profs help develop interpretation program for reserve
Burnt Island reserve
2, 1999, Gazette)
View of seascape
edge of reserve.
Next: Whale cave largest of the sea
caves in the reserve. Keith Nicol can be seen on the left (to
give an idea of how big it is).
Two Sir Wilfred
Grenfell College professors have developed a training and resource
manual for guides at the Burnt Island Ecological Reserve in Raleigh,
Ed Andrews and geography professor Keith Nicol studied the Burnt
Island Ecological Reserve before writing the manual and providing
initial training for the guides. The goal of the manual is to
assist naturalists, interpreters and guides in the stewardship
of the reserve.
of the reserve is the result of a partnership between the Nature
Conservancy of Canada, Parks and Natural Areas Division of the
provincial government, and the town of Raleigh. Grenfell Colleges
role in the project was co-ordinated by the colleges Applied
Research Unit. The unit is a single point of contact for businesses,
organizations and individuals interested in utilizing the expertise,
services or resources at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College.
and Mr. Nicol compiled information in the manual that would be
useful to people with a limited geological and biological background,
everything from historical and climate-related information to
the identification of plants and geological formations. Mr. Andrews
and Mr. Nicol also provided a two-day immersion course for the
two guides selected for the reserves first tourist season,
last summer. As well, the two professors left the guides with
a photographic record of the plants and formations in the area,
and a comprehensive list of the kinds of equipment necessary
to properly act as guardians of the reserve.
or Burnt Cape, as it is known locally, is an elevated coastal
site situated at the tip of the Northern Peninsula. Burnt Island
is considered one of the most important botanical sites on the
island of Newfoundland, because of the high number of rare plant
species. Although the importance of the area was documented as
early as 1925, it wasnt recognized as a provincial reserve
and protected under the Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Act
until early 1998.
is essentially a large limestone dome formed through glaciation.
Several marine shelves or steps form the coastal edge of the
reserve, which boast a number of majestic sea caves and cannon
holes small rounded holes in limestone.
most impressive part of the reserve to me is the enormous Whale
Cave, said Mr. Nicol. This is a monstrous sea cave
Ive talked to several geologists who travelled there
and they say theyve never seen anything bigger.
contains 301 species of vascular plants, 35 of them are rare
in the province, and one thats not found anywhere else
in the world the Burnt Cape Cinquefoil.
has the shortest growing season, lowest summer temperatures and
lowest annual temperature of any coastal town location in Newfoundland.
Because of the areas elevation and exposure, its climate
is extremely severe. In this harsh landscape grows an interesting
mix of plants Arctic species, as well as plants which
flourish in the warmer temperatures brought by the Gulf of St.
is also an excellent place to observe icebergs, whales, and on
a clear day, the coast of Labrador. In addition, interesting
fossils are located at the head of Burnt Cape.
reserve contains aspects that are important from cultural, biological
and geological points of view, said Mr. Andrews.