huronfringefest

One of Canada's Premier Birding and Nature Festivals

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FROM FOOTBALL TO BIRDING

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 Anyone familiar with his Sparrow Workshops has experienced Fred Jazvac and his love for learning. Sparrows presented him with a problem-solving situation. Who were these little brown creatures and how to identify them? Given his background, it wasn’t long before he had most of the answers. And that quest for knowledge grew from a passion that, initially, had little to do with birds.

Photo courtesy Jim Punnet.

Photo courtesy Jim Punnet.

In reality, Fred Jazvac wouldn’t be the birder he is today if it weren’t for football. Looking back over his career, though, it’s easy to see how he carries the disciplines of coaching and teaching into his passion for birds.

True, the seeds of his love for the outdoors were planted early. As a young boy he says he, “rambled a lot, getting lost in nature.” He and his friends would be dropped off around the Grand River where they camped. At 16 he got his first pair of binoculars and that started a life-long interest in birds.

But before birding his passion was football, to which he owes his education and successful career as a lauded coach, teacher and much-awarded contributor to the community.

Football fever hit him in grade nine while playing for the Delta Secondary School ‘Red Raiders’. When he realized that the only way to continue was to keep his grades up, he buckled down. At the end of his high school career, he was asked to play for the McMaster Marauders. The Dean realized that his ability more than made up for his lack of academic entrance requirements and the door was opened.

While with the Marauders, Fred often followed his teammates to the library. With nothing to do there, he discovered studying. That year he also made a career decision: he wanted to be a football coach and to do that he would become a teacher. By the time he was done, he earned a B.A. and a B.P.E. from McMaster and a Master of Science in Education from Niagara University.

Fred coached football while teaching at Central, Delta, H.C.I., and Westdale.  He was head of physical education at H.C.I. and Westdale. Along the way he also coached touch football, wrestling, field events in track, and girls’ basketball — the latter because his twin daughters played at Westmount. In all Fred coached high school sports for thirty-seven years.

His Delta teams, for a time, were the most successful of any school in Hamilton. They made the playoffs almost every year. In 1972, he coached the Hamilton Hurricanes to a Canadian Junior Football championship, the only junior team from the Hamilton area to win that event.

Head Coach Fred Jazvac and the winning Hamilton Hurricanes in Saskatoon Saskatchewan, 1972. Hamilton Spectator photo.

Head Coach Fred Jazvac and the winning Hamilton Hurricanes in Saskatoon Saskatchewan, 1972. Hamilton Spectator photo.

When asked to be the head coach of Mount Allison University he said no. Fred had discovered that coaching was teaching, and he was happier as a teacher coaching high school football.

For Fred, the transition from coaching and teaching to birding was never a big leap. His interest in birds and nature was always there. And it grew stronger during his final five years of teaching. Those days, he and his friends would spend a weekend a year in Point Pele.

“These guys showed me what birders really do. We were up in the dark and ready. It was an intense time. We always got over 150 birds. They knew where to go, where to look, who should be there and who was coming through,” says Fred. “It was problem solving, thinking in patterns, the same as preparing for a game. Learn as much as you can and react accordingly.” Sound familiar?

Today, Fred is coaching and teaching on the bird hikes he leads and the presentations he gives for the Owen Sound Field Naturalists where he served as Vice-President, President and Past President for 6 years, the Huron Fringe Birding Festival where he’s been a committee member for about 13 years and the Bruce Birding Club which he organized.

Besides birds and football Fred is also an educational innovator, a cyclist, a naturalist, a gardener, a writer and a lover of opera. He still loves to teach and that’s the direction he likes to take with his birding. To him birding is problem solving and a social activity. The festival and the BBC are where his most of his friends are. Unlike football, “in this kind of sport,” he says, “there are only winners.”

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Fred Jazvac – IDENTIFYING HAWKS IN FLIGHT – A10 – 7:15 PM – Friday, May 23.

Improve your raptor identification skills by sorting through shapes, sizes, structures and behaviour of the flying predators we see above.  (Indoors – Limit 60)

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http://www.friendsofmacgregor.org 

 Email: birdfest@rogers.com

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HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL

MAY 23 to MAY 26 – MAY 29 tor JUNE 1 -2014

MCGREGOR POINT PROVINCIAL PARK, PORT ELGIN

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HFBF CONGRATULATES PETER MIDDLETON

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Peter7

As a naturalist, outdoor educator and a man with a true passion for birds, Peter Middleton has spent a lifetime in the field…literally. During that time he has always stressed the importance of teaching younger generations the value of the natural world around them. For Peter, outdoor education is a practical extension of what is learned in the classroom.

As proof of this lifelong commitment, his achievements were recently acknowledged with the Latornell Environmental Leadership Award. Peter was one of five recipients recognized for their profound impact on conservation in Ontario.

