North Durham Nature

Our Mission

To foster awareness and appreciation of nature through education, observation and experience.

To promote the protection and conservation of the environment through community activities.


What We Do

We provide educational opportunities and foster awareness of nature, particularly the flora and fauna, as well as earth sciences and astronomy.

We lead and facilitate field trips to learn and experience nature. We promote the protection of nature, biological diversity and sustainability within North Durham.

We carry out projects in co-operation with other community groups, to conserve and protect the environment within North Durham.

NDN is a member
of Ontario Nature Organization

 


NDN Events-2019

Event Director  -  email James at    James.Kamstra@aecom.com

Talks - 2019

 4th Tuesday night at 7 pm,

Two locations either :

Uxbridge - 75 Marietta , Uxbridge Seniors Centre

OR 

Port Perry - 231Water Street , Scugog Memorial Library 

bring a mug to enjoy a coffee or tea

Please check site closer to the talk date for more details.

Tuesday March 26th, 2019 - Hiking in Auyuittug National Park, Baffin Island - Jay and Bev Thibert - Port Perry **New Night**

Auyuittuq, Inuktitut for “Land that Never Melts”, has a dynamic landscape with craggy mountains, sheer granite cliffs and glaciers that define the Akshayuk Pass. The presentation will share our three-week hiking adventure on Baffin Island through pictures and stories. We hiked through this dramatic and ever changing northern landscape above the Arctic Circle and met Inuit people that are adapting to a new way of life in small communities. Join us for a glimpse of this unique landscape and changing culture in Canada’s north.

Tuesday April 23rd, 2019 - Weird World of Mushrooms - Pat Burchell (Fleming College) - Uxbridge **New Night**

Discover the fascinating world of fungi; their role in nature and the many different kinds of mushrooms which may be found in southern Ontario. Find out how to recognize some of the more common and distinctive species found in this general area.

Pat Burchell is an amateur naturalist with a special interest in mushrooms and other fungi. A retired teacher and librarian, she has been a longtime member and past President of the Mycological Society of Toronto.

Tuesday May 28th, 2019 - Life at the Edge:  Habitat, Heat, and Herpetological Pursuits on the Canadian Shield - Josh Feltham (Fleming College) - Port Perry **New Night**

The Five-lined Skink is the only lizard in eastern Canada, yet most Canadians have never seen one. Learn all about how it has adapted to live here. What factors influence their distribution, abundance, and behaviour at the northern limit of their range? Find out about the challenges of documenting the movement and activity of individual lizards and how VHS saved the day when it came to capturing one of the fastest reptiles in Ontario! Josh is a professor and coordinator of the Ecosystem Management Program at Fleming College.

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019 - Cattails and Phragmites:  Change in our Wetlands - Sara Pieper (Trent University) - Uxbridge  **New Night**

Sara, a M.Sc. Student at Trent University, will present her research on hybridization in cattails and how it is transformed the structure of cattail marshes. She will also discuss the highly aggressive and non-native Phragmites which has recently invaded many of our local wetlands. .

Walks - 2019

Details on meeting locations and to preregister:
*** Please check back closer to each date for more detail ***


New Date Sunday, March 31st, 2019 - Homes for Birds - Derek Connelly - Uxbridge Countryside Preserve

1 PM - meet at Preserve parking lot behind Rona/Walmart 

Humans  are pretty good at cutting down dead hazardous trees that have holes which provide places to live for wildlife, but we are not so good at providing alternatives. The twenty four bird houses in the Countryside Preserve are one solution; join us as we prepare them for the new bird residents for 2019. A 4 km walk.  Wear boots, bring gloves, a short brush, soap and a vinegar spray bottle if you want to help. Opportunity to adopt a bird house for summer, watch the family raise chicks.  Sign up with Derek - all welcome – ndnature7@gmail.com,  905-852-5432.

Friday, April 26th - Amphibians at Nonquon - Friends of Nonquon and North Durham Nature **Registration Full**

The Pheasant Pen site at the Nonquon Provincial Wildlife Area contains several permanent ponds and vernal pools that are the breeding sites for a variety of amphibians.  We will check out several wetlands to listen for frogs and look for salamanders with herpetologist James Kamstra and other Friends of Nonquon leaders. 

