General Meeting – June 28, 2018

Birdwatching – Gary Cartiledge

is a life long birder and former new product and marketing manager for Armstrong Milling manufacturer of Feather Treat, Royal Jubilee and Scotts Wild Bird Seed. He is now General Manager of Minor Bros Country Living stores.

Come and learn how to attract more colourful and interesting native and migratory birds with specific blends, feeders and suets.

Birding can be fun, rewarding and inexpensive. Learn how to change with the seasons and minimize nuisance birds.

General Meeting – May 24, 2018

May 24, 2018
Marijuana in the Niagara Region – Alan Unwin, Associate Dean, Niagara College

Alan worked as an environmental consultant for numerous years before joining Niagara College in 1995 as a full time faculty member.  Alan has extensive international experience in Argentina, Ecuador, India, Sri Lanka, Jordan and Thailand.  In September of 2011, Alan became the Associate Dean for the School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies.

Alan is also the current Chair of the Society of Ecological Restoration (SER) – a non-profit organization based out of Washington D.C.  Alan has twice served as Chair of the organizations world conferences. In 2001 the conference was held in Niagara Falls, Canada and focused on restoration across borders and was largely a binational effort in collaboration with US EPA’s great lakes office and the International Joint Commission.  In 2013, Alan chaired the organization’s 25th anniversary world conference in Madison Wisconsin which attracted over 1500 attendees from over 60 countries worldwide.

In August of 2015 Alan became Chair of this influential organization – the third Canadian to have ever held this post.  SER continues to be very influential in regards to global restoration efforts assisting and implementing restoration policy through its collaboration with international bodies such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.  Alan also serves on the editorial board of the Ecological Restoration Journal – published out of Rutgers University.  In December of 2017 at the 13th COP of the United Nations Convention for Biological Diversity, Alan was a panelist and presenter as part of the Rio pavilion’s focus on forest and landscape restoration along with other panelists from around the world.  Parties to the Convention (194 signatory countries) during the 13th COP of the UNCBD adopted a short term action plan on ecosystem restoration that was focused on achieving a world target of restoring 15% of degraded land globally by the year 2020.  This document was co-authored by SER in conjunction with the Secretariat of the UNCBD and the United Nations Convention for Combating Desertification (UNCCD).

General Meeting – April 26, 2018

April 26, 2018

Beekeeping – Paul Lewis

  Paul Lewis, of Fairfax Farm, Fort Erie will present an illustrated talk. What is a honeybee? Hear about the honeybee’s important purpose and unique role in our world and about how Fairfax Farm manages their bees.

Paul has been beekeeping for eight years, keeping his beehives on his 15 acre property in Sherkston near Crystal Beach. He is a retired police sergeant from the Niagara Regional Police Service, and is now able to spend his time beekeeping in addition to his many other hobbies. His beekeeping doctrine is to maintain “treatment free” bees, a term used to indicate that chemicals and miticides are not used to sustain otherwise weak colonies, instead of trying to use natural methods to allow the bees to remain healthy. Paul is also active in distributing “hive traps” around the region to capture feral swarms of honey bees to add to his numbers by drawing from surviving colonies in the wild.

General Meeting – March 22, 2018

Hidden Corners: Niagara Region – Owen Bjorgan

Owen lives in Niagara On The Lake and has hosted exchange students at his home through Rotary. He went to Australia for the 1 year exchange program after high school and fell in love with the trifecta of photography, adventure, and public speaking. Owen started a non-profit organization called “Biophilic World” during his 1st year at the University of Guelph. This organization involves getting the community into our natural areas while learning about or cleaning up the environment. Several independent side projects evolved under Biophilic World, including solo hiking Ontario’s 885 km Bruce Trail for 37 days. This trip raised $27,000 for local charities and was recognized by Stephen Harper, David Suzuki, and a Paul Harris Fellow award. He has been an official Ted Talk speaker on the concept of “Living in a Biophilic World”.  Owen’s presentation will explore the “Hidden Corners of the Niagara Region”.

Owen graduated from the University of Guelph with a BSc. in Biodiversity, and has released 2, and soon 3, independent nature documentaries called “Hidden Corners”, including work in Niagara, Ecuador, and Florida.
He remains actively involved in local environmental issues by speaking at council and public venues, including the protection of the Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls, and spends his spare time in the great outdoors with friends and family; he enjoys craft beer and playing ping pong.

