Nature Club News for March 2023

by John Dickson

The Owen Sound Field Naturalists (OSFN) present Members’ Night,  6:30 to 9pm, Thursday, March 9, at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre. This popular annual event features several speakers with a variety of Nature topics to share.

Audrey Armstrong of the OSFN Publications Committee is  delighted to announce that “You are invited to arrive early and join us for the Book Launch and Sale of Vascular Plant List  Bruce & Grey,  5th Edition, from 6:30 to 7pm. During this time you will have the opportunity to purchase (cash or cheque) copies of the book at the early bird price of $20.00.
When the OSFN club meeting starts at 7pm we will have a brief presentation by the compiler, Tyler Miller, who will talk about the process of revising the Vascular Plant List Bruce & Grey, including his detailed dataset for the Vascular Plant List Bruce & Grey: Compendium version.”

The 5th edition of the Vascular Plant List Bruce & Grey is a keystone publication of the Owen Sound Field Naturalists. If you want to sustain wildlife with native plants, this book will give you all the native plants, shrubs and trees for Bruce & Grey.  It is an essential reference for naturalists, botanists, life science inventory specialists, land use planners, resource management agencies, and consultants who are working within Bruce and Grey Counties.

Popular hike leader and presenter, David Morris calls his remarks “What’s Up, Buttercup”.  It will be a quick look at the diversity of buttercup species that can be found in this area, and some tips as to how to tell them apart.  Meg Dean will present a display of Nature mementos from around North America, and Rob Wray will offer “A multi-genre photographic tour of Grey/Bruce’s natural environment, by a beginner photographer.”

The evening will also feature a second launch – of ticket sales for OSFN’s 8th annual Celebrate Earth Day Keynote Speaker event featuring Lenore Keeshig, aboard the Chi Cheemaun at 2pm Sunday April 23, and sponsored by Caframo.

Renowned storyteller, poet, author and naturalist Lenore Keeshig’s presentation is entitled “Good of the Earth” and in Lenore’s words: “In celebration of Earth Day, I want to share through stories, my understanding of Anishinaabe relationship to the land beginning with the name we call ourselves and where we come from. These stories will highlight various facets of Anishinaabe connection to the land and water, from a barren landscape to the food we eat and where we stand today in this era of Truth and Reconciliation.”

 John Dickson will have the first available tickets (limited seating, still only $5. each, cash please) for this special event, for sale to those in attendance.  

In addition to being LIVE at the Bayshore, OSFN also plans to offer this March 9th event as a zoom webinar. To request a ZOOM LINK please send an email, in advance, to with Members in the subject line

To learn more about OSFN, Young Naturalists, upcoming Speakers and Field Trips, etc., please visit

Wild Turkeys on a prowl under the glorious sunshine…Grey Road 25. (Photo by Fely Clarke February 21)

Congratulations to the Huron Fringe Birding Festival, on their 25th anniversary season, May 26 – 29 and June 1 – 4, 2023.  celebrating birds, birding and nature! The Festival is based out of beautiful MacGregor Point Provincial Park, where events explore the rich niches of the Park, and also venture throughout the ‘Huron Fringe’ of land along Lake Huron’s shore, up the bountiful Bruce Peninsula, and to many significant natural areas of Bruce and Grey Counties.

The Festival offers an incredible 90+ events over two 4-day weekends in late May and early June! This time of year captures both the end of migration and the beginning of the nesting season, ensuring an abundance of birds. Morning, afternoon, all-day and evening events are offered daily. You can choose to attend one, some, or pick a full-Festival package!  All events are led by top local, provincial and global tour leaders.

Whether your interest is strictly ‘for the birds’, or if you wish to delve into botany, photography, geology, cultural history and more, you will be sure to find interesting, informative and fun events.   But sign up early as many events fill within the first few days of registration.  This is one popular Festival!

I recommend you visit the website at and check out this year’s lineup so that you can select your preferred items when the HFBF registration opens March 17 at 6am.

Photo of  Pine Grosbeak by William Gray – March 1, near Ben Allen

On March 4, at 11am, Grey County Master Gardeners are offering Seminar 2 of their free 2023 Eco-Responsible Gardener Seminar Series, via zoom. Entitled “The Best Plants for Ontario Food Forests”, it will feature Ben Caesar, owner of Fiddlehead Nursery in Kimberley, Ontario, as he identifies some of the easy to care for trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials that provide sustainable crop harvesting. “We will go on a virtual tour with Ben as he shows us his ever-expanding demonstration garden of the best plants for edible and beautiful landscapes. Learn how to grow a sustainable food source while helping the environment!” To learn more and to register please visit

OSFN’s Young Naturalists (YN) Coordinator, Jody Johnson Pettit, compiled this report on their recent activities: Seven children and their caregivers attended the Owen Sound Young Naturalists hike from the Pottawatomi Memorial Forest to Jones Falls and back on Sunday, February 26.   We played several rounds of owl and mouse – a predator/prey game, looked in crevices, examined tracks in the snow, ferns, moss, fungi, marveled at the escarpment and the power of the waterfall. The next meeting of the YN is scheduled for Sunday, March 26 at the Georgian Bay School for the Arts. We will be creating several nature inspired arts and crafts.

Photo by Jody Johnson Pettit
Photo by Jody Johnson Pettit

Quite a few people in this area have been rewarded for their nocturnal efforts and adventures in recent weeks witnessing, first hand, many fabulous Natural (some might say Supernatural) sightings of Northern Lights/Aurora Borealis as well as unusual juxtapositions of celestial bodies in our night skies.  And, in the Mediterranean, the  powerful forces of Nature have recently contributed to rough seas, resulting in the destruction and sinking of sea-going vessels along with passengers and crew members, in the area of Calabria, Italy. 

Lord and Lady of the Valley…(North of Kimberley, February 18 Photo by Ingrid Remkins)

To close, I have apropos Nature phenomena quotes from two sources – first from Peter Nichols’ Ruffo of Calabria, which I just happened to be reading when I heard Calabria mentioned in the news. “Often I dream that I am out riding in the mountains…It is beautiful country… The air is a soft champagne from which the cork has just that moment flown away; the breeze light, the chestnut forests a rich green marked with the cream of the blossoms.”  and later “In my dreams it is all one, the prelude and the catastrophe; the relentless hot wind…followed by torrential rain and the subterranean roaring. Then the great rents in the surface of the earth…the earthquake had split the Ancient city apart…”

Secondly, from OSFN’s Earth Day Keynote Speaker of 2022, Hap Wilson, in his Dance of the Deadmen – As Jack Hornby in his nightmare dreams of the Great War was  seeing “men falling, flailing, getting up again in a strange macabre dance … the dance of the deadmen” and Edgar wakes him with “Come down to the river! …The northern lights, remember, the dance of the dead Jack, they’re incredible. You can get a dandy look at them from the river” …”they walked to the centre of the frozen Thelon River…looking up into the heavens to watch the spirits dance.”