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Friday, December 18, 2015


Photographer - Brian Keaveney
First Snowy Owl of the winter seen yesterday roosting on one of the yacht club docks. 

It looks like an adult female or a youngish (~2yr old) male.

Saturday, December 12, 2015


If you have a bird feeder in your back yard, you may want to consider contributing data to the "Great Backyard Bird Count" this winter.

Though it is called the "backyard" bird count, you can  actually count birds anywhere - at a nearby park, nature center, schoolyard or just in your local neighbourhood - anywhere you find birds!

This international event takes place over three days in mid February.  Observations are entered online.  The checklists submitted every year by tens of thousands of people are important because no single scientist or team could hope to capture so much information in just four days. The information provides a long term record of how bird populations may be changing over time.

Get the family involved and make sure birds in our region are represented.

For information on how to register, observation instructions and how to ID birds if you are a novice birder, click here.

Friday, December 4, 2015


The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO), currently Dianne Saxe, is the watchdog over Ontario’s environmental, energy and climate performance, and guardian of the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR). The ECO is a bridge between the public and the government on environmental issues.

The Commission has just produced its 2014/2015 annual report.  There are some issues that might be of interest to FOSS members ..

  • Protecting and restoring the Great Lakes
  • Fatal attraction: when birds hit buildings
  • Restoring and expanding Ontario’s protected areas
  • Species at risk etc.

Click here to read full report.

Thursday, December 3, 2015


FOSS is in the planning stages of a photo exhibition for October, 2016.  We know that’s a long way off, but we wanted to put out a heads-up so that everyone can have an extended period of time to take and save photographs with the exhibit in mind.

Photo: ©Sandra C. Hawkins
The working title is:  Nature’s Sanctuary: A Photography Exhibition featuring Sam Smith Park, “The Jewel of the Lakeshore”. It will take place in the Assembly Hall on the Lakeshore Grounds and will showcase the diversity of wildlife and the beauty of the natural landscape and vegetation in the park.  Along with providing stunning visual images to be displayed at the AH Gallery, FOSS is also interested in creating public awareness of the role that Sam Smith Park plays in supporting biodiversity.

Ann Brokelman, a renowned wildlife photographer, who is very familiar with Sam Smith Park, has agreed to play an advisory role on this project.

It is anticipated that there will be room for 30 to 50 photographs. 
The photographs would remain in the gallery for 3 to 4 weeks and the exhibition would start with an opening night which we hope will feature a speaker who can talk to us about nature photography.  There will be an exhibition catalogue prepared by the Assembly Hall which will have the work’s title and authorship as well as the photographers’ contact information and pricing details for those who wish to offer up prints for sale.

We encourage and invite all photographers who have used the park as an “artistic muse” to submit work for the show.  Exact details on how to do so will be posted and emailed to our contact list and social media followers next spring.  Those details will include how to submit entries for selection, the quantity (probably 2 initially), size (8 x 10 plus?), format (jpg?) and framing (photographer’s responsibility - black) and the minimal fee to enter (probably $10). (FOSS does have to pay a gallery fee to the Assembly Hall.)

Assembly Hall
There will be an exhibition winner (or winners) chosen.  A committee will be selected from the community and FOSS steering committee members who have not submitted any art work to the exhibit.

This is going to be a major event and we are very excited about it.