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Nature Club News, September, 2017

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

NATURE CLUB NEWS

by John Dickson

A version of this column appeared in the OS Sun Times on Wednesday September 13, 2017

Since last month, there have been many Nature Club activities happening in Grey and Bruce Counties.

The Sauble Beach contingent of Piping Plovers had departed by early August, after the most successful year since their return. The Plover Lovers committee and team of monitors had a very successful season, of monitoring and outreach education, including their stimulating Beach Talk speaker series.

On August 19, the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy featured a “Species at Risk Walkabout” with Naturalists Miptoon and Jarmo Jalava.

For several weeks in August the Bruce Birding Club made forays to the Mitchell area to see and study the diverse bird populations in the wetland areas of West Perth.

The Owen Sound Field Naturalists held its first field trips for this new season of 2017-18, by joining in with two of the Monarch tagging days hosted by Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores, an organization dedicated to enhancing the habitat for Monarch and other butterfly species. Formed in the fall of 2014, this organization has engaged in developing habitat sites called pods, along the shores of Lake Huron with an enthusiastic team of volunteers to look after them and many individual butterfly gardens in the residential areas of Southampton and environs. As James Kamstra told us at Kinghurst Butterfly ID event back in July, even then, it was looking like the best year for Monarchs in the last five. In the Southampton area, some properties have been very successful as “roosts”, where butterflies gather to feed and rest while on their journey south. There have been reports of up to five hundred Monarchs in one location there. I too have been noticing many Monarch butterflies working their way south, throughout the area, whether while I was swimming at Sauble Beach with grandchildren, cycling in the Arran Lake area, or running on trails near Tobermory and Dorcas Bay.

At the Monarch tagging event we attended on August 29, Kerry Jarvis and Melitta Smole explained identifying features of Monarchs, male and female, and demonstrated the tagging process, whereby a numbered and recorded lightweight sticker, (an initiative first developed by Canadian Dr. Fred Urquhart in an effort to learn more about the destinations of this iconic species), is carefully attached to a wing. Thereafter, anywhere that butterfly is discovered the origin of its tagging and its eventual final destination can be tabulated, to build on the collected data, from which patterns of travel and interruption can emerge.

Sticky Tofieldia at Petrel point. (Photo by Carol Harris)

Sticky Tofieldia at Petrel point. (Photo by Carol Harris)

OSFN members were also invited to join Botanist Barbara Palmer and members of the Sydenham Bruce Trail Club on Thursday morning, September 7, for a leisurely walk at Petrel Point Nature Reserve to enjoy wildflowers, including lots of asters and goldenrods!

The Owen Sound Field Naturalist Club has already launched its 2017-18 season, sending its Hart’s Tongue Herald newsletter to its membership, and getting started with a flurry of activities in September.

Two separate and complementary September Fern Hikes entitled “Rock Stars of the West Rocks: Ferns in abundance” were filled to capacity with waiting lists, so quickly, that it suggests that OSFN’s popular hike leader and speaker Peter Middleton, is not unlike a Rock Star himself. These opportunities to learn in an outdoor classroom are a special component of OSFN’s programming.

The Owen Sound Field Naturalists Club is getting ready to present its 2017-18 season of speakers and field trips.

Kerry Tagging Monarchs, Sept. 2015 (Photo submitted by Kerry Jarvis)

Kerry Tagging Monarchs, Sept. 2015 (Photo by Melitta Smole)

The OSFN Speaker Series begins this Thursday September 14, with Kerry Jarvis of the “Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores”, and his presentation “Fantastic Pollinators & Where to Find Them”. You are invited to see and hear Kerry Jarvis as he shares the plight of the Monarchs and what one community is doing to attract them, and other pollinators. Discover how you too can lead the way to finding fantastic pollinators! This will take place in the auditorium of the Public Library in Owen Sound. The evening begins at 7PM, and it is recommended to arrive early, if possible. OSFN personnel will be on hand to process membership purchases and renewals as early as 6:30PM. Admission for the evening is free, although donations are welcome.

Peter Middleton leading an earlier fern hike.  (Photo by Carol Harris)

Peter Middleton leading an earlier fern hike. (Photo by Carol Harris)

The club’s Field Trips or “Outings”, will fill up the rest of September with Peter Middleton’s second Fern Hike, and Bob Gray’s field trip to trace a unique watercourse in the area of Colpoy’s Bay, (September 17) and rounding out the month on September 30, is a Trout Hollow Saunter – with Robert Burcher, “Following the Footsteps of John Muir”, near Meaford. The OSFN field trips are splendid opportunities to learn, at first hand, from knowledgeable hike leaders, and are primarily for members, with pre-registration required.

