From Frying Pan Lake to Butter Island via Egg Beach and Cheese Factory Corner
30 Jul 2020
Guardians of the Land Rochelle Owen and Jane Allen
By Andrew Robinson, Nature Trust Volunteer Writer
With a 30-year career in the environmental and sustainability fields, Rochelle Owen is supportive of many environmental and ecology-focused organizations across Nova Scotia and Canada.
She and partner Jane Allen were inspired to become one of the newest Nature Trust Guardians of the Land, pledging long-term financial support to the Nature Trust. What were their reasons?
“Simplicity, ultimately,” explained Rochelle. “My work in the sustainability fields explores the many interwoven complexities behind every decision we make regarding sustainability and the environment.
I was drawn to the exquisite simplicity of the Nature Trust’s mission, and their ability to focus so clearly on that mission through a science-based approach. Yet that simplicity belies a depth of positive outcomes that the Nature Trust delivers. Positive impacts on local economies, on tourism to the Province, on health and well-being, and on improving education – the list goes on.”
“I was first introduced to the Nature Trust many years ago through their good works and I’ve been involved as a Board Member since 2016. We have supported the Nature Trust through donations, and I have a legacy (estate) plan in place, so it just felt right to make the step up to become Guardians of the Land.”
Barbara Haley, Nature Trust Philanthropy Director, explained the Guardians of the Land program in more detail. “Our Guardians of the Land are loyal donors who understand the urgency of our conservation efforts and are deeply committed to our work. Guardians recognize the benefit that their long-term commitment to ongoing, significant support will provide—enabling us to plan for the future and to guarantee the sustainability of the conservation work we do. Their donations are not restricted to a specific project, which allows us the flexibility to quickly address the areas of greatest opportunity and need.”
Rochelle recalls a childhood spent in Wabush, Labrador, a childhood that inevitably involved finding adventure in the wilderness along with her two older brothers. Her familial roots are in Nova Scotia, and every summer the family would return to camp in various places around the province.
Today Rochelle and Jane spend most of their vacations enjoying the outdoors, with the Kejimkujik / Mersey River area being a favourite. “We love Keji,” said Jane, “and the Hemlocks and Hardwoods Trail is my personal favourite. It’s not that long, and when I stand in these magnificent trees, I feel a sense of awe and beauty. The old-growth forest creates a mystic atmosphere for contemplation and reflection. It reminds me of the inherent connection of the land and to the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia.
When the couple can’t hike together (and very often when they can) Rochelle always has her hiking buddy Tess, their 5-year-old Yellow Lab. “Tessy hikes with me 98% of the time,” laughs Rochelle, “through all terrain. I am sure she is happiest covered in mud!”
Rochelle likes to add a fun twist to a hiking challenge. Rochelle explained: “I’m an amateur photographer, and a couple of years ago I did an exhibition called ‘The Nova Scotia Omelet’. Tess, Jane and I hiked across the province to places whose names represented omelet ingredients, including Salt Mountain near Mabou, and a notable backcountry hike to reach Potato Brook, which is in the area of the Bluff Wilderness Trail. If anyone wants to do the same trip, the places to seek out are Frying Pan Lake, Butter Island, Portobello, Egg Beach, Salmon River/Mackerel Cove, Cheese Factory Corner, Salt Mountain, Potato Brook, and Strawberry Battery on the side!”
So what would Rochelle and Jane say to someone contemplating supporting the Nature Trust?
“If you simply love the scenery and the landscape with which we are blessed, or have a love for the environment and you want to help preserve and protect our ecology, then the Nova Scotia Nature Trust is one of the best in doing what they do. They support local, they have educational events and activities for all ages and abilities, they support communities, and their work is entirely focused on Nova Scotia protecting land for nature and for people too.”