Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute (MTRI) : Institut de recherche du Mersey Tobeatic


MTRI is a non-profit co-operative with a mandate to promote sustainable use of natural resources and biodiversity conservation in the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve and beyond through research, education, and the operation of a field station.

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Backyard Biodiversity

Backyard Biodiversity

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Art & Science 

Here at MTRI we believe strongly in the importance of linking ART & SCIENCE when it comes to sharing knowledge about the environment. Our staff, students, researchers and volunteers contribute their writings, paintings, photographs, and other works of art that display a connection to nature while conveying important information at the same time. Here are some samples for you to enjoy!



Species at Risk Rug Series


In 2011, six great artists decided to share their talents with MTRI. They graciously gave their time to hook these wonderful rugs from our Species at Risk post card collection. All these unique creations are actually hanging in our new community room.


All pictures have been designed by Christian Kasperkovitz.

Learn more about her work:



Atlantic Whitefish: Hooked by Hetty Van Gurp

Blanding's Turtle: Hooked by Diane Clapp

Mainland Moose: Hooked by Toni Gallagher

Monarch Butterfly: Hooked by Kathy LeBlanc

Peregrine Falcon: Hooked by Vicki Graham

Piping Plover: Hooked by Bette Young


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Our volunteers are STEWARDS and ARTISTS simultaneously!


Jeanette and Arlyn Turner have been protecting Blanding’s turtle nests on their property in Pleasant River for over 7 years now. Every summer during the month of June, they patrol their Christmas Tree lot and surrounding area every evening for female turtles who are up to enact the miracle of life. Jeanette and Arlyn are responsible for protecting dozens of nests, and hundreds of hatchlings, over the years.

Jeanette has been painting beautiful images on stones for quite some time now, and this year she wrote a lovely poem while out waiting for a turtle to nest. It epitomizes the nest protection program that MTRI helps to deliver every year, and we just want to say, “Thanks Jeanette!”


Here is it 5 to seven

There goes turtle seven eleven

She just emerged from the pond

But she has plans further beyond

She crosses back and forth both sides of the road

Determined tonight to get rid of the load

Oh my gosh, that dreaded sound

She struck rock and not soft ground

Off again to seek a spot

On the ball fields said lot

Digging, digging, oh it looks good

And the flies are getting under my hood

Vinnie, Rhylie, Cody, and Jill

Came to visit up on the hill

They get discouraged and leave but determined to stay I will

Mitch and Travis, where are you tonight?

Allison says are you here all alone

Yes, I replied just me and my cell phone

But as I sat there on the ground

Alone, I just had to take another look around

Thousands of mosquitoes and the hoot of an owl

Seemed to make the peace and quiet all worth while

Its by the meadows, the sand bars and around the bends

Its me and all my turtle friends

All with different roles to play

What a wonderful way to pass the night away.


by Jeanette Turner, June 2009

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Katook (Solitude) by Colin Gray 


On the shores of Lake Rossignol in Nova Scotia there stands a lonely tree stump. A once grand old Red Oak that stood silently for over a century and a half, its roots intertwining around rock, rich soil and ancient artifacts of the Mi'kmaq. Archaeologists believe that these shores may have been inhabited by First Nations People for Thousands of years. In 1928 a series of lakes connected to and including Lake Rossignol were flooded to provide water for hydro electric dams on the Mersey River System. The grand old oak were cut and the logs removed, leaving nothing but the stump and the roots of these stately oaks. As the waters receded these stumps stand again as skeletal reminders of another time. In each root there lies a story of life on these shores. A mystical and enchanting place. A place for quiet reflection, of peace and Solitude.


Photo by Colin Gray

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Becoming a Man (A Mi'kmaw story) by Merwyn Longmire


The following story was written one morning by Merwyn Longmire, from Bear River First Nations. Click on each thumbnail to view the handwritten story in sequence.


Page 1 -    Page 2 -    Page 3 - 

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Running the Rapids below Irving Lake by Brian Braganza


Brian Braganza is a poet from Newcombville Nova Scotia. Click here to read his poem about running the rapids below Irving Lake. 

Photo by Alain Belliveau

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Reading by Willie Unsoeld


     And so, what is the final test of the efficacy of this wilderness experience we've just been through together? Because having been there, in the mountains, alone, in the midst of solitude and this feeling, this mystical feeling, if you will, of the ultimate of joy and whatever there is, the question is, "why not stay out there in the wilderness the rest of your days and live in the lap of Satori or whatever you want to call it?"

