Merle Gunby: A deep love of the natural world.

Sunday, April 9th, 2017


It is with regret that we share the news of club member Merle Gunby’s death. Merle was an honorary member of our club and greatly respected for his involvement with the local naturalist community and his gentle love of the natural world.

In the words of Bill Moses, friend and fellow naturalist:

Merle Gunby passed away on April 2nd.

I would have to say that I am not a person who seeks out and and then works at maintaining close friendships. Yet at my “70th” (orchestrated by my wife Cecilie), during my required “speech”, while pointing out and acknowledging the significant people in my life who had attended, when I came to Merle Gunby I described him as my best friend, which came as a surprise to both of us. I must admit that from that point I did work harder at maintaining that friendship because it was then that I came to realize the value that Merle had held in my life.

I first met Merle when I joined the Inglis Falls Arboretum Alliance at the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority. That was in the spring of 2004. Prior to that I had my own little arboretum and propagation area. Taking my passion “public” was good for me and allowed me to make a more lasting contribution to the public good. I must say that this also initiated my personal interest in native woody plants, a fundamental basis of the Arboretum Design Plan prepared for the Arboretum Alliance.

I think that Merle and I hit it off because we were both “ramblers” and we both could learn from each other about our mutual interest in plants – woody plants in particular. Merle’s knowledge extended to a much broader area of flora and fauna than mine did and, on the side, I picked up a lot of from him in those areas as well.

On one typical early ramble, Merle introduced me (on a three or four hour long hike) to the Long Swamp, but Merle had a lot of health problems – the most significant, Parkinson’s Disease. Thus, over the years our rambles were reduced in time and finally just to “backroading” with occasional stops to check out a plant or collect some wild apples (once or twice picked from the car window).

Through my association with Merle, I got to know (or at least come on the radar of) many local naturalists, Blake Smith, Nels Maher and Mac Kirk to name a few.

Merle never turned down an opportunity to take a leadership role. (I was always a backroom boy, secretary, treasurer, IT guy and so on.) Merle’s Honorary Life Member status at OSFN was very important to him as were the many other honours he garnered over the years. All you have to do is to search for Merle Gunby on Google to realize that! Merle’s wife Sheila recognized that importance and with me (and many others) will work hard to make sure that he is remembered going forward.

~Bill Moses

Earth Day Nature Ramble w/ Peter Middleton

Thursday, March 9th, 2017
Earth Day Nature Ramble w/ Peter Middleton
Saturday, April 22, 2017
9:30am - 11:00am. - All Ages
Benallen (map)
Junction of Keppel & Sarawak Rail Trails, with County Road 17
Other Info

Celebrate Earth Day with a Nature Ramble, led by Peter Middleton

9:30 - 11AM Saturday April 22, 2017
Meet at Benallen (Junction of Keppel & Sarawak Rail Trails, with County Road 17)

Everyone Welcome!

Then Continue to Celebrate Earth Day and Canada 150,
with the OSFN Keynote Address - by Dr. Alan MacEachern
The Dominion of Nature: Canadians' Attitudes & Actions toward the Environment, 1867-2017

At the: Royal Canadian Legion
1450 2nd Ave W
Owen Sound
Tickets only $5 at the Ginger Press.
Limited Seating

Generously sponsored by:caframologo

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Spring 2017, President’s Message

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Hart’s Tongue Fern, Asplenium scolopendrium by its Latin name. (How I regret that Latin was removed from my high school curriculum just as I got there.) The Hart’s Tongue Fern is found on limestone formations such as our own Niagara Escarpment but is rare in most of the world. In the early days of the Owen Sound Field Naturalists (OSFN) we adopted this rare fern to be our logo and renowned local artist George McLean created the design. I’m mentioning this in case you’re new to the OSFN. Thirty-one new members joined us for the first time this year and I want to extend a warm welcome to you all! If you have questions or ideas, if you want to be involved in projects or if you have a passion to share with us please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me or any other OSFN director. We’re a grass roots organization. Pun intended!

