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COLUMN: Discovering treasures in your own backyard

AT THE LIBRARY by Trecia Schell

Ever wonder what was underfoot, or just under the water when you’re roaming the beach or hiking a trail? With the warmer weather upon us, inviting outdoor exploration – it’s also a great way to discover some treasures in the library’s collection – field guides.

Field Guides are the ‘Know-it-All’ books that explain everything, and help you figure out what that bug, bird, rock, tree, plant, or animal really is. The Peterson’s Field Guides are the tried and true reference guides for most serious outdoor enthusiasts and naturalists, and they range in practicality for the beginner to expert, for children and adults. The illustrations are beautiful, and technical to a fault, with the accompanying descriptions of home habitats, distribution ranges, preferred foods, and breeding characteristics.

Two other great Nova Scotia expeditionary books to have on hand, are “Hiking Trails of Mainland Nova Scotia” by Michael Haynes (2012, and into its ninth edition, it is truly that popular and an excellent guide) and, new this year, “Waterfalls of Nova Scotia: a guide” (2018), by self-confessed ‘waterfall addict,’ Benoit Lalonde.

In his book, Haynes profiles 60 trails on the mainland from Yarmouth to the Canso Causeway, including portions of the newly created Cape to Cape Trail in our area (Cape Chignecto to Cape George, ). He includes helpful directions, detailed maps and descriptions of the trails including GPS co-ordinates, time and length, facilities, photographs of interesting sites, charts, hiking tips, and sidebars on historical, cultural, and natural subjects. Whether you're a longtime resident or a visitor new to the province, this book is an essential companion. Haynes also maintains a blog for the book at, and several social media sites with updated hiking information, from his adventures around the world.

Lalonde’s book offers us the beauty of experiencing some of Nova Scotia’s ‘must-see’ waterfalls, from the popular sites such as Garden of Eden, Wentworth Falls, and Cuties Hollow – to the lesser-known but easy to locate hidden gems. He provides useful information the height, type, and hiking distance of each waterfall, their degree of difficulty to reach (for the novice to advanced hikers), and features colour photograph and maps of each location.

Exploring closer to home? The Pictou County Chamber of Commerce has just released its “151 Great Things About the Place We Call Home” and you can download a copy online from the library’s website, at .

Read by the Sea, in River John

It’s here, it’s almost here! The wonderful WordPlay children’s event on Monday, July 2, at Mabel Murple’s Book Shoppe and Dreamery, starts off the literary festival week that is filled with great stories and adventures, for the young to young-at-heart. There’s sure to be something fun, for everyone and we have several special guests dropping by the library in River John too! For more information, please visit .

For more information on upcoming library programs, special events and services, please drop by your local library branch, follow us on Twitter, find us on Facebook, or visit us online at

Trecia Schell is Community Services Librarian, and Branch Librarian – Books-by-Mail, River John, Stellarton & Trenton Public Libraries

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