Camping and birding on Pelee Island is coming up fast. Just under a month to plan for the spring migration adventure!

Thursday, May 10th to Sunday, May 13th.

If you haven’t contacted Dick Wilson yet, please do so soon.

You should also be calling to make reservations for your ferry trip across.

Call 1-800-661-2220 to make a reservation and get your binoculars out!

 

mm

As we learned at the March Indoor Meeting, Canadians have been collecting weather data for a long time!

The video below shows the installation of weather stations across Canada since the 1840s.

What you maybe didn’t know (because I sure didn’t), as Guest Speaker, Professor Alan MacEachern explained, is that the information collected from these stations was done on a volunteer basis by members of the local community by hand and sent by mail for inclusion in the records.

While much of the data that volunteers recorded was quantitative such as temperature or precipitation readings, those volunteers also recorded personal qualitative remarks, and up until now, that data has never been analyzed.


Western University professor, Alan MacEachern, talks about compiling Canada’s climate history

McEachern and his team are interested in the qualitative remarks that were made by the volunteers, some more than 150 years ago, and are also working towards making that information public and digital such that people like you and me, can ask questions such as “What was the weather like on the day I was born?”, or “What date has my favourite migratory bird arrived in my home town over the last 100 years”. These observations may also help us to understand how the annual cycles or phenology of some species are being affected by climate change. For example, has the date in which a certain plant species begins to flower been earlier and earlier over time?

Quite an interesting talk through the history of weather and nature observations, through the eyes of Canadians over the last 150+ years.

If you are interested in learning more about historical weather data in Canada, you can visit the Government of Canada’s Historical Climate Webpage here: http://climate.weather.gc.ca/

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS

LWI Board member, Mary Martin, providing updates and announcements to audience that attended the March Indoor Meeting.

  1. The AGM will be here soon- for those who have purchased tickets, we will see you there on Saturday, April 14th!
  2.  Speaking of the AGM, we are still in need of some bucket draw items. If you have anything you wish to donate, you may bring with you to the AGM (just come a little early to do so)
  3. On May 6, 2018, from 10 am to 1 pm, the Thames Talbot Land Trust is hosting a nature outing. If you are interested, please RSVP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Puddle Ducks

March 31, 2018 @ 9:00 am2:00 pm

Meet: 9:00 am at the Clearwater Arena or 10:00 am at the St Clair National Wildlife area. Tens of thousands of ducks and other waterfowl use the Lake St. Clair wetlands as a migratory stop over. In this case, we will be viewing mainly puddle ducks (aka dabblers) such as American widgeon, northern shoveler, wood duck and pintail to name a few. Lunch at Mitchell’s Bay.

Leader: Deryl Nethercott

Canadians and Climate

March 26, 2018 @ 7:00 pm9:00 pm

Social gathering to start at 7:00 pm. Join other members for refreshments. Presentations will begin at 7:30 pm.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the predecessor agency of Environment Canada encouraged its daily weather observers to make remarks about the changing seasons, extreme weather, etc. but it never figured out a way to use these remarks. With the Environment Canada collection of weather observations now at Western, Prof. Alan MacEachern is studying what they tell us about Canadians and climate.

Saturday, April 14th, 2018

Camlachie United Church

 

The business meeting and general elections take place at 4:30 pm.

Bucket draw opens at 5:00 pm.

Dinner is served at 6:00 pm.

Matt Ellerbeck will be the guest speaker.

Matt Ellerbeck is a noted advocate and conservationist known as “The Salamander Man”. He is bringing the message of salamander preservation to Lambton Wildlife. Matt’s presentation will feature a variety of live salamanders for people to meet up-close!

mm

Biomimicry – Innovation Inspired by Nature

At the February indoor meeting, LWI member, Kim Gledhill set the stage for her talk about biomimicry by selecting volunteers from the audience to participate in a group activity to simulate adaptation. Many of the physical features we see on plants and animals are well-suited to their environment and are adaptations that have developed over many, many generations through natural selection.

Kim explained that Biomimicry is based on the principle that nature has already solved many of the problems we are facing, and is the imitation of copying nature to solve problems.

