Clive Goodwin has been awarded the 2014 Ontario Field Ornithologists distinguished Ornithologist of the Year Award. Congratulations, Clive!


clive Goodwin

Photo @ Glen Coady




wbfn LogoWBFN Annual General Meeting Report 2013


AGM 2013

WBFN members gathered for the 2013 AGM in Cobourg. Photo© Bruce Parker


The Annual General Meeting for the Willow Beach Naturalists was held on Friday February 22 2013. A largre turnout gathered at the Cobourg Public Library to hear the annual President's Report, elect and confirm new members to the WBFN Executive, particpate in this year's Silent Auction to support the WBFN Scholarship Program and hear guest speaker Mike McMurtry, Natural Areas Ecologist, MNR. A special presentation also took place recognizing the contributions of two WBFN Members.


To view Willow Beach Field Naturalists Annual General Meeting Minutes for February 22, 2013

Pdf Icon Click Here.



WBFN President Petra Hartwig

WBFN President Petra Hartwig highlighted some of the accomplishments of WBFN over the past year. Photo© Bruce Parker


WBFN Past President Michael Biggar

Former WBFN President Michael Biggar conducted the nominations and confirmations of new WBFN Executive members. Photo© Bruce Parker


WBFN Silent Auciton

Thanks to the generousity of local businesses and some WBFN members the Silent Auction was successful in raising the funds necessary to support the WBFN Scholarship Program. Photo© Bruce Parker


Deb Panko Report

Deborah Panko reported on the Endangered Species Act proposed revisions and called upon members to comment. Photo© Bruce Parker

Trish Whitney

Mike McMurty

WBFN Speaker Program Coordinator Trish Whitney introduced and thanked guest speaker Mike McMurtry, Natural Areas Ecologist, MNR. Photo© Bruce Parker


Audrey Wilson Plaque

A presentation was made to Audrey Wilson for over 50 years of dedicated service to WBFN. A special plaque was given Audrey to go along with the many awards and recognitions she has received for her life long work as an educator and naturalist. Outgoing WBFN Secretary Karen Drew was also thanked for her contributions during her tenure. Photo© Bruce Parker



wbfn LogoWBFN Special Report 2013


Cobourg's Canopy


WBFN Board Member Gina Brouwer* writes:

"Like heritage buildings, trees are landmarks that have the potential to survive through multiple generations. Trees are unique in that they provide ecological, social, and economic benefits beyond heritage value that increase exponentially as they grow. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of Cobourg’s natural and cultural heritage and create a record that will act as a catalyst for future promotion and appreciation of trees and the urban forest in Cobourg."


To read Gina's Research Paper click on the link below:

pdf iconCobourg's Heritage Canopy (7.20MB)



*Gina is a WBFN Board Member and works at a Cobourg engineering firm, AECOM, as a landscape architect and arborist. Gina has worked with the Town of Cobourg including preparation of an Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan and co-ordination of the Neighbourwoods Community Volunteer Tree Inventory Program.





Opening of the Hazel Bird Nature Reserve at NCC's Newest Rice Lake Plains Project


NCC Robson Property

Among the guests was WBFN member and long-time friend of Hazel Bird, Audrey Wilson. Photo© Ken Strauss


On Sunday June 10th 2012 The Nature Conservancy of Canada hosted a special reception to celebrate the opening of their newest nature reserve in the Rice Lakes Plains. The Hazel Bird Nature Reserve was named after Hazel Bird (1920-2009) a well-known local naturalist and the recipient of many awards for her work in Northumberland County. The Robson Road property in Hamilton Township, was one of Hazel Bird’s favoured locations for her well-known bluebird trail.


Robson Property reception

Photo© Ken Strauss


The rolling Rice Lake Plains, on the east end of the Oak Ridges Moraine between Peterborough and Cobourg, contains the largest unprotected oak savannah and tallgrass prairie remnants in the Great Lakes region. To date, The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and its partners have conserved over 1,920 acres (777 hectares) of significant habitat on the Rice Lake Plains – almost 70 percent of our current 5-year conservation goal. NCC is restoring and expanding natural prairie and savannah remnants, bringing the rich natural heritage of the Rice Lake Plains back to life.


