Past Speakers

September 2019 – May 2020

Friday, September 27, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Speaker: Amanda Tracey
Topic: Brighton Wetlands
Description: Join guest speaker Amanda Tracey PhD, Coordinator of Conservation Biology for Central Ontario-East with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to look back on the first season of stewardship work at the Brighton Wetland property. This 223 acre property is a mix of lush coastal wetlands and agricultural fields that is home to many interesting plant and animal species. From Phragmites management to breeding bird surveys and even some grassland restoration work, Amanda will share the details of all of the interesting discoveries and challenges from the 2019 field season.

Friday, October 25, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Speaker: David Geale
Topic: Butterflies of South America
Description: Since 2000, David has guided bird and butterfly tours in Peru and other Andean countries, especially Colombia. His knowledge of South American birds always impresses clients and he has become one of the region’s most popular guides. Recently he has taken a keen interest in butterflies and is quickly becoming an expert on Andean species. Starting in 2018 and carrying on through to 2019, he began to run more tours in South America’s biggest country – Brazil! The variety of butterflies is astounding and in 2018 he visited the Pantanal and the Amazon. In early 2019 he was seriously smitten by the beauties of the Atlantic Rainforest.
David splits his time between Canada, where his family is located, and South America.

Friday, November 29, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Speaker: Kathryn Peiman
Topic: The Return of the Atlantic Salmon
Description: Join guest speaker Dr. Kathryn Peiman Program Coordinator of the Ontario Federation of Angler and Hunter’s Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program since 2018. She has worked with birds and fish throughout her career and completed her MSc at the University of Guelph, PhD at UCLA, and was a Postdoctoral Associate at Macquarie University (Australia) and Carleton University (Ottawa).

Friday, January 31, 2020, 7:30 p.m.
Speaker: Elora Grahame
Topic: Decline of Whip-Poor-Will and The Nighthawk
Description: Roadways disrupt wildlife corridors and catalyze animal fatalities via automobile strikes, but they are seldom scrutinized for their potential to provide enticing habitat. Two species potentially susceptible to a roadway-induced ecological trap are the Common Nighthawk and Eastern Whip-poor-will, both migratory nightjars that breed in Ontario. Elora Grahame is a Ph.D. student from the University of Guelph and is part of the Norris Lab. Elora’s research is on movement ecology for both the Common Nighthawks and Eastern Whip-poor-wills which are secretive species and relatively understudied.

Friday, February. 28, 2020, 7:30 p.m.
Annual General Meeting – Doors open at 6:30, meeting starts at 7:30. Come early to enjoy a social time prior to the meeting and browse the offerings of the Silent Auction.
Speaker: Gail Fraser
Topic: Bad Reputations: Cormorants and Conservation
Description: Since their rapid population recovery in the Great Lakes, double-crested cormorants have a bad reputation because they are a large black water bird that eats fish and their nesting habits kill trees. Professor Gail Fraser (Faculty of Environmental Studies) describes the role of cormorants in the Great Lakes ecosystems and how cormorant ecology relates to biodiversity conservation. She is an associate professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. She has worked on colonial nesting water birds for over two-decades. Her masters work (North Dakota State University) was on the foraging ecology of Forster’s terns and her PhD work (Memorial University of Newfoundland) was on the parental care of crested auklets.

Friday, March 27, 2020, 7:30 p.m. Cancelled Due to COVID-19
Speaker: Jeff Bowman
Topic: Flying Squirrels in Ontario
Description: Flying squirrels are cryptic, nocturnal species with many interesting adaptations to their nighttime habits. I will provide some insights into the natural history of flying squirrels, how and why we study these species, and the history of our research, as well as distribution of Ontario’s two flying squirrel species, the northern and southern flying squirrel, our recent discovery of hybridization between the species, and the causes and consequences of this hybridization. Dr. Jeff Bowman is a Senior Research Scientist with the Wildlife Research and Monitoring Section of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, also an Adjunct Professor in the Environmental and Life sciences Graduate Program at Trent University. Jeff leads Ontario’s furbearer and small mammal research programs, and has expertise in population and landscape ecology, and landscape genetics. He has conducted research work on fishers, martens, lynx, wolverines, mink, wild turkeys, flying squirrels, and a variety of bat species. He has led the Kawartha Flying squirrel Project since 2002.

