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MPFN October Meeting

David Legros by Ken MacDonald, on Flickr
The October Meeting of the Midland-Penetanguishene Field Naturalists is less than 2 weeks away.

Thursday Sept. 19th, 2019, 7:30 PM
Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre in Midland.

Non-members and guests $5

Our guest speaker David Legros
"Wolves of Algonquin Park"

David LeGros describes himself as a herpetologist, naturalist, outdoor person and “Algonquinaut”. He has been a Park Naturalist in Algonquin for many years and also serves as the President of the Huntsville Nature Club. He has family roots in our area in the village of Lafontaine. With David we will discover what type of wolf is found in Algonquin Park, some of the latest results from research and why thousands of people come out to Public Wolf Howls.

David often organizes the very successful public wolf howls at the park. Here's an excerpt from a Toronto Star article by travel editor Jennifer Bain:

"If my kids have a formative memory of Family Day, it will be standing in the dark in Ontario’s most famous park, listening to naturalists howl like wolves and then holding their breaths to wait for the wolves to howl back.

They didn’t, but the anticipation is half the fun, right? Besides, Hazel is 8 and Charlie is 4 and consumed by the irrational fear that wolves might eat them.

That’s not likely with dozens of people lining a snowy path near the Mew Lake Campground for one of Algonquin Provincial Park’s famous public wolf howls.

“Most people that visit don’t see or hear a wolf,” admitted park naturalist David LeGros in a fireside talk before the howling expedition. “Wolves work co-operatively to hunt and prey on deer, moose and beavers. They don’t eat people, by the way.”

The occasion was the 6th annual Winter in the Wild festival. Free activities were spaced out along the Hwy. 60 corridor on the Saturday of Family Day Weekend, culminating in the wolf howl.

The park has long hosted late-summer howls, giving a talk at the Outdoor Theatre and then leading a parade of cars to a highway spot where a wolf pack was recently heard.

February’s howl is on foot. We chatted by the fire, learning how wolves were considered “public enemy No. 1” until the late 1950s, when a researcher started dragging around a record player and recorded howl to provoke a response. Park staff eventually figured out it was easier to mimic a howl.

More than 130 people unexpectedly showed up for the first “wolf hunt” in 1963 and a tradition was born. Almost 200,000 people have joined wolf howls since then. Each summer howl attracts up to 600 cars loaded with people.

“Wolves will howl to communicate with their family or their pack,” LeGros said. “We usually have a 70 per cent success rate with our howls.”

He led us in silence in the dark to an airfield and then howled a bunch of times, with help from colleague Tania Jermol, but not us, like I expected. We didn’t hear any replies, putting us on the 30 per cent side of the success/failure ratio, although LeGros was sure he heard one faint response.

“It’s still pretty exciting. It’s still pretty cool. It’s still a pretty special experience.”

It is all of those things."

We sometimes hear coyotes howling outside our meetings at the Marsh. Maybe we can try calling them after the talk.

Don't forget that MPFN Memberships all run on a September to August basis to coincide with our season so for most of you your renewal date was Sept. 1, 2019. So now is the time to renew and continue your support of our great little club. Membership Fees are still the same - Family $45, Adult $25, Under 30 Free!
You can renew your membership at this month's meeting or you can send your cheque to Midland-Penetanguishene Field Naturalists Club Box 393 Midland ON. L4R 4L1.


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