Monday, 25 November 2019

A successful "triple header" evening began with a report by our two local high school reps to the annual Ontario Nature Youth Council in Orillia, September, 2019. A productive summit meeting with over 100 youth from around the province and ours was the lone group from the NW.

Pictured are the two young environmental leaders, their parents and coordinator Jean Hall-Armstrong: From L to R: Dave Whitehead, father of Ella Whitehead (St. Ignatius), Jean Hall -Armstrong (senior science teacher at St. Ignatius), Simran Talpade (Superior C.V.I.) and parents. The club thanked them and wished them well going forward as stewards of nature.

Jesse McFadden, Masters candidate at LU (Biology) presented on her stewardship at the Pine Bay 1 TBFN Nature Reserve. Fine discussion Jesse!

Feature presentation was a review of three major projects involving bird conservation involving the club:

Pictured (L to R): Dr. Nick Escott (data analysis and trending on the TBFN Christmas Bird Count (CBC) along with Bill Greaves), Brian Ratcliff (on the history and success story of Project Peregrine), Al Harris (on Thunder Cape Bird Observatory banding results and analysis), and tonight's Chair Gerry Racey (TBFN meeting host). A comprehensive report much appreciated by all.



Monday, 28 October 2019

A comprehensive theme was presented on the topic of the TBFN Area of Interest: an Ecologic Perspective followed by reports from our TBFN representatives to the four  relevant Forest Management Unit Local Citizen's Committees (LCCs). 

Gerry Racey is pictured above, in stocking feet, on his massive geomap layout of the southern portion of the TBFN Area of Interest, giving a description of the diverse topography, how it came to be, and how it reflects life in the huge area involved.

The LCC reps from L to R: Rob Foster (Black Spruce Forest), Gerry Racey (Armstrong Forest), Peter Nicholas (Lakehead Forest) and Mac Squires (Dog River Mattawin Forest)


Monday, 23 September 2019

Veteran wildlife photographer Stephen Krasemann, (assignments with National Geographic and many others), presented excerpts from his extensive collection of colour transparencies to an enthusiastic audience. The crowd very much appreciated the high resolution, beautiful colour images no longer accessible digitally, nor in many cases in nature itself owing to the passage of time and changes in the world. 

There were stories and pictures of rare creatures and insight into the life of a photojournalist of over 30 years experience (and this evening's selections were obtained in the Americas only, with an occasional exception!). Another session in the future would be most welcomed.

Stephen is pictured after the event with President Bruce Thacker


Monday, April 29, 2019 

The club was rewarded with a double-header (actually a triple-header if Frank Barclay's primer on Pine Bay 1 Nature Reserve is added), with 2 fine presentations. The first entitled “Permafrost here!” was given by Saille Bishop-Legowski (Msc Geography, Carleton University). She included a complete overview of permafrost especially as it applies to Ouimet Canyon and Doghead Mountain at Ruby Lake PP including the physics, geography and talus monitoring evaluation by Sailee and colleagues. 

Melissa Davidson, Invasive Studies Intern at Ecosuperior and recent LU grad, followed with a comprehensive review of invasive plant species in Thunder Bay. The biology, impacts and the dominant species involved were outlined in detail. Also covered was how individuals could play a role in identifying locations and helping with eradication efforts.

These presentations were most enlightening, well presented and extremely helpful in gaining science knowledge about these important topics. The club is much indebted to both Saille and Melissa. Thank you!

From left to right: President Bruce Thacker, Saille, Melissa, and Programme Coordinator Gerry Racey.


Monday, March 25, 2019

A full house audience was treated to a fine presentation by entomologist Dr. Don Henne, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Resource Management at Lakehead University on "Forest Insects, Agents of Disturbance, Indicators of Health."

Don's CV covers many fields of Research and Teaching in entomology. Hailing originally from Winnipeg, with further studies in Louisiana, Texas, Maui, (Hawaii), we are fortunate he is now Thunder Bay.

The presentation was far ranging and after a comprehensive overview of the science, focused on the 3 major disturbance generating insects for the northern boreal in Canada: the Spruce Budworm, the Mountain Pine Beetle, and Forest Tent Caterpillar. Mechanisms and biology/ecology for all were detailed.

Reminding us that insects (diversity personified) are " the little things that run the world," (E.O.Wilson), Don went on to shock (many) in the audience on the subject "Where Have the Insects Gone?" Insect populations are plummeting rapidly around the world, astonishingly worrisome in the tropics (Costa Rica studies cited). The causation is multi-faceted and the turn around a huge dilemma.

The talk was much appreciated and we would be pleased to have Don return sometime soon for an update. 

