BACKGROUND York Simcoe Nature Club, formerly known as York-Simcoe Naturalists, was formed in 1999 by a small group of individuals who had a strong interest in the environment and who wanted to share this interest with other people. The Club has operated continuously since 1999 and has grown from its small beginnings to a membership of over 60 individuals. It is run by an elected executive who is responsible for the various aspects of the operation.
The Club provides a venue for York Region and Simcoe County residents who have a special interest in outdoor recreation and natural history to get together and share ideas, expertise, community projects and local natural history. The Club also serves as a unified voice to constructively influence municipal planning, environmental awareness and environmental protection, particularly locally. In view of the integrated nature of the environment, the Club is also concerned with developments and changes in the natural environment in other areas.
Members of the Club benefit through:
friendships formed with others of like interest
exchange of local sightings of fauna and fauna
knowledge gained from unique guest speakers
social activities such as the annual wine and cheese
Although York Simcoe Nature Club is an independent club, it is a member of Ontario Nature's 150-plus Nature Network, Neighbourhood Network, Lake Simcoe Stewardship Group and Ontario Greenbelt Alliance.
MISSION Aims and objectives of York Simcoe Nature Club:
To promote public awareness of the natural environment within the Region of York and the County of Simcoe
To identify and encourage the protection and preservation of the natural environment to maintain and enhance biodiversity
To educate and inform club members about environmental and natural heritage matters through speakers, outings and related activities
To develop and maintain collaborative working relationships with Ontario Nature and other environmentally focused groups
ACTIVITIES The Club achieves its goals through a variety of member-focused activities as described in the following sections.
Monthly Meetings Members meet the second Tuesday of every month from September to June. Each meeting features a guest speaker who informs and educates members on a variety of topics related to the environment. These topics have included:
Turtles of Ontario
Endangered Species Act
Costa Rica – Flora and fauna
As well as a guest speaker, each meeting includes a sharing of local observations of flora and fauna, a discussion of local issues and events, and refreshments. The meetings typically end about 9 p.m.
Outings At various times over the year the Club organizes nature walks for members and friends. These walks provide an opportunity not only to enjoy the outdoors, but also to learn about nature as members share their specific skill, be it flowers, birds, trees, butterflies and more. In the past, our walks have been at:
Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve
Scanlon Creek Conservation Area
Parts of the Oak Ridges Moraine Trail
Parts of the Nokiidaa Trail
Seneca College King Campus
Surveys The Club provides opportunities for members to participate in Citizen Science. Some of the surveys in which members have participated include:
Christmas Bird Count
Invasive Species Inventory at Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve
Bioblitz at Scanlon Creek Conservation Area
Backyard frog count
Breeding Bird Atlas
Environmental Rehabilitation From time to time, the Club is asked to provide volunteers for various rehabilitation projects. Some of the projects for which members have volunteered include:
Tree planting at Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve
Clean-up of stream in Holland Landing
Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup in East Gwillimbury
Stewardship York Simcoe Nature Club is the steward of the Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve. The Club has held this responsibility since 2007 under various agreements with Ontario Nature, the owner of the land.
As stewards of the Reserve the York Simcoe Nature Club members have worked with Ontario Nature on many projects including the following:
Trail maintenance and monitoring
Invasive species inventory
Public Consultation York Simcoe Nature Club provides comments on specific projects and legislation as pertinent to the natural heritage of not only the northern portion of York Region and the southern part of Simcoe County, but also other areas of the Province when relevant. Undertakings for which comments were provided include:
Bathurst Street widening north of Green Lane
York Durham Sewer Proposal
Ontario Government Integrated 5 Year Review of 4 Provincial Planning Acts
Highway 404 Extension in conjunction with South Lake Simcoe Naturalists
Endangered Species Act
Rouge National Park
Special Projects Every year the Club initiates a special project for which money is raised through donations. For the last few years, the special project has been to raise money to send a young person to the Ontario Nature Youth Summit. The Summit is a weekend experience for about 100 youths to learn about nature and network with others of like interest. In the past, special projects included the following:
The Owl Foundation
Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre
Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge
Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve
BECOME A MEMBER We invite you to come to one of the monthly meetings if what you have read is of interest. Guests may attend one free in-person meeting or two free Zoom meetings before being asked to join as a member.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a membership application form. Annual fees are $40 for a single membership and $45 for a family membership.
Also, you can help us share the word about the Club and foster community interest in the natural world around us.
CLUB SYMBOL The black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) is the bird pictured in the club's logo.