We wrote in a previous blog (in June) about a local organization, Friendship Force Lake Simcoe (FFLS) that provides opportunities to explore and experience new countries and cultures. https://www.friendshipforce.org/clubs/lake-simcoe/. Their tagline is "a world of friends is a world of peace". They focus on promoting goodwill and understanding through home-stay journeys. As a member, you get a chance to visit the world staying in the homes of club friends, seeing their country through their eyes. You can host visitors to our country and show them this corner of the world. This is a world-based non-profit cultural organization founded by Wayne Smith and President Jimmy Carter in 1977.
On Saturday, November 20th about 40 people braved the outdoors to join FFLS for this outing and attend their official Christmas party at the Nature Centre. With snow on the ground it made it difficult to play croquet and horseshoes but participants had fun cooking their lunch over the open fire, meeting new people, reconnecting with friends and joining in with a sing along around the campfire.
Bob had this to say about the event:
This Friendship Force Lake Simcoe event was not only their Annual General Meeting for 2021 but also the group's Christmas Party for the year, a perfect location for a Christmas Party with lots of tall beautiful spruce trees looking like nature's Christmas trees decorated at the top by twinkling stars in the evening sky. The Nature Centre is a perfect location to hold your outdoor Christmas party this year with friends sharing warm drinks around the fire and stories and events of the past year, a perfect COVID Christmas Party outdoors with physical distancing keeping one moose length apart.
A group of about 20 people branched off and joined Bob, Master Naturalist and Vice-President of FFLS, on a one hour walk through the woods at the Nature Centre. Bob talked about mammal tracks, scat and other evident signs of animal presence; definitely moose, deer and bear!
New Trail at Nature Centre
Michael and I had created a new trail through the woods and during our walk with Bob and the group we found evidence of a moose or deer that had rubbed its antlers on the bark of a tree.
Bull moose and bucks (male deer) have antler velvet, a soft blood-rich tissue that covers growing antlers during the spring and summer. As testerone levels rise in the males, the antlers harden into bone and once fully developed the velvet begins to dry and shed. Bulls and bucks accelerate the shedding by rubbing their antlers on trees and raking them through brush. The rut season (breeding) usually runs from late October through to early December. This rubbing is also used for marking their territory, working off aggression, intimidating other males and preparing for a fight. It's a way for them to communicate their dominance and their breeding intentions.
Bob also shared his wealth of knowledge about the decideous and coniferous trees located along the edge of the Provincial Significant Wetlands and drew our attention to plant species that look nothing like their beauty during the summer months.
Tree used by bull moose. Rubbing
Queen Anne's Lace in the Fall
Friendship Force Lake Simcoe is a relatively new organization, established in July, 2019. Like all organizations and clubs it has been challenging for FFLS with travel restrictions coming into and out of the province. Now that travel in the province is beginning to open up, FFLS have Outbound and Inbound Journeys planned for 2022. To become a member and find out more information about the journeys you can contact Jon and Deb Wagner at email@example.com
We are open for the month of December and during the week between Christmas and New Years. Please send us an email if you would like to spend some time outdoors, go for a walk or snowshoe in the woods, depending on the weather, and sit around a campfire with family and friends. Let's get healthy together spending time outdoors and in nature.
Photo Credit: June Crinnion