Don Henne is pictured (right) with President Bruce Thacker


Monday, November 26, 2018

Club members Ken and Connie Hartviksen  spoke to a full house on their passion for preserving nature through the  medium of photography (they are very good at it), and in this day and age how to ensure all naturalists follow their example in an ethical way, along with  the obligation to instil this on others as well. This was a very timely and important topic. Of course there were many images to enjoy and respect and the strong message for ethics came through loud and clear.


St. Ignatius student Logan Rooney represented our club (and the great north west) at the recent Ontario Nature Youth Council Summit in Orillia. The experience was well worthwhile and Logan presented tonight on the activities and leadership goals obtained. He is already working on these back home. He is pictured (centre R), standing beside father Paul, brother Hudson (far L) and mother Sherry Vantaa-Rooney (centre L). On the far right is science teacher and TBFN member Jean Hall-Armstrong, who was the driving force in recruiting Logan. The club is indebted to all.

St. Ignatius student Logan Rooney and family

Monday, October 22, 2018

Lakehead University grad student Hanna Dorval is pictured with program Director Gerry Racey after her presentation on lichens: The Diversity of Lichen Communities in Thunder Bay's Ouimet Canyon and environs. She is holding a specimen of Diploschistes Muscorum (a saxicolous species) found on a piece of talus in the canyon. 

The comprehensive talk highlighted her research protocols and results as well as providing a fine overview of the biology of these important mutualistic organisms in our eco-system. The talk was well received by the appreciative audience (Hanna led a recent field trip on lichens to Chippewa ridge as well.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Doug Tate, Ecologist Team Leader with Parks Canada for the Lake Superior Natural Marine Conservation Area, presented a comprehensive review on the definition (of the NMCA), geography (1/8th the size of all of lake Superior!), mandate, and current multitude of activities of this important organization. Doug emphasized the numerous partnerships with other nature protection organizations (including TBFN) and within his elegant PowerPoint, showed a number of important arctic disjunct species within the NMCA. Introduced by Gerry Racey and thanked by President Bruce Thacker (pictured with Doug), the audience appreciated Doug's important work with the NMCA.

Monday, April 23. 2018

John Walas (shown below on the right with club president Bruce Thacker) gave a presentation on Attracting, and keeping Butterflies and Pollinators in your Garden to an attentive audience. John talked about the elements that are necessary to sustain the areas that are in our control, providing an oasis for our indigenous butterflies, bees, and many other pollinators that inhabit our natural areas. He provided the rationale, as well as practical methods, practices and tips that allows our personal gardens, and yards to be destinations, waystations, and refuges for these very important insects and pollinators.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Mike Friday, a fisheries biologist with northwestern Ontario’s Biodiversity and Monitoring Unit, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, delivered a presentation entitled Lake Sturgeon in the Kamistiquia River to a large and appreciative audience. Over the course of 18 years Mike has been studying  Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) in the lower Kaministiquia River. His talk included movement patterns, behaviour and life cycle requirements as well as management challenges faced by this ancient species living in the lower Kam. His talk presented a well rounded introduction to the species as well as specifics to this particular population from the perspective of an experienced researcher. Thank you, Mike!

 Mike Friday with a specimen of his favourite fish 

Sunday, 25 February, 2018

Annual Dinner Meeting-Current River Community Centre

Dr. Thomas Beery, resilience specialist from the University of Minnesota Sea Grant College Program, located in Duluth presented on the topic of Climate Change and Lake Superior. From current weather events to climate projections, what does climate change look like and feel like in northwestern Lake Superior? He combined the science of attribution, long-term climate modeling, and the everyday experiences of residents to illustrate the growing understanding of how climate change is affecting this area now and the effects that may be ahead. He gave examples of a no-regrets approach to climate adaptation that show what we can do today to make our lives better while also helping us prepare for future climate-related effects. He ended with the message that it’s important to remember that we can still have a positive effect on climate.

 Centre - Dr. Tom Beery

L to R - Bruce Thacker, Dr Tom Beery, Gerry Racey

Monday, November 27, 2017

The club was enlightened by a thorough presentation on Conservation Authorities 101, the work of the Lakehead Regional Conservation Authority. Co-presenting were Tammy Cook, Chief Administrative Officer and Ryan Mackett, Community Stewardship and Public Relations Officer. The talk covered the diverse activities of the LRCA including flood protection and watershed management (with relevant regs and legislation), conservation, education and stewardship activities. Ryan reviewed all of the current properties with good imaging et al. The partnership with TBFN is once again strong; we have common goals indeed...thanks to Tammy and Ryan for representing LRCA.