     And the answer, my answer, to that is, "Because that's not where people are."  And the final test for me of the legitimacy of the experience is, how well does your experience of the sacred in nature enable you to cope more effectively with the problems of humankind when you come back to the city?

     And now you see how this phases with the role of the wilderness. It's a renewal exercise and as I visualize it, it leads to a process of alternation. You go to nature for your metaphysical fix--your reassurance that the World makes sense. It's reassurance that I don't get in the city, but with that excess of confidence of reassurance that there is something behind it all and it is good. You come back to where humans are, to where human are messing things up, because humans then to do that and you come back with a new ability to relate to yourself and to your fellow humans and help your fellow humans to relate to each other.

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The Egg and the Machine by Robert Lee Frost 

(contributed by Hannah Blanchard)

He gave the solid rail a hateful kick.
From far away there came an answering tick
And then another tick. He knew the code:
His hate had roused an engine up the road.
He wished when he had had the track alone
He had attacked it with a club or stone
And bent some rail wide open like switch
So as to wreck the engine in the ditch.
Too late though, now, he had himself to thank.
Its click was rising to a nearer clank.
Here it came breasting like a horse in skirts.
(He stood well back for fear of scalding squirts.)
Then for a moment all there was was size
Confusion and a roar that drowned the cries
He raised against the gods in the machine.
Then once again the sandbank lay serene.
The traveler's eye picked up a turtle train,
between the dotted feet a streak of tail,
And followed it to where he made out vague
But certain signs of buried turtle's egg;
And probing with one finger not too rough,
He found suspicious sand, and sure enough,
The pocket of a little turtle mine.
If there was one egg in it there were nine,
Torpedo-like, with shell of gritty leather
All packed in sand to wait the trump together.
'You'd better not disturb any more,'
He told the distance, 'I am armed for war.
The next machine that has the power to pass
Will get this plasm in it goggle glass.'

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Seeking Speckles, Landing Life by Alain Belliveau  


On a bullion’s day absent of Grey, 

save for the elderly who follows,   

who searches for a pitiful pretty prey,   

in the mysterious liquid shadows.   

A tumultuous turning of the spool,   

equates a melting stream of youth.   

For, the eyes of brood also does fuel,   

the final days’ lessons and truths.   

Now, forever lost amidst the earth and sky,   

forgetting his spirit amongst many mortals;   

Mother Nature said not its ultimate goodbye,   

but instead, summoned thee to its last portals.   

Like hell is meant to burn, destination is not of concern,

Importance is the journey, for in life, there is no return. 


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Past the Pebbleloggitch Meadow by Alain Belliveau  


Golden streams and hemlock trees, 

Sandy soils and sweet grass air, 

Common elements created all these, 

Forever ago, somehow, somewhere. 

Here they’re abundant and beautiful, 

In the area of Kejimkujik, 

Out there they’re more incredible, 

In the wilder Tobeatic. 

Venture out, don’t be afraid, 

The land and water will guide you, 

Trust them and you’ll have it made, 

Trust me when I say: you’re overdue! 

Go in, explore! Take a step on the wild side. 

You’ll find no better trip, anywhere worldwide. 



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Au-delà de la prairie Pebbleloggitch par Alain Belliveau 


Pruches fabuleuses et ruisseaux or en couleur,

Les sols sableux et l’air de foin d’odeur,

Des éléments communs les ont créés tous,

Personne ne sait vraiment quand, pourquoi, où. 


Ici ces spectacles sont beaux et abondants,

Ici dans le Parc national de Kejimkujik,

Vers l’ouest et le sud, ils sont même plus captivants,

Là dans la région sauvage de Tobeatic. 


Allez! Vas-y! Ne soyez pas inquiété,

Les terres et les voies d’eau vous guideront,

Ayez confiance et vous serez enchanté,

Croyez-moi, ça vous fera tellement de bon!


Entrez, explorez! Devenez un avec l’aire sauvage,


Jamais trouverez-vous de plus merveilleux voyage. 





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Hooked Rugs by Diane Clapp


"Tobeatic Turtles" - The Blanding's turtle is known as the turtle with the sun under its chin to some native communities. This rug, hooked by Diane in 2008, symbolizes that sentiment, and shows the habitat where she and her husband Harold discovered a new population of Blanding's in the Tobeatic Wilderness.

To see the full blown beauty of a selection of Diane's rugs, click on the thumbnails below.





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