About the Hamilton Naturalists' Club
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club is a non-profit organization with over 500 members dedicated to the study, appreciation and conservation of our wild plants and animals.
The Club traces its history to the founding of the Hamilton Bird Protection Society in 1919. Our early achievements include the designation of Cootes Paradise as a nature reserve in 1927, and the organization of 34,000 children in Junior Audubon Clubs across Canada during the 1930's. We celebrated our 85th anniversary in 2004.
... and the mammals, turtles, frogs, trees, wildflowers, fish, butterflies, salamanders and other living things!
A Human Voice for Our Wildlife and Natural Areas
Our goals are:
• to promote the enjoyment of nature through environmental appreciation and conservation
• to foster public interest and education in the appreciation and study of nature
• to encourage the conservation of natural resources and environmental protection
From September to May, the Club presents monthly talks and slide presentations on all aspects of natural history. Guest speakers present scientific research and elaborate on topics from weather forecasting to international nature experiences to environmental issues. View current programme. Visitors are always welcome.
Walks led by knowledgeable club members are held throughout the year in local nature areas. During summer these are weekly events, supplemented by trips to other parts of the province. View current list of Field Events. These events are open to visitors and children are always welcome.
Bird Records and Meetings
Members have maintained detailed records of bird species for decades, providing an invaluable barometer of changes in the local environment. A monthly Bird Study Group meeting includes slide presentations, identification workshops, guest speakers and shared experiences. Annual bird counts are conducted and a "bird hotline" is maintained which receives and reports on recents sightings of birds in the area. Club projects have included raising and releasing Bald Eagles and an annual Falconwatch to monitor nesting Peregrine Falcons in downtown Hamilton during the critical fledging period.
The club is a very active and respected advocate for wildlife, natural areas, and the protection of the environment. Our Conservation/Education Study Committee examines and comments on local land use planning and environmental issues affecting the community. It plays an active role in the cleanup of Hamilton Harbour and the protection and restoration of other local natural areas. The Committee also coordinates efforts to educate children and the general public about biodiversity and the protection and enhancement of wildlife habitat.
Head-of-the-Lake Land Trust
In 1962, the Club became the first volunteer organization in Ontario to purchase significant areas as nature sanctuaries. The Club currently owns several Nature Sanctuaries including two rare Carolinian forest habitats and has also contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to assist Conservation Authorities and others to protect important natural areas in Ontario.
Jointly with the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Club maintains a Junior Naturalists' Club for children aged 5 to 12. Their monthly program features hands-on nature activities.
Members receive the Wood Duck, an informative collection of articles of scientific interest, local natural history, bird sightings, environmental and conservation news, and Club activities.
Natural Areas Inventory
The HNC has organized and led a number of studies of natural areas in Hamilton. Professional biologists documented the plants, animals, birds, butterflies, fish, and other species. These watershed summaries, reports, and databases are the authoritative guides to significant natural areas, providing direction to land-use decision-makers, scientists, and students of nature. In 2006, the HNC collaborated with other clubs, municipalities and agencies to complete the two volume Halton Natural Areas Inventory. Copies are available for purchase. See Natural Areas Inventory.
Birds of Hamilton
In 2006, Robert Curry and and the HNC published the Birds of Hamilton and Surrounding Areas. With the help of Club members and today’s foremost artists, photographers and birders, Curry’s landmark book traces the history of the birds and birders in the Hamilton Study Area from pre-historic times to the present day, including the challenges of the future.
Atlas of Hamilton Mammals
This full colour atlas by Kara Vlasman covers the 45 species of mammals occurring in the area, plus 8 more that are considered extirpated. Each account includes a photo, map with historical changes, distinguishing characteristics and behavior. This well-researched book is a significant addition to a naturalist’s library.Further details.
A number of other publications are available through the HNC including Pocket Nature Guides, posters, checklists, natural areas inventories, and Naturally Hamilton!, a monthly guide to nature and conservation. View Naturally Hamilton!, our on-line guide to the green spaces of the Hamilton area.
Contribute to a Lasting Natural Endowment
A 1999 bequest from the Townson family allowed the Club to establish several endowment funds at the Hamilton Community Foundation. Contributions to these funds help support ecological research, the purchase and preservation of wildlife habitat, and various conservation and nature education projects. You can make donations to these funds in a variety of ways. For more information please call (905) 381-0329.