted May 29, 2012

You are invited to the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve's 2012 Annual General Meeting. It will be held from 7-9pm on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 in the Conference Room at Riverview High School. Riverview High School is our newest Charter Member, so please join us for our AGM business and a short presentation by students of RHS on their initiatives to promote the FBR.

Riverview High School Signs onto the Charter of the
UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve

Posted April 30, 2012

Students and staff of Riverview High School were joined at this morning’s school assembly by staff of the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve to sign the Fundy Biosphere Reserve Charter. This event showed Riverview High’s public commitment to operating in a manner that is compatible with the Charter of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve, and to promoting the positive relationship between their school community and the region in which they live.

“We are delighted that Riverview High School has joined the roster of Charter Members,” says Megan de Graaf, Executive Director of the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve. “The Charter Membership program is meant to be a vehicle for displaying good business and community practices in the Fundy Biosphere Reserve, and Riverview High School is certainly a shining star in this program with its very active Environmental Science program.”

UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve Announces Explorer Grand Prize Winner

Posted March 2, 2012

The UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve is excited to announce that Zoe Hunter (age 10) is the 2011 Explorer Program Grand Prize winner. Zoe was presented with the Grand Prize, a 2012 season family pass to Fundy National Park, at an awards assembly at her school on Friday, March 2.

“Zoe’s beautiful drawing of the Sackville Waterfowl Park depicts perfectly one of the many amazing places in the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve,” says Megan de Graaf, Executive Director for the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve. “We are so pleased that our Explorer Program has encouraged Zoe and many other children to get out and explore the natural gems of this region, like the Waterfowl Park.”

UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve Announces Funding and Amazing Places Initiative

Posted October 14, 2011

The UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve is excited to acknowledge that the federal government will contribute $57,000 per year for 2009-2013 to their community support programs.

Moncton, NB – The UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve is excited to acknowledge that the federal government will contribute $57,000 per year for 2009-2013 to their community support programs.

“The federal government contribution of $285,000 is a major source of funding to the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve,” says Robert Goguen, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Member of Parliament (Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe). “The federal government recognizes that this funding commitment allows the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve to develop and operate programs that reach significantly into the regional economy in the areas of sustainable development and tourism, food production supply and demand, and natural and cultural heritage education and experience programs.”

“The federal contribution also provides an excellent platform from which to develop other funding sources – especially as leverage in project grant applications,” says Dr. Yves Gagnon, Chair of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve. “Since 2009, the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve has been able to leverage 2 to 3 times as much funding each year to develop, fund and manage community support programs.”

The Fundy Biosphere Reserve is Pleased to Announce the Appointment of their New Executive Director, Megan de Graaf.

Posted September 22, 2011

The Chair of the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve, Dr. Yves Gagnon, is pleased to announce the appointment of Megan de Graaf as Executive Director of the organisation. A native of Sussex (NB), Megan de Graaf has worked for many years in New Brunswick’s environmental and natural resource sectors. Megan replaces the previous Executive Director who has moved to Central Canada for family reasons.

“We are delighted to have Megan join the staff of the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve as its new Executive Director and we look forward to the influence that she will provide,” said Dr. Gagnon. “As a non-advocacy group promoting sustainable development and conservation, we’ve been very successful at garnering interest in and partners to our initiatives, and we fully expect that to continue under Megan’s direction”.

IMBA Canada Presents Trail Care Crew - Aug 6, 2011

Posted August 2, 2011

The IMBA Canada Trail Care Crew is coming to the area to help improve your trail opportunities.

Join Chad and Deanne Lazaruk to learn how to design, build and maintain trails in a sustainable way!

New Online Tool Celebrates the Natural Gems of the Region

Posted June 30, 2011

The UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve is encouraging people to get out and explore the Amazing Places in our region through a new and innovative initiative called Trail Amazing Places.

As part of a collaborative trail mapping initiative, Trail Amazing Places uses GPS technology to create an inventory of hiking trails throughout the region, where Amazing Places are identified as places of environmental significance such as biodiversity, topography, landscapes or views that depict the unique environment of the region.

Bioblitz Open House, July 5, 2011

Posted June 29, 2011

Biodiversity experts will descend on the Caledonia Gorge Protected Natural Area for the third annual New Brunswick Museum-organized Bioblitz from June 24 to July 7.

On Tuesday, July 5 from 4-8pm an Open House will be held at the Recreation Hall at the Mary’s Point Country Cottage (206 Mary’s Point Road, Harvey, Albert County, N.B.) where you are invited to come and meet some of the experts participating in the Bioblitz, and learn about their discoveries.

Fundy Biosphere Reserve Annual General Meeting, June 22 2011

Posted June 7, 2011

Join us for a celebration of our achievements and the announcement of key initiatives!

The Fundy Biosphere Reserve Annual General Meeting will be taking place on Wednesday June 22, 2011 at the Shediac Room of the Delta Beauséjour from 7:00 to 8:00 PM.

After the AGM will be the meeting of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve Planning Advisory Group. All are welcome to attend and contribute to the future direction of the organization.

Please see attached document for more information

pdfFBR Annual General Meeting

Celebrate International Trail Day in the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve

Posted May 30, 2011

Come celebrate International Trail Day in the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve and be one of the firsts to try out the new Trans Canada Trail BioKits!

In celebration of International Trails Day, the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve is introducing the new Trans Canada Trail BioKit! The UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve has been contributing to the development of the Trans Canada Trail BioKits for several months. Initially developed by Environment Canada Biosphere in Montreal, these BioKits have been adapted for use on trails anywhere in Canada. BioKits are essentially activity books used to engage families to go out and experience nature all along the Trans Canada Trail. We will be piloting the BioKits on International Trail Day (Saturday, June 4th) at different locations throughout the Fundy Biosphere Reserve.

Event in Fundy National Park - May 21, 2011

Posted May 19, 2011

Join us for the unveiling of a plaque recognizing Fundy National Park as the core area within the Fundy Biosphere Reserve

The event will take place outdoors at the Butland Lookout in Fundy National Park of Canada, Alma, New Brunswick on May 21, 2011 at 10 a.m.

Please see the attached document for more information

pdfFundy Biosphere Reserve Plaque Unveiling Invitation

Local Food Forum April 10, 2011

Posted April 4, 2011

Coming Together to Strengthen our Local Food System.

UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve Introduces Charter Membership Program

Posted February 23, 2011

The region of the New Brunswick side of the Upper Bay of Fundy recently received one of the most significant designations in the world when it was recognized as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. This UNESCO designation acknowledges our unique environment and cultural heritage and recognizes this region as a truly special place on this planet. As UNESCO is one of the most credible and respected brands in the world, there are many ways this region can benefit, from an increase in tourism to promoting best practices in sustainability and acting as a living laboratory to showcase how humans and nature can live in harmony.

FBR Holding a Press Event at Moncton City Hall on Wednesday February 23

Posted February 22, 2011

You are cordially invited to attend the launch of the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve Charter Membership Program

Wednesday February 23, 2011 12:00 - 1PM Council Chambers, Moncton City Hall Moncton NB