Please meet at 7:30 p.m. at the Pheasant Pen Classroom site of the Nonquon Environmental Education Centre (19745 Old Simcoe Road, Greenbank, ON), on the East side of the road, 1 km north of Scugog Line 10. About 5km North of Port Perry.  **Please e-mail <friendsofnonquon@gmail.com> to be put on a waiting list**

Saturday, April 27th, 2019 - Spring Canoeing on the Nonquon River - Jay Thibert

April is a great time of year to explore the Nonquon River by canoe. The water flows high and cold and is free of aquatic plants. The wetlands are starting to welcome some early spring arrivals and it is a great scene to be a part of. Come join us on our second annual spring paddle!

 Please note the details below:

- start at the bridge on Old Simcoe Road, just south of the 10th concession at 8:00 a.m., on the water by 8:30 a.m. - pre-registration is necessary at <jay.thibert@sympatico.ca> - maximum of 6 canoes. - must dress warmly for this time of year and time of day - should have basic paddling skills - all participants must have and wear a pfd - bring snacks and water/hot drink in thermos - no washrooms other than shore landings - bring binoculars - no pets

Sunday,April 28th, 2019 - Nature for Health - Pat

Sunday May 5th, 2019 - Wildflower Walk - Derek Connelly - Uxbridge Countryside Preserve at 1 p.m.

Saturday, May 18th, 2019 - Frog Walk - Derek Connelly - Uxbridge Countryside Preserve

Sunday, May 19th, 2019 - Wildflower Walk - Derek Connelly - Uxbridge Countryside Preserve at 1 p.m.

Saturday, June 8th, 2019 - Bird Loop - Derek and Kim - Uxbridge Countryside Preserve at 9 a.m.

Sunday June 9th, 2019 - Birding Scugog - Geoff Carpentier

Sunday July 7th, 2019 - Sunderland Bird Count - James Kamstra - Brock

Saturday, September 14th, 2019 - Hawk Watch - Geoff Carpentier - Cranberry Marsh

Sunday, October 13th, 2019 - Mushroom Walk

Saturday, November 2nd, 2019 - Waterfowl on Lake Simcoe - James Kamstra - Brock

Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 - Christmas Bird Count for Kids - Friends of Nonquon and NDN - Nonquon E.E.C.

Friday, December 27th, 2019 - Uxbridge Christmas Bird Count - Derek Connelly

Monday, December 30th, 2019 - Beaverton Christmas Bird Count - John Mclean



Club Fees

All events are free to members and open to the public.

Membership in North Durham Nature is $25 for singles, $40 for families for calendar year.  All members receive a quarterly newsletter and priority email of events coming up plus more. Fees cover insurance, room bookings and incidentals. We are non-profit members of Ontario Nature. Join!

A $5.00 donation is appreciated from non-members attending our monthly talks to cover refreshments, insurance, rental and speakers  

For more information, please call Derek at 905-852-5432 or email   ndnature7@gmail.com

Like us on Facebook!  https://www.facebook.com/northdurhamnature


NDN Projects

Lafarge - Regan Pit (7th concession) Bird Boxes

NDN had a three year contract (2014-2016 )with the company to monitor 50 bird boxes which we recommended and located in the restoration area of the pit. The club selected Paul Rothfels "Mouse Proof" bird box design after recommendations from neighbours on the 7th concession. The design benefits of reducing predation without the extra costs of a baffle plus the willingness of Lafarge to pay for a secure pole system were factors in choosing the design.

In the first year 52% of the boxes were occupied and all successfully produced eggs and young.  The Tree Swallow occupied most of the boxes, six boxes raised Eastern Bluebirds, and one raised a Black -capped Chickadee. There were no House Wrens, sparrows, mice or other vertebrates in any boxes.

In year two 71% of the boxes were active and a slight increase was observed in target species, allthough House wrens arrived in late summer in a couple of boxes.

In year three  81% of the boxes  were occupied by 29 Tree swallow, 9 Eastern Bluebird, and I Black capped Chickadee families producing over a 100 fledged young. This is a huge success. Considering the concern over population declines in aerial insectivores our boxes have certainly helped the Tree swallow populations.  A more detailed report is available for members in the April 2017 club newsletter. 

In 2017 and now 2018 we have continued monitoring the boxes. Many thanks to all the volunteers including John and Lee Fisher and David and Liz Taylor .

NDN helps Paul's Vision

Paul Rothfels passed away suddenly in Feb 2017 . In Memory of Paul Rothfels a Gathering was held on March 4, 2017 at the Udora Hall from 2 - 4.  Click on My tribute to Paul and the OBIT

Margaret Almack  passed on Paul's Bird box gig and materials to Keith Stait Gardner who offered his heated workshop to the Nature club to assemble Paul's bird houses to support the club. Last year we built and sold 45 boxes and this year another 26 were completed. We have now used up all the supplies Paul left and the next step becomes more difficult. Fortunately Margaret has decided she would like her family to get involved in purchasing materials and carry on Paul's work. NDN will continue to support Paul's vision of a safe home for cavity nesting birds like the Eastern bluebird. 

