~ May 2011 Edition
~ Contributing Editor: Carol Trischuk ~
Next meeting: June 1st at Timber Run Golf Club in Lanark
Member at Large
As everyone presumably knows by now, Probus Perth will be hosting Spring Fling in 2012. This is the event that brings together representatives from all 12 of the Eastern Ontario Probus Clubs for an annual meeting and luncheon. To the organizing committee, it is also an opportunity for us to showcase the Town and to give participants an appreciation for the undiscovered jewels that it offers. As our main communications tool we have put together a website to provide people with the information that might whet their appetites to come to Perth next year. Our contingent to this year's Spring Fling in Kingston went armed with a snippet from our website to encourage participants to go to it to get a flavour of what we have in store. Among other things they will find on our website an invitation, a program of activities, a blurb on the historic Code's Mill venue, maps, information on Perth and a hint of some extra-curricular activities they might enjoy. The information on Perth contains an excellent slide-show in video format created by Carol Trischuk, with pictures taken by partner Ernie. We recommend that you browse the new website to see what we have in mind. Go to www.probusperth.ca/springfling, or www.probusperth.ca and click on SpringFling 2012 on the left side.
Loons and Human Interaction........A Loon Talk
by Cliff Bennett and Howard Robinson article by Carol Trischuk
The wild and eerie cries of the loon introduced a list of many facts of loon life which fell into the “I didn’t know that!” category. For instance, a pair of loons needs up to 100 acres on a small lake to successfully raise their family; they need a quarter mile run-up to gain flight; and each can live as long as 30 years. Their streamlined bodies allow them to dive to depths of over 200 feet, but this same body shape, with legs set far back from their center of gravity, makes them awkward on land. Consequently they nest very close to the water in sheltered bays or on small islands. Loon chicks are in the water within eight hours of hatching, and will sometimes hitch a ride on their parents back if the water is too cold or if a predator threatens.
And predators do threaten. Natural predators like snapping turtles, large pike, eagles and gulls, and racoons all enjoy a loon chick for lunch. Humans are also intentional or unintentional predators. Apart from hunting and wanton harassment, humans affect the loon population through the litter they leave behind them – fishing line, lures or lead sinkers, through water contamination, effluents, and pesticides, and through shoreline changes or destruction.
To protect loons and other water wildlife, planning and conservation authorities must develop and maintain wetland preservation policies. These include curbing shoreline development, controlling water levels, and enforcing loon protection strategies. Individually, we can protect loons by ensuring we don’t disturb them, reducing motor boat wakes, refraining from leaving dangerous litter in their habitats (and elsewhere!), and participating in shoreline clean ups and naturalization projects.
Loons are a lake quality indicator species. If they disappear from a lake they have been known to frequent, you can be sure the lake is in trouble, and perhaps, by the time they are gone, it will be too late to remake an environment which would encourage them to return.
Management Team Notes
Self-introduction ~ Ray Fortune
by Carol Trischuk
Ray grew up a farm boy near Mallorytown, Ontario. His education ranged from a one-room school, to high school in nearby Brockville, and electrical engineering at Queen’s, followed by the Canadian General Electric graduate engineer training program where, Ray says, “I learned the basics of business in a very well run company."
After working with GE’s nuclear engineering design team, he moved into marketing, selling GE reactors worldwide. By 1968, Ray was living in Peterborough, married to Ruth and a family man. He decided to find a new direction. Ray’s trajectory through the world of electronics included Computing Devices, Control Data, Leigh Instruments and, finally, Bell Northern Research (BNR).
In 1986, BNR opened a telecom research laboratory at the University of Alberta and Ray moved to Edmonton as President. This was a new business model based on a consortium of industry, university and government. TR Labs now has branches in Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina and Winnipeg.
Ray retired from the electronics world in 1992. Another activity, however, which began in the 1960s as a family hobby, keeps him busy still. Fortune Farms Maple Sugar Bush near Almonte is a family business which ships maple products worldwide. Fortune Farms Sugar Bush is also known far and wide as the home of the ‘Kettle Boys’, one of whom (Colin) runs our Probus website when not making maple syrup over a roaring bonfire!
Ray sums up his career as a progression from horse-drawn machinery on the farm, to nuclear engineering and optoelectronics, and back to the farm once again.