Monthly Public Meetings of the Hamilton Naturalists' Club
The Hamilton Naturalist's Club meets monthly, September through May, usually on the second Monday of each month. Meetings are held at 7:30 PM, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, 680 Plains Rd West, Burlington. (See note about free parking). Come early for social and refeshments.
HNC Monthly Meetings (Photo: Stephanie Lechniak-Cumerlato)
|Monthly Meetings 2012 - 2013|
|10 September 2012||Hamilton Naturalists in Indonesia: Highlights from Sabah, Sulawesi and Halmahera||Bob Curry|
In September-October 2011, 10 HNC members and friends traveled to Indonesia on a birding and natural history trip. This is our story.
Bob Curry is a retired high school teacher. He has passionately pursued birds in the Hamilton area and across the world for more than 50 years. He has been president of the Hamilton Naturalists' Club, chair of the Long Point Bird Observatory, and chair of the Ontario Bird Records Committee. Curry has authored numerous articles on bird identification and distribution. His other interests include reptiles, amphibians, dragonflies, butterflies and moths, opera, and his book club.
|1 October 2012||Ontario's Bats: Biology, Ecology and Conservation Issues||Lesley Hale, Science Specialist – Renewable Energy, Ministry of Natural Resources|
Bats play a critical role in Ontario's ecosystems as nocturnal insectivores and are considered one of North America's most valuable species groups for agricultural pest control. Ontario has 8 species of bats, all of which are insectivorous. Due to their longevity and low fecundity, bats are quite vulnerable to environmental impacts. Unfortunately, there have been two recent introductions of environmental threats to bats: wind turbines and white-nose syndrome (WNS). Studies have found that wind turbines represent a greater risk to bats than birds, especially long distance migratory bats. However, science is helping develop effective measures to mitigate this impact to bats. WNS is a disease responsible for unprecedented mortality in hibernating bats in northeastern US and Canada. The fungus, known as Geomyces destructans, has spread rapidly since its discovery Albany, NY in 2006. The fungus is found on hibernating bats and is killing cave-dwelling species at a rate that could place a number of species at risk of extinction or at least regional extirpation within the next 20 years. These new threats have caused great conservation concerns for Ontario's bats.
Lesley Hale works in the Science & Information Branch at the Ministry of Natural Resources in Peterborough. She coordinates and conducts research on bats across the province in relation to wind turbines and white-nose syndrome. She also provides science support in the development of policy for renewable energy in relation to birds and bats. Previously Lesley lived in Queensland, Australia and developed wildlife conservation projects with species such as freshwater turtles. She is currently involved in surveying the province for new bat hibernacula and maternity roosts and sits on the provincial MNR bat working group.
|12 November 2012||Fossil Exhibit||Bob O'Donnell AKA The Fossil Guy|
This presentation is a general introduction to fossils. It will include a discussion about how a fossil becomes a fossil, fossil names, fake fossils, pseudo-fossils and living fossils. Bob will also tell us about the protection of fossils in parks in Canada, the extraction and cleaning of fossils, and fossil trade shows. The presentation will include 5 tables of fossils to view and handle, including a mammoth tooth, dinosaur eggs, dinosaur droppings (coprolites), and many others.
Bob O'Donnell started collecting fossils at the age 10 with a Big Brother from The Big Brother Association Of London. 19 years ago he began doing exhibits for libraries, schools, museums, conservation areas, and day camps. He has collected many rare fossils and has purchased fossils that are from all over the world. He maintains a Web site at www.freewebs.com/thefossilguy/, is a member of the Fossil Forum on line, and was on the Board of the London Gem And Mineral Society for many years.
|10 December 2012||Protecting Ontario's Wild Species and Wild Spaces||Caroline Schultz|
An overview of what is needed to conserve biodiversity in Ontario and how Ontario Nature's programs, including partnerships with the Nature Network are tackling the challenge.
Caroline Schultz is Executive Director of Ontario Nature and spearheads the programs and operations that achieve the organization's mission to protect Ontario's wild species and wild spaces through conservation, education and public engagement. Ontario Nature represents over 30,000 members and supporters and has a Nature Network of over 140 member groups across the Province.
Caroline previously served as Director of Conservation for the Canadian Nature Federation for 10 years where she led programs in the areas of national conservation policy and advocacy; science and stewardship; and education and outreach. As Chair of BirdLife International's Americas Regional Council for over four years, she helped develop and lead a partnership of national member NGOs from over 17 countries working to conserve the birds and biodiversity in the western hemisphere. She has also worked as a consultant on a range of environmental projects in Canada.
Caroline obtained her primary degree in Botany from Trinity College Dublin and holds an M.Sc. in ecology from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Management degree from McGill University. She has served on several Boards of Directors including the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, the Sustainability Network, the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation and the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. She has a particular interest in collaboration within and across sectors to achieve conservation goals and is currently working with senior representatives of the aggregate industry and environmental organizations to lighten the footprint of aggregate operations in Ontario.
|14 January 2013||Breathing Wells: What Lies Beneath Us?||Candace Freckelton|
Unbeknownst to most people, a 1400 km2 area of breathing wells exists in southwestern Ontario. What are breathing wells? Come and find out!