General Meeting – February 22, 2018

General Meeting – February 22, 2018

Adam Shoalts – Named one of the greatest living explorers and declared “Canada’s Indiana Jones” by the Toronto Star, Pelham native Adam Shoalts is a professional adventurer, explorer, Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and author of the #1 national best-seller Alone Against the North and A History of Canada in 10 Maps. He recently completed a nearly 4,000 km solo journey across Canada’s Arctic.”
His wilderness skills are balanced by his academic background. He graduated at the top of his class from Brock University with an Honours B.A, and holds a Master’s degree in history from McMaster University. He has done archaeology in four countries and is currently finishing his Ph.D. at McMaster University, combining his interest in geography, archaeology, anthropology, and history.

General Meeting- January 25, 2018

January 25, 2018
Travel Tips and Hidden Gems – Lois Sarkisian

For the presentation on Thursday, January 25th, Lois will talk about travelling our great world from Ontario to the South Pacific: the hot spots, hidden gems, how to save money when choosing destinations, and travel tips to make the trip more enjoyable and stress free. Also, she will make sure to have the latest information on CAA tours.

Lois Sarkisian is the Groups and Tours Manager with CAA Niagara. She
is a certified travel agent and has worked in CAA’s Niagara Falls, St Catharines and Thorold offices for over 35 years. Married over 35 years with three adult children, she is not a grandmother YET! Travel is her passion and she has visited every continent except Antarctica. She will provide an insight to travelling the world.

General Meeting – November 23, 2017

November 23, 2017

Fallen Warriors of Niagara and the New Memorial – Arden Phair

Arden Phair has been a volunteer with the Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial since 2013. He has been researching and writing about individual workers for newspaper articles and a forthcoming book.  He also does cemetery tours, gives public lectures, and mounts special exhibits.
He was the curator of the St Catharines Museum for 30 years and is now retired. He has studied Canal history for 40 years.

General Meeting – October 26, 2017

October 26, 2017
Nature Photography – Peter Ferguson

The focus of Peter Ferguson’s presentation will be  “Streets of Havana “.

Peter will share with us images that were taken last February on a trip to old Havana with his wife. Instead of the usual subjects of bears and moose, Peter concentrated on the old cars and buildings of this old world city.

Peter is currently living in Fonthill with his wife Lynda. He is the Competitions Director and President of the Welland Camera Club and has been an active member there for the past 9 years. He is a former member of the Niagara Falls Nature club and continues to photograph nature subjects whenever he has the opportunity.

General Meeting – September 28, 2017

September 28, 2017

Niagara Water Systems – Alan Veale

Alan grew up on a farm in British Columbia and has been married to Janet for 50 years.  They have three daughters and four granddaughters.
He earned his BASc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of British Columbia in 1955 and his Masters in City Planning from MIT (Michigan Institute of Technology) in 1962.

He has done  consulting work in planning in Halifax, Toronto and Hamilton and was the Commissioner of Planning for Niagara Region from 1974 to 1998 when he retired.

General Meeting – August 24, 2017

The artist (painter) – Robert Amirault


A self directed artist, Bob paints in a representational style and has been painting or involved with art related activities since his teen years. Many of Bob’s oil and watercolour paintings have been created on locations in various parts of rural Ontario, the Arctic, the Maritimes or other places on his travels outside of Canada. His larger paintings are created in his home studio working from his ‘Plein Air’ studies and reference materials gathered on his journeys.

After being elected to membership in the prestigious and historic Ontario Society of Artists, Bob exhibited in many of the societies annual juried exhibitions. He was an active member of the OSA in the early 1980’s attaining the position of vice-president.

In 1997, after his watercolour paintings were juried, he was invited to join the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colours. One of the many exhibitions he participated in was the International Watercolour Biennial, held in Mexico City in October 2000. One of his paintings hangs with the Society’s Diploma Collection in the Art Gallery of Peel, Ontario. He served on the executive committee for a number of years.

In 2005, Bob joined with five well-known Canadian artists and established Plein Air Canada, an organization promoting painting out of doors…in the open air.

Bob was one of 25 artists who traveled in 2006 to Canada’s North West Passage to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its discovery.

Born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in 1938, Bob and his wife Mona recently moved and now reside in the Niagara Region of Ontario.