Mark Robson

Central Ontario Program Manager, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Mark Stabb spoke at the reception. Photo© Tim Tottenham


NCC’s newest project is 290 acres (117 hectares) of oak woodland, savannah, sand barren and grassland habitat on Robson Road in Hamilton Township. It is the location of numerous sightings of at-risk species such as Eastern Hog-nosed Snake, Red-headed Woodpecker and Whip-poor-will, and provides habitat for the rare Ghost Tiger Beetle. The property features a large block of grassland that is a known hot-spot for the fastest declining bird group in North America: grassland birds – a group including Eastern Meadowlark and Savannah Sparrow. When this property came up for sale, NCC quickly secured an agreement to purchase it in order to conserve its species and habitats from development and incompatible recreation. The Robson Road property is one of the last documented sites of a healthy Wild Lupine population - food for the Karner Blue butterfly which is no longer found in Ontario, but continues to live in areas of the eastern United States. Conservation partners are ramping up plans to restore Wild Lupine in the hopes that the property will become a key reintroduction site for Karner Blue.

NCC Property

For more information on the project click on the link below:

PDF IconRobson Property


Mark Stabb
Central Ontario Program Manager Nature Conservancy of Canada
18 Second Avenue Uxbridge, ON L9P 1J9
(905) 862-2642


Esstern Swallowtail

Eastern Swallowtail. Photo© Ken Strauss




WBFN Life Membership Presentations Fall 2010


At the September 2010 Monthly Meeting some very special presentations took place to honour four members of Willow Beach Field Naturalists. During the 50 plus years of existence the club has only honoured four of its members with life membership in the club. Life membership within WBFN is extended to long standing members who have made significant and ongoing contribution to the club.


Pat Lawson

Pat is being presented with a Life Membership in Willow Beach Field Naturalists tonight to honour her many years of service on environmental issues both within the club, and her community of Port Hope and beyond. Pat was president of WBFN in 1967-8.  She has  been actively involved from the beginning in such projects as the Ganaraska Trail, which begins in Port Hope and now ends at the Bruce Trail; in Port Hope’s Energreen Team, out of which came the Port Hope Ecology Garden; in the establishment of Peter’s Woods and in the protection of Carrs Marsh. Pat was also on the Education Committee of the board of the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA).  During this time, Pat has also tirelessly advocated for the health of Port Hopers and always done so in a vigorous and civil way.  She is truly deserving of such recognition by our club.


Pat Lawson

Carole Payne presents Pat Lawson with her Lifetime Membership © Bill Crowley


Jack Goering

Jack is a long time member of WBFN. He served a term on the executive as our representative to the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. Jack is an avid canoeist who went on many wilderness trips. In 1966 he took part on canoe trip on the Coppermine River in the Northwest Territories. On this trip, Jack and his trip partner, Pierre Trudeau, rescued a couple of American kayakers. In 1977, much before the present furor about solar power, Jack installed a solar water heater on his house. When he moved houses, the solar system moved with him. He told me this afternoon that it was working well today. He was on the committee of Hope Township which brought the Blue Box, and hence recycling, to this area. Not content with recycling only things that could be put into the Blue Box, he was on the committee, along with several others who are still active in WBFN, that started Beyond the Blue Box. This organization still diverts tonnes of stuff from landfills while providing work for special needs members of our community. Although Jack has been out of the classroom for quite a long time, he has never stopped teaching about things environmental. We are all familiar with his well-presented, passionate letters to the editor in our local newspapers. One can only hope that one day soon, more people will understand what he is trying to tell us.


Jack Goering

Elizabeth Kellogg presents Jack Goering with his Lifetime Membership © Bill Crowley


Clive Goodwin

In his years in Cobourg, Clive has contributed so much to the Willow Beach Field Naturalists, from the wonderful articles he writes for The Curlew to the epic electronic database Birds of Northumberland County he has created,  to which he is still adding data from many sources. He is also compiling lists of the plants, butterflies, and dragonflies of Northumberland on an ongoing basis, making the natural history of our county one of the best documented in the province. With his wife Joy, Clive has taken part, in all weathers, in many, many Northumberland Christmas Bird Counts, Summer Counts, and Breeding Bird surveys. Clive produced the Cobourg Nature Calendar (1995) and Bird Finding in Cobourg, a booklet for the Chamber of Commerce (1995). On behalf of the WBFN, Clive has made major contributions to Management Plans for Presqu’ile Provincial Park, the Cobourg waterfront, and Lone Pine Marsh. When you walk along the newly completed Cobourg west beach boardwalk, read the extremely interesting and informative display boards explaining the complex ecosystems around you - the text of course by Clive, who was instrumental in preserving this beach in its natural state. My list of Clive’s contributions could go on and on. WE are the ones who are honoured to have Clive Goodwin as a Life Member of the Willow Beach Field Naturalists.


