Our Dear Rudy


Rudy Haase, ONS. Nova Scotia lost a great citizen on the evening of August 22, 2017. Martin Rudy Haase was both humble and mighty. As Founder of the Friends of Nature Conservation Society in 1954, Rudy was an environmentalist before the word was even coined. Through his leadership, environmental successes occurred worldwide. Rudy’s dedication, enthusiasm and quiet determination knew no bounds: the last dry tropical forest in Costa Rica was preserved, an historic row of plane trees along the Charles River in Boston was saved from destruction, McGlathery Island in Maine was rescued from clear-cutting and became a nature preserve. Rudy was active on site during the Clayoquot Sound campaign. Here in Nova Scotia Rudy became a leader in land conservation—purchasing and donating large parcels of wilderness.

Rudy and his wife Mickie Haase (predeceased) were educators, operating the Chester Day School and Library for the benefit of residents of the Chester area. Together they wrote and published books. One of their early publications “Gardening Without Pesticides” sold almost 50,000 copies and influenced Rachael Carson in the writing of Silent Spring. Rudy and Mickie were exceptional supporters of the arts, especially Symphony Nova Scotia and music in general.

Rudy, a naval architect by education purchased and operated the Barkhouse Boatyard in East Chester, employing local craftsmen and helping to preserve the wooden boat building industry. Sailing was one of Rudy’s first loves. This made the boatyard, a few steps from his home at Goat Lake Farm, a great fit.


Rudy, a storyteller extraordinaire with a superb sense of humour, would enthrall visitors with endless stories of his life, usually conveying two underlying messages: we can make a difference and we should never lose hope.

Rudy was a prolific letter writer: penning thousands upon thousands of letters to the editor and politicians from President Kennedy on down. Rudy lead by example and was a mentor to hundreds, including Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada.

When Rudy received the Order of Nova Scotia the citation stated, “Rudy lives modestly so he can give generously.”

Nova Scotia has lost a gem. His like may never be seen again.

Syd Dumaresq, Chair, Friends of Nature



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