Nature Club News, November, 2018

NATURE CLUB NEWS November 2018

by John Dickson

The Owen Sound Field Naturalists Club has been been bustling along this past month – Bill Moses led a well-attended session of All Things Woody, demonstrating tree identification and seed collecting at the Inglis Falls Arboretum, on October 8.

On October 11, Jenna McGuire gave an illuminating talk about Metis culture in Grey and Bruce. She shared the history of the Metis people in Grey and Bruce, and in the Southampton area particularly, relating to the fur trade and the fishing occupations. She also brought with her many samples of as well as historical photos and documents, plus basketry and clothing, as well as her delicious home made bannock to share at snack time.

Some of Jenna's baskets and historical photos. (Photo by John Dickson)
Some of Jenna’s baskets and historical photos. (Photo by John Dickson)

Bob Gray, while thanking our speaker, also spoke for many in the area, who have been mostly unaware of the Metis presence and activities here in the past two centuries.

Bob Gray thanking Jenna. (Photo by John Dickson)
Bob Gray thanking Jenna. (Photo by John Dickson)

On Saturday October 13 Bob Knapp reprised his popular Marshall Woods Old Growth Forest Hike, exploring the trails along the Rocklyn Creek, near Walter’s Falls. Highlights included a visit with what may be the largest and oldest Eastern White Cedar tree in Ontario. Large, old Yellow Birch trees are also in good numbers there.

On Sunday October 21 Ron Gatis led a tour of trails on his property above (overlooking) Colpoys Bay. OSFN member Lynda Chiotti reported –

Members of Owen Sound Field Naturalists enjoyed a guided walk by Ron Gatis recently on his property at the north end of the village of Colpoy’s Bay. As we proceeded from the fields, still farmed for hay, into the forest, Ron described his family history in the area, dating back to the 1800s. In the forest are trails groomed for cross-country skiing and several side trails and the main Bruce Trail, edging the northern side of Colpoy’s Bay itself. With Jan Pugsley, I took the Whicher Side Trail, which rewarded us with a bounty of tiny late season mushrooms and ferns.

Our thanks to Ron for his generosity!

Throughout October, NeighbourWoods North planned 5 work sessions with volunteers to complete the Hospital Forest Project and to work on the final stages of the “Build a Forest” project, which entailed the planting of over 3000 trees. A cairn marking this historic development was unveiled on October 27th and appreciation was expressed to the group, as the volunteers put some of the finishing touches on this major undertaking, planting, mulching, wrapping and staking trees on the hospital property.

(Photo by John Dickson)
(Photo by John Dickson)

In the afternoon of October 27, the Young Naturalists Club members were given an educational tour of Keppelcroft, by Bill Loney. Highlights included discreetly placed bird nests near the centre of small trees, and the opportunity for youngsters to take home some huge Sycamore leaves as souvenirs. Several varieties of Oak trees are on the site, as well as Beech, Tamarack, Black Cherry, and the heritage apple and crab apple trees from the earliest dwellers on the property. Bill’s engaging personality and efforts to showcase interesting natural features, as well as planting interesting groups of trees as well as other plants and flowers, had the kids full of questions and answers. Loney also makes an effort to commemorate those who have left their mark in the community, with poetry by Archie Campbell, and a Nature trail named after naturalist Norm Fidler.

View from Keppel Croft. (Photo by John Dickson)
View from Keppel Croft. (Photo by John Dickson)

Coming up at 7PM on November 8, the area forest health technician Sue McGowan, of the MNRF, will share the latest information about the forest health conditions in Ontario. Regular monthly Indoor Meetings take place at the Owen Sound and North Grey Union Library auditorium. Admission is free, although donations are welcome, including charitable donations for such club activities, as LEAF (Local, Educational, Action Fund), LBCF Lorraine Brown Conservation Fund primarily for Nature Reserve properties, and NWN – NeighbourWoods North operations.

Susan and Ariel, BBD Plots (supplied photo)
Susan and Ariel, BBD Plots (supplied photo)

Membership and donation details can be obtained in person at the meeting or by visiting and the facebook page.

Birders have been reporting an influx of Evening Grosbeaks, Common Redpolls, Pine Siskins and already a Snowy Owl, along with Juncos, and even Crossbills, migrating into our area.

Those wishing to support the work of the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory can do so by attending the annual fund-raising dinner Saturday November 17, at Stone Tree, with special guest speaker and author, Professor Bridget Stutchbury. Ticket information is available at

To close, I would like to leave you with the poetic “Reflections from Hibou” (by Carol L. Harris and Marie Knapp) that appear on the October page of the Friends of Hibou 2018 calendar. The thoughts expressed herein also apply to the many hikes and bike rides and runs through the bounteous leaves on the forest floor, which I especially enjoy at this time of year. “SHUFFLE THROUGH AUTUMN LEAVES. LISTEN TO THE WIND. FEEL YOUR SENSES AWAKEN.”