If you are interested in assisting in anyway contact NDN. 

Uxbridge Countryside Preserve- Bird Houses

NDN took over from the Uxbridge Birders who had been monitoring and repairing the bird boxes first placed in the Preserve in 2008 by the Scouts. The number of boxes was reduced to 26 from 45 in 2014 to improve success. Changes in habitat caused by the invasion of Scot Pine and other plants had slowly reduced the meadow habitat which is important for swallows and bluebirds.  A Scot Pine thinning program is now in place on an annual basis. The  box system is not predator proof and was  modified with the help of the Uxbridge Scouts in 2015. Juice cans and plastic pipe along with an additional front was added to some boxes over the entrance  to act as a predator deterrent.   Tree Swallows accepted the change however Bluebirds did not use these boxes in the first year.  It is believed the Preserve can only support four Eastern Bluebird nests in any year because of the reduced meadow habitat.   Tree Swallows however are still increasing  and the reduction in boxes available appears to have lowered the House Wren population and competition. Two additional boxes were installed this spring using the "Mouse Proof " model.  Two years of  intensive monitoring continued by six Uxbridge resident volunteer familes ( BIrd Box Buddies)  resulting in more accurate data. Thanks are extended to the Bird Box Buddies who put in many hours monitoring the boxes over the summer and the Township of Uxbridge for their support.  We are always looking for landlords? If you walk the Preserve regularly in the summer and would like to be involved contact Derek - 905-852-5432 or ndnature7@gmail.com


Uxbridge Countryside Preserve Canada 150 Species Count

- Follow the underlined link to read all about it over 180 sp countedCanada150 Species Challenge Met!

List of Plant Species 2017

List of Animal Species 2017

Our plan is to turn the count into an annual family event a Bioblitz every June !

Ontario Nature Youth Summit for Biodiversity and Environmental Leadership

Each year we put aside money to sponsor two north durham high school students for a fun weekend at  the Ontario Nature Youth Summit at Lake Couchiching in September . Students are engaged in interactive workshops and activities on topics including food security, endangered species, medicinal plants, sustainability and much more. You can read about their experiences in the club newsletter. Interested students should contact us or click on Ontario Nature to find out more . If you are or know of interested teens contact us.

Thank you letter from NDN sponsored student - 2018

Late May - The  Great Canadian Bird-a-thon

North Durham Nature's Geoff Carpentier  participates yearly in this charity birding event. The James Baillie Bird-a-thon changed its name to Great Canadian Bird-a-thon, but it's still about counting birds for conservation.  If you would like more information or to sponsor Geoff please click on the underlined link above.  Thanks to everyone's generous donations, Geoff raises $1000's  to help fund projects to protect birds and their habitats.  25% of the money raised helps fund North Durham Nature's nature-based projects.  Donations are tax deductable!

Birdathon Results 2015

Birdathon Results 2016

Birdathon Results 2017

Conservation Action 2017 

(click on underlined text to open link)

The office of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO) needs your support ...

The Government of Ontario announced plans on November 15, 2018 to eliminate the office of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO) and transfer much of its responsibility to the jurisdiction of the Auditor General. This misguided decision effectively undercuts the power and independence of Ontario’s environmental watchdog.  North Durham Nature has signed a letter composed by Ontario Nature to Premier Ford and Finance Minister Fedeli to let them know that Ontarians need the office of the ECO and that we reject the slashing of this essential oversight and accountability role.  Please click on the underlined link to sign your name  to this letter too, and show your support for the office of the ECO and its role. 

Review of the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993

Group Letter to Premier

Summary of Recommendations for Reform

Proposed Regional Natural Heritage System for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (EBR 013-1014)
Spring Wildflower Planting

NDN assisted the Uxbridge Scouts in a Prairie grass and forbs planting May 13th  in the Uxbridge Countryside Preserve. 300 native plant plugs were planted in a 10 x 25 m rototilled plot. These plants will enhance the field with food and habitat for butterflies, bees, birds and other meadow wildlife.  If you would like to adopt a plant and help it establish itself through the summer by watering and weeding contact Derek 905-852-5432

Turtles

NDN adds its signature to Ontario Nature's call to ban hunting of Snapping Turtles in Ontario  and we were successful ! Now we need to figure out how to reduce road mortality.

