Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists
10 May 2014
This year our local naturalists club celebrated its 80th Anniversary, an auspicious achievement by any standards. As Vice-President of the club I was charged with the responsibility of planning and organizing a suitable celebration.
We were fortunate to be able to host our principal event at rare, a charitable foundation dedicated to conservation and environmental awareness, in Cambridge, a constituent part of the area covered by our club.
It seemed fitting to us to plant eight native trees, one for each decade of the club's existence and we invited local dignitaries, politicians from each level of government and other honoured guests to join us in our celebration.
A suitable plaque was installed to mark the event for posterity. The covering which drapes the sign was made by my wife, Miriam, with a suitable motif representing local birds and other aspects of nature.
But I'll give you a sneak preview of the inscription.
One of the quite wonderful features at rare is this amazing old slit barn, dating back to the 1880s, which, with minor work has been restored to its original glory. There are various interpretations of the function of a slit barn, but the one that seems the most plausible to me is that it was used for threshing and the slits enabled the dust to escape. The other suggestion is that the slits were used for rifles without exposing yourself to enemy fire, but since there were no significant hostilities of any kind in this area at the time the barn was built, it seems a little fanciful. The barn is entirely constructed from stone quarried locally and there are numerous fossils clearly visible in the walls.
One of the first local politicians to arrive was Ken Seiling the Chair of Waterloo Region (to explain the various levels of government we have here would require more space than I care to give it) and he is seen here with Graham Macdonald, President KWFN and myself.