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Remember the South Shore Connectors? Marika Nicolov and Tucker Mertens traveled all over the South Shore back in the summer of 2014—under their own steam—to show off recreation opportunities in our own backyard.

Now it’s your turn!

Where is your favourite place in this part of the world? Where do you like to explore? Why do you love it?  Read through their posts for inspiration to “Be Your Own South Shore Connector”.

Shag Harbour

Learn all about Marika and Tucker here

I’m Marika. I’m 20 years old and spend my summers in one of my most favourite places that I’ve ever been to – Petite Rivière. I have lived in a lot of different places, ranging from all over Nova Scotia to as far away as the Gold Coast of Australia. But for the last decade, I’ve been here in Lunenburg County and it has since claimed the term ‘home’.Marika

After spending such a long time in one place (well, a long time for me), I decided to take a gap year between high school and university. Six months of that was spent hitch hiking across Europe, one month traveling solo in Mexico and Belize. I saw some amazing sights – the picture of me on the left was taken in Cappadocia, Turkey. I returned home with a newfound appreciation of where I originate from, and want to expand my knowledge of the South Shore.

As a kid, most visits with my father were spent going on hikes and learning how to identify animal foot prints in the snow, along with all of the different species of wildlife in Nova Scotia. My appreciation of nature has only increased since then, which is why I was thrilled to take on the position of South Shore Connector last summer. As a person who enjoys the outdoors, it was wonderful to have a summer position where I was able to spend the majority of my time outside, and spend my time doing the things I love to do. I hope the description of my journey inspires you to do the same!

I’m Tucker Mertens, I’m 20 years old and I’ve lived in Pinehurst (just outside Bridgewater) all my life. When I was a kid I played soccer every summer and, ironically enough, hated riding my bike. Now in the summer I referee soccer and love riding my bike everywhere. In the past five years I’ve ridden about 12, 000 km, including from my house to Vancouver and about 3,000 km in the Argentine Andes.Tucker

I graduated from Park View’s IB program in 2013, and took the next year off to work and travel. I spent six months in Europe with Marika and one month on my own, hitch hiking from Scotland to Turkey to Spain. That’s me on the left, visiting the Lake District in England. Altogether, we traveled about 15.000 km with only our thumbs and a cardboard sign. One of my most memorable days of travel was the day I hitch hiked from Barcelona to Paris, over 1,000 km.

Returning to Nova Scotia last summer and being fortunate enough to have the job of a South Shore Connector has been almost a continuation of that trip, we had barely emptied our backpacks by the time we were setting up the bikes and hitting the road again. A year later, reflecting on our journey, I hope our travels inspire you to take on an adventure of your own!

Read about the project here

In 2014, the South Shore Connectors were tasked with to travelling the South Shore by various modes of active transportation.

These two students, Marika Nicolov and Tucker Mertens, explored the wonders of our region of Nova Scotia, and then shared their unique stories with the rest of the world through social, audio/visual, and print media.

This dynamic duo was the “South Shore Connectors” and they explored outdoor recreation sites, accommodation, activities and events located in Lunenburg, Queens, Shelburne and Yarmouth County.

Each day, they blogged, and uploaded photos and video, and built a social media following. You can see their pictures throughout the South Shore Connect database, taken from across the region.

They use South Shore to research their location and make plans for their next adventure.

“We are thrilled to announce that we have the best summer job ever,” say Marika and Tucker. “We spent the last year backpacking across Europe. Now we’re excited to be able to adventure in our own backyard, and share it with everyone on the South Shore.”

There is a model for this type of initiative that has garnered such a following in Saskatchewan:

With young voices behind the stories and with savvy social media skills, the South Shore Connectors have potential to gain limitless traction with this project and promote conversations on active transportation, leave-no-trace travel and, most importantly, that economic prosperity, sustainability, and protection of our environmental assets can go hand in hand.

“I often hear people say there’s nothing to do around here, or I didn’t know that was happening,” says Tracy Vandermolen, Active Living Coordinator for the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg. “This project is about showing people some of the many things they can do with their families. Not everyone will bike or walk to get to these places, but Marika and Tucker are showing us how close to home these opportunities are.”

The bicycles, kayaks, canoes, and camping equipment Marika and Tucker used have been generously provided by Liverpool Adventure Outfitters.

Owner Glenn Parlee says he’s “excited to be involved with this project that will showcase the recreational opportunities in the area.”

Much of the content collected by the South Shore Connectors will be used to enhance the quality of information on South Shore, a growing database of recreation opportunities in our region.

When it launches in January 2015, South Shore will be the information gateway for individuals, groups and families to better navigate sport, recreation and physical activity opportunities in Lunenburg, Queens, Shelburne and Yarmouth Counties.

Stay tuned with South Shore for special blogs from the South Shore Connectors that we will release during our launch in January!

South Shore is a joint venture supported by South Shore Active Communities (SSAC), Lunenburg Queens Recreation Coordinators/Directors Association (LQRCDA), Yarmouth Shelburne Municipal Recreation Association (YSMRA), and the Province of Nova Scotia.

The South Shore Connectors adventures are made possible this year with funding from the Clean Foundation and the Department of Health and Wellness.

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