On Thursday January 10, 2019, Owen Sound Mayor Ian Boddy presented this Certificate of Recognition to Club President Gordon Toth, at the regular Indoor Meeting of the Owen Sound Field Naturalists in the Library Auditorium.
President Toth got a strong showing of hands when he asked the audience how many were there 30 years before, on Thursday January 5th, 1989, when President Lorraine Brown presided over the Inaugural Indoor Meeting of the Club. That first meeting featured a presentation by Doug Larson, who returned at the 20 year mark of the club, and will be here once more to help Celebrate Earth Day this Spring. During the fall months of 1988, an initial gathering, chaired by Andrew Armitage at the Library, took place to gauge the level of interest in forming a Naturalist Club. With the endorsement of those present, the creation of the club took place – planning, programming and organizing, with help and guidance from members of the already established Saugeen Field Naturalists.
We are proud of our achievements. Here are but a few:
A group of OSFN members have drawn on their expertise and authored eight high quality nature/field guides on such topics as the unique Ferns, Orchids, Geology, Vascular Plants, Wildflowers, found in Grey and Bruce Counties. Thousands of copies have been sold, enabling local people and naturalists from far afield to learn more about the rich natural heritage of this unique area. (See Publications)
Constructed a boardwalk through the woods at Hibou Conservation Area, in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Owen Sound.
Built an extensive boardwalk with interpretive panels through the Oliphant Fen on the Huron shore of the Bruce Peninsula in collaboration with the Saugeen Field Naturalists. Recently we produced and erected a new interpretive panel sign for the Oliphant Fen. It presents 24 unusual wildflowers that grow in the fen, along with their blooming dates.
Constructed an avian viewing tower at Baie du Dor on Lake Huron, where numerous Bald Eagles gather each winter at the warm water outflow at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station.
Produced a tourism brochure for the City of Owen Sound. Called “Natural Owen Sound”, this brochure directs visitors to four walks where visitors can enjoy birds, plants, geology and other aspects of nature in and around Owen Sound.
In collaboration with the Canadian Friends of John Muir, we organized a day-long event celebrating the time John Muir spent in our area.
Established Butterfly Counts in Owen Sound, at MacGregor Provincial Park and the Bruce Peninsula National Park in association with the North America Butterfly Association.
Conducted Chimney Swift surveys in collaboration with Bird Studies Canada SwiftWatch monitoring program for several years.
Established the OSFN Young Naturalists Club and provide it with ongoing support, in collaboration with the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority. Each year we send one or two young naturalists to Ontario Nature’s summer camp.
In addition we support, sponsor and maintain a miscellany of various ongoing projects such as highway cleanup under the Adopt a Hwy program, provide judging and awards in the annual Bluewater Science Fairs, established Purple Martin nesting apartment houses at the Bayshore property in Owen Sound, erected Osprey nesting platforms at McNab and Isaac lakes, etc.
We have also provided funding towards important nature reserve land acquisitions and projects over the years:
to the Bruce Trail Association toward the purchase of lands at Skinner’s Bluff.
to the Institute for Outdoor Education and Environmental Studies near Wiarton.
to the Peregrine Falcon Release Project in Owen Sound.
to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) towards the purchase of 200 acres in the Malcolm Kirk Nature Reserve.
to the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy towards the purchase of lands in Long Swamp.
to the NCC the purchase of land near Gillies Lake/Cabot Head.
to the NCC towards the purchase of lands in the Northern Bruce Peninsula
We have entered into Stewardship agreements with the NCC to provide ongoing support , monitoring and caretaking of some of the above, and other properties.
And we have established the Lorraine Brown Conservation Trust Fund with the objective of supporting ongoing conservation activities and acquisitions, and new conservation initiatives of the Owen Sound Field Naturalists in Grey and Bruce Counties.