Spring 2016, President’s Message

Writing for the Spring newsletter happens when it is Winter, and Spring is yet a month away. As is often the case, our weather fluctuates a great deal – last Saturday and Sunday it was -24 Celsius, and I was blessed with visits by 29 Cedar Waxwings (my favourite-looking bird) who joined a solitary, but robust, American Robin, in the Mountain Ash Tree on my neighbour’s front lawn.

Today, a week later, it is now +44 Fahrenheit, (quite a spread in either scale), some rain has eliminated a substantial amount of our snow cover, especially in the open areas, and our solitary Robin is on the newly-exposed lawn, looking for worms. In between these two weekends, I was able to fit in two wonderful Ski outings on the magnificent Bruce Peninsula. In addition to the wide assortment of healthy trees – Beech, Black Cherry, Paper Birch and Yellow Birch, Maples, Red Pines and many more – I was reminded of winter bird-life, when three startled Ruffed Grouse did their best to startle me, a Downy Woodpecker announced his presence with a pleasant knock-on-wood, and a Pileated Woodpecker called a fond farewell as I glided along the gentle roller-coaster features of the Rankin Trails.

Along the way, the brilliant February sun gilded the lovely Yellow Birch Trees, and applied a warm glow to the majestic Red Pines near Beatty Lake. The pristine blanket of fresh snow displayed the recent traffic patterns of various mice, rabbits, squirrels and White Tailed Deer, while the gentle breezes played sweet music, rustling and caressing the still-clinging, burnt-gold leaves of Beech Trees. These are just some of the local ubiquitous “Sights and Sounds of Beautiful Nature in all its Glory!”

I am very much looking forward to our Earth Day/Week activities this Spring, centred around the Keynote Address by pre-eminent Naturalist and Author John Riley – 7PM Friday , April 22 – a stimulating address, generously sponsored by Caframo, specifically crafted for us, to be presented aboard the MS Chi-Cheemaun. Tickets are only $5 at OSTC in Springmount and at the Ginger Press. Do not be disappointed – this “Signature Event” compares to past generations hearing Charles Darwin, or Grey Owl. Be sure to get your tickets and your own copy of The Once and Future Great Lakes Country – An Ecological History – well in advance, and “Let’s make this a full house!” John Riley’s fascinating book (see Freeman Boyd’s sage and scholarly review elsewhere in this Hart’s Tongue Herald) is available at the Ginger Press. This award-winning book is one you will want to have in your personal library, to return to, time and time again. In addition, we have been able to arrange for Mr. Riley to speak to High School students the day before, and we are planning one or more Nature Rambles, on and/or near Earth Day. Book-ending these activities, are Ray Robertson’s illuminating report card presentation on Earth-Friendly projects from the 1990’s, and Lenore Keeshig’s Interpretive Hike at Neyaashiinigmiing.

On behalf of the OSFN board and members, I extend to Bill Moses, a heart-felt expression of gratitude for his many years of service in maintaining and enhancing our website, as well as internal communications. A tireless volunteer and valued contributor, Bill also plays an integral role with the Arboretum Alliance, and will be leading an OSFN Spring Field Trip there May 30.

I am pleased to announce that Director Brian Robin will be providing OSFN’s primary website support and coordinating our Facebook platform, which will be another tool to facilitate communication within the club, with the wider community of Grey and Bruce Counties, and beyond. We hope you and your Friends will “Like OSFN on Facebook” too.

In the meantime, this final month of Winter promises to bring us a little more snow, so that our Young Naturalists can have enough snow for their planned activities and our tracking seminar with the enigmatic Jeff Kinchen can, once again, motivate all of us to strive toward Knowing Nature Better!


With a Song in My Heart,


John Dickson, President

March 2016