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Get back to nature with North Durham Nature


COURTNEY McCLURE The Standard


NORTH DURHAM: Are you interested in nature and helping the environment but aren’t sure where to start? North Durham Nature (NDN) can help you find your starting point.

It is a fairly “new” organization within North Durham region. It was created just over a decade ago in 2013. A group of nature-lovers came together and decided they wanted to share their knowledge and enjoyment of nature with North Durham.

They host monthly meetings, in which they usually watch presentations and talk about various environmental issues and what NDN can do on a local scale. The meetings alternate between Port Perry and Uxbridge.

When the meetings are hosted in Scugog Township, you can find the NDN at the Scugog Memorial Public Library. If the meeting is in Uxbridge, they gather at the Uxbridge Senior Center.

James Kamstra, the current president of NDN, was one of the first guest speakers to attend an NDN meeting and give a presentation.

For the first few years of NDN’s establishment, Mr. Kamstra wasn’t involved with them. However, he has been involved with other environmental organizations in Pickering and Oshawa.

There are many projects NDN has been working on, within the past year. Members focus on projects such as the Uxbridge Community Nest Box program and invasive plant management.

The Nest Box program are boxes with sticks and twigs or items birds may use to build a nest included in them. 

This program was created to help local bluebirds, as this species is currently “in trouble”, according to Mr. Kamstra, and has proven to help bluebirds.

NDN also host tree planting events at the Countryside Preserve hiking trail, in Uxbridge.

A very large part of the NDN is their hikes, usually 12 or 15 people show up for these opportunities. The members try to lead a hike every month, within North Durham.

Sometimes, the NDN has feature themes for these hikes. For example, in the autumn they do a “mushroom” hike and in the spring a “flower” hike. Usually the hikes occur in local forests and trails in North Durham.

Although the hikes are advertised to the public, know one needs to be a member of the NDN to join the hikes. Everyone is welcome to join.

According to Mr. Kamstra, a large issue for some environmental clubs is the declining memberships. While this is currently not an issue for NDN, they have approximately 200 members, it may be for some other local clubs.

Many naturalist clubs like NDN are “under the umbrella” of Ontario Nature. Ontario Nature writes letters to politicians about environmental concerns.

Supporting Ontario Nature, whether it is through financial donations or spreading the word about their existence, helps NDN and other local environmental clubs.

Getting involved in the projects organized by NDN is a great way to learn about the environment and help your community.

For more information about NDN, such as meeting times and membership information, please visit their website, at northdurhamnature.com.

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