Update : Read the Radio-Canada article (in French only) all about the achievements of Louis-Émile Cormier!

Naturalist of the Year: Louis-Émile Cormier

Louis-Émile Cormier receives his award from Vanessa Roy-McDougall, executive director of Nature NB

Nature NB was pleased to present Louis-Emile Cormier with the Naturalist of the Year award at the 2023 Festival of Nature Celebration Banquet, which was held at the Meenan’s Cove Beach House in Quispamsis, NB on June 3, 2023.

Louis-Émile Cormier is a member of the club Les ami.e.s de la nature du sud-est du N.B. (Friends of Nature in Southeastern NB) since its inception in the early 2000s. He developed a passion for dragonflies, butterflies, and birds, and also became a defender of wetlands. He has always shared his love of nature with others, and shows his enthusiasm by sharing his knowledge with groups such as naturalist clubs, schools, and community members.

A resident of Cocagne, Cormier has also made significant contributions to the knowledge base and appreciation of the many species of birds and butterflies that can be found in the Cocagne watershed and Kent County in general. There are currently 278 species of birds and 53 species of butterflies that call the watershed area home. 

A dedicated volunteer, Cormier has initiated many projects and dedicated countless hours to others. Here are some of his key contributions:

Monarch Butterfly Conservation

Since 2019, Cormier has planted more than 1,300 milkweed plants in four pollinator gardens in Cocagne and Grande-Digue. Also, he and Stuart Tingley have distributed approximately 3,000 plants and 30,000 seeds to club members. Cormier built enclosures to rear caterpillars for educational purposes and takes them to daycares, schools, and nursing homes so that people can observe the lifecycle of the caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly. With his help, the grade two classes at the school in Grande-Digue have planted 400 milkweed plants in their schoolyard and have distributed another 6,000 in the community.

Tree Swallow Conservation

Cormier has built over 1,100 nesting boxes that are used by Tree Swallows, Bluebirds, and occasionally Black-capped Chickadees. He uses recycled cedar to make a deluxe model that the birds seem to really like. His nesting boxes can be found across Kent, Westmorland, and Northumberland counties. He also conducts education around the role that Swallows play in the ecosystem.

Cormier and Richard Perron, another club member, are currently in charge of the Nesting Boxes for Tree Swallows project and have been since 2017. The project includes the construction, installation, and maintenance of the boxes, as well as report on the success of the project. More than 100 boxes sporting the club’s logo have been installed.

Cormier has also personally maintained an inventory of 200 nesting boxes for 15 years and counting in the Cocagne, Shediac, Dieppe, and Grand-Barachois regions. These boxes have a success rate (i.e. from nest building to fledgling) of about 50%, with others seeing at least partial success with birds taking an interest, even if their clutches were not viable.

Osprey Conservation

Cormier built and installed four nesting platforms for Osprey in the regions of Cocagne and Grande-Digue. Two of these platforms were funded by the club.

These platforms allowed Cormier and club members to observe the Osprey that used these structures, as well as those that used utility poles to build their nests in the absence of large, dead trees along the coast. They were able to observe that the diet of the Osprey in this region is composed almost entirely (95%) of mollusks, which in turn can be an indicator of the water quality in the area.

In total, Cormier supervises a total of 17 nesting platforms in Kent County, which suggests the return of these majestic birds which had all but disappeared from the area in the 1970s.

We would like to thank Richard Perron for nominating his fellow club member for this award. This blog post is adapted from the nomination form that was submitted by Perron.

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