Deborah Carr

Words are for sharing
Dec 20 2023

Women of the Wilderness

(Excerpt Saltscapes Magazine, Cover feature, Dec 2023)

Women in Southeast New Brunswick are taking to the woods together and having a blast.

The first time I met Sarah Lord, she was leading a hike to the Midland Ice Cave near Norton, N.B. The icy alcove tucked behind a frozen waterfall on private land is the kind of local treasure that isn’t advertised, but continues to be popular due to the agreeability of the landowner.

This is what Lord does best: she sniffs out hidden New Brunswick destinations, works out the kinks of getting there safely, and helps others stretch their comfort levels and discover the beauty of their own backyard without the worry of getting lost or encountering the unknown.

Sep 10 2023

Saving the forest for the trees

(Excerpt, Atlantic Business Magazine, Sept/Oct 2023)

Fire prevention starts with forest protection; lessons in woodlot management

Mike Spence leads the way through the forest, pointing out landscape features and individual trees, mushrooms and woodland flowers. Sunlight filters through the leafy canopy, moss cushions the ground, water tumbles over roots and stones in a nearby brook. We spot tracks from a doe and fawn, a moose and bear.

“We’re trying to maintain the forest that’s been here for 200 years,” he said. “We have maple, yellow and white birch, spruce, oak, hornbeam, ironwood and ash…”

Apr 23 2022

Just think!

(Saltscapes Magazine, Dec 2020)

Our thoughtlessness and ignorance costs wildlife dearly. (Part 2 of a 2-part series)

Jim Goltz enjoys walking along the edge of the Wolastoq (Saint John) River near Fredericton. Shadowed by the graffitied abutments of the Princess Margaret Bridge and bounded by the busy Lincoln Road, the riverside space where we meet is surrounded by urban development, a place representative of the human impacts on nature.

From here, one can follow the Salamanca Trail north to the spot where Wolastoqiyik elders and other First Nations representatives held a ceremony in 2018 to reclaim the river’s original name of ‘Wolastoq’, meaning ‘bountiful, beautiful river.’ Elders say reclaiming the river’s name is a step towards healing.

Apr 19 2022

We’re the Problem

(Saltscapes Magazine, Oct/Nov 2020; International Regional Magazine Awards, Silver award winner, Nature & Environmental category)

When wildlife brushes up against human activity, it usually ends poorly for the animal. This dedicated duo of wildlife rehabilitators works to rewrite that ending (part 1 of a 2-part series)

The phone call from Canaport LNG came in at 10AM on September 14, 2013. Flocks of birds had flown into a gas flare the night before, the caller said. Can you help?

Barry Rothfuss, Executive Director of Atlantic Wildlife Institute (AWI), a wildlife rehabilitation facility in Cookville, NB, hung up the phone and kicked into high gear, initiating protocols he’d developed over decades of emergency response. By 2PM, he and a team of well-trained responders had arrived at the Saint John, NB facility overlooking the Bay of Fundy.

The scene was horrific. Thousands of dead and dying songbirds covered an area the size of two football fields. Some were flopping about unable to fly; others still tumbled from the sky. A feeding frenzy of gulls plucked up the helpless fallen. Traumatized workers were unsure what to do.

“In an event like this, your mind focuses on the task at hand,” recalls Barry. “You don’t have time to reflect on emotions, or the animals suffering. Your job is to remediate and respond as best you can.”

Jan 01 2018

Can’t See the Forest or the Trees

(Saltscapes Magazine, Jan 2018)

Is it time for tough questions on woodland management? Is an industrial softwood tree farm still a forest?

For as long as I can remember, an autumn drive on the rural roads surrounding Elgin, NB has been a feast for the eyes. It’s home for me, part of my heritage; a landscape of farmer’s fields, steep hillsides of brilliant sugar maples, clear boulder-tumbled rivers and waterfalls.

But just beyond the line of sight, I find a very different landscape. Single species tree plantations replace natural forest. Industrial clearcutting operations scrape every living thing from the soil my ancestors settled, leaving nothing but a scattering of chewed and dismembered limbs. Tractor trailers queue up, waiting for the next load of maple, birch, pine and spruce logs or chips.

Some of this is industrial freehold (company-owned), but some is Crown. This is ours. The people’s land; held in the public trust.

But has that trust been broken?

