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Busy year for local sportsmen’s club

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The Fort Frances Sportsmen’s Club had a busy year in 2015, including sponsoring three field trips.

Mrs. Gibson’s Grade 4 class from Robert Moore was taken to Rocky Inlet.

Besides snowshoeing, the class noted the various habitats in that area and observed signs (i.e., tracks, holes in trees. etc.) of wildlife there.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Bonner-Vickers’ Grade 8 class from J.W. Walker was taken to sportsmen’s club property where they learned about winter ecology.

The students participated in fire and quinzhee building—survival skills that may prove useful some winter when a snowmobile breaks down or they become lost while hunting.

The snow structure illustrates how good an insulator snow can be.

As well, the Grade 8 classes from J.W. Walker were taken on a tree-planting trip north of Devlin, where they planted 600 container stock jack pine trees.

Over the 25 years the club has sponsored this program, some 311,000 tress have been planted.

Thanks to Bob and Gwen Dimit of Dimit Bus Lines for their donation to youth conservation, as well as to Vic Alberts for driving the bus and waiving his salary.

Several classes also constructed birdhouses, which add to the number of possible nesting sites for many birds, including bluebirds.

Thanks to the many parents who come to the classrooms to help the pupils construct the birdhouses.

All the parts were cut out at the Sister Kennedy Centre workshop by Henry Miller and Bob Holmes.

Miller then gave the students instructions on how to put them together.

Those involved were the Grade 6-8 classes at Donald Young School in Emo (23 birdhouses), the Grades 3 and 4 classes at Robert Moore (13 and 19, respectively), the Graded K-6 classes at SCAP (53), and the kindergarten class at J.W. Walker (17).

Over the past 22 years, bluebird populations have been increasing steadily although 2015 was the worst year yet because of the cold, wet weather in May and June.

Only 66 bluebirds and 166 tree swallows were fledged from our 254 birdhouses.

Thanks to Leanne Donaldson, Margaret Kreger, and Tony Elders for reporting the results of the boxes they monitored (visit the club’s website for more details).

In other news, the price of the O.F.A.H. lottery tickets increased from $2 to $3, which resulted in fewer ticket sales.

However, this decline in ticket sales was offset by the increase in price.

The number of tickets sold in 2015 was 64 books, earning the local club $560 (whereas the 90 books sold in 2014 brought in $540).

The funds raised helped fund the Bluebird Project.

The club also donated to several organizations doing conservation work, including:

  • $2,000 to the local Stewardship Council for busing classes for tree-planting (although only one group took advantage of this pledge);
  • sponsoring a welcome sign that was placed at the entrance to the Cranberry Peat Bog Interpretive Trail;
  • to the Sister Kennedy Centre seniors’ workshop where we cut out parts for the birdhouses;
  • to the Junior Stewardship Rangers for the pine marten box building project;
  • a $2,000 bursary for students graduating from high school and continuing on to higher education was awarded to Kurt McGuire and Ashton Dokuchie; and
  • Bob and Gwen Dimit, along with Vic Alberts, were given gift certificates for their contributions to youth conservation.

Awards

The Bud Cyr Conservation Trophy was awarded to Vic Alberts for his many years of conservation work.

Besides his efforts putting cobble in spawning beds, cleaning streams, sitting on committees, and working on the board of directors for several years, he volunteers to drive school buses taking classes on field trips.

As well, he now joins in helping teachers with outdoor lessons.

The Henry Miller Conservation Plaque was awarded to the Sturgeon Creek Alternative Program (SCAP) for building 53 birdhouses.

The teachers reported the results of occupancy by interviewing pupils that had put them up for birds.

A special award of appreciation was given to Bob and Gwen Dimit for supporting youth conservation projects by providing free busing.

Meanwhile, 2015 saw 39 km of roadside seeding.

Club president Ben Wiersema and Blair Beadow spent a couple of days seeding the Turtle Road, Trout Road, Start Road, Garner Road, and Bearpaw Road.

The club realized $1,429 from this effort but the 2016 seeding project remains questionable.

Last spring, the club held an authorization to transport firearms course.

We had about a dozen people take the course, with everyone doing well (all passed).

Due to changes in firearms legislation, the club made it mandatory for anyone using a handgun on the range to take the handgun safety course.

If someone moves here and can provide proof of taking the course at their home club, they must demonstrate to our instructors their proficiency before being allowed to use the range.

This is the same policy as in Kenora, Dryden, and Sioux Lookout.

The ranges were inspected and approved. First-aid kits have been positioned on each of our ranges and some upgrades have been done.

Signs have been repainted, and the berms were cleaned off and built up on the rifle range.

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