All OFNC activities – the excursions and meetings, the publications, the bird count, the Macoun Club, etc. – depend on the continued existence of a natural environment where the astonishing happenings we call “nature” can continue to happen. The Conservation Committee’s job is to be alert to human influences that are damaging to the natural environment and to advise OFNC members and the executive about what actions we can take, both as individuals and collectively.
About the Conservation Committee
The OFNC’s Conservation Committee has been in existence for 32 years. Today, it continues a long tradition of working for the preservation of natural environments in the Ottawa region and beyond.
In its early days, the Conservation Committee was known as the Research and Briefs Committee, with a mandate to coordinate and work on environmental issues. Over the years the committee has served as the “environmental watch dog of the Club”, taking seriously several objectives of the OFNC: “To promote the appreciation, preservation and conservation of Canada’s natural heritage” and “to support and co-operate with organizations engaged in preserving, maintaining or restoring environments of high quality for living things.”
In the early days of the committee, field trips were frequently undertaken to allow members to familiarize themselves with areas that were either threatened by development or had been proposed for a conservation status. Significant inventories of flora and fauna were compiled over the course of these visits which sometimes involved multiple trips to a site. This was the fun part of the committee’s work! Much of the work involved the preparation of numerous briefs, reports, and letters and attending frequent meetings: open houses, workshops, public meetings and the like.
Nothing has changed! Today’s committee continues the practice of gathering information pertaining to the various issues as they arise, including attending meetings and open houses, reading documentation, and preparing briefs and letters. Many of our members sit on outside committees serving as liaison between them and the OFNC. At present we have members linking us to the City of Ottawa Environmental Advisory Committee, the Greenspace Alliance, the Friends of Larose Forest, the Alfred Bog Committee, the Sierra Club of Canada, the City of Ottawa’s Urban Natural Areas Study, and the Friends of Petrie Island.
In addition to local issues, the OFNC supports conservation efforts on a broader scale through affiliation with organizations such as the Federation of Ontario Naturalists and Canadian Nature Federation.
Past conservation “campaigns”
The OFNC Conservation Committee is planning a series of annual “biothons” or “bioblitzes” at significant natural areas in the Ottawa region. This ambitious new initiative was launched at Constance Bay in 2014.