Apr 01 2017

The Lightkeeper’s Daughters

(Saltscapes Magazine, Apr/May 2017; Atlantic Journalism Awards Magazine Article silver finalist)

New Brunswick’s Grindstone Island is a storied place with a history etched in stone

Grindstone Island. Named for the sandstone once quarried from its cliffs and reefs, this tiny Bay of Fundy island marks the spot where the salty waters of Shepody Bay flow past the hook of Mary’s Point into Chignecto Bay.

Its lighthouse sits atop a bluff overlooking ‘Five Fathom Hole’, once a deep anchorage for ships even at low tide. The stones along its shore bear fossils from tropical times, the names of those who lived here, and others who wished to leave their mark.

May 15 2016

Conserving Endangered Wild Salmon

(Saltscapes Magazine, Jul/Aug 2016; Atlantic Journalism Awards Silver finalist for Enterprise Reporting)

Volunteer efforts undermined by government apathy (Part 2 of 2)

The 129-kilometre-long Nepisiguit River flows north and east from Nepisiguit Lakes to New Brunswick’s Bay of Chaleur. Today, it’s a healthy river with more than 90 salmon pools, abundant gravel for spawning, and rapids that oxygenize the water.

It wasn’t always like this.

Back in the 70s, when the Nepisiguit was dead due to acid runoff and toxic waste escaping a nearby mining operation, Bob Baker of Bathurst walked every foot of the shoreline to the impressive Nepisiguit Falls and power dam marking the terminus of the salmon’s 28-kilometre journey upriver from the bay. He noted the pools and gravel beds that salmon might frequent.

Mar 01 2016

Can we save our Salmon?

(Saltscapes Magazine, Mar/Apr 2016; Silver Atlantic Journalism Award  for Enterprise Reporting)

We’re losing a desperate race against time and long odds and government indifference (Part 1 of 2)

Spring sunshine warms my face as my kayak drifts down the Miramichi River. I pass riffles and salmon pools, downed trees, submerged rocks, and gravelly shallows. Occasionally I hear a splash, or encounter fishermen, braced thigh deep in the water, angling for ‘blacks’ or ‘kelts’ – salmon that, after spawning last fall, have overwintered in the river.

Meandering through this forested river valley, its shoreline peppered with fishing camps and signs posting private pools, it is hard to believe that a healthy salmon population cannot thrive here unaided, but without the dedicated actions of thousands of human caregivers, Atlantic salmon populations would have crashed decades ago due to human interference, negligence and exploitation.

Aug 01 2015

A Tale of Two Women

(Saltscapes Magazine, Jul/Aug 2015)

New Brunswick has been well served by two dynamic women who worked tirelessly for environmental justice.

In 1962, Rachel Carson’s seminal book, Silent Spring, which explored the links between pesticide use, wildlife mortality, and human cancer, sparked what became a global environmental movement. Educated as a marine biologist, Carson was a reluctant activist compelled by her sense of justice. She wrote to a friend, “Knowing what I do, there would be no future peace for me if I kept silent.”  Carson died of cancer just two years following the book’s publication. Although subjected to vicious attacks by the chemical industry and policy makers before her death, her conviction and work changed history and inspired generations of environmental voices.

New Brunswick’s Dr. Mary Majka and Inka Milewski are two of those voices.

Mar 01 2015

Natural Learners

(Saltscapes Magazine, Mar/Apr 2015)

Four-year-old Gabriel Jesso squeals with excitement. He and Joy Munford have been spraying sunscreen in the air and dashing into the cloud. The spray has settled on the ground, revealing a lacy spider’s web. While sunscreen may not be ideal for the spider or its handiwork, Gabriel has made a fascinating discovery and is now spraying elsewhere to see if he can find more webs.

Meanwhile, Jesse Savoie scrambles seven metres up a pine tree, anxious to show off his agility. The lacquered look of the limbs tells the story of many small hands and sneakered feet gaining familiarity with the landscape of this stalwart friend in the forest.

This is Tír na nÓg, an outdoor classroom for pre-schoolers near Sussex, NB, where two days a week children spend their day climbing trees, wading creeks, hiking the hills and daydreaming in wide-open fields of wildflowers. This natural landscape is their teacher and their land of discovery…a playground of innocence and delight within the natural cycles of life and death.