Rob McConnell Interviews – NEIL VAN NOSTRAND – Perfect Ape to Perfect Idiot – How We’re Destroying Our Earthly Paradise – And Why

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Neil van Nostrand has always loved domestic animals, and wildlife and Nature. Growing up on the family farm in southern Ontario during the Second World War, he had ample opportunity to study all three. Adult life took him to the Ontario Agriculture College, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (agronomy), then a Master of Science in Wildlife Management. In 1958 he moved his small family to Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. For 25 years he did management-research on the Province’s wild furbearing animals for the then Department of Lands and Forests. Specializing in beavers, he learned valuable insights into population dynamics and the behaviour of mammals under stress in different habitats. These insights apply just as well to our increasingly crowded planet. Following retirement in 1985, he and his present spouse, Erica Garrett, pursued biodynamic organic farming for nine years, raising livestock, winter storage vegetables and many fruits including apples. In 2006 the Atlantic Canadian Organic Network (ACORN) presented Neil with the Gerrit Loo Award in recognition of his contribution to organic agriculture. Neil is still attached to the land, and to his three sons and one daughter, and to their children. His days are filled with walking, running, hunting, fur-trapping, gardening and tending three bee hives.

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