A second presentation (unfortunately no photo, but see February 2018 Newsletter) was a presentation by Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate & Vocational Institute students Aliya Demidovich and Sharran Sekhon, representing TB District at the annual Ontario Nature Youth Summit Conference at Couchiching Lake in September 2017. Their presentation very much corroborated the TBFN club's support for youth leadership in our common goals; they are already following up with environment action activities here and have joined the ON Youth Council. Also to be thanked was Mr. Doug Jones, their teacher/facilitator from the school.


Left to right: Bruce Thacker, Tammy Cook, and Ryan Mackett

Monday, October 23, 2017

As advertised, Gerry Racey, retired OMNRF, presented: If I Could Fly Like A Raven; A Birds-eye Portrait of Ontario’s Far North. This covered a large territory literally and figuratively. The aerial views were dramatic and the ecology of this amazing territory was brought to life by the accompanying discussion. The club thanks Gerry for a unique learning experience.

Gerry Racey 


Monday, September 25, 2017

The History and Practices of the Claude Garton Herbarium, and Future of the Herbarium in the 21st Century was presented by  Emma Lehmberg, Acting Curator, Claude Garton Herbarium and Lada Malek, Professor Emeritus, Biology Department, LU. - This spirited presentation put everyone up to date on the history and practice of this outstanding herbarium collection at Lakehead University.


Left to right: Gerry Racey, Lada Malek, Emma Lehmberg, Bruce Thacker

Monday, April 24, 2017


Neil Dawson (right) is pictured with fellow biologist and club program chair Gerry Racey (left) following his presentation on THE WOLVERINE-Ontario's Wilderness Weasel. The talk thoroughly covered all aspects of the biology, ecology, and even common misconceptions of the iconic ammal. The lively Q&A period was testament to the considerable interest emanating from Neil's talk. Many thanks, Neil.

Monday, March 27, 2017


Dr. Rob Mackereth (center), is pictured following his presentation on methyl mercury dynamics and the ramifications on fish and other populations. Connie Hartviksen thanked Dr. Mackereth and spoke of her concerns from the vantage point of the Dog River Mattawin forest, and club program director Gerry Racey introduced our guest to a packed house.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Annual Dinner Meeting-Current River Community Centre

Dr. Phil Fralick of Lakehead University presented to an appreciative audience of about 120 on the development of the world atmosphere in geologic time with correlation to rock formations in our area. He is pictured with TBFN President Bruce Thacker (left) and TBFN board member Sandy Barro, who thanked Dr Fralick and presented the print of Thunder Cape Bird Observatory shown here as a token of the club's appreciation. An enjoyable evening was had by all.

Monday, November 28, 2016


Dr. Len Hutchison is pictured with Dr. Linda Rintamaki following his presentation on Truffles and Truffle-Like Fungi entitled Life underground.

Monday, October 24, 2016


Four (count them!)presenters tonight: Gary Davies on Nature Conservancy of Canada, Mallory Vanier on Ontario Nature's Reptile and Amphibian Atlas, Anirudh Shahi on the ON Youth Summit and Council in Orillia, and Emily Kerton (Senior Scientist at Science North) on the Northern Nature Trading program (does not include the beauty she is holding): Science North in partnership with our host, Mary JL Black Library. 

Monday, Sept. 26, 2016

Kathy Sakamoto on The Impact of Sea Lamprey Control on the Ecosystem of the Black Sturgeon River and Dr. Ashley Thomson on the Species at Risk and Invasive Species Handbook of Resolute Forest Products 

Dr. Thomson (centre left) and Kathy Sakamoto (centre right) are pictured with Bruce Thacker and Connie Hartviksen (who thanked our guest speakers). Thanks to all.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Jim Bailey and Jean Hall-Armstrong -

Lake Superior North Shore Remedial Action Plan (RAPS) initiatives



 Jim Bailey (above) with an important topic for TBFN members.

Co-presenter Jean Hall-Armstrong (below), vitally interested in clean water, seen here in Alaskan paradise.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Christine Drake -

Pukaskwa National Park - A Wilderness Sustained on Lake Superior



Sunday, February 28, 2016 at Current River Community Centre

Annual Dinner Meeting with Deanna Ford -

Bird Collisions and the Fatal Light Awareness Program


David Legge with Deanna Ford

Monday, November 28, 2015

Dr.Stephen Hecnar - 

An Introduction to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Northwestern Ontario 


 Steve Hecnar (L) is thanked by Walt Kuch (R)


Monday, October 24, 2015

Greg Brumpton and Bill Addison- 

Meteor Showers: the Worst Day in Thunder Bay's History


Greg Brumpton (L) holding specimen and Bill Addison (R)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Dr. Allan Gilbert -

The history and activities of Thunder Cape Bird Observatory



 Allan taking a break from TCBO and birding with another beloved creature.