Although a relatively new club in Ontario, the Sydenham Field Naturalists has been a significant voice for nature for over 25 years. The first meeting was held in 1985 as the Wallaceburg and Area Nature Club. Sydenham Field Naturalists (SFN) became the official name in 1986 with Tom Chatterton as the first president. Our first annual general meeting and banquet was held in October of that same year with Jim Coyle as our guest speaker. The club became incorporated in 1987 with the registered charity status following in 1992. SFN is a member club of Ontario Nature, Nature Canada, Carolinian Canada Coalition and Tallgrass Ontario.
As the only naturalist group in Chatham-Kent, SFN is a vocal advocate for our natural heritage locally as well as at the provincial and federal levels. This has included a wide range of nature-related issues from industrial wind turbines to provincial park policy to species-at-risk. In the past and continuing today, SFN has partnered with and has a continuing working relationship with Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited, St. Clair Region Conservation Authority, Ministry of Natural Resources, Kent and Lambton Stewardship Councils, the Municipality of Chatham-Kent and Walpole Island First Nations.
Fundraising has been an important aspect of SFNs efforts. The Club has made numerous major donations to Nature Conservancy of Canada (Sinclairs Bush 1986, Clear Creek Forest, Bickford Oak Woods, Turin Pawpaw Woods, Port Franks Forested Dunes), Ontario Nature (Misery Bay Alvar Manitoulin Island), Essex County Field Naturalists (Stone Road Alvar Pelee Island), Walpole Island Land Trust (Prairie Dock Prairie) and Thames Talbot Land Trust (Tanager Tract).
Funds have also been directed to our own projects such as the purchase and restoration of Wallaceburg Sycamore Woods, the stewarding of Wallaceburg Pawpaw Woods and the creation of several tallgrass prairie sites.
SFN has sponsored the Wallaceburg/Walpole Christmas Bird Count since 1985. Our biannual newsletter has gradually been replaced by this present web site which now serves as our principal source of communication.
Sydenham Field Naturalists is proud of our efforts to date and hopes to be an important force for nature for many years to come.