Membership information for mail-in, and/or online membership registration is available at http://owensoundfieldnaturalists.ca/category/membership/

In addition, OSFN is involved as a partner in a supportive role for two special events – a special tree planting programme being planned by the City of Owen Sound to plant 150 trees, in Celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial. Here is the information about that for you to get involved in a volunteer capacity for a community event.

The Big Canadian Tree Plant
Planting of 150 trees at Kelso Beach Park, Owen Sound
September 23rd, 10am to 12:30pm

This event will require the help of many volunteers, who can register on the TD website

The second partnering OSFN is doing is in support of the newly created bursary fund for the Outdoor Education Centre’s association to fund bursaries for attending Outdoor Wilderness Leadership Symposiums (OWLS), diversity initiatives and more.

Last year’s October speaker for OSFN, Adam Shoalts, also well known as Canada’s Indiana Jones, in tribute to his northern explorations, mapping, anthropolgy, writing and academics, is returning to Owen Sound. Just last week he completed his mammoth solo summer voyage, crossing norhern Canada by canoe, and portage from the Yukon-Alaska Border, to the mighty Mackenzie River. and all the way east to Baker Lake, a voyage of discovery, research and celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial.

6:30PM Saturday November 4th is the date and time for his new presentation in the Community Hall in Harrison Park. This special fundraising evening will include special hors d’oeuvres, a trading blanket feature and more.

Tickets are $60. each and can be reserved for you by contacting Deb Diebel at the Outdoor Education Centre, by email at Deborah_Diebel@bwdsb.on.ca or by telephone at 519-534-2767 or 519-379-0864 (cell) Only 70 tickets will be sold, on a first come first serve basis.

Again, this fundraising event is an initiative of the Outdoor Education Centre and its association of Outdoor Educators, with the supporting partnership of Owen Sound Field Naturalists, and Adam Shoalts’ appearance is generously sponsored by Caframo.

The rest of this season’s Speaker Series provides an eclectic array of topics and themes, ranging from the witty and wise ecological fables of Paul Aird, complemented by the exquisite line drawings of Thoreau MacDonald, to local and national representatives of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Then in December a fascinating look at Tom Thomson the Naturalist (and Artist). In January Peter Middleton returns with a talk to follow up on his fern hikes. Always popular Willy Waterton and Audrey Armstrong will share with us their voyage to the North West passage. Dr. Sonja Ostertag will share her research findings related to the Beluga whale. Popular columnist and bird artist Barry Kent McKay joins us in April. Members night in May features a variety of presenters from the club, and the season finale features a friendly social occasion and potluck dinner followed by Markdale native Ted Armstrong’s up to date presentation on the iconic Woodland Caribou.

In addition there is a plethora of outdoor activities, providing opportunities for learning, and for Knowing Nature Better, our club’s motto.

Nature Conservancy Canada, John Lounds and Esme Batten

Friday, September 8th, 2017
Event
Nature Conservancy Canada, John Lounds and Esme Batten
When
Thursday, November 9, 2017
7:00pm - All Ages
Where
Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library (map)
824 First Avenue West
Owen Sound, ON N4K 4K4
Other Info
Nature Conservancy Canada - NCC President and CEO John Lounds, and Esme Batten, Coordinator, Conservation Biology Saugeen Bruce Peninsula will team up to share with you, NCC's history, accomplishments, current projects and future visions, nationally and locally. Learn about Canada's preeminent Conservation organization first hand.

OSFN_Indoor_2017_11_09

Esme Batten


Esme Batten and a Queen snake. (Supplied Photo)

Esme Batten and a Queen snake. (Supplied Photo)


Esme is an assistant conservation biologist for midwestern Ontario with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), and has a background in environmental science from Carleton University.

As a lover of natural history, Esme is lucky to live on the Northern Bruce Peninsula where she spends most of her free time birding, botanizing, herping, hiking and generally enjoying the outdoors.

 

 

John Lounds



John Lounds. (Supplied Photo)

John Lounds. (Supplied Photo)



President & CEO

Leading the helm of Canada's largest non-profit conservation organization is no small task. It requires plenty of energy and passion.

There's no question that the President and CEO of the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), John Lounds, is passionate about what he does.

A passion for nature and conservation

John Lounds’s passion for conservation and appreciation of nature was developed while growing up in rural Ontario and spending late summers at a family cottage. John then applied these interests at university, obtaining his undergraduate degree in environmental studies (urban and rural planning) from the University of Waterloo and then a master’s degree in environmental studies from York University.

