A TIME OF REJUVENATION
By Caroline Schultz
S pring is a magical time when life renews itself and nature bursts forth from its subdued state in our wetlands, woodlands and lakes. As naturalists, each of us has our own most evocative sight, sound or smell that beckons us outside. For me, spring starts with maple sap rising and the rich, musty smell of warming leaf litter. Spring comes with waterfowl returning from their wintering grounds in early March and with the advance of salamanders to ephemeral breeding ponds, as Don Scallen demonstrates in his article ?Here today, gone tomorrow? (page 3). Soon afterwards, the chorus frogs begin their creaking mating calls, followed by the calls of spring peepers and wood frogs. Then there are the birds. The resident cardinals and chickadees sing cheerfully while common grackles squeak their distinctive rusty-hinge song. Robins wake you before daybreak with their fruity notes. Streaming from the south, migrating raptors quietly arrive with the leading edge of returning birds, and the first loons pass by overhead. In the still-brown woods, the first mourning cloaks flit through the branches. Below them, the forest floor starts to come alive with flashes of bright spring flowers ? trilliums, trout lilies, hepaticas, spring beauties and Dutchman?s breeches. And there is another spring sight that stirs my emotions ? people outside soaking it all up. There are the general nature lovers ? people taking in the warm days and the emerging greenery, and celebrating whatever comes their way. There are the nature seekers ? those who search for their favourite birds, plants and animals. And there are the focused field naturalists ? individuals who are taking their hobby, love and enthusiasm to the next level as citizen scientists. I feel my pulse quicken as I write about these wonders of spring, itching to get outdoors and not miss a thing. There is also sadness, however, at the passing of longtime Ontario Nature member and northwestern regional director, Rick Cathrae. Rick was a true field naturalist who contributed data to the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario, the Reptile and Amphibian Atlas and many Christmas Bird Counts. He also attended several Youth Summits, where he passed on his love of nature and inspired the next generation of environmental leaders. In recent years Rick, an avid birder and naturalist from southern Ontario, and his wife, Pam, had become northerners, making their home among the forests and lakes around Elliott Lake. This spring, as I experience the sensations of the season, my experiences will mingle with memories of Rick and so many other naturalists who have left the world a better place through their love for nature and their work on its behalf.
Ontario Nature protects wild species and wild spaces through conservation, education and public engagement. Ontario Nature is a charitable organization representing more than 30,000 members and supporters, and 150 member groups across Ontario. Ontario Nature Officers ? Directors President Kevin Thomason Past President Angela Martin Vice-President Otto Peter Secretary/Treasurer Ted Crichton Regional Directors Carolinian East Ron Corkum Carolinian West Anita Caveney Great Lakes West Peter Kelly Huronia Dorothy McKeown Lake Ontario North Otto Peter Ontario East Cathy Keddy Northern West Vacant Northern East Franco Mariotti Directors at Large Joanne Brown, Lesley Lewis, Casey Richardson-Scott, Andrew Reeves, Tina Rosenstein, Janice Wright Ontario Nature Staff Executive Director Caroline Schultz Executive Assistant Jaklynn Nimec Director of Finance and Administration Kamilla Molnar Administrative Assistant Christine Ambre Conservation & Education Director of Conservation and Education Anne Bell Boreal Program Manager Julee Boan Greenway Program Manager Joshua Wise Conservation Science Manager Tanya Pulfer Conservation and Education Coordinator Sarah Hedges Conservation Science Coordinator Emma Horrigan Conservation Data Technician Bradley McGinn Nature Reserves Assistant Stephanie Muckle Conservation Science Assistant Smera Sukumar Membership & Development Annual Giving Manager Nicole Chamula Manager of Major and Planned Giving Kirsten Dahl Member Relations Coordinator Portia Mohlmann Database Coordinator Irene Milani Communications & Engagement Director of Communications and Engagement John Hassell Nature Network and Communications Coordinator Lisa Richardson Regional Nature Network Coordinator Barbara MacKenzie-Wynia Communications Technician Noah Cole Digital Communications Specialist Leyla Top ONNATUREMAGAZINE.COM SPRING 2017 ON NATURE 5