“I hope people who walk the trail get connected to nature and remember what’s important,” said John Caraberis, acting chair of Friends of the Pugwash Estuary (FOPE).
Caraberis was on hand for the official opening of the Peace Trail at Canfield Creek Trailhead Saturday afternoon just outside of Pugwash.
“We’re overloaded with so much information in this world,” added Caraberis. “We need to quiet down and pay attention to what’s in front of us and not be so stressed out from things we can do nothing about.”
Aboriginal elders and spiritual leaders, Emile Gautreau and Louise Goodwin, also took part in the ceremony. They provided a traditional Mi’kmaq smudging ceremony at Estuary House, and then an opening prayer at the Peace Trail trailhead across the bridge from Estuary house. The entire trail is over10 kilometres long, and among those in attendance at the trailhead prayer were three teenagers. Gautreau wishes more youth would have shown up.
“Did they show up today? Did their teachers show up?” asked Gautreau. “More should have been here because this is our future.”
He said children should spend more time outdoors.
“The children today are going to the indoor classroom and they’re learning a lot from those machines they got in their hand,” said Gautreau. “They’re learning a lot, they know everything, everything is there right in front of them, but there is another classroom and they’re forgetting that classroom, and it’s the outdoor classroom.”
He says nature is a book that should be studied by all the senses.
“The teachers are all these things that are here. This is a great big book. It’s Mother Nature’s book. It’s been written since the beginning of time, and the more you learn to read Mother Nature’s book the wiser you become,” said Gautreau. “Put that information in those machines, alongside what you learn from Mother Nature, then you will be wise, but if you do not get your children to understand Mother Nature and to read the book and to listen to the teachers of Mother Nature, the children who live here will never, ever be wise enough to take care of the earth like it should be taken care of.”
He says Mother Nature’s bosom is overflowing with tears.
“She’s crying, she’s hurting, some of her children are dying because it’s being pushed aside to make room for peoples pleasures.”
Doug Van Hemessen, stewardship coordinator for the Nature Conservancy of Canada, said the development of the trail system at the Pugwash Estuary has been a few years in the making.
“Between acquiring properties, the house itself, and the trails, we’re finally at a time when it’s all come together for people to enjoy,” said Van Hemessen.
He hopes people come out and walk the trails, see the estuary, the salt marsh and the wildlife.
“It’s a great opportunity. It’s easy to get to and the trails are easy to walk.”
FOPE acquired a nine-acre property on Doherty Creek and a building, now called Estuary House, in 2013.
The Peace Trail consists of a growing number of separate parts which can be hiked individually or as a connected whole.
FOPE thanks the Nova Scotia Community Foundation, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Windsor Salt, and the Pagweak Foundation for their help in the development of the Peace Trail system.