Winter 2017, President’s Message

Snow is on its way, birds and butterflies have flown south, only tattered remnants of leaves remain clinging to skeletal trees. We are nearing the end of this celebratory year of Canada’s sesquicentennial and I am wondering what is ahead for our region and our country? Unmet climate targets, pernicious anemia of regulations for endangered species, poisoned watersheds still wreaking havoc on generations of indigenous peoples, assaults against wetlands and waterfront ecosystems. On and on it goes. Our umbrella organization, OnNature, is at the front lines doing battle against incursions by industry and governments, enlisting grassroots groups like us to help advocate for nature and a healthy environment. The autumn regional meeting in Formosa brought together field naturalist groups to share ideas and concerns amongst ourselves and to hear about the work of OnNature. A source of much inspiration, it was a very full day! (Also a very full stomach. Our hosts Saugeen Field Naturalists did not stint on the lunch menu!)

In this issue of the Hart’s Tongue Herald you will find reports about many different aspects of the OSFN from our members who chair committees and/or steer activities. The work these volunteers do is the very foundation of our club and they all deserve our praise!

Two young men were sponsored by OSFN to attend the OnNature Youth Summit two years in a row. One of them has stepped forward to assume a very important role: Erik Van Den Kieboom is the new coordinator of the Christmas Bird Count for Owen Sound. At 16 years old he may be the youngest to do so. Thanks so much to Erik for his dedication and enthusiasm!

Several local agencies and individuals are seeking help, mostly with controlling invasive species – especially phragmites. They are in need of expertise but also need a partner to apply for grants. The OSFN board is reviewing these requests carefully.

Late in the summer Grey Sauble Conservation (GSC) let me know that there would be no further support for the Young Naturalists’ program. It has been hosted at their headquarters for 20 years by one of their staff in conjunction with an OSFN liaison. Scrambling to breech the gap, a meeting was convened and a revised program emerged: Young Nat’s is revitalised with new places, new faces, new programs and new coordinator. Thanks so much to GSC and especially to Krista McKee for so many wonderful memories! Our own board member Elaine Van Den Kieboom has taken the reins; I am so grateful for her willingness and capability. Welcome a
new era of Young Nat’s!

If you are like me winter usually allows more time for reading. Remember we have six of our own publications, in case you’ve never read them. They’re available at monthly meetings as well as the Ginger Press Bookstore in Owen Sound. Snuggle into a cozy spot for an hour or two with any of them and gain insight into some of our region’s unique natural heritage.

Then go outside!
Kate McLaren, President