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This year, to commemorate of our 50th Anniversary, Lambton Wildlife sponsored five Lambton County Science Fair Awards.  The Lambton Wildlife Inc. Natural Environment Award was presented to students in the Lambton County Science Fair whose projects best demonstrated a keen interest in Nature and the Environment.  The projects could include nature, biology, conservation, ecology, or other related disciplines and have an application to the conservation, preservation, and protection of the natural environment.

Lambton County Science Fair was held April 7 and 8 and over 125 aspiring scientists from Grades 3 to 12 took part.  We were lucky enough to be the judges for the Lambton Wildlife Awards and it was so wonderful to hear each of the students express their concern for the environment and the importance of conservation and protection of the natural world.

It was a difficult decision, but in the end the following were selected as the award winning projects in three age categories; Grades 3 to 5, Grades 6 to 8, and, Grade 9 and 10.  Congratulations to all the winners and good luck in future competitions.

Marin Feniak (Grade 5) From Ducks to Trucks (using duckweed as a source for biofuel)

Safia Deol (Grade 5) Innovative Solar Energy Absorption: An Improved and Efficient System

Lanna Iacobelli and Annabelle Rayson (Grade 6) Oil Be Damned: Ferrofluids to the Rescue (oil spill clean-up methods)

Madhumitha Parthiban (Grade 9) Veggie Fuel (using vegetable oils to produce biodiesel)

Mavi Deol (Grade 10) A Novel Filtration System to Reduce Carbon Dioxide from Car Emissions    

On Tuesday May 9, 2017 I went hiking and paddling at the Pinery Provincial Park.

I hiked the Carolinian Trail and then I paddled along the river (south of the store and canoe rentals).  While there I was able to see a Muskrat, Pileated Woodpecker, Green Heron, Sandpiper (not sure what species) and the highlight of the day was spending time observing a pair of Sandhill Cranes with two chicks.  It was a great day to be in the park and enjoy my first paddle of the season!

For those who might be concerned please know that I shot these pictures with telephoto lens and I was careful not to get too close or disturb the Sandhill Cranes.

Every year members of Lambton Wildlife head to Pelee Island in the spring to catch the migration. This year was no different.

Here you can see the members that attended this year, outside of Lambton Wildlife’s Pelee Island Headquarters – Conorlee’s Bakery. Coffee and a cinnamon bun before heading out for some bird watching. Sounds delicious.

In 1973 the Honourable John T. Clement, Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations issued a Charter for the Incorporation of Lambton Wildlife.  “Lambton Wildlife Incorporated … Subject to The Mortmain and Charitable Uses Act and The Charitable Gifts Act: (a) encourage and promote the conservation, preservation and protection of the natural environment, plants, animals, natural resources and wildlife; (b) collect moneys by way of donations, gifts, devises, bequests, dues or otherwise… (c) print, publish, sell and distribute literature of every nature and kind …. (d) purchase, acquire, take by gift, devise, bequest or donation property, both real and personal.”

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Presented at the LWI Annual General Meeting, April 8, 2017

Melissa says “ LWI Young Naturalist and Junior Conservationist programs have the potential to be a powerful opportunity to connect children with nature and to help build future conservationists.”

Melissa has been the young naturalist and junior naturalist leader for Lambton Wildlife for more than 10 years. During that time she provided a varied and interesting program that included kayaking, camping, owl prowls, and snowshoeing.  Some became yearly traditions such as the Christmas bird count, butterfly count, Howard Watson nature Trail Clean- up and camping on Pelee Isalnd. During these fieldtrips, Melissa taught how to value and respect our natural surroundings and how to minimize negative effects on the environment.

Melissa had a knack for making everyone feel welcome and making every child feel connected and appreciated. She was always welcoming new members and was responsive to her participants, asking for feedback and incorporating it into future plans. If one child became interested in some aspect of nature that was outside of Melissa’s area of expertise, she would network with other experts and connect the children with these experts. Melissa then became a co-learner and shared the discoveries with the children.

Sean Jenneskin (a long time member of Melissa’s group) writes:

As a young person nowadays, it can be very hard to keep an interest in natural history. It seems to be a fairly uncommon topic of interest for most young people, and thus, hard to find friends with a similar interest. Melissa was always so inviting with all new comers to the group, she made everyone feel welcome and made it easy to find others with similar interests in the group.

As many of you may know, birding is an addiction of mine, but if it weren’t for Melissa introducing us to all the various forms of natural history, such as bird watching, I wouldn’t be the birder I am today.

I am very grateful for all Melissa has taught me, and I’m sure all the other young naturalists are grateful as well. She has done a great deal for the youth of Lambton Wildlife, and I am very thankful for all she has done with this group. Although she started out as my instructor, I now consider her to be a great friend.

 

Today, Melissa is employed by the St Clair Region Conservation Authority and her role there shares many aspects of her role with Lambton Wildlife. Lambton Wildlife is so lucky to have benefited from Melissa years of volunteer work. This award is to recognize her years of service. Thank you very much.