Prior to joining the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), John was the Executive Director of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists (now Ontario Nature) for six years. Previous to that, he also held several positions with the Government of Ontario, including as a program director for the Ontario Round Table on Environment and Economy, a management board analyst for the ministries of Environment and Northern Development and Mines and an energy conservation planner with the Ministry of Energy.

Leading the way for conservation success

John joined NCC as its president and CEO in October 1997. Through his leadership, NCC has further defined its unique role as an organization that works with individuals and groups across Canada who share NCC’s passion for land conservation. NCC uses creative means to achieve this goal.

Under John’s leadership, NCC has achieved great success, having grown from an annual budget of $8 million in 1997 to approximately $80 million by 2017. In the process NCC has helped conserve 2,800,000 acres (more than 1.1 million hectares) of ecologically significant lands across Canada since 1962. While NCC has accomplished much over the past decade, in John’s view, “there is so much more to do.”

John is a governor of the University of Waterloo, and was previously a member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee at the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo. He has served as a director of the George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation, the Smart Prosperity Initiative, the International Land Conservation Network and on the Canadian councils of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.

Born in Brantford, Ontario and raised in Meaford, John enjoys outdoor pursuits, particularly canoeing, birding and cross-country skiing. He is also an avid traveller, having explored various parts of the world, including Japan, India, Africa, Southeast Asia and South America.

John is married to Ellen McRae, and has four step-children: Aimee, Scott, Ed and Melanie.

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Rock Stars of the West Rocks: Ferns in abundance Hike B

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

PeterMiddletonFern2017_2

*** NOTICE – This event is currently full! ***

Event
Rock Stars of the West Rocks: Ferns in abundance Hike B
When
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
9:00am - noon. - All Ages
Where
West Rocks (map)
Owen Sound
Other Info
Join Peter Middleton to explore the rich diversity of fern species and habitats, that make the West Rocks one of Owen Sound’s natural gems.

This is the second part of a series, see also Fern Hike A.

Trip difficulty:
  • Washrooms are not available during the hike.

  • Walking is over woodland trails with exposed rock ridges. Good walking shoes are advised.

  • Water, snacks, sun block and insect repellent should be carried.

Meeting place:
  • Parking area on Concession 3 Derby, north of Co. Rd. #5 (Creamery Hill).


Suggested limit 8, Please register at letham.middleton@icloud.com
or telephone directly (519) 376 - 3242.

(rain date - later the same day - time TBA)

Fern

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Rock Stars of the West Rocks: Ferns in abundance Hike A

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

PeterMiddletonFern2017_1

*** NOTICE – This event is currently full! ***

Event
Rock Stars of the West Rocks: Ferns in abundance Hike A
When
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
9:00am - noon. - All Ages
Where
West Rocks (map)
Owen Sound
Other Info
Join Peter Middleton to explore the rich diversity of fern species and habitats, that make the West Rocks one of Owen Sound’s natural gems.

This is the first part of a series, see also Fern Hike B.

Trip difficulty:
  • Washrooms are not available during the hike.

  • Walking is over woodland trails with exposed rock ridges. Good walking shoes are advised.

  • Water, snacks, sun block and insect repellent should be carried.

Meeting place:
  • Parking area on Concession 3 Derby, north of Co. Rd. #5 (Creamery Hill).


Suggested limit 8, Please register at letham.middleton@icloud.com
or telephone directly (519) 376 - 3242.

(rain date - later the same day - time TBA)

Fern

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Tagging Monarchs at Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores

Monday, August 14th, 2017
Photo © Kerry Jarvis

Photo © Kerry Jarvis

Event
Tagging Monarchs at Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores
When
Saturday, September 2, 2017
1:00pm - 3:00 PM - All Ages
Where
Big Flag (map)
Foot of High Street
Southampton
Other Info
Join Kerry and Melitta near the big flag at the foot of High Street, Southampton.

Sturdy footwear urged. Butterfly nets welcome, some available for use.

Rain Date: Sunday, September 3rd, 2017 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Register: butterflygardensofss@gmail.com

For more info about the Butterfly Gardens at the BGOSS Website, including a monarch tagging video.

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Around the Bay with Fred – Waterfowl ID: Tips and Techniques with Fred Jazvac

Sunday, August 13th, 2017
Fred Jazvac (Photo courtesy of Jim Punnet).

Fred Jazvac (Photo courtesy of Jim Punnet).