Friday, April 24, 2020, 7:30 p.m. Cancelled Due to COVID-19
Speaker: Josh Sayers
Topic: Ontario Badger Project
Description: TBA

Friday, May 29, 2019, 7:30 p.m. Cancelled Due to COVID-19
Speakers: WBFN Members.
Topic: Member’s Night Presentations.
Description: WBFN members have a wealth of experience and knowledge in nature. During the final general meeting of the spring, members will do short illustrated presentations on their nature topics of choice. The evening will be organized into five, 12 minute (or less) presentations. Topics will be varied and the evening should be very interesting. Come out and support your fellow WBFN members as they share their knowledge.

September 2018 – May 2019

Friday, September 28, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
Speaker: Dr. David Beresford
Topic: Ontario’s insect diversity near and far.
Description: Ontario’s insect diversity near and far (with particular reference to biting flies). Ontario is blessed with an abundance of biting flies, including mosquitoes, horse flies, deer flies, and stable flies. While most of our interactions with biting flies are unpleasant, they have important functions in our ecosystems and so have value in terms of conservation. This talk examines biting flies as pests of livestock and wildlife, as well as their possible conservation relevance.
Dr. David Beresford is Professor of Biology at Trent University and member of the Pest Management Advisory Council.

Friday, October 26, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
Speaker: Alison White
Topic: Fire as Friend or Foe?
Description: Exploring plant traits adapted to fire in Canadian ecosystems. Although fire is considered destructive to the environment, many plants are adapted to periodic wildfire; indeed fire is necessary for the rejuvenation and maintenance of some ecosystems in Canada. This talk will explore how different plants are adapted to fire and the traits that can provide a fitness advantage to plants in fire-prone environments. The talk will focus on Carolinian plants such as those found in black oak savannas as well as species of the northwestern boreal forest of Canada.
Alison White is a Forest Analyst Intern for the MNRF in Peterborough.

Friday, November 30, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
Speaker: Don Davis
Topic: Travels with the Monarch.
Description: Don Davis first tagged Monarchs in 1967, and has been a “citizen scientist” continuously since 1985. Don will describe how WBFN members were important early supporters of research into the Monarchs’ wintering grounds. He will summarize monarch biology, current issues, and how you can participate in monarch conservation and research.

Friday, January 25, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Speaker: Tom Mason
Topic: Arachnids: an Introduction to Spiders of Ontario.
Description: Tom Mason a retired curator of birds and invertebrates at the Toronto Zoo has been involved or worked with wildlife since he was 9 years old. Over the years he developed a strong interest in Arachnids which really developed in the mid-80’s when he took on the role of curator at the Toronto Zoo. Tom discovered little work had been done with spiders in southern Ontario since the early 20th century. Since then, close to 100 new species have been found in Ontario of which many are new for Canada.

Friday, February. 22, 2019, 7:30 p.m. – Annual General Meeting – Doors open at 6:30, meeting starts at 7:30. Come early to enjoy a social time prior to the meeting and browse the offerings of the Silent Auction.
Speaker: Grant Elliott.
Topic: The Amazing Biodiversity of the Amazon
Join guest speaker Grant Elliott, a Cobourg educator and environmentalist, as he presents “The Amazing Biodiversity of the Amazon”. Discover many of the species in the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve and find out how local high school students joined researchers from Operation Wallacea to collect environmental data in the flooded forest of the western Amazon River basin.

Friday, March 29, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Speaker: Ryan Norris
Topic: Living on the edge: The Ecology and Behaviour of Gray Jays in Algonquin Park
Although Canada Jays are common residents of our North American boreal forests, their natural history and ecology remains somewhat of a mystery, even to those that see them regularly. Using a combination of long-term data and recent experiments, I will discuss the year-round ecology of this fascinating and highly intelligent bird, including what factors influence their survival and reproductive success. I will also address why we have observed over a 50% decline of Gray Jays at the southern edge of their range and how this may be related to long-term changes in climate.

Friday, April 26, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Speaker: Rory Quigley.
Topic: Cobourg’s Urban Forest.
Town of Cobourg’s Arborist will review the recently completed Urban Forest Management Plan and discuss how we can all help protect and enhance Cobourg’s Urban Forest Canopy.

Friday, May 31, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Speakers: WBFN Members.
Topic: Member’s Night Presentations.
The traditional President’s Walk will move from the last monthly meeting time in May to June 2nd. On May 31st we will meet at the Cobourg Library for the inaugural evening of presentations by members of the Willow Beach Field Naturalists. It is no secret that WBFN members have a wealth of experience and knowledge in nature. The evening will be organized into six, 10 minute (or less) presentations. Topics will be varied and the evening should be very interesting. Come out and support your fellow WBFN members as they share their knowledge.

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