Neighbourwoods North Looking for Treeplanting Volunteers

Sunday, April 8th, 2018

*** Please note the new dates! ***

Neighbourwoods North is a new Owen Sound organization that initiates and maintains important tree planting projects in our City. This Spring, they are involved in a very large planting of trees at our hospital and we are seeking the assistance of many volunteers on Saturday, April 28, May 5th, 12th, and 19th. Can you help?

Building a Hospital Forest

Location: Northwest corner of the Owen Sound Hospital

Time:Saturdays, 9:00am- noon


  • April 28- Hand planting a line of 80 white spruce to protect from wind
  • May 5- Hand planting 2000 seedlings
  • May 12- Hand planting 2000 seedlings……..continued
  • May 19- Machine dug planting of 40 crabapple trees

Email Lloyd, or 226 256 8804, and state which day or days you will be able to assist.

  • Dress for the weather
  • If possible, bring a shovel, rake and even a wheel barrow.
  • Refreshments provided by the hospital
  • A parking pass will be provided
  • Pass this message onto your friends……we need many volunteers!

World Earth Day – April 22
Together, we can make a big impact to our community

PS ………We need a lot of trees to create a forest……..might you have a seedling, a bush, or a tree sapling you can donate?


Map of planned plantings (click for a larger version).

Nature Club News, April, 2018

Saturday, April 7th, 2018


by John Dickson

A version of this column appeared in the OS Sun Times on Thursday April 5, 2018 .

March Tracking Outing

The Owen Sound Field Naturalists club offered an Interpretive Late Winter Tracking Hike with Jeff Kinchen, on Saturday March 3rd. Even though the snowcover in the open areas had diminished somewhat by then, there was plenty of snow in the woods and lots of evidence of wildlife activity, if you just knew what to look for, as did hike leader Jeff Kinchen. In addition to the partially covered skunk carcass seen the previous week by our Young Naturalists club, there were plenty of tracks from deer, and red squirrels, as well as scat from Ruffed Grouse, and raccoon.

Although some like to think of the porcupine as a pest, destroying economically valuable trees, after successfully locating a porcupine high above us, Kinchen reminded everyone that the porcupine helps to feed the other forest creatures, by nibbling a few tasty bits near the top of a tree, and then dropping the rest below, providing an otherwise inaccessible smorgasbord of nutritious, tender branches, needles, and shavings for the rabbits, deer and others to browse when there is little else for them to find to eat in winter. In addition, some animal species prefer, or even require, dead trees for their nesting habitat and food sources.

March Indoor Meeting

On Thursday March 8, Dr. Sonja Ostertag presented an engaging talk and slideshow about the migration of the Beluga whales in the North West of Canada, including aspects of the research she and her colleagues have been doing, on the health of the whales, and the impacts of pollution and climate change. The audience appreciated learning about how she was able to combine the responsibilities and opportunities of a young family, with her work, and the chance to form meaningful relationships with the Inuit who live there and rely on the beluga whales as an important food source.

Dr. Sonja Ostertag

Dr. Sonja Ostertag,

At that same club meeting, those present endorsed OSFN President Kate McLaren’s continued efforts to find a balanced, long term solution for ensuring the health and viability of habitat for the Piping Plovers, plus the Dune ecosystem of Sauble Beach. McLaren actively pursued a cooperative solution, consulting with other groups and experts, and advocating a negotiated settlement and a long term programme of habitat and dune protection, compatible with all of the beach users.

March Young Field Naturalists’ Outing

On Sunday March 28, the Young Naturalists Club met at Harrison Park. Director Brian Robin reported that “Professional Potter (and OSFN President too) Kate McLaren led the youngsters and some adults, through a Toad Abode workshop, and helped them make shelters for their toady pals. Kate will be firing and returning their creations at the next Young Nats meeting. It was pretty astonishing watching Kate work and shape the clay so effortlessly, you’d almost think she’d done it once or twice before.”

Afterwards, the Young Naturalists went outside on a guided hike in the park with OSFN director Brian Robin, exploring the Weaver Creek trail.

