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At the time of her death, Louise Steele, one of the founders of the Willow Beach Field Naturalists, had completed a history of the club up to 1971. Following is the beginning of this history which will be published in the Curlew in installments, as space permits.


by Louise Steele

EmbankmentIn the late summer of 1953 a little group of naturalists who often happened to meet while strolling along the railway embankment that runs beside the marsh at Willow Beach conferred together along the pathway and decided there were enough interested people to warrant forming a naturalist club. The little group included Dr. and Mrs. C.B. Kelly, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Reeve, Peter Landry, Ted McDonald, Stella Bennett, Louise Steele.


A letter to the Federation of Ontario Naturalists in early September 1953telling them of the possibility of organizing a club in this locality was acknowledged by Marshall Bartman, secretary-treasurer. Later in the fall Dr. W.W.H. Gunn, the Executive-Director of the FON visited in Cobourg and Port Hope and interviewed persons whose names we had sent in as prospective members of the FON and of a local naturalists club.


View of Lake and MarshView of Lake and MarshIn accordance with Dr. Gunn’s recommendation, a meeting was held January 23, 1954, at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Kelly, Port Hope. Those present, besides Dr. and Mrs. Kelly, were: Mr. and Mrs. Harold Reeve, Mr. and Mrs. Harold B. Crow, Peter Landry, Ted McDonald, Graham Stuart, Stella Bennett, Muriel Staples, Mrs. E. Trott, Foster Hussell, Dr. J.F. Leeson, Louise Steele, - Mr. Crow acted as chairman. It was decided to continue meeting as an informal group rather than a club, but to plan outings and projects together. A month later, at a meeting held at the home of Foster Russell, R.R. #3, Cobourg, officers were nominated and elected, as follows: HonoraryWillow Beach View President: Harold B. Reeve (at the next meeting Mrs. Reeve’s name was added) President: Dr. C.B. Kelly Vice-President: Dr. J.F. Leeson Recording Secretary: Ted McDonald Secretary-Treasurer: Louise Steele Records Chairman: Peter Landry Programme Convenors: Harold Crow and Foster Russell Outings: Dr. J.F. Leeson and Peter Landry The name Willow Beach Field Naturalists was approved for the group. It was agreed to meet monthly, alternating between Port Hope and Cobourg. Peter Landry outlined as a club project that a record should be kept of birds nesting in the area. In September the club applied to the FON for affiliation, and was accepted.Marsh View During 1954, there were outings at Willow Beach, H. Reeve as leader; a study of trees led by Peter Landry; and a Christmas bird census. Indoor programmes included slides by Lazlo Udvarhelyi, Dr. Leeson, Robert Sculthorpe, motion pictures and commentary concerning bluebird nesting by Jim Woodford, reforestation and game management by a Dept. of Lands and Forests representative. Meetings were held at the homes of Harold crow, Dr. Kelly, Peter Landry and Harry Gadd (at the C.G.E. plant, Cobourg).


........ to be continued