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nature4- by John Dickson, OSFN

Owen Sound Field Naturalists celebrates 30 Years. 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. 

nature1Owen Sound Field Naturalist President Gord Toth got a strong showing of hands from the capacity crowd, 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. 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.

On this occasion 30 years later, (2019) Audrey Armstrong and Willy Waterton gave an informative and entertaining presentation entitled Bruce Trail: 856 kms of Discovery, based on their end to end hike, with references to science, geology and history all along the Niagara Escarpment with a healthy emphasis on our area. (i.e. black bears, rattlesnakes, ferns and a plane crash!).

Young Naturalists Club report by Elaine VanDenKieboom
Our outing on February 2, 2019 had the Young Nat’s snowshoeing in mixed hardwood forest and some conifer plantation, searching for signs of wildlife. The animal tracks that were observed included Snowshoe Hare, Red Fox, Fisher, and American Mink. We were also fortunate to see the resident porcupine resting up in a tree. The conditions were excellent for snowshoeing and we were lucky to have a mild day in the midst of some recent poor weather. Afterwards, gathering around an open fire, the Young Nat’s enjoyed some hot chocolate, and roasted bannock on sticks over the open fire. The conditions of the day made for a great hike, and the kids really seemed to enjoy being out in the woods.nature3

On Monday February 4, NeighbourWoods North chairman Lloyd, and Rhiannon Lewis hosted a dinner and presentation, featuring Toni Ellis, who started and continues to lead the volunteer program called NeighbourWoods, out of Centre Wellington (Elora and area) in 2006 and since its inception, have planted and maintained over 1500 trees in their local communities. The organization runs annual workshops on learning tree skills and educating the public of the critical role trees play in our towns and how we need to foster their continued good health. It was at one of these workshops that Lloyd was introduced to the idea of school yard greening, which he applied to a school where he taught in Guelph. In addition, the organization does a great job collecting tree data, which is used to map the town species and monitor their health.

I was delighted to finally meet Toni, as I had heard about her from Lloyd, when he first approached the Owen Sound Field Naturalists to see if NeighbourWoods North might be a good fit for working together. Guests at the dinner found Toni's infectious enthusiasm, and love of Nature, to be key factors for Lloyd's inspiration, upon moving here to form Owen Sound's NeighbourWoods North organization. Watch for more news about NeighbourWoods North's upcoming projects in this column.

This entire 2018-19 OSFN season, we are celebrating 30 years of what our motto says – Knowing Nature Better.

One highlight is the Celebrate Earth Day event with Doug Larson’s Songs and Stories of Nature and Ecology. University of Guelph Professor Emeritus Doug Larson was the club’s first guest speaker, in January of 1989. This year he returns on Saturday April 20, 2019, at 2PM, aboard the MS Chi Cheemaun, berthed in Owen Sound harbour, with songs and stories of nature and ecology. In recent years he has also been crafting his own guitars, and these instruments also have tales to tell, some of which are outlined in his book The Storyteller Guitar.

Tickets (only $5 each) are now on sale for this 4th Annual Celebrate Earth Day event and are available at Ginger Press, Owen Sound Farmers Market (Saturdays, from Sheila Gunby), OSTC Springmount office, and at OSFN meetings – (Jan 10, Feb 14, Feb 26, March 14). Once again this event is sponsored by Caframo, and is hosted by Owen Sound Transportation. All proceeds are directed to OSFN youth projects. Don’t miss out – tickets continue to sell quickly.

This Sunday February 10, from 1PM to 3:30PM, the OSFN Club and Young Naturalists will be on a field trip snowshoeing to the Flesherton Hills and the Bentham Heritage Farm, starting from Grey Highlands Secondary School. This outing will be led by Richard Bentham, whose property received high praise from legendary naturalist Mark Kressman, and by John Burton, former teacher at the school, known for leading many outdoor activities and expeditions, with his students there.

nature5Coming up soon, on February 14, OSFN Board Director, and member of the Owen Sound Camera Club, Brian Robin, will present Nature Photography - Armed with a camera, a desire to learn, and the ability to enjoy the underappreciated, Brian will take you on a lighthearted photographic tour of his favourite nature observations. This is not one to miss, as Brian's enthusiasm and sense of fun, along with the quality of his images and intriguing approach to both Nature and photography are indicative of his engaging personality, and his artistic flair.

nature2Because the Library is undergoing some renovations, this meeting will be held at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, 856 1st Avenue West, and we are encouraging folks to arrive by 6:45 if possible. Admission is by donation.

Of special note is a bonus presentation on Tuesday February 26, also at St. Andrew's, with admission by donation and proceeds going to OSFN Youth Projects. There will be an even earlier start time of 6:30PM, as some parents may wish to attend with their "little ones" to see and hear - Travelling by canoe with little ones by Leanne Robinson and Harvesting food from the land by Dwayne Wohlgemuth.

Owen Sound native, Leanne, and her spouse Dwayne and their family live in Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. They seek to harvest food from the land, pack less food, and take the routes less traveled. They live a life that allows them to get out for long summer canoeing adventures, enabling their two children to have nature nurture them. At the age of 1, Emile learned to walk over uneven ground, identify and pick berries and feel at home in the wilderness on a 2 month canoe journey in the Northwest Territories.

Leanne Robinson hopped in a canoe early with her family in Owen Sound ON but didn’t really get into canoe travelling until she moved to Yellowknife, NT, where her love of canoeing was fostered by the uncountable lakes and rivers of Canada’s Northwest Territories. Her spouse, Dwayne Wohlgemuth chooses not to buy food for their family but relies on what nature provides and what society discards. They now have two little ones, both of whom were taken on multi-day canoe trips before the age of two months, they are dreaming of how and where they will teach their second child, Aleksi, to walk.Robinson will be speaking at the Wilderness Camping Symposium in Toronto, the previous weekend, while her husband has been a presenter there in the past.

Robinson will be speaking at the Wilderness Camping Symposium in Toronto on the previous weekend, while her husband has been a presenter there in the past.

nature6Leanne Robinson hopped in a canoe early with her family in Owen Sound ON but didn’t really get into canoe travelling until she moved to Yellowknife, NT, where her love of canoeing was fostered by the uncountable lakes and rivers of Canada’s Northwest Territories. Her spouse, Dwayne Wohlgemuth chooses not to buy food for their family but relies on what nature provides and what society discards. They now have two little ones, both of whom were taken on multi-day canoe trips before the age of two months, they are dreaming of how and where they will teach their second child, Aleksi, to walk.
Robinson will be speaking at the Wilderness Camping Symposium in Toronto on the previous Saturday, while her husband has been a presenter there in the past.

This may be especially interesting for parents who have their children in cubs, scouts, guides, as well as the Forest School, etc.

For more information on any of these OSFN events and presentations, please visit www.osfn.ca

To close, a Nature quote from Winchell Price, (1907-2003) once known as the Painter of the Bruce - "Winter created a breathless beauty, as all hummocks, dells, knolls and recessions are covered in deep snow, which on a clear cold day had lots of long blue shadows cast on the ground. Many a time I spent painting out in the snow, in the bushland."

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