Event
Around the Bay with Fred - Waterfowl ID: Tips and Techniques with Fred Jazvac
When
Sunday, November 12, 2017
10:00am - 2:00 PM - All Ages
Where
Bayshore Community Centre (map)
1900 3rd Ave E
Owen Sound, ON
Other Info
Tips and techniques for waterfowl identification, while visiting birding hotspots along Owen Sound's shorelines

Be part of this delightful and educational birding tradition with Fred Jazvac! Meet at the front of the Bayshore Community Centre, Owen Sound. It is recommended to bring a lunch and to dress for a waterfront environment.

Register: Fred Jazvac, fredjazvac@gmail.com or 519.379.2323.

Limit: none

To learn even more about Fred please visit -
https://huronfringefest.wordpress.com/tag/head-coach-fred-jazvac/

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Butterflies and Mussels, Two Upcoming July Outings

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

There is still room to register in two upcoming events:

Learn about our fluttery friends on the Butterfly ID Workshop (hosted by Ontario Nature), July 16th, 9am-12am, Kinghurst Forest. Click the link for more details, or head directly to the registration form.

The follow up with some freshwater fun on the Freshwater Mussel Field Trip, July 20, 12pm-3pm, near Hanover. More information through the link, please register in advance with jwdickso@gmail.com.

Nature Club News, June, 2017

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

NATURE CLUB NEWS

by John Dickson

A version of this column appeared in the OS Sun Times on Wednesday, June 10, 2017

This Spring we are delighted that we have been able to offer even more field trips with some new hike leaders in different areas across this region.

On Tuesday May 9, life-long naturalist Stew Hilts led a delightful saunter along the Mac Kirk Side Trail on Old Baldy, overlooking the Beaver Valley. This Wildflower Walk drew folks from as far away as Owen Sound and Barrie, and a plethora of Spring flowers were in bloom or soon would be. These included the blossoms on Pin Cherry trees, Spring Beauty, Dogtooth Violet or Yellow Trout Lily, both red and white Trilliums, Dutchman’s Breeches, Canada Violets and many other flora, along with an abundance of Elderberry bushes opening into flower throughout the higher sections of hardwood forest. Several bird species were noted, including a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, and Nashville warbler. Many photographers in the group also took advantage of the panoramic opportunities presented by the various promontories. Hike leader Stew Hilts, also shared his knowledge of the geology of the Beaver Valley, and the Niagara Escarpment, on which we were standing. Stew also maintains an active blog, and you can read more about this hike at Seasons in the Valley.

Stew Hilts (on right) and the Old Bald Wildflower Hike participants.

Stew Hilts (on right) and the Old Bald Wildflower Hike participants(submitted by Dennis Knight).

On Thursday May 11, even the couple from Barrie, joined us in Owen Sound for Walter Muma’s much anticipated presentation – Wildflowers of Ontario. In spite of several club members being away at Point Pelee, there was a large audience on hand to see and hear Walter with his enthusiasm for finding and learning about the nature around us. Through his superb photos, and his congenial personality he certainly delivered on his promise to take us on a journey through the botany that enriches our province, from the rare to the unusual to the common, across many habitats. And yes, many did indeed leave with an enhanced appreciation and knowledge of Ontario’s flora.

The very next day found club members on a field trip entitled – Spring Bounty – the birds, bees and everything in between – co-led by Esme Batten and Anthony Chegahno, at the Shining Rainbow Deer Nature Reserve. One plant showcased in this pavement alvar habitat, was the Hill’s Thistle, introduced to us the evening before by Walter in his presentation. Other highlights included various sedges, Dwarf Lake Primrose, Twin Flower, Balsam Ragwort with a lovely yellow flower, and the shrubs Ninebark, and Creeping Juniper. There was a lovely slide past by a beautiful ribbon snake, complemented by the fly past of two Bald Eagles, and a brand new boardwalk carried us out over a part of the wetland to see a Great Blue Heron, Tree Swallows, and Yellow-Rumped Warblers, plus hear the complex and lyrical song of a winter wren. Esme’s comprehensive work with the Nature Conservancy Canada is making a strong impact in the area and this is her second field trip for the OSFN this year. Anthony Chegahno also shared with us several insights from his First Nation heritage, in regard to edible foods, and of the roles our fellow creatures play, in that enriched understanding of this world we all care so much for.

Beth Anne Currie turning the screws on a bird box (submitted by Donna Giesler)

Beth Anne Currie turning the screws on a bird box (submitted by Donna Giesler)

On Thursday, May 18, Beth Anne Currie led club members for some Grassland Birding to habitats where sightings of several species could be found. These included Bobolinks, Eastern Meadowlarks, Kingbirds Savannah Sparrows, and Eastern Bluebirds. The earlier strong winds lessened somewhat so that the sounds of some birds were also evident, even if not seen, including the Upland Sandpiper. A rare sighting indeed was a family of ravens with several young in the nest.

