|The Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club
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. Many OFNC members may be unaware of what the committee does; therefore regular online updates will provide information about issues on which the committee is currently working (see box at right). Here, we'll take a brief look back at the history of the committee.
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, OFNC supports conservation efforts on a broader scale through affiliation with organizations such as the Federation of Ontario Naturalists and Canadian Nature Federation.