Coming up each Fall in November 

Volunteers wanted for Scot Pine ( invasive) thinning in the Uxbridge Countryside Preserve to keep the meadows open. Saturday Nov 3rd

Contact Derek for more info ndnature7@gmail.com.


Feral Cats

A request was made to Uxbridge council to change the cat bylaw giving more freedom to cats.  As many of us know cats are major predators to birds and other native species. We apposed the change. Read our letter linked here. Feral Cats

Conservation Action 2018

Protected Places Campaign

NDN adds its signature to Ontario Nature's Protected Places Campaign.  You can show your individual support as well by signing the declaration (click on underlined text)

 

 

 Community Nature Related Events

  (underlined text links to details)

Friday, April 5th, 2019 (9am to 3pm) - The Brook Never Sleeps - Uxbridge Town Hall and Centennial Park

Pre-registration required. Call Uxbridge Youth Centre 905-862-3456

Ducks Unlimited Canada Nest Box Program

Ducks Unlimited Canada is currently looking for project sites that will help provide habitat for cavity nesters like wood ducks and Goldeneye. If you have a wetland on your property larger than a couple of acres, and would like to provide habitat for ducks and other wildlife (like tree swallows and screech owls), then this program is meant for you!  Landowners are responsible for installing, maintaining and monitoring the nest boxes, but DUC provides the nest boxes and technical advice to landowners. Nest boxes are placed in wetland habitats like beaver ponds, where they will be most useful to ducks.  If you're interested in more details, please contact Jenn Lavigne at Ducks Unlimited Canada: (705) 721-4444.

EVENT REVIEWS    

TALKS

(underlined text links to reviews)

February 26th, 2019 - AGM and Gavin Miller (TRCA): Greenwood Resource Management Tract

Tuesday night's AGM was a success, with all 9 standing board members elected, thanks to our 17 voting members present.  8 of them were up for reelection, and we have one new director on our team, Brenda Near.  She is a long time Durham Resident (Zephyr area) with an interest in all things natural, and is an avid gardener, particularly interested in planting native plants to create back yard habitat for native bees, butterflies and birds.  Geoff Carpentier has stepped down from the board, but has agreed to continue to be the writer/editor of our newsletter.  A big thankyou goes out to Geoff for all that he has contributed over the past few years on the Board, and for all that he continues to contribute.  Another thank you goes out to Derek Connelly, past President, for all his hard work, leading the team over the past 4 years.  He remains on the board in the role of Director.  Cara Gregory, leaving the role of Vice President, is our new President.  She will continue to look after the website, and will remain our Ontario Nature representative.  James Kamstra is our new Vice president, and will continue to be our Program Director, organizing our walks and talks.  James, Cara, and Mark reviewed the 2018 year in terms of past events, membership and finances.

Gavin Miller, a Floral Biologist with the TRCA, gave an informative talk on the flora, fauna, and other natural features of the Greenwood Resource Management Tract, and how they has evolved over time.  He spoke as well on the challenges and opportunities for improving its biodiversity.  His talk was followed by an engaging question and answer session.  Thanks Gavin.

Thanks also goes to Nancy and Anne who provided an assortment of delicious treats and refreshments.

2018 Talks (click on underlined text)



WALKS

      (underlined text links to reviews)

Saturday, March 16th, 2019

NDN held a nature photography outing to Cranberry Marsh, led by acclaimed local nature photographer Stephen Wright.  Since birds are fed here, they are approachable and often willing subjects for the camera.  A few early migrants had arrived and some male Wild Turkeys were strutting their stuff.  See photo gallery for pictures taken.  - James Kamstra

