Summer 2017, President’s Message

This year the summer solstice brought deep sadness to our club and to my neighbourhood. Freeman Boyd was one of our original OSFN founders. He was integral to the club’s ongoing vitality with his keen mind and broad interests. Many knew him as a mushroom expert, or as a birder, a farmer or philosopher. I knew him as a dear friend and neighbour for 35 years. He is sorely missed by all who knew him.

It is another reminder that life is fleeting. We know we are only here for a very short while. All living things will eventually die – must die – to foster new cycles of life. Freeman had recently recommended The Hidden Life of Trees as a good book to read. He was so right! The patterns and relationships of life and death in forest communities are incredibly complex. It is easy to see the parallels with our human communities.

In our OSFN community there is a deep abundance of knowledge about various aspects of the natural world. The monthly (Thursday evenings) indoor series offers education, entertainment and wonder from a wide array of speakers. And there are snacks! An excursion on an OSFN outing with members always astonishes me with the depth and breadth to be found in our midst. It gives me hope when so much else seems bent on destroying our natural world: political ignorance, invasive species, urban sprawl, pollution, climate change. Etcetera.

Perhaps that’s the key to sustaining hope for the future: focus on what’s here, now. Learn what one can promote or protect; take what action is possible. Celebrate nature’s amazing diversity, share this passion with others, cultivate positive change.

The OSFN, with generous support from Caframo, is cultivating a new crop of naturalists in a number of ways. The funds from Caframo are targeted mainly toward youth activities. Two youths were sponsored for Camp Kawartha for one week this summer. Then in September two high-school students are sponsored for the OnNature Youth Summit at Lake Couchiching. And of course our own Young Naturalists program offers local outings monthly on Sundays for kids 7 – 12. Please get in touch with one of us on the OSFN Board of Directors if you know someone who would enjoy any of these opportunities.

This week I learned a new word : biophilia. “Love of all living things.” I also learned about a new pathology: Nature Deficit Disorder. Look it up. Then go outside!

Kate McLaren, President