On Sunday May 28, The Owen Sound young Naturalist Club had its final outing of the season, at the Bognor Marsh, guided by Krista McKee of Grey Sauble Conservation. Soon the youngsters were learning about the various amphibians and reptiles – identifying which types of frogs were on hand, followed by crayfish, and snakes, and snails. Not only did the Young Naturalists get some first hand knowledge of these various lifeforms, from baby water snakes and frogs, to full sized ones, but they and their parents made some new friends too.

Basking Water Snake

Basking Water Snake, Bognor Marsh (submitted by John Dickson).

Young Field Naturalists with dip nets (submitted by Krista Mckee).

Young Field Naturalists with dip nets (submitted by Krista Mckee).

This Thursday June 8, is the final club meeting of the season, to be held in the Hall, of the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on 1st Ave East, by the Sydenham River, featuring a potluck dinner which starts at 6PM. If planning to attend, please bring your own plates, cutlery and cup or mug, and bring a food dish to share, along with serving utensils.

This will be followed by a brief Annual General Meeting, and then the featured presentation, by Dr. Larry Peterson, of the University of Guelph – The Fascinating Biology of Orchids. Topics will include pollination mechanisms, associations with beneficial fungi, adaptations to a wide range of terrestrial habitats and the success of this group as epiphytes. The amazing diversity in floral forms has led to a multi-million dollar horticultural industry, but has also resulted in many orchid species being poached from the wild. Because of this, and destruction of habitats, over 300 species are listed as endangered or threatened.

Admission is free. Donations are welcome. These club meetings are excellent opportunities for you to see how the club operates, and have some delicious refreshments, while socializing with others interested in Nature. Students are especially welcome. Above all, these gatherings are for learning and Knowing Nature Better.

Freeman Boyd

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

George Freeman Boyd, a long time farmer and vendor at the Owen Sound Farmers Market, passed away unexpectedly in Meaford as a result of a cardiac incident on Thursday June 22, 2017 at the age of 64.

Freeman was a strong proponent of the local food industry. He obtained a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Guelph and was a life long learner. He served as past president of the Owen Sound Field Naturalists. He was best known as an outdoorsman, an avid birder and knowledgeable Naturalist.

Freeman was a son of the late Charles Keith Boyd and his wife Eleanor Frances Down.

He is the lovingly remembered husband of 42 years of Marion (nee Janssens) Boyd and the much loved father, “Dad” and “Poppa” of his son Eric Boyd of Toronto, daughter Jennifer and her husband Ryan Dorgelo and their children Blake and Jena of Meaford and Karen and her husband Jordan Cunningham and their son Joel of Orillia. He was a dear brother to sisters Eleanor and her husband Glenn Campbell of Midland and Elizabeth and her husband Don Morley of Elmwood.

Freeman will be recalled fondly by Marion’s family and by his several nieces and nephews and their families.

Cremation has taken place and family will receive friends at the Ferguson Funeral Home in Meaford on Tuesday June 27 from 6 until 8 p.m.

A family service of committal and interment of his ashes will take place at a later date.

If so desired and as your expression of sympathy donations to the Bruce Trail Conservancy would be appreciated and may be made through the Ferguson Funeral Home, 48 Boucher St. E., Meaford, ON N4L 1B9 www.fergusonfuneralhomes.ca

Freshwater Mussel Field Trip

Saturday, June 17th, 2017
Event
Freshwater Mussel Field Trip
When
Thursday, July 20, 2017
12:00pm - 3:00PM - All Ages
Where
Saugeen River, Canoe Access Point #4 (map)
Concession Rd 10 west of Elmwood.
Other Info
Join Dr. Todd Morris and some of his students on a freshwater mussel field trip in the Saugeen River. See mussels in their natural environment, learn sampling techniques, ID tips, life history, luring and possibly seining methods for fishes.

To whet your appetite, see this earlier post rounding up a few articles on freshwater mussels.

Limit: 15 people

Time: 12pm-3:00pm

Location: Saugeen River, Canoe access point #4. Concession Rd 10 west of Elmwood.

Bring:Chest waders, hip waders, rubber boots, water shoes. Come prepared to get wet! Snacks and drinking water.

Register with: John Dickson, jwdickso@gmail.com

Todd Morris

Todd Morris

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