Salute to Sable Island a success at White Point

Salute to Sable Island a success at White Point

Photo by Alicia Risley
Photo by Alicia Risley

Re-printed from the online story from

The Second Annual Salute to Sable Island at White Point Resort went off without a hitch and included full houses both days this past weekend.

Close to 125 folks from throughout Nova Scotia met at the Resort Saturday and Sunday to hear tales from scientists, artists and others closest to Canada’s 43rd National Park (Reserve).

There were intimate and informative presentations both days, plus a Benefit Dinner for the Sable Island Institute.

The weekend included a brief biography of Sable Island, highlighting the national and international significance of the mythic island’s natural and cultural history and some details of the establishment of Sable Island National Park Reserve and Parks Canada Agency’s priorities and process with regards to the island.

Alannah Phillips, manager of the Reserve, spoke about the future and the Sable Island Management Plan and Parks Canada ecologist Dan Kehler discussed the ecology of the Island.

Charles Burke, Senior Archeologist with the Archeology and History Branch of Parks Canada highlighted Sable’s cultural history and marine heritage, including documented evidence of human occupation, from settlement efforts in the 16th through 18th centuries, the establishment of life-saving stations and lighthouses in the 19th century, and the impact of hundreds of shipwreck and survivor activities that normally leave archaeological traces in the Island’s sand. Barry MacDonald of the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society discussed lightkeepers on the Island.

Zoe Lucas has studied Sable Island thoroughly over three decades and was the guest speaker at the fund-raising dinner, with a talk called People and Sable Island.

Andy Horn, a Research Adjunct in the Department of Biology at Dalhousie University, gave an overview of Sable Island’s remarkable birdlife, from exotic storm-blown vagrants to regular but no less interesting residents, with a special emphasis on the Ipswich sparrow.

Geneticist Tim Frasier’s lecture, “Who’s Your Daddy?”, detailed some of the research into the genetics of the Island’s famous horses.

“Inspired by Sable: An artist’s perspective” featured singer/songwriter Susan Crowe, visual artist Susan Tooke and poet Janet Barkhouse spoke about how Sable Island has affected their creative work. Janet Barkhouse said that she became immersed in and captivated by Sable Island as a very young girl. “My mother (Pit Pony author Joyce Barkhouse) was a big fan of the island and I remember stories by her from a very young age.” She says she still remembers stories told by her mother about life on the island. Jan Barkhouse’s latest book is Keeper of the Light, written for children and young adults.

The weekend event ended with a special screening of Stronghold of Resistance: Sable Island and her legendary horses”, a short video by Drew Doggett.

White Point marketing manager Donna Hatt said that $2500 had been raised for the Sable Island Institute during the weekend and that there appears to be an appetite for a third Salute, perhaps in 2019.

For more information on Sable Island Institute (formerly the Green Horse Society) visit their Facebook Page as their website is being developed.

For more information on Sable Island Park Reserve, visit Parks Canada’s website.

Program from 2018 Salute to Sable Island
Program from 2018 Salute to Sable Island