Elaine Van Den Kieboom recently agreed to be on the OSFN Board of Directors. She has been very active with the Young Naturalists for several years as well as with the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority (GSCA). She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm: welcome aboard! Elaine collaborates with Krista McKee from GSCA to provide the Young Naturalists program. A big thank you to Krista for her participation and leadership. Parents and siblings of Young Nats often help out with the outdoor activities and they too are appreciated.

On that note, do you have an activity that would be fun for kids? Do you have a young family or know of children between 7 and 12 who’d enjoy being part of these activities? Please get in touch with anyone on the OSFN Board or call Krista at the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority office in Owen Sound, 519-376-3076.

A packed house at the January meeting was the perfect opportunity to celebrate someone whose contributions to the OSFN are literally too numerous to count. Peter Middleton was presented with an Honorary Life Membership in the OSFN. Such a well-deserved award for such a vital member of our organization from its inception. Among his many gifts is his passion for nature and how it fuels his capacity for teaching others of any age in any setting. Congratulations Peter!

OSFN director Dennis Knight has been working to collect and itemize the list of projects that OSFN has been an integral part of from our beginning. He has determined which have become obsolete, which remain “status quo” and which require active stewardship. He is seeking volunteers so if he asks you, please say yes!

It was a long slog with government paperwork but our dauntless past-president John Dickson has obtained charitable status for the OSFN! Donations of $20 and over are eligible for a tax receipt. John also made the first donation to the OSFN as an official charity. Thank you John.

After last year’s dry summer, the lovely prolonged autumn, the roller-coaster winter, I wonder what spring will bring? Besides fiddleheads and peepers, blackflies and blossoms…..

Go outside!
Kate McLaren, President

Garlic Mustard Public Information Meetings and “Pull Party”

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Joan Nuffield is spreading the word about a few events relating to this invasive species, message follows.

As you may be aware, Southern Ontario’s forests and fields are threatened by an invasive species, Garlic Mustard.   Left alone for long enough, Garlic Mustard can turn a beautiful native forest into a field – of Garlic Mustard.  In the Beaver Valley, the Len Gertler Memorial Loree Forest is at serious risk because of this advancing menace.  We are asking for help, from you and members of your group.

Specifically, what kind of help can you provide?

  • Learn more about why Garlic Mustard is such a danger:come to one of the public information meetings weare organizing:

o   at the L.E. Shore Library, Thornbury, Tues., March 28, 2017, 6:30 pm, or

o   at the Collingwood Public Library, Collingwood, Thurs., March 30, 2017, 6:30 pm


  • Sign up to come to a Garlic Mustard “pull party” in the Loree Forest on Sat., May 20. If you are not familiar with this nasty critter, you will receive training on how to spot it and how to pull it.  Families are welcome, and students are welcome.  Then stay for the barbeque afterwards!
  • Spread the word about the “pull party” and the public information meetings among members of your group, and other contacts you may have. We ask that you to use your newsletter, email list, and other suitable communication avenues.  We would be happy to speak at a regular or special meeting of your group, if you wish to arrange a separate information meeting for them.

To sign up for the “pull party” and barbeque, please contact:

You will be contacted regarding details, and what to bring for the day.

Thank you so much. Together, we can keep this invasive species in check!

Joan Nuffield, Beaver Valley Bruce Trail Club
Owen Gray, Lakehead University

Butterflies of Bognor Marsh

Sunday, February 19th, 2017
Butterflies of Bognor Marsh
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
11:00am - 2:00 pm - All Ages
Bognor Marsh (map)
Other Info
Event: Butterflies of Bognor Marsh

When: 14 June, 2017 (rain date 15 June), 11.00 am to 2.00 pm, all ages

Where: Bognor Marsh, meet at the parking lot at Grey Rd 18 and Concession 4.