The Huron Fringe Birding Festival couldn’t be happier for Peter. Over the years he has been one of our key presenters and leaders and a keynote speaker at our Festival Banquet.

And this year, you can experience Peter’s outdoor expertise directly as he is back at HFBF on two dates.

On Friday, May 23, he’ll be your personal guide to Rock Stars of the City – as he introduces you to the over 50 fern species found in Grey/Bruce and in and around Owen Sound.

On Sunday, May 25, Peter will show you The Hidden Treasures of the Huron Coast as you explore Lake Huron coastlines, both present and past, north of Sauble Falls and you’ll visit Petrel Point, Ontario’s oldest reserves and the newest, Sauble Dunes.

So note those dates and plan to spend some quality outdoor time with our award-winning leader, Peter Middleton.

Peter Middleton is a retired outdoor education teacher and principal. He has guided groups, to many areas of the globe, to observe birds, animals and plants, and interpret natural environments. Throughout his life, Peter has had an overarching interest in birds. His passion for birds began as a young boy in northeast Scotland, and continued to develop in Canada when his family immigrated in 1952. He is a respected field ornithologist who, over the years, has contributed to many projects including the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, North America Breeding Bird Surveys, Grey-Bruce Records Committee and Endangered Species Recovery Programs. He was a leader for the endangered Piping Plover Protection Project at Sauble Beach.  He served as President of the Owen Sound Field Naturalists and has been a member of OSFN since its inception in 1989. In his spare time he serves as a Director on the Board of the Bluewater Association for Lifelong Learning (BALL) and on the Board of Ontario Nature.

Peter with his Latornell Award

Peter with his Latornell Award

HFBF SCHEDULE OF EVENTS AVAILABLE FOR VIEWING, JANUARY 15, 2014

ON-LINE REGISTRATION BEGINS FEBRUARY 1, 2014

 http://friendsofmacgregor.org/page/schedule-of-events

 Email: birdfest@rogers.com

 “Like” us on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Friends-of-MacGregor-Point-Park/101912730956

Follow HFBF on Twitter: https://twitter.com/fompp

 

HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL

MAY 23 to MAY 26 – MAY 29 tor JUNE 1 -2014

MCGREGOR POINT PROVINCIAL PARK

PORT ELGIN, ONTARIO

Mary Rapati named the first Norah Toth Award Winner

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SnapspeedPerhaps the selfless giving of her time is embedded in the DNA of Mary Rapati.

She was, after all, a Candy Striper at the age of 14. Maybe the seeds of her enthusiasm for volunteering were planted then.

Today, thankfully, her penchant for giving freely of her talent, for getting involved, has contributed to the mutual benefit of the Huron Fringe Birding Festival (HFBF), the Bruce Birding Club and the Friends of MacGregor Point Park, to name a few.

Though, when you talk to her about her volunteering, as Fred Jazvec did recently, she humbly deflects all her accomplishments by simply saying, “You know it takes a large group to run something…”

True, but Mary has always been a catalyst. And because The Norah Toth Award is presented to the individual who has made a significant difference to the Huron Fringe Birding Festival or other local nature activities then its obvious that Mary should be its first recipient.

Originally from Alberta, Mary moved to Port Elgin with her husband, by way of Peterborough, in 1989. Some time around 1998, when the HFBF was in its infancy, Mary came along prepared to work hard for something she loved and believed in. At that time there was no pre-registration, no big committees, no brochure and nothing on-line. Obviously Mary liked the challenge because she made-ready a brochure, picked up mail daily, suggested alternative events, organized hand-written hike lists, sent out confirmation letters and handled conflicts by phone. She worked tirelessly on all aspects of the Festival from suggesting and writing nametags and distributing brochures to introducing the idea of Liability Insurance, Risk Management Procedures and Co-Coordinator Manuals.

Nothing escaped her attention. She initiated improved signage in the Park to help direct people. She was there in the dark to welcome and hand out registration packages to 6:00 AM hikers.

But Mary wasn’t alone in her dedication to the Festival. While always working along with other volunteers she also made her involvement a family affair. Her husband Tony designed a computer system for better organization of Festival people and events. Her son worked on the early website for the Friends of MacGregor Point Park. And her three children worked for the Park during the summer.

Her volunteerism went beyond the Festival as she kept birding records for HFBF, the Bruce County Bird Finding Club, the Bruce Birding Club and birding author Mick Pickup.

Mary led the committee that ran the Circle of Friends Workshop hosted by the Friends of Macgregor Point Park. The Workshop involved co-operating associations with provincial, national or municipal parks, museums and historic sites, members of groups involved in preserving the natural and cultural history of Ontario and park staff and site staff who would like to know more about setting up and maintaining a partnership with co-operating associations.

