Christine Whelan FEO, September 14, 2023, VOL. 5 ISSUE 1
On Sunday, September 10, the Fort Erie Conservation Club Inc. celebrated its 40th anniversary with a party. The word went out. All were welcome. With a BBQ and bar, activities, and dedication, the club reveled in its accomplishments over the years. They also paid tribute to one of their founders.
The club, located at 2555 Ott Road, Stevensville, in the Stevensville Conservation Area, was established in 1983 with the goal of saving and defending from waste, all of our natural resources – soil, minerals, waters, forests, and wildlife.
And they’ve come a long way.
A resident of Stevensville and president of the Fort Erie Conservation Club for 21 years, Connie Charron shared with me the Monday before the event, what was planned..
The first part of the day, taking place at 1:00 pm, she had scheduled a special dedication to the founder and developer of the Fort Erie Conservation Club, Elmer Miskolczi, who passed away Saturday, July 15, sadly just missing the 40th anniversary of the club. Connie also noted, “He almost made his 95th birthday.”
The president spoke fondly of her friend and colleague in conservation. “He was well-known everywhere.”
In his 94 years, Elmer contributed to his community in many different ways. His time, energy, and care spent with the Fort Erie Conservation Club, Friends of the Creek, People’s Memorial United Church, and many minor sports teams were often recognized with awards of appreciation.
“The dedication is going to be called Elmer’s Lane, as soon as you come into the gate,” Connie explained, “a sign will be unveiled.”
This was to be a surprise for everyone. She had planned it way ahead of time, not telling anyone at the club.
“I talked to the NPCA. That’s their lane.” The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority is in full support of the dedication, “because Elmer’s been forever.
“There is only one other original member around, Terry Teal. The rest have passed on. I came in later, in 1989, a few years after the building was built.”
Connie talked about all the photo albums she was putting together and planning to display for the celebration, using tri-boards, to show the history of the conservation club.
Keychains had been made up and were being given out at the celebration. “Our name and logo is on the front. And on the back is the 40th Anniversary.” The first 200 people, Connie said, would get a keychain.
Fort Erie Conservation Club Fall Fair
Another event taking place on the grounds is on Saturday, September 30, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Fort Erie Conservation Club is once again hosting a Fall Fair. It’s free for the kids — animal balloons, birdhouse painting, face painting, pony rides, a fishing pond, bouncy house.
And fun for adults, too!
For more information, check out the club’s Facebook Page.
From The Beginning
When asked about the reason for starting the club, Connie said the group of members used to belong to the Sportsmen Club in Fort Erie. “They decided that they wanted to break off and form a conservation club, something beyond trap shooting or hunter’s club. From there, they went to the old Eagle’s building in Fort Erie and began to form the Conservation Club.
“In 1986, the Town of Fort Erie and the NPCA donated 4.8 acres to place our building on. And then in 1988, the building was completed.”
The Fort Erie Conservation Club
Connie commented that these days, as most organizations have scaled down over the years, so has the club. However, they still get involved in smaller projects. They still also let the Boy Scouts, Pathfinders, and Cadets use the facilities
The club hosts an annual Kevin Hartman Fishing Derby. The purpose of the derby is to teach kids how to catch and release the different types of fish and about respecting nature.
Looking for a new birdhouse or feeder for your garden? Drop by the clubhouse on Thursdays between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. or email email@example.com and the members will be happy to help you.
They are proud sponsors of The Owl Foundation. The Owl Foundation is a registered Canadian charitable organization that helps wild Canadian owls and other raptors who are injured or orphaned.
Volunteers of the club operate the Stevensville Farmers’ Market, a traditional market with fresh farm products grown by local Niagara farmers, handmade artisan products, baked goods, not-for-profit, local businesses, and direct sales vendors. The market runs between May 24 to October 4, 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday afternoons on the outdoor grounds of the Memorial Community Hall.
Other accomplishments the members can be proud of have been, the tagging of rattlesnakes in Port Colborne, assisting in the reintroduction of wild turkeys into the Niagara Region, helping with the preservation of the Wainfleet Bog, and donating to Canadian Wildlife Services
The clubhouse provides an indoor hall and the grounds an outdoor space to host weddings, showers or parties and is available for rental use. For information and reservations, you can call 905-993-2555, there is a form on the club’s website to submit, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Swinging it back around to the original reason for the club, conservation, on