NeighbourWoods North Update

NeighbourWoods North is continuing its preparations for Spring Tree Planting programmes at the site of the Grey Bruce Regional Health Centre in Owen Sound. It is expected that most of the work will take place on three consecutive Saturdays starting with April 21. When the planting proposals and the availability of the selected tree species, are confirmed, public announcements will be made to recruit volunteers to assist with the project.

April Indoor Meeting

On Thursday April 12, in the auditorium of the Owen Sound and North Grey Union Public Library, Dan Ostler will explain about “The Day Your Life Changed – Climate Change circa 535 AD” and how a natural phenomenon happening then, provided an excellent opportunity to observe the effects of climate change. In this presentation, he will follow the ripples of this event across the face of our earth.

Dan Ostler graduated in Biophysics from the University of Waterloo and pursued a career in medical radiation physics. Working in the areas of forefront research and product design, Dan traveled internationally, staging leading-edge seminars focusing on the implications of the latest medical imaging advances.
In retirement, he has pursued his interest in the science behind the phenomena of nature and the cascading effect of these interactions on the course of history.

Dan Ostler

Dan Ostler

Earth Day Presentation SOLD OUT!

On April 22, the OSFN presents its third annual Earth Day Keynote address. This year we are featuring Canada’s Adam Shoalts aboard the MS Chi-Cheemaun, speaking about his 4000km solo journey across northern Canada last summer, and of his love for Nature. Ticket sales for this event were very strong, and on March 29, it was announced that the event had been sold out to capacity. Thanks to everyone who purchased tickets and we’ll see you on Earth Day! This Celebration of Earth Day, is once again sponsored by Caframo.

Ontario Nature Youth Summit

OSFN plans to sponsor two high school students to attend the Ontario Nature Youth Summit, scheduled this year for September 21 – 23 at Geneva Park near Orillia. Invitations have been sent to many high schools in our area, urging keen students of environmental science programmes or with an interest in learning about Nature, who would still be in high school in the fall of 2018, to send us a letter of interest, addressed to by April 30, 2018.

For more details please visit

Nature Novels

In recent years there has been a plethora of mystery books with nature themes, and birds, in particular. The Birdwatcher, by William Shaw and published in 2017 by Mulholland Books, in addition to its story lines involving uprooting human families migrating like some of the birds, seeking new environs (read habitat) will introduce you to the south shore of England, and some of the waterfowl to be found there, plus a few inland birds nearby. Another of my favourite writers, Sam Llewellyn was introduced to me about three decades ago as the Dick Francis of Sailing. It was only in some of his later books that I started to notice his inclusion of nature and environment themes and species details, while spinning his elegant narratives. I heartily recommend Llewellyn’s writing and his most recent mystery book Black Fish, to introduce you to some of the environmental issues around sustainable fish quotas, and of course, the challenges and rewards of sailing. An earlier book of his, the Sea Garden, relates the personalities and stages of development around a grand Victorian style garden, whose owners were sometimes able to acquire some of the exotic plants that had been promised to Kew. I am sure many of our local gardeners will recognize many or all of the flowers and plants, along with the local sea creatures and birds, in south west England.

To close off – a quote from the late Freeman Boyd –

“Every time you learn more about nature, that just adds to your appreciation, and your concern.”

2018 Youth Summit Sponsorship

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018


We at the Owen Sound Field Naturalists once again this year, plan to sponsor two local high school students to attend the Ontario Nature Youth Summit (value $350. each) September 21-23, 2018 at the YMCA Geneva Park, Orillia.

Keen students of environmental science programmes or with an interest in learning about Nature, who would still be in high school in the fall of 2018, should send us a letter of interest, addressed to by April 30, 2018.

We will make a selection after that date, based on the writers’ expressed study/career plans and interests, and availability for this time period, etc.

We look forward to seeing two more local students, energized with learning and motivation, return from a Youth Summit weekend, as have local students in the past. For more info visit:


John Dickson and Kate McLaren on behalf of OSFN,
March 28, 2018

Highlights From Past Youth Summits, hosted by Ontario Nature’s Youth Council, bringing together close to 100 youth from 50 communities across Ontario.

