On October 11, NTNB board member Wayne Burley and myself met in Fredericton and took a road trip north-east to explore the Joseph Allain Nature Preserve in Néguac, NB. It was a beautiful drive as we made our way through Doaktown, Blackville and Miramichi -- taking in all of the bright fall colours along the way. Our first stop was the local school where Wayne met with teachers to plan a spring educational event for high school students to visit the preserve and learn about nature conservation. Here we were also warmly met by fellow board member Edouard Allain. It was the Allain family that donated this preserve to the Nature Trust in memory of their grandfather, Joseph Allain. After a delicious lunch together and many enthusiastic introductions to friendly Néguac residents, Edouard took us to meet his cousin and current steward of the preserve, Gilles (who would later take us by boat to visit the preserve). Gilles actually lives next to a stand of forest that eventually connects to the preserve itself. Below is a view from his backyard:
Gilles, an avid oyster fisherman, needed some time to prepare his boat for us. Meanwhile, Wayne and I walked around Île-aux-foins park on Hay Island, which is connected to the mainland via a causeway. This beautiful bird sanctuary has excellent boardwalks for exploring the marshland and learning about its history and ecosystems.
After our brief tour of the island, we met Gilles next to the causeway on Rue Joseph, hopped aboard the oyster boat, and made our way across a short patch of shallow water to the preserve.
Once landed, we mainly explored the shoreline and salt marsh portions of the preserve. One of the objectives of this preserve is to protect shorebird habitat, and we were indeed pleased to see resident birds enjoying the site. I was quite taken with the orange and deep yellow colours of the marshland grasses, and specifically how they contrasted the bright blue sky reflections in the various small ponds dotting the land.
The moment I set foot on the marshland, I knew my painting composition for this site would include the warm fall colours of the grasses in contrast to the small pools of water reflecting bright blue sky. Stay tuned for painting progress in a future post! Thank you Wayne, Edouard, and Gilles for a great adventure to another unique and beautiful nature preserve!
New Brunswick Artist and Art Educator