Guided nature walk The Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club

Guidelines for participants on field trips


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The following guidelines were prepared by the Excursions & Lectures Committee and are intended to supplement the notes that introduce "Coming Events" in each issue of Trail & Landscape. They reflect common sense and experience and make field trips more enjoyable for all.

  1. READ the excursion announcement in Trail & Landscape and register if required, Make notes of the meeting place and be on time.

  2. BE PREPARED. If the trip notice calls for binoculars, insect repellent, lunch, etc., bring them. PROTECTION AGAINST INSECTS IS ESSENTIAL IF YOU WANT TO ENJOY THE TRIP, especially in May and June. A hat, long sleeves, gloves and a turned-up collar may help and if you depend on insect repellent, we recommend one containing DEET (in various concentrations). Especially sensitive persons may find a head net or 'bug jacket" useful.

  3. DRESS APPROPRIATELY. Always dress for comfort. Traditional sources of discomfort for beginners are unsuitable footwear and clothes that are too good for mud, snags and grass stains. Bush wear and comfortable hiking boots or shoes are best for nature rambles. For cold weather Spring and Fall trips, wear wool socks (with a spare pair) and hiking boots or water-proof winter boots. If the trip calls for wading in cold water, use rubber boots with insoles and wool socks. For Summer exploration of wetlands, wear canvas running shoes and bring a change of footwear for the trip home.

  4. COOPERATE with your leader(s). On a trail, stay behind the leader and let him/her set the pace and direction. Do not expect special treatment for you or your children; the leader is not a babysitter. INFORM THE LEADER if you wish to leave the Group for any reason.

  5. DO NOT TRAMPLE THE VEGETATION; it may not recover until the next season, if then.

  6. AVOID COLLECTING, PICKING AND DIGGING. Removing natural objects from the trail leaves it poorer for others. If your leader says that it is okay to collect specimens, move off the trail to take them but always ask permission if you are on private land. Collecting on NCC property, including the Greenbelt and Gatineau Park, is illegal without a permit.

  7. SAVE YOUR GARBAGE and dispose of it later. Apple cores are biodegradable but they make a trail unsightly.

  8. BE A RESPONSIBLE PHOTOGRAPHER. Be aware of the damage you may cause by altering the physical environment to improve your picture. The Editor of Trail & Landscape appreciates receiving black and white photographs taken on Club outings but not at the expense of the wildlife.

  9. DO NOT BROADCAST the location of rare or valuable flora and fauna.

  10. RESPECT ACCESS to private property; it may have been specially arranged for the trip. Do not assume that you have a right to go back without permission.

  11. DO NOT BRING PETS; they are neither appropriate nor welcome on field trips.

  12. DOUBLE UP IN CARS if possible usually at the meeting place. This saves fuel and makes it easier for the leader to keep track of people. Observe the normal etiquette for driving and parking if the "cavalcade" stops for an observation.

  13. USE COMMON SENSE. The trip could be spoiled for everyone if you are lost or injured.

  14. IS THIS OUTING REALLY FOR YOU? Don't go if you have doubts about your physical capacity to undertake the trip - it is unfair to others. Handicapped persons should bring a responsible companion if required. Inform the leader of your limitations before the trip starts.

  15. REFUND of a fee for a trip, when a cancellation is made within three days of the trip, will be made only in exceptional circumstances.

CHILDREN are welcome on field trips and are subject to the same rules as anyone else and should be with a responsible adult. Any special restrictions on activities should be explained to children before the trip begins. Children too young or too active to be reasonably quiet on a bird walk should be taken on other kinds of trips.

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This page was revised on 24 May 2013
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