Register: Chris Rickard ,, (705)444-6671

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Saugeen Valley Lookout – A Tour of Nels Maher and John Weir’s Fern Garden and 40 Acre Naturalized Property

Thursday, February 16th, 2017
Saugeen Valley Lookout – A Tour of Nels Maher and John Weir’s Fern Garden and 40 Acre Naturalized Property
Friday, June 23, 2017
10:00am - 1:00 pm - All Ages
Weir Family 1850 Homestead (map)
393687 Concession 2 West Grey
Other Info
Event: Saugeen Valley Lookout

When: Friday, June 23, 2017 - (Rain Date Saturday, June 24, 2017)
10:00am - 1:00 pm - All Ages

Where: (Jean) Weir Family 1850 Homestead
Fire# 393687 Concession 2 West Grey
Drive east on Highway 4 from the main intersection in Durham out of town to Eckert’s Shell. Turn left and head north on the 2nd Concession Road 2 km to the pine reforested property on the right hand side. Long lane in and watch out for turtles on the laneway.

Other Info: See over 40 varieties of ferns in our rock garden and tour the property trails including a walk through the naturalized fields of the farm to the Saugeen River and into the swamp and pond areas at the front of the property to view ferns, orchids and do a little bird watching. Brown bag lunch with complimentary refreshment beverages and Elderberry Wine sampling.

Tour conducted by Brian and Jean Maher.

| T. 1 844 795 1683 | M. 519 3732477

Limit: 20

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Friday Ski/Snowshoe Winter Ecology Field Trip – Room to Register!

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

UPDATE – Postponed to Feb.17th

There is still room in Tyler’s Friday, Feb. 17th Ski/Snowshoe Winter Ecology Field Trip.

Please register with Tyler at

Then, if you would like to, please meet to car-pool at 12:50PM Friday February 17, in the parking lot of the Chi-Cheemaun/tourist office.

Anyone coming from the Southampton area, can be met at the Wiarton Library parking lot for pick up from there, at about 1:15PM.

Please email John Dickson, if you are planning to join in the car-pooling. John Dickson <>


Ontario Phragmites Working Group Meeting, Jan 17th

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

Janice Gilbert, our speaker from November 2016, passed along this information about a Phragmities Workshop (an email from Kellie Sherman). This looks like a great followup for anyone wanted more detail on the Phragmites situation:

Hi everyone and Happy New Year!

Apologies for the delay on getting this information to you, as we just confirmed a venue for the meeting. Details below:

  • The meeting will take place on January 17th from 10 am until 4 pm.
  • The meeting will be held at the Waterloo Royal Canadian Legion – 316 Marsland Drive, Waterloo, ON, N2J 3Z1
  • There will be lunch available. The lunch will consist of assorted sandwiches (egg salad, ham, roast beef, etc.), pickle tray, light desserts and coffee. There is also a pub-style food venue in the hall above us for people to purchase something on their own. I will be bringing an additional veggie tray, but unfortunately, we don’t have many options for specific diet requirements. If you are interested in this lunch, please reply to this email indicating so no later than January 10th. If you wish to bring your own lunch, you may do so.
  • Attached is a draft agenda for the day. We will send a final copy next week.
  • If you plan on still attending this meeting, please reply to this email indicating so, also no later than January 10th.
  • Parking is free. If the parking is fairly full by the time you arrive, you may park in the surrounding parking lots.

If anyone has any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me.



Kellie Sherman
Ontario Invasive Plant Council
4601 Guthrie Drive
Peterborough, ON
K9J 8L5
P: 705-748-6324 x 243
F: 705-748-9577


There’s at least one local planning to attend. Anyone interested can be connected to arrange car-pooling, contact

January 2017 @ MacGregor Point

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

Some Saturday events at MacGregor Point.

Saturday, January 14 2:00pm, Guided Hike: Wetlands in Winter.

Saturday, January 21 10:00am, Guided Hike: Winter Track ID.

Saturday, January 28 10:00am, Meet a Naturalist: Hibernation vs. Migration.

Click the image below for more details, or head to the Friends of MacGregor Point Park website:


Extraordinary Tree Lecture Series is Online

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

extraordinarytreelogoIf you missed out on the Extraordinary Tree Lecture Series, or just wanted to watch one of the speakers again, not to worry! The lecture series has been recorded and is now available on the Extraordinary Tree YouTube Channel.

Something to keep you busy if you’re snowed in!