Candace Freckelton has a Master's of Science degree in Geochemistry and a Bachelors of Science in Geology from Western University in London, Ontario. Recently, she accepted a full time position as a Surficial Geochemist for the Ontario Geological Survey. Prior to this, she was as a geological assistant with the Survey and worked on of the Ambient Groundwater Geochemistry program, which is a province-wide groundwater mapping program that has the goal of characterising the relationship between rock type and the chemistry of natural groundwaters. The subject of her MSc research was the physical and geochemical characterization of southwestern Ontario's breathing well zone.
|11 February 2013||Can ecological restoration conserve biodiversity?||Mary E. Gartshore|
This richly-illustrated, non-technical presentation will explore a suite of ecological restoration projects spanning 20 years and show how biodiversity is conserved and enhanced over time. Resilience of restored natural areas will be discussed around concepts of ecosystem function, ecological integrity and invasion resistance. Mary will share the interesting and wonderful surprises discovered along the way.
Mary grew up on the family farm in the Dundas Valley near Hamilton. She completed an Hons. Zoology degree from University of Guelph in 1973. Thereafter Mary lived in Africa for a few years teaching and carrying out biological surveys in parks and protected areas. Mary has participated in biological inventories for Parks Canada in Alberta and regional municipalities in southern Ontario. Since 1990 Mary with partner Peter Carson has operated a native plant nursery and restoration business, Pterophylla, to address the very real need to create habitat for declining species. Since 1992 various techniques have been used to restore natural habitat in southern Ontario. Currently Mary is part owner and manager of St. Williams Nursery and Ecology Centre (SWNEC) a facility that evolved out of the St. Williams Forestry Station, Canada's oldest tree nursery.
|11 March 2013||The Travels of a Young Naturalist||Matt Timpf|
|Details to come.|
|8 April 2013||Fungi: Friend or Foe?||Kyle McLoughlin|
Come and explore a kingdom of life you never knew was so important – or so cool. This talk will focus on the interaction of fungi with the living environment, and try to dispel some of the misinformation regarding these helpful organisms. Mushrooms and their cohorts (cankers, conks, etc.) perform many roles beyond the "rotten" reputation for which they are famous. In this brief lecture we will explore the fascinating lives of fungus, with a focus on species found in the Niagara escarpment and Carolinian forest. From slime that you can keep as a pet, to the creatures that connect forest trees together like the internet, this talk is for anyone that wants to understand the critical role fungus plays in our ecosystem. Although we will only scratch the surface, you will certainly find yourself mystified by these incredible beings.
Kyle McLoughlin is an experienced wilderness guide, and a naturalist with a passion for edible wilds and symbiotic relationships. While studying at McMaster, Kyle became a sought-after interpreter and trip leader in the outdoor recreation program, which has led him to adventures from cliff faces to deep woods. These travels fostered his later work as a river guide and naturalist. Kyle is currently an apprentice in the field of Arboriculture. The single thread through all of these adventures has been a fascination with all things natural, which began at the cradle and continues to this day.
|13 May 2013||Underground Infrastructure and Its Influence on Ecosystems||Michael Cook|
The Chedoke Creek watershed is among the most-disrupted of the creek systems that drain into Cootes Paradise. Extensively canalized and culverted, Chedoke is also subject to extensive pollution from Hamilton's sanitary sewer system, the result of overflows from the combined system, and from widespread cross-connection of household sanitary drains into storm culverts. While construction of CSO storage tanks has reduced pollution at several key overflow locations, residual deposits in the watershed as well as the cross-connection issue remain largely unaddressed. The lower concrete channel of Chedoke Creek presents a variety of other ecological challenges for Cootes and for connections between Mountain and Marsh in West Hamilton.Cook's presentation will take these issues out of the realm of the abstract, providing an historical, geographical and first-hand view into the infrastructure that dominates the Chedoke Creek drainage system today.
Michael Cook has been delving into underground and marginal spaces across Southern Ontario since 2003, with a focus on urban drainage and sewage systems. His inquiries have also included utility networks, abandoned hydroelectric and nuclear infrastructure, and railway landscapes. He has studied Geography at a graduate level, and is presently a Masters candidate in Landscape Architecture at the University of Toronto.
Cook has contributed words and photographs to HTO: Toronto's Water from Lake Iroquois to Lost Rivers to Low-flow Toilets (Coach House Books, 2008), the BLDGBLOG Book (Chronicle Books, 2009) and Water (Alphabet City, 2009). His photographs have also appeared in the Hamilton Spectator, the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, Domus and Canadian Business, and have been previously exhibited at the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology, Fort York and the Toronto Free Gallery. He appeared in the documentary Lost Rivers (Catbird Productions, 2012)
This evening will include responses from two local speakers:
Darren Brouwer (PhD), chemistry professor at Redeemer University College, will give a highlight the research work that his students have been doing on the Chedoke Creek watershed.
Jennifer Bowman (MSc), aquatic ecologist at the Royal Botanical Gardens, will discuss the impact that Chedoke Creek has on the Cootes Paradise aquatic ecosystems.
For a list of monthly meetings from 2011-2012, see the meetings archive.
Parking at RBG
The automated parking machines have been removed from the RBG headquarters parking lot and parking is now free in this lot all year.