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Felicia Syer lead the walk on the Howard Watson Nature Trail on a beautiful Saturday. We had large enough turn out that at times we blocked the trail. Tony, the chair of the Bluewater Trails committee was there, and he did a good job keeping our group from being run over by passing bikers.

Felicia highlighted many of the tall grass prairie plants that grow along the trail. This habitat is very rare in Canada and not that common in Southwestern Ontario. Here she is showing us a stiff-leaved goldenrod.

From left to right Tony, Sharon and Felicia.

Another significant plant is the wild lupine, a host plant of the now extirpated Karner Blue butterfly. We saw a plant that had just finished blooming.

One of our members returned to this plant later in the summer to gather seed. Unfortunately the plant had been mowed down and obliterated.

The people who joined our walk had a variety of interests, some wanted to identify the rare plants and others wanted to learn about what was potentially edible. Many had binoculars just in case an interesting bird happened to fly by. The Howard Watson Trail provides many benefits to the residents of Sarnia and the surrounding area. It combines recreational opportunity, a connection to nature and a habitat for native plants and animals. We should continue to protect and appreciate this asset.

The Sarnia Hobbyfest was held on July 17, 2016 at Centennial Park.  The Lambton Wildlife booth was one of about forty on display.

Temperature wise, is was cool to start the day and gradually warmed up to short sleeve weather.  The wind was the biggest issue as strong gusts were coming from Sarnia Bay.  Our canopy was anchored with sand bags, but at times it needed a human anchor to keep it from being relocated several metres east!

The crowd did not appear to be very large, but that could have been due to the large area covered by the displays.  Traffic to the LWI booth was sporadic.  The kids really enjoyed the bird ID game and the Cardinal bookmark handouts. The bird ID game is something that has been in the LWI archives for a time.  It is built on pegboard.  There are a number of pictures of birds pasted to the pegboard and a list of bird names displayed along the left edge.  The game is played by holding one probe on the contact under the bird picture and the other on the contact of the bird name.  Should the contacts on the bird and bird name be electrically connected, the owl’s eyes, at the top of the board, light up and a buzzer sounds.  The kids loved it.

We had a number of discussions about the vintage of the bird game, but we never really came to establish when or who made it.  Does anyone know?

We passed out a number of LWI programs and a number of people appeared to be interested in our programs.  Time will tell if the Hobbyfest will benefit LWI.