The plant has been present in the province for at least 30 years, with no recorded reports of causing harm. It is one of several species that can cause photosensitivity. St. John's-wort is another weedy plant with similar properties. Not everyone is sensitive to it, even those who cultivate it. Its spread at various locations throughout the province necessitates monitoring, but not necessarily control.

That national media attention focused on the species, has created some hysteria surrounding its presence, unnecessarily.

It certainly begs the question of the willful introduction of weeds and whether or not that should be controlled. Perhaps gardeners should remember that plants known to be vigorous and fast-growing, have characters which also mark the typical 'invasive' plant species. Other recent cultivated favourites are Rosa rugosa and R. multiflora; Frangula and Rhamnus species and Phalaris arundinacea, to name a few. These species are creating problems for natural habitats, increasing the need for vegetation management.

As for the giant hogweed, there are some things to remember:

  • DON'T plant it. You may not be sensitive, but exercise due diligence in reducing its spread.
  • DON'T assume every plant with white lacy flowers is a problem.
  • DON'T panic. A quick google search will yield lots of images and best practices for its management.

For more information please download our Giant Hogweed fact sheet (216 KB PDF)


Chrissy Crowley to perform at Museum of Natural History's Concerts for Conservation

July 21, 2010

Renowned fiddler Chrissy Crowley will perform at the Museum of Natural History on Thursday July 29 at 7:30pm. Hailing from Margaree, Crowley will bring her talent, charm and charisma to the Museum's Concerts for Conservation series.

Crowley’s chosen charity is the Friends of Redtail Society. Redtail Nature Awareness camp has been changing childrens’ lives for many years, and is currently facing the spectre of widespread clearcutting in their area. The Friends of Redtail Society is drawing close to their goal of $250,000 to purchase and protect the indigenous Acadian forest species found there.

Chrissy Crowley, 20, has released two albums and performed as a “Rising Star” at the 2008 ECMA conference. She’s been nominated three times for the Canadian Folk Music Awards and has been heard on CBC and Irish radio. For more information on Chrissy Crowley please visit www.chrissycrowley.com.

The newly-launched Concerts for Conservation (C4C) series is turning up the volume on nature. The inaugural concert in June featured the popular nature-song duo The Wilderbeats alongside world-percussion collective Mas Cencerro. An enthusiastic audience filled the galleries as part of the re-opening celebrations of the Museum of Natural History. The Museum raised $900 from ticket sales that was donated to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, the musicians' “green” cause of choice.

Chrissy Crowley plays the MNH Auditorium in the Concerts for Conservation series on Thursday, July 29 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, which are $15, are available now from the front desk on the main floor of the MNH. Future concerts will be posted here and on the Nova Scotia Museum's Facebook and Twitter.


Poison Puffster Dethrones King Cobra as New Star of Venom

“The King Cobra’s still really popular, but the glass on the Cane Toad exhibit is always covered in handprints!” says Geoff Battrum, known to MNH visitors as Jungle Geoff. He should know, he’s the keeper, handler and educator for Venom.

This exhibit, has been developed especially for the MNH by Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo of Ottawa. It features a thrilling mix of snakes, scorpions, spiders, frogs and toads.

Kids who see Venom tell Geoff that the Cane Toad is ‘really huge and super cool’. When challenged by a predator the giant toad inflates its lungs, puffing up and lifting its body off the ground. If picked up, it lets off a long stream of urine and most importantly, its skin contains a lethal toxin. If pushed, the toad will also excrete a milky poison to defend itself.

Say there’s a cage match-a Venom vs Poison Smackdown. If King bites into Cane, the snake would die from ingesting the poison from its skin. Needless to say, the toad would die from the cobra venom. The good thing is, geographically these two could never meet and would never bother to tangle if they did.

Five children squash together in front of the Cane Toads’ enclosure. One of these giant toads merely has to blink and it gets a gratifying reaction from its wriggling fans.

Geoff says the kids and their captive adults get a kick out of Venom’s live interactive shows. “It’s really just a difference in attention span-they’re all keen on getting close to these amazing animals.”

Venom remain on view only until August 8. Admission to the MNH includes the price of the Venom Live Show that runs twice daily from Tuesday to Saturday at 10:30 am and 2:30 am, and on Sunday at 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm.


Fish Are Back and Bathing In New Light

When the Museum of Natural History re-opened on June 4, visitors to the Marine Gallery would have missed seeing the life sized sea creatures that used to be on display.

In July, as part of the ongoing re-think at the Museum in terms of presentation and interpretation, those creatures are back with a difference.

Now the many fish are suspended at various levels and angles from the ceiling that allows the visitor a better view. What’s more, all these creatures from the swordfish to the giant leatherback turtle are now bathed in atmospheric crystal blue and green lighting that fills the gallery. Magic.

The MNH’s mission is to make your visit more meaningful through the ongoing work with exhibits, collections and display. Metamorphosis is always in flow and MNH is enjoying the process.



19th century “Privy Secrets” of Halifax are out in the open at the MNH and everyone’s wondering how a mug commemorating the birth of John Wesley and a china lid from a pot of Oriental Tooth Paste for Cleansing Beautification ended up in the outhouse pit-not to mention the clay pipes, a child’s hand blown glass marble, some dubious looking bottles of patent medicine and a three inch porcelain statue of a pug.

Long before indoor plumbing the outdoor privy was the most private room in a person’s life. Folks lost personal items out of their clothing when they ascended the throne. Retrieval was unlikely.

On top of which, the outdoor privy was a great place to get rid of garbage-from food waste to any old iron, trash, broken items and of course liquor bottles when the gentleman of the house wanted a nip in private.

Privy Secrets presents a cross sectional view of a privy pit as unearthed by local archeologists at a site in downtown Halifax. It contains all sorts of personal items that give us novel if not whiffy insights into the daily life of a Haligonian family in the 1800s.


New Mi’kmaq Carvings Mix Beauty With Whimsy

Visitors to the Museum of Natural History are enjoying a new display of intricately carved and wood-burned objects by Mi’kmaq artist Louis Jeremy (1867-1947).

The collection of decorative pieces includes bowls, spoons, small storage boxes, picture frames and a particularly witty tie holder featuring a dog’s head, about the size of a fist, with lively eyes and teeth bared in a sweet smile.

The dog holds a curved walking stick horizontally between its teeth-that’s to hang the ties on. The artist cleverly represents the rest of the body with just two back legs about foot long suspended from behind the head which have a hook to hang on a wall. Not something you’d want to hide in the clothes closet even if your ties weren’t tasteful.

The mirrored display of Louis Jeremy’s work is on view in the Museum's Mi’kmaq Gallery.