People & Places

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 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.

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.

Nov 15 2012

The Write Stuff

A New Brunswick writer travels to Haiti to help Haitians document their memories and experiences for future generations, and returns with a clearer understanding of the power of words to strengthen, and to heal.

My companions and I sat loose-limbed, our heads bobbing from side to side like dashboard ornaments, as our rental truck inched over rock-face that was more goat path than road. We were six hours into our journey to Mombin Crochu, a village in Haiti’s remote northern mountains, when the truck came to an abrupt halt at the bottom of a gully.

We climbed out and stood mute, regarding the front end. The tires looked cross-eyed.

“We’re done,” announced Rick, after crawling underneath. “This is the end of the road.”

Jul 06 2011

Tongue & Cheek

(2012 Bronze, International Regional Magazine Awards; 2011 Honorable Mention Professional Writers’ Association of Canada Features Writing category)

Each time I travel to Newfoundland’s Gros Morne National Park, I visit the Broom Point Fishing Exhibit, a family cabin and fish store restored to the way the buildings were in the 1960s when the Mudge family lived there each year, April to August. What was once a family’s home and business is now a historical site, designed to preserve the memory of Newfoundlanders who made their living from the sea.

Over the years, I’ve come to know some of the interpreters who, with the beauty of lilt and brogue and language, are the spirit of the place. They are the reason I return, time after time, to Broom Point.

On my last visit, I met Louise Decker. As the cool Gulf of St. Lawrence winds rattled the windows in the cozy fishing cabin, and softwood snapped in the stove, the tiny, 4’ 11” Louise related her story.

Aug 16 2009

The Return of the Revolving Light

On September 12, 1875, a three-masted barque named Revolving Light slid from the slipway at Turner Shipyard in Harvey Bank, NB, amid cheers of onlookers. She lurched forward as a tugboat towed her, pennants flashing, through the tidal waters of the Shepody River and into the Bay of Fundy. At 196 feet long, the 1,338-ton ship was beautiful, graceful and sturdy.

Aug 16 2008

Slice of Life

(Saltscapes Magazine, Sept/Oct 2008)

It’s hotly debated whether the best part is the smell or the taste. But for baker Lorenzo Richard, fresh-baked bread is about family, tradition and culture.

By noon, the loaves are lined in rows like kernels of Indian corn. The crisp brown crust varies in shades of golden brown to mahogany. To do the bread justice, it should be cut thick while still warm, then slathered with butter and molasses. It’s been hotly debated whether the best part is the aroma, the taste or the remembrance of kitchens past.

With a history as old as civilized culture, any bread in its purest, simplest form has the power to evoke vivid memories.

Aug 16 2007

A Tour of a Lifetime

(Saltscapes Magazine, Jul/Aug 2007; Atlantic Journalism Awards Silver in Atlantic Magazine Best Profile)

Silhouetted against windows overlooking La Dune de Bouctouche, “The Woodchuck” hunches over his workbench. Close at hand are his tools – chisels and mallets made by his brother – and over his shoulder, a charcoal likeness of Jesus. Above the bench, one of his first relief carvings. Reminders of grace and how far he has come.


May 16 2005

The Light with an Image to Keep

Dennison Tate faces into the wind as he gazes over the turbulent Bay of Fundy, one hand resting on the lighthouse that altered his life’s course.  An unexpected squall, already racing up the bay, mimics the frequent turmoil he weathered while preserving the Cape Enrage Lighthouse and turning it into a life skills training ground for kids and one of the province’s premiere tourist attractions.  But Dennison knows, as the tide shifts and the wind stills, peace will replace the gale, and smooth sailing may be possible once more.

He turns with a smile and a shrug, “Until the next time.”