Nature in Winter Workshop

Saturday, February 26th, 2011 - 12:00 AM
Sunday, February 27th, 2011 - 12:00 AM

Winter is a fascinating time to get out and explore nature. This is a general natural history workshop that will touch on a multitude of topics including animal tracking, winter birds, observing flying squirrels and a special night visit to Kemptville Creek where over 100 Mudpuppies (large aquatic salamanders) may be seen in one visit. The breadth of exciting activities will ensure that participants will hardly notice the winter cold. The workshop will be spread over two days.

About Saturday night

Meet at QUBS. We’ll drive to Oxford Mills on Kemptville Creek to the best spot in Ontario for viewing Mudpuppies. You have the opportunity to dawn hip waders and wade into Kemptville Creek to catch mudpuppies using dip nets. We’ll discuss the fascinating natural history of Canada’s largest salamanders including the secret to their active winter lifestyle when all other amphibians are in hibernation. When we return to QUBS later in the evening we’ll look for Northern Flying Squirrels at the bird feeders.

About Sunday

We'll spend the day exploring the woodland trails on our 3000 ha of conservation and research lands.

During our search we will take in everything we can find with a focus on animal tracks and signs as well as winter birds. Winter walks at QUBS seldom fail to offer up a special surprise be it a sighting of a Fisher, a rare bird or unseasonal insect out on the snow. You’ll learn the tracks of numerous mammals including distinguishing between difficult groups such as Red Fox and Coyote, Ermine and Long-tailed Weasel and how to tell which species of woodpeckers make which kinds of excavations in tree trunks. We’ll no doubt come across all kinds of common winter birds but may also find more exciting species like Northern Goshawk, Great Horned and Barred Owls, Trumpeter Swan and various northern finches that winter around QUBS. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Please note that there will be some walking involved on roads, trails and slippery surfaces. Be prepared to cover a few kilometres on the second day of the workshop. If you have mobility issues we will do our utmost to accommodate you. QUBS will provide transportation during the workshop but you are responsible for your own transport to and from the station.

Cost & Application

Total cost is $200 per person. This includes the meals listed above and transportation during the workshop.

To secure a spot in the workshop (please specify which Session you prefer), send contact information (name, address, telephone #, Fax #, email) and a money order (preferred) or personal cheque for the deposit of $40.00 Cdn payable to Queen’s University to:

Frank Phelan
Manager and Senior Instructor
Queen’s University Biological Station
280 Queen’s University Road
RR#1 Elgin, Ontario K0G 1E0

Deposit payments will be held until there are sufficient registrations for the course to proceed. 

Applicants will be notified as soon as enough registrations are received to run the course. If we do not receive enough registrations and the course is cancelled, deposits will be returned. Once the course is confirmed with enough registrants, if a participant cancels for reasons other than medical/compassionate, the deposit will not be returned. However, if a replacement registrant is found, then the deposit will be returned for a cancellation. 

The remainder of the payment for the workshop is payable upon arrival at QUBS, money order or cash preferred. 

For further information contact Station Manager Frank Phelan at QUBS (Tel 613-359-5629) (Fax 613-359-6558) (email:

What to bring

We'll post more details here in the next month.


Mark is a biologist and naturalist with a wide range of interests including birds, butterflies, odonates, trees and ferns.

Mark’s effective and humorous teaching style has been honed as an interpreter/naturalist at Presqu’ile Provincial Park, an active trip leader with the Kingston Field Naturalists club, and an occasional speaker in academic and public settings.

He recently received an excellence in teaching award from the Queen’s University Department of Biology Student Council.

Mark’s breadth of experience living and playing outdoors makes every outing an exciting adventure.