Clive Goodwin

Michael Biggar and Margaret Bain congratulate Clive Goodwin on his Lifetime Membership © Bill Crowley


Bill Wensley

Bill move to Cobourg in 1985 and immediately became immersed in community of Northumberland. In April 2007 the Canadian Pharmacists Association named Bill as the Centennial Pharmacists for his input which has helped shape many of the pharmacy and health-care services we enjoy today.
Northumberland has greatly benefited with Bill and his family moving here, he became and active member of the Trinity United in Cobourg . He was president of the WBFN from 1993 to 1995. In 1996, Bill took part in the Land Use Planning and Protection Act. He spoke to the consideration of Bill 20 to promote economic growth and protect the environment by streamlining the land use planning and development system Bill has made significant contribution to the development of, and chaired the Northumberland Stewardship Council. In 2003 Bill was awarded a community service award for  his ten years of service to the WBFN.


Bill Wensley

Audrey Wilson talks about Bill Wensley's contributions and presents his Lifetime Membership © Bill Crowley




Clive Goodwin Awarded the Doris Huestis Speirs Award Spring 2009


Clive GoodwinThe Doris Huestis Speirs Award is the most prestigious award given by the Society of Canadian Ornithologists. The award is presented annually to an individual who has made outstanding lifetime contributions in Canadian ornithology through contributions to conservation efforts, ornithological fieldwork and literature, and public education. Past awardees include professionals who work at museums, government agencies, private companies and universities, as well as amateur ornithologists and people who have contributed to ornithological infrastructure of Canada.

This year local naturalist Clive Goodwin was the recipient of this coveted award. Clive was nominated by the Willow Beach Field Naturalists because of his outstanding contribution to Canadian ornithology. In 1949, Clive emigrated from England to Canada at age 20. From 1965 to 1977 Clive was the Executive Director of the Conservation Council of Ontario. Since then, Clive has been involved in many conservation efforts in Ontario including major contributions to Birdlife International's Presqu'ile Important Bird Area project, the Presqu'ile Provincial Park Management Plan, the Presqu'ile Beach Management Plan, the Cobourg Harbour Development and Recreational Master Plans and the Management Plan for Lone Pine Marsh in Northumberland. Over the years Clive has been a regular contributor of numerous articles and papers on birds, nature and environmental matters. Since moving to Cobourg from Toronto, Clive has been the environmental advisor to the Cobourg Town Council and produced the Cobourg Nature Calendar (1995) and Bird Finding in Cobourg, a booklet for the Chamber of Commerce (1995). He recently composed the informative text for the display boards along the boardwalk on the Cobourg west beach, which has been kept in its natural state, pointing out valuable ecosystems and the birds to be seen in passage year round.

Gina Brouwer

Reprinted from OntarioNature Network News, July 15, 2009

Photo of Clive Goodwin © E. Kellogg


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Hazel Bird - 1920-2009

Hazel was a well respected and loved volunteer, then a staff naturalist at the Laurie Lawson Outdoor Education Centre in the 1970s and 1980s. At her death, in memoriam funds were directed to the Willow Beach Field Naturalists. The Ex-ecutive decided to create a simple, rustic, but functional tribute at LLOEC to honour this life-member. Thus two colour-coded directional rock indicators for LLOEC have been placed at key trial junctions. These will assist some 3,500 students and staff that attend outdoor education classes annually as well as family groups tapping into the Northumberland Land Trust website. Beige-pink granite barn foundation rocks were donated. Subsequently, these were delivered by bobcat to the LLOEC parking lot. Then, Joe Orma of “Carved in Stone” sand-blasted three key trail names, hand painting them to match the appropriate trail markers. The biggest challenge was to move these rocks into location. Two Percheron horses, each drag-ging a stone-boat with a rock strapped to it were up to the difficult task and now the rocks are firmly in place at LLOEC.

Audrey E. Wilson