Kim Gledhill speaking about biomimicry at the February 2018 Indoor Meeting

The examples of innovation were really fascinating.

Kim told us about the shape of a Kingfisher’s beak leading to the design of a high-speed, high efficiency train, and vertical windmills that have been designed around the movement of schooling fish.

Other neat examples included swimwear taking inspiration from shark skin, and medical adhesive inspired by gecko feet.

Looking to nature can help humans to develop sustainable and practical solutions and products. It will be exciting to see what other nature-inspired products and technologies are developed in the future!

 

 

REMINDERS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • 2018 AGM is coming up soon on April 14, 2018. Tickets can be purchase tickets at the next indoor meeting. 100+ have already been sold! Prizes for the bucket draw are also being sought.
  • The LWI Board is working to complete a risk analysis for activities for insurance purposes. If you are interested in volunteering to help complete this analysis, please contact Felicia Syer, or Bill Hoad.
  • LWI is looking for Board Members and volunteers, please let us know if you are interested.
mm

Well, the weather outside was frightful, and most people decided to stay home and stay safe. But a few of us showed up anyway and had a nice morning, in spite of the weather!

We drove along the river, stopping at a few spots to look for waterfowl. We travelled as far as Sombra and then wisely called it a day.

We managed to see 20 bald eagles and 11 kinds of ducks; Redheads, Canvasbacks, Buffleheads, Long-tails, Common Goldeneyes, Common Red-breasted and Hooded Mergansers, Scaups and a scoter. We even saw one Ring-necked Duck.

Hooded Merganser in the snow.

 

 

mm

Who says you have to go out after dark to see owls? Not Mike Kent our Young Naturalists Leader/Instructor!

On October 24, 2018. Ten Young Nats and guardians arrived at Perch Creek Management Area on Churchill Road, hoping to learn about, and maybe see, some owls. They were not disappointed.

We saw both a Northern Saw-whet Owl, at Perch Creek, and a Snowy Owl on Lasalle Road. Very exciting for the Young Nats and adults alike.

 

 

February 26, 2018 @ 7:00 pm9:00 pm

Social gathering to start at 7:00 pm. Join other members for refreshments. Presentations will begin at 7:30 pm.

Biomimicry connects us in ways that fit, and integrate the human species to the natural processes of Earth. There are 3.8 billion years of brilliant solutions from which humankind can learn. Join Kimberly Gledhill to look at applications that have been applied and used to innovate for a better world.

mm

Mary Martin, Organizer of this year’s Annual General Meeting (April 14, 2018), announced that bucket draw prizes are being collected for the AGM. For those who wish to donate prizes, please bring them to the February/March indoor meetings, or arrive early at the AGM to donate.

Fernand Noel and Sheila White, both of whom have made significant contributions to the establishment and long-term success of the Howard Watson Nature Trail (HWNT), lead us through its history on Monday night.

Bill Hoad introduces guest speakers.

 

Up until its abandonment in 1967, the HWNT used to be an operational railway that was primarily travelled by trains transporting sugar beets. The linear path was then unofficially used as a trail, but in 1982, City Councillor, Howard Watson sent a letter to Lambton Wildlife asking if the club had any interest in making this linear property a hiking or biking path.

Although it may seem like the rest is history…Fern and Sheila explained (entertainingly too) that it wasn’t.

Not everyone was in favor of an official trail, and they were loud in their opposition.

History of the HWNT’s opposition, establishment, and success as told though historic newspaper clippings.

 

Described as challenging, but rewarding, Fern, Sheila, and others involved in the trail project worked hard for years to see the concept of the HWNT become a reality. In 1988, the Howard Watson Nature Trail was officially born, but the efforts of volunteers, community groups, and City of Sarnia committees to improve the trail have been continuous to this day.

At the end of the talk, Fern asked who in the audience had helped to establish and ensure the success of the trail all those years ago, and I was surprised by the number of LWI member hands that were raised. For me, it was a true reminder of the passion and dedication we have among our membership in the club, as well as their accomplishments.

Sheila (sitting Left) and Fern (right) answering audience questions.

Sheila White (left) and Fernand Noel (right).