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Nature enthusiasts to formalize club

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More than a dozen participants of a field naturalist group that first took shape here last spring plan to formalize a club at a public meeting slated Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Northwestern Health Unit.

The group hopes to develop a draft terms of reference, elect directors, and discuss future strategies, including the possibility of a restoration project for area walking trails.

The group already has four wilderness outings under its belt, and ideas on how to enhance the protection and conservation of the surrounding natural area.

Gord Earle of here spearheaded the club concept and said the response has been fantastic, attracting interest among people from across the district and with diverse backgrounds.

“I got 100 percent enthusiasm [from everybody],” said Earle, who sports a professional environmental background.

“We’ve got bird specialists, foresters, environmental specialists, educators, and people who are generally interested in natural history,” he added, noting others interested in joining the club were welcome.

The group has gone on the ski trail system off Hopkins Bay Road, a night sounds outing south of La Vallee, Sable Island on Lake of the Woods, and a canoe trip at Pinus Lake near Nestor Falls. Each trip documented sightings of area wildlife, birds, and plant species.

Al Lowe, another avid local naturalist, was in on the first organizational meeting last spring. He plans to stay involved with the club because of the potential for its staying power.

“It’s been a long time coming that’s for sure,” he stressed. “You could go as far as you want with [the club].

“Establishing trails is one of those possibilities,” he noted.

“I joined to meet like-minded individuals and for the education role of the club,” added Penny Shumaker, whose husband, Tom, also joined.

“I think the club is about education for ourselves and our communities, and it has a working role as well,” she reasoned.

Shumaker also hoped the club would evolve to include a children’s group down the road. “I would like to see it branch out and [become] a major role in educating children to enjoy their surroundings,” she said.

Earle said a junior naturalists club would be a future consideration.

Anyone interested in more information on the club can contact Earle at 274-3915.

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