Mary Martin

LWI president 2016-2017

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Spring is such an incredible time of year.  As you walk through Mandaumin Woods in the springtime you will be treated to so many wonderful sights and sounds.

Palm Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped warbler

Stop and listen to the number of different bird songs that are all around you – spring is a time when birds are migrating through Mandaumin woods and it is not unusual to see 20 or more species in a single outing!  One of my favorite groups of birds are the Warblers.  These colorful little birds find refuge in Mandaumin Woods as they find their way to breeding grounds further north.  I have yet to find a nesting pair of any species of Warbler in Mandaumin but there certainly could be Yellow Warblers nesting there.

Hermit Thrush

No other birds can match the song of the thrush.  I have seen 3 different species of thrush at Mandaumin Woods but it is during the spring breeding season that their beautiful song echoes through the woods.

Eastern Wood Peewee

 

 

 

 

 

Other bird species abound in Mandaumin Woods – I was once chased, quite incessantly, by a pair of Indigo Buntings.  They had built their nest quite close to the trail and they needed me to move along much quicker than my usual ambling pace!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Probably the most striking bird that can be spotted in Mandaumin Woods is the Scarlet Tanager.  What a stunning bird!

Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanager

 

Then there is the spectacular display of color provided by the spring wildflowers.  Is there anything more beautiful than a forest floor covered in trilliums in full bloom?  The constantly changing forest floor will keep you coming back week after week to enjoy the many wildflowers that bloom throughout the spring and summer.

spring mandaumin

spring mandaumin

spring mandaumin

spring mandaumin

Native Plant Sale – May 13, 2017

Return the Landscape and DeGroot’s Nurseries work as a team to promote and supply customers with Native Perennials.

Experts Shawn McKnight and Nick Alexander will be on site on Saturday May 13 to help you make the right choices for your garden.

The plants sold at DeGroot’s are harvested from construction sites, or seeds are collected from areas in Lambton County.

Aamjiwnaang First Nation staff grow the plants in their state of the art greenhouse so they are ready for retail sales at DeGroot’s.

New perennials are stocked weekly all summer in the retail greenhouse at DeGroot’s, and there is a terrific assortment of trees and shrubs to select from as well.

 

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Great turnout for the first Spring Walk

On Sunday, 25 people braved the damp and cool weather to join Nick Alexander for the first of his two spring walks in Mandaumin Woods.  Nick shared a wealth of information about the trees and plants found along the trail that winds through the 25-acre LWI property.

Nick shows a leatherwood bush

Nick provided many details on how to recognize the plants and tree species that he showed the group.  Some of the plants and trees that he pointed out included:

Solomon’s Seal, False Solomon’s Seal, Goldenrod, Toothwort, Bellwort, Witch Hazel, Redbud, Leatherwood, Prickly Gooseberry, Black Current, Hepatica, various sedges, Shagbark Hickory, Blue beech, Ironwood, Sugar Maple, Basswood, Trout Lily, May Apple, Jack in the Pulpit, Wild Leeks, Wood Anemone, Wild Ginger, and Spice Bush.

Toothwort

Wood Anemone

Bellwort

The trilliums were in full bloom throughout much of the woods, mostly the white variety with a few red ones intermingled.

White Trillium

Interestingly, a yellowish colored trillium was spotted; upon later investigation it appears that this was a sub-species of red trillium!

yellow colored trillium

Nick found many saplings growing and identified them and explained what characteristics will identify that particular tree.   He pointed out that many of the plants found in Mandaumin are indicative of a high quality woodlot and Nick also noted the relative absence of weeds and invasive species.  There’s little doubt that all the participants came away with improved knowledge of the native flora of Mandaumin Woods.

Nick Alexander explains how to identify a plant

Well done Nick, we appreciated the learning experience.

Nick has scheduled another spring walk in Mandaumin Woods for May 14, at 1:00 PM.  He expects more wildflowers to be in bloom for that date.  Wear waterproof footwear as some of the sections of the trail are quite boggy.

 

Join us for our 3 Wednesday walks in Canatara Park.

View resident and migrant birds.

Each spring, migrant birds move through Canatara Park on their way to their nesting grounds. Walk with an expert birder to view resident and migrant birds.

The walk leader is Eric Marcum (519-332-6122).  Eric is a long time birder with experience in the NE United States, northern Canada and many hours in and around Sarnia.  Eric’s experience in hearing and identifying bird songs adds to the experience.

There are three walks scheduled starting on May 3 and continuing May 10 and May 17, 2017.  Start time at 6:00 PM. 

The walk, beginning at the main entrance to Tarzan Land (south-west corner of Christina St and Cathcart Blvd), is an easy one over flat chip covered paths and sidewalks.

The walk is open to everyone without charge.  Binoculars are most useful.  Photo opportunities exist throughout the tour.

See the Tourism Sarnia-Lambton web-site www.tourismsarnialambton.com/listing for more information about Canatara Park.

Photo Credit: Richard Wilson

Photo Credit: Richard Wilson