Sunday, Jan 20th, 2019 - Bird Feeder Tour

Birding 101 ---that’s about how many birds we saw on our tour of Uxbridge and Brock countryside. Nineteen species ( Brenda saw a Shrike on her way from Zephyr to us! Paul, Genny and I saw a Raven at USS) Carol and Doug anything to add? Anyone see something on the way home?
What a great day! Garry and Mhairi greeted us with coffee and tea and a backyard hopping with birds. We put about 12 species on the list right away. Then off to Hedgerow farms where Neil had put food out all around the house in a variety of feeders. We did a walk about the property in hopes of spotting waxwings and as we were leaving Paul and Genny spotted a small flock . Unfortunatley too quick to ID which type of waxwings. On to Margarets place and incredible muffins with rhubarb mmmmm. Redpolls yeah another species . Fond memories of Paul entertaining us and seeing the Barred owl here two years back. South to Zephyr and Brenda’ and Neal’s home. More redpolls – energy efficient house solar panels geothermal, bird protection film on windows like Carol and Dougs . More goodies …gaining weight and species.Off south again to Roseville and Caroline and Jim’s place . Homemade soup and fresh made sourdough bread. Whose said this was all about birds !
Eighteen Species and Hundred and one individual birds and six happy bird tourers . A cold day but full of sunshine . Thanks to Garry, Neil, Margaret, Brenda, and Caroline and their helpers for opening your gates and doors and sharing your bird stories with us along with the goodies of course! Thanks to Carol who handed out homemade suet to the hosts. Thanks to Genevieve ( Genny) who kept track of species and filled in my missing gaps . Thanks to all who made my day!
Next year we head south and east Glen Major, Chalk Lake, Utica what do feeders in the winter look like there?
See you at Nature Club members night Thursday Jan 24th Scugog Memorial Library 7 pm Derek

2018 Walks (click on link to see reviews)

Special Events

Saturday, March 17th, 2018 - Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre - Peterborough

Early Saturday morning, during March Break, 16 North Durham Nature membersand friends, met and carpooled together, on this excursion to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre, organized by North Durham Nature.  Upon arrival, Wendy, an education leader at the centre, and a volunteer, gave an interactive presentation on the 8 different species of turtles in Ontario, what makes them unique, their at risk status, the threats they are facing and how we can help.  A volunteer brought several live turtles around for participants to see up close, and told us their rescue stories.  Paddy, a 35 year old snapping turtle, graciously let Wendy use him to demonstrate how to safely pick him up and transport him to the side of the road, in the direction he was going of course!  The turtle nursery was also a highlight.  A fun time had by all!

 

Friends of North Durham Nature

Click on to link to websites -

Ontario Nature - North Durham Nature is a proud member of Ontario Nature, and is a part of its Nature Network (Lake Ontario North Region).

                        -  Ontario Nature Award Nominations Deadline March 25th, 2019 (click on underlined link to learn more)

Bird Studies Canada

Durham Region Field Naturalists

Pickering Field Naturalists

Scugog Lake Stewards

Butterflies of Ontario

Nature Conservancy of Canada

Thickson's Woods Land Trust:  Summer 2016 Newsletter

Conservation Authorities in our Area

Central Lake Ontario CLOCA

Lake Simcoe Region  LSRCA

Kawartha KCA

Toronto Region  TRCA

Wildlife Rescue

Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge – www.shadesofhope.ca

National Wildlife Centre – www.nationalwildlifecentre.ca

Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre – www.sandypineswildlife.org


Event Archives - 2018

Talks

January - AGM and Nature Quiz Night - Cara Gregory

February - "From Birder to Birder Murder"- Steve Burrows

March - Spiders of Ontario - Tom Mason

April - Polar Bears of Ontario’s North Shore - Dr. Martyn Obbard

May - Hawk Identification - Geoff Carpentier and Mark Stabb

June – Nature, Kids and the Anthropocene - Dr. Brendon Larson

September - Whip-poor-will Ecology - Alex Mills 

October – James Bay Shorebirds -Jean Iron

November - Cuba Natural History - James Kamstra 

Walks

January:  Feeder Tour 2018 - Derek Connelly

February 2018:  Winter Wetland Snowshoe Adventure - Friends of Nonquon

March 2018 - Uxbridge Countryside Preserve Bird Box Inspection - Derek Connelly

April - Canoe on the Nonquon River - Jay Thibert

May - Frog Walk - Uxbridge Countryside Preserve - Derek Connelly

May - Spring Wildflowers of the Uxbridge Countryside Preserve trails - Derek Connelly

June - Bird Watching at the Sewage Lagoons - Geoff Carpentier and Cara Gregory

June - Bird Loop Hike - Uxbridge Countryside Preserve - Derek Connelly

September - Hawk Watch in Cranberry Marsh - Geoff Carpentier

October - Mushroom Walk at Crow's Pass Conservation Area - Patricia Burchell

November - Lake Simcoe Waterfowl Outing - James Kamstra

November - Forest Bathing - Crow's Pass C.A. - Patricia Baldwin

Special Events

March -  Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre - Peterborough

November - Sixth Annual Christmas Bird Count for Kids - Friends of Nonquon

National Audubon /Bird Studies Canada official annual Bird Counts in North Durham

December 27th - Uxbridge Christmas Bird Count 

December 30th - Beaverton Christmas Bird Count