Nature Club News April 2019


by John Dickson

On March 13, Nikki May’s presentation to the Owen Sound Field Naturalists (OSFN) – Prairie Ecosystems – featured intriguing details of the resilience of the root structures of various prairie grasses, and their ability to stay alive underground in spite of drought, floods, foraging by bison, and fire. Some of these grasses have both shallow roots and deep roots to ensure their access to nutrients.

Butterfly Weed in Canatara Park (photo supplied by Nikki May)
Butterfly Weed in Canatara Park (photo supplied by Nikki May)

On March 20th, the Bruce Birding club witnessed two to three thousand Tundra Swans, in a staging area near Grand Bend. Here they rest and fuel up to fly across Lake Huron, and across Lake Superior, to Manitoba, eventually arriving at their destination – the tundra. The BBC members also visited Pinery Provincial Park, where the resident Tufted Titmouse population and a few wild turkeys were observed at very close range through the large windows of the Visitor Centre there. Another highlight of the day was the discovery in Kincardine, of a pair of Snow Geese, with a Ross’s Goose (a smaller relative of the Snow Goose) keeping them company, and likely migrating with them. Within a day or two of this outing, David Turner of Flesherton, reported that there were about 25 migrating Tundra Swans along with a selection of other waterfowl, at Lake Eugenia.

American Woodcock, April 1st, Kincardine. Photo by Bruce Edmunds.
American Woodcock, April 1st, Kincardine. Photo by Bruce Edmunds.

On March 24, a full busload of the Owen Sound Young Naturalist Club visited the Butterfly Conservatory in Cambridge, to see and learn about, first hand, the many exotic butterflies on hand there.

An exotic "Ricepaper" butterfly from the conservatory. (File photo/Brian Robin)
An exotic “Ricepaper” butterfly from the conservatory. (File photo/Brian Robin)

One of the Young Naturalists, Kate Burridge-MacDonald also created artwork for a toque, which was voted the winner in a nation-wide contest as the basis for a design that will grace the hats of over 10,000 Junior skiers nation-wide next year! It featured a smiling polar bear, on skis, looking up at a puffin flying by, along with some clouds and snowflakes in the air. Congratulations Kate!

At the Bluewater Science and Technology Fair, the Owen Sound Field Naturalists award was won by Islay Graham, for her Piping Plover Project, demonstrating conclusively their preference for beach habitat with debris and vegetation, which not only provides some much needed shelter from predators, but also encourages the presence of more food for the Piping Plovers to find when they forage in the sand.

NeighbourWoods North is gearing up for its 2019 campaigns of developing and nurturing our urban trees. In a recent communication, with the heading Branch and Root news, they announced “It’s springtime and we’re getting ready for the spring planting and gardening season at the Owen Sound Hospital. Right now it looks like we will be busy tending the Forest of Hope and Healing every Saturday morning in May. Keep updated on these events through our website, or on Facebook, or Twitter.” For more information on how you can help here is the website link

On Tuesday April 2nd, Bob Knapp presented Rocks and Rock Formations in the Owen Sound Area, to a capacity audience in the theatre at Grey Roots. If you missed that one, Bob is also giving the same presentation to the Owen Sound Field Naturalists at 7PM Thursday April 11, in the auditorium of the Owen Sound and North Grey Union Public Library.


On Tuesday April 9, Naturalist Audrey Armstrong will twice present Monarchs in the Queen’s Bush at Grey Roots, at 1PM and again at 2:30PM. For more details please visit

On Thursday April 18, at 7PM, Grey Sauble Conservation Foundation hosts its Earth Film Festival, at the Roxy theatre, featuring Project Wild Thing, and The Messenger. This fund raising event will support projects of the Grey Sauble Conservation Foundation. For ticket information please call the Roxy at 519 371 2833.

On Wednesday May 8, at 7PM, the film Resilience: Transforming Our Community created locally, will have its first screening also at the Roxy theatre. Admission is by donation. More information is available at

The Celebrate Earth Day event, presented by OSFN, on Saturday April 20, featuring renowned Ecologist and Scientist Doug Larson, aboard the Chi Cheemaun, is almost completely sold out, with only a handful of tickets ($5. each) still available at the Ginger Press. For information about this event or other activities of OSFN please visit

To close, a Nature quote from Doug Larson and Peter Kelly, referring to the forces responsible for the rocks, trees and ecology of the Niagara Escarpment: “The relentless pressures of human development …may be the most imposing force in the Escarpment’s long history.”