  • Interactive workshops and activities on topics including medicinal plants, everyday sustainability, climate action and how to lead a nature hike
  • A regional networking forum for participants to connect and develop plans
  • A wonderful venue on Lake Couchiching, complete with hiking trails, canoeing, and campfires
  • A high-energy group activity with eco-inspired challenges
  • Meeting diverse young leaders with similar interests from across Ontario

A Notice From Saugeen Nature, Re:Sunday Hunting in West Grey

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

We are passing on a message from Nikki May, Saugeen Nature

A week ago Monday, West Grey Council approved Sunday hunting in the municipality with no public input, other than a deputation of hunters. A prepared motion was brought forward to council after hearing the hunting deputation, voted on and passed.

The Friends of Camp Oliver Forest, who are alert for issues that affect the public enjoyment of the forest, learned of this issue when the agenda was released the previous Friday. They attended the council meeting and saw this proceed, but were unable to make comments until the end of the meeting.

The concerns are two-fold – Sunday hunting now means that there are no days on weekends when forests are potentially free from the presence of hunters, so those who enjoy the forests for their natural features and tranquility have to be aware of the potential presence of hunters in public forests in all hunting seasons – there are many. This issue will soon be true in West Grey. It is already true in some other municipalitie in Grey. The second concern in West Grey is the surreptitious method by which council brought this forward, without allowing input from the public.

The broader issue in Grey County is that hunting is allowed in many County Forests. In municipaliites where Sunday hunting is allowed, this means that there are no days free from potential hunting activities in the County Forests. For those of you who use the County Forests, there is a new recreational trails plan being prepared by Grey County. Hunting has not been raised as an issue in the discussions of this plan, but it is not too late to express your concerns.

Write to Scott Taylor at to express your concerns about hunting in the Grey County Forests.

Next Steps:

  • To those who live in West Grey – email West Grey Council – make it unique and personal
  • Everyone – email Grey County Planning – Scott Taylor, Senior Planner, wants to hear any concerns about hunting – it’s not too late to influence the Recreational Trails Master Plan – you can choose to fwd your West Grey email to Scott or craft a new email
  • Everyone – spread the news to friends

Thank you

Nikki May
Saugeen Nature


Eyes at Sauble

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

A message from our president, Kate:

I’m hoping to enlist the help of citizens close to Sauble Beach!

The local MNRF supervisor has urged anyone to report raking, bulldozing, or heavy equipment operations on the beach. With the Phragmites issue it is imperative that the sand not be tilled as it will further propagate this most invasive species – you probably know this already!

Removing sand from around benches and playground equipment is allowed without applying for an MNRF permit but raking, tilling, etc. is definitely not.

If heavy equipment appears to be encroaching on the beach there are two numbers to call. One is the MNRF office in Owen Sound at 519-371-6751. The other is available 24/7. It’s the MNRF TIPS line, for reporting infractions at 1-877-847-7667.

Thank you,
Kate McLaren
Owen Sound Field Naturalists President

URGENT – Sauble Plovers

Saturday, March 10th, 2018

osfnlogoThursday night’s strong show of support for the OSFN to formally defend the habitat of piping plovers, along with conservation of dune ecology was very inspiring!

This is a Call to Action!

What if every one of us took a few minutes to send messages to all members of South Bruce Peninsula council?

Not just the mayor…. mayor Janice Jackson Matt Jackson Paul McKenzie Ana Vukovic

And deputy mayor Jay Kirkland who hasn’t email, has a cell phone. Text him! (edit- he has an email

Copy your letter to


If you have images of the habitat destruction, attach those too!

If this bulldozing isn’t stopped the plovers and the long term health of the beach are in peril.

Photo taken after the beach raking in August 2017.

Photo taken after the beach raking in August 2017.


More MNRF contacts


Hon. Nathalie Des Rosiers | Minister | 416-314-2301 |

Bill Thornton | Deputy Minister | 416-314-2150 |


Shawn Carey | District Manager | Southern District 704-725-7561 |

Owen Sound Field Office

Tracy Allison | Resources Management Supervisor | 519-371-6751 |

Kathy Dodge | Management Biologist | 519-371-8422 |

Jody Scheifley | Management Biologist | 519-371-8471 |

Craig Todd | Partnership Specialist | 519-371-8465 |

Karen Dykxhoorn | Resource Managment Technician | 519-371-8468 |

Young Field Naturalists’ Date Change and Bannock Recipe

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

Date Change

The next Young Field Naturalists’ event, a tracking outing with Jeff Kinchen, will be on Saturday February 24th from 2-4pm. Details on the revised schedule or at the Young Naturalists’ Page.