It was no small task. The agenda offered 10 courses over three days. The conference reflected the typical Rapati enthusiasm through the brochure, dinner by a renowned chef, fund raising, silent auction and Justin Trudeau as the keynote speaker. She asked for funds from Bruce Power so that students from Kincardine to Owen Sound could experience his presentation.

Mary Rapati and friend.

Mary Rapati and friend.

It was a successful event because, as Mary said, “I got to hug Justin Trudeau.”

If all of the above isn’t enough Mary and her husband are considered butterfly experts. They were, for a time, the only Canadians to identify the rare Cherry Gull Azure. Up until then it was thought to only exist in New England, but they found it in Bruce County and again at MacGregor and Inverhuron Parks. They then went on to find it in other provinces across Canada.

Twice a week for 6 years they went butterfly hunting, almost overwhelming the Lepidoptera Society with their records. The society puts out a Butterfly Atlas every year and the Rapati’s are acknowledged as contributors.

From 2000 to 2007, they ran a Butterfly Count sponsored by MacGregor Point Provincial Park, training enthusiasts, providing slides and giving them resources to work with. Their Bruce County Butterfly lists are now included in all HFBF registration packages, and can be printed off the website of the Owen Sound Field Naturalists. They started the Annual Butterfly Count for the Bruce Peninsula National Park. Mary and Tony have made Butterfly presentations all over the province to Naturalist Groups and especially to Horticultural Societies who want to know what plants attract which species. Both are qualified to band Monarch Butterflies as two of only 25 people in Ontario.

Enthusiasm, involvement, determination, commitment the adjectives describing the quality of Mary’s attitude towards volunteerism could fill pages. Needless to say we are pleased to recognize Mary Rapati as the first winner of the new Norah Toth Award.

 (With notes from an interview by Fred Jazvec)

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 HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL ON-LINE REGISTRATION 

 http://friendsofmacgregor.org/page/schedule-of-events

Some events are already full

HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL, 2013

MAY 24 to MAY 27 – MAY 30 tor JUNE 2

MCGREGOR POINT PROVINCIAL PARK

PORT ELGIN, ONTARIO

 

 

THE PETER MIDDLETON PRESENTATION

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On the 25th of May, at 4:30 PM, the Huron Fringe Birding Festival Banquet begins at St. Joseph’s Parish Hall in Port Elgin. The highlight of the evening will be a presentation by Peter Middleton as he shares stories of his time as an ecotourism guide. Here, in his own words, is a brief snapshot of his sure to be humorous and intriguing presentation.

 

WHY DO GULLS LIKE TO SIT ON WHITE ROCKS?

By Peter Middleton

PeterWhen one ventures into the field, it is always with a sense of anticipation and discovery. No two days are alike and the wonders of a living planet unfold in remarkable and unpredictable fashion. Daily experiences build over the years into a remarkable range of information and knowledge. The ability to share with others is one of the greatest joys for a naturalist – and one of the greatest sources of surprise.

As a wilderness and naturalist guide for most of my life, I have had the pleasure and challenge of dealing with situations, both profound and preposterous, provided by those with whom I travel and those who one must deal with (police, customs agents etc.) to ensure a trip goes as planned, or not. You cannot leave because you have not arrived!. Situations encountered become the source of great and often amusing stories: from participants going walkabout in Polar Bear country, to spending a night under the stars on an Antarctic ice sheet surrounded by a posse of Wedell seal that emerged from the icy waters and hauled out to join our group, obviously mistaking us for their own kind. From dealing with gun toting security forces, to amassing a credit card debit that my wife found to be excessive. There are many memories.

Becoming friends with the largest land carnivore in the world is not a highly recommended activity at any time, but was the apparent desire of one of my trip participants, who rambled off into the arctic expanse one day without telling anyone. This wish caused her leader some considerable concern when a young male Polar Bear decided to visit. Fortunately the experience did not end up as a shared meal experience! She survived and to this day, I am sure, does not understand the concerns expressed about her behavior. She had paid good money to come and see Polar Bears! And then there was the Arctic Wolf! These and other tales will be the basis of my presentation and will take us from the two Polar Regions to Africa, Amazonia, India and other locations around the globe. The talk will be illustrated with images taken on my trips. I may even answer the question of why gulls sit on white rocks, but only for those who attend.

 

Peter7Peter Middleton is a retired outdoor education teacher and principal. He has guided groups, to many areas of the globe, to observe birds, animals and plants, and interpret natural environments. Throughout his life, Peter has had an overarching interest in birds. His passion for birds began as a young boy in northeast Scotland, and continued to develop in Canada when his family immigrated in 1952. He is a respected field ornithologist who, over the years, has contributed to many projects including the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, North America Breeding Bird Surveys, Grey-Bruce Records Committee and Endangered Species Recovery Programs. He served as president of the Owen Sound Field Naturalists.

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The Huron Fringe Birding Festival runs from May 24 to June 2, 2013. Full program is now available at www.friendsofmacgregor.org