Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists 80th Anniversary

Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists 
80th Anniversary
10 May 2014

    This year our local naturalists club celebrated its 80th Anniversary, an auspicious achievement by any standards. As Vice-President of the club I was charged with the responsibility of planning and organizing a suitable celebration.
    We were fortunate to be able to host our principal event at rare, a charitable foundation dedicated to conservation and environmental awareness, in Cambridge, a constituent part of the area covered by our club. 
    It seemed fitting to us to plant eight native trees, one for each decade of the club's existence and we invited local dignitaries, politicians from each level of government and other honoured guests to join us in our celebration.
    A suitable plaque was installed to mark the event for posterity. The covering which drapes the sign was made by my wife, Miriam, with a suitable motif representing local birds and other aspects of nature.

         But I'll give you a sneak preview of the inscription.

     One of the quite wonderful features at rare is this amazing old slit barn, dating back to the 1880s, which, with minor work has been restored to its original glory. There are various interpretations of the function of a slit barn, but the one that seems the most plausible to me is that it was used for threshing and the slits enabled the dust to escape. The other suggestion is that the slits were used for rifles without exposing yourself to enemy fire, but since there were no significant hostilities of any kind in this area at the time the barn was built, it seems a little fanciful. The barn is entirely constructed from stone quarried locally and there are numerous fossils clearly visible in the walls. 

    One of the first local politicians to arrive was Ken Seiling the Chair of Waterloo Region (to explain the various levels of government we have here would require more space than I care to give it) and he is seen here with Graham Macdonald, President KWFN and myself.  

Graham Macdonald, Ken Seiling, David Gascoigne

    Another distinguished guest was Caroline Schultz, Executive Director of Ontario Nature, the umbrella group at the provincial level to which our club and many others belong. Ontario Nature plays an important role in advocating for conservation and environmental protection for all Ontarians.


    The local politicians were happy to line up with their shovels and help us  plant two sugar maples Acer saccharum.

    When the holes were filled with soil the plaque was unveiled by the distinguished guest speakers.

Doug Brock, Chair, Grand River Conservation Foundation, Stephanie Sobek-Swant Executive Director rare, Graham Macdonald, President KWFN, Caroline Schultz, Executive Director, Ontario Nature

    The club was presented with various certificates to memorialize the milestone in the life of our club. Here is Peter Braid, MP, Kitchener-Waterloo, bringing greetings from the Government of Canada.

     After the tree planting and the speeches a delicious lunch was enjoyed by all.

    Three different nature walks, and one dedicated to the archaeology of the area, were organized after lunch, all well attended and greatly enjoyed.

    I was unable to make the walks due to a few administrative chores to take care of, but Miriam went on the archaeology junket and even managed a few bird shots.

Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus

Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheuticus ludovicianus
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
    We were blessed with good weather and the entire event went off without a hitch. It was a fitting tribute to eighty years of dedicated service to the natural history of our area. 


  1. Congrats to KWFN! Been a member of four different clubs, but never KW.

    1. Thanks very much! If ever you are in the area on the last Monday of the month feel free to attend a meeting.

  2. Congratulations on both achieving 80 no doubt productive years as an organisation, and a successful day.

  3. Davis, Please accept my congratulations to you and the wonderful organisation you belong to. It's clear that there is a special pride and joy in the locality in which you are so privileged to belong.

    Many thanks also for your knid invitiation to see your Screech Owls but unfortunately i am some several thousand miles away - if only I could.

    In all seriousness perhaps there is a not too far or nearby bander who would be willing to travel to ring the young owls when they are ready? It would be great for you to see the owlets close up and I am sure to band one yourself.

  4. Congratulations on the 80th anniversary of the origanisatie .
    It was a very nice day so to see.
    Beautiful pictures too.
    Greetings Irma

  5. What fun as well just to see you :-) David operational fpoto
    Also what your wife Miriam has made ​​of the coating is wonderful to see. And of course, congratulations on the 80th celebration.
    Beautiful pictures frame your lovely blog post :-)

    Greetings, Helma

  6. Hello David!
    Back in blogging business after 6 days with our best friends from France!
    WOW, this material with the Blue jay really stands out, the kind of needle work I used to love doing when I was raising my parrot chicks!
    I really appreciated to see what the man we will meet in July looks like!! LOL! :)
    I very enjoyable event by the look of your pictures, the stone barn is magnificent and so well kept!
    Your bird pics are amazing, I always wonder how you manage to get close enough without them flying off! ;-)
    Cheers, enjoy the new week!