Slightly melted tracks. (Photo by Brian Robin)

Slightly melted tracks. (Photo by Brian Robin)


At the January outing, the kids (and adults!) cooked bannock over an open fire. It was my first time partaking, and I’m pleased to be able to share this recipe. Mine lit on fire, which I’m told is the traditional method of ensuring doneness, and it was delicious. ~Brian

Mmmmmmm. (Photo by Brian)

Mmmmmmm. (Photo by Brian)

Krista’s Campfire Bannock

3 cups of flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
(optional 1 tsp cinnamon)
1/2 cup of margarine

Cut in margarine into the dry mixture until margarine is about the size of a pea. Slowly add water until it is the right consistency to roll into balls. (about 1 and 1/4 cup of water – give or take). Roll the balls in a little bit of flour to reduce stickiness.

This recipe provides enough bannock for about 25 children.

It's done! (photo by Brian)

It’s done! (photo by Brian)

Snowshoe Hikes, Jan 20th and Feb 4th

Monday, January 15th, 2018

Bob Knapp has extended an invitation to join two upcoming snow showing hikes, one run by the Sydenham Bruce Trail Club and one by the Friends of Hibou.

Sydenham Bruce Trail Club
Saturday January 20
Meet 10:00am at Home Depot (north east corner of parking lot)
Snowshoe approximately 6km or 2.5 hours along 2 loops on the Bruce Trail just 4 km north of Home Depot.

Depending on the weather and snow cover there will be a chance to see some neat places on this BTC property including streams, wetland and escarpment. Snowshoes should be necessary.

Hike Leader: Bob Knapp
If you plan to attend: 519-371-1255

Friends of Hibou
Sunday February 4, 1:15pm
Hibou Snowshoe Hike:
Meet at the south Parking Lot Grey County Road 15

Enjoy this 2 hour Snowshoe Hike along the inland trails of Hibou Conservation Area.

Hike Leader: Carol Harris

Who Made Those Tracks and Why? With Jeff Kinchen.

Friday, December 8th, 2017


Who Made Those Tracks and Why? With Jeff Kinchen.
Saturday, March 3, 2018
1:00pm - 4:00 PM - All Ages
Owen Sound Area (map)
Other Info
An Interpretive Late Winter Tracking Hike with Jeff Kinchen.

Register: Jeff Kinchen, 519.374.4246

Limit: 12 participants

« Back to the calendar

Consider having a voice related to trail use in Grey County Forests.

Sunday, November 26th, 2017

The following is an announcement from Grey County about a public workshop on The Grey County Recreational Trails Master Plan.

Recreational Trails Master Plan

November 14, 2017

Open House and Workshop:

Join us for a workshop to learn about the Recreational Trails Master Plan.

Wednesday November 29, 2017
at 6:00 p.m.
Grey County Administration Building
Council Chambers
595 9th Avenue East, Owen Sound

This meeting is your chance to hear what we’ve done so far and to participate in a workshop for the project. The meeting is open to all members of the public. Please pass along this email to anyone that you may think would be interested in attending.

Please note this is not a formal public meeting. We will share a brief presentation at the beginning of the workshop and then break into smaller groups to discuss the project. A public meeting will be scheduled for later this year.

The Project:
Grey County is preparing a Recreational Trails Master Plan. This plan will provide a blueprint for future trails projects and requirements. It will be focused on linking community trails to County trails, determining the ultimate use of the CP Rail Trail and looking at trail use and future requirements for trails in some of the 48 forest properties owned by Grey County.

The project will develop trail standards for walking trails, bicycle trails and multi-use trails, and considering the compatibility of ATV and snowmobile users with non-motorized users. It will develop criteria to apply for restricting certain trail users to specific areas or trails.

So far, the user groups we have identified include snowmobile, horseback riding, hiking, biking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, dog walking, and ATV use.

If you have questions please contact Sarah Johnson, or at 519-372-0219 ext. 1241.

For more information, updates or to subscribe to our mailing list visit the Recreational Trails Master Plan webpage.