One of Canada's Premier Birding and Nature Festivals

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On our first day of registration we received 34 bookings in the first 30 minutes.

By the end of the day 117 had signed up not wanting to miss securing their favourite events and leaders. Seven events were fully booked on day one.

Barely a full week later and we’ve logged 166 registrations and 13 Sold Out events.

This puts us way ahead of our last two years and suggests that registrations will continue to fill up fast. So, if you are biding your time thinking you’ll take care of registration later…you might want to take another look at our list of hikes on http// and make some decisions…now.

Judith on a recen wintery Bruce Birding club outing.

Judith on a recen wintery Bruce Birding Club outing. If there are birds out there Judith can find them…in any weather.

Some of you may not want to miss Judith King’s two excellent birding hikes…excellent because Judith brings a lifelong interest in birds to her outings. She has taken personal trips throughout Canada, the United States and New Zealand searching out new and different birds and habitats. She has participated in bird atlasing in many Provinces and States across North America. Judith is a regular trip leader with the Bruce Birding Club. Her knowledge of the local area makes her a favourite leader during the birding festival.

Judith’s event, LOVING LAGOONS IN LOWER BRUCE (A2), takes you exploring the Ripley and Kincardine lagoons. Then you’ll continue up the shore of Lake Huron. The emphasis will be on warblers, with as many as 20 species possible at the lagoons. Pockets of migrating warblers may be found along the shore. There are 8 spots left on this event, at this posting, so register soon.

Or you can register for her BRANT TRACT, PAISLEY & BLIND LINE (A38) event which has you exploring the Brant Tract with its mixed woods and streams. You’ll travel along an old road to the bottom of the valley. Paisley will showcase bird feeders and several species of swallows. The Blind Line parallels the Saugeen River and passes through fields and mixed forest. Judith will help you find Grasshopper Sparrows, Clay-coloured Sparrows, Cliff Swallows, Bobolinks and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers. Only 6 spots remain on this event, at this posting, so don’t miss out.

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Recently Norah Toth sent the following email to Bette Jean (BJ) Martin.

“I’m pleased to let you know that your name has been selected for the Norah Toth Award, which will be presented at the Huron Fringe Birding Festival banquet on May 24, 2014. BJ, The Norah Toth Award recognizes people who have contributed to the Festival in a way that makes a difference. Your contributions to the registration process are unparalleled. You have also become a valued asset to our program and organizing committees. Your concern for customer service from the beginning of the process to on site at the registration tent is exemplary. Thank you”

BJ005 BJ’s first reaction to the news was:

“Oh my goodness…when did they do that?”

Closely followed by her second reaction:

“This is overwhelming!”

Norah went on to explain the Award Committee’s decision.

“The Huron Fringe Birding Festival has grown from a one-day event where people just “showed up” hoping for room on events, to eight days of events within a 14-day period than now requires a pre-registration process. This transition would never have been possible without the commitment for excellence and customer service demonstrated by Bette Jean (BJ) Martin.

As Mary Rapati retired from her duties with the Festival, BJ moved in. For a couple of years she worked with paper registration – the final year for this involved learning how to develop a fillable form. With determination, she did it! However, this involved a lot of volunteer time, BJ’s time; and she was still working full-time as an audiologist at the Kitchener hospital and had children at home.

A stickler for detail and with a desire to develop a system that would make life less hectic, BJ worked with the Friends of MacGregor internet provider to create the automated registration program that we use today.


BJ – A happy and surprised Norah Toth Award Winner.

Many people will know BJ as the person on the other end of the phone answering questions about the program or registration process. She has also been one of the common denominators at the registration desk, where, in recent years, she has committed many hours to being there before you arrive for your day to ensure that each registrant has a positive Festival experience.

Left to right:at the Registration Tent: Anne Cathrae, BJ herself.  a registrant, Carole Lupton, NOrma Nanni

Left to right at the Registration Tent in MacGregor: Anne Cathrae, BJ herself. a registrant, Carole Lupton, Norma Nanni

More recently, BJ has accepted the challenge of helping with the program committee where she has followed up on guest leader recommendations.

Several years ago she even shared her profession by talking about hearing loss and birding; a topic many of us find challenging as we get older.

It is with pride and thanks that the Norah Toth Award will be presented to BJ Martin at the Festival Banquet (A23) on May 24, 2014.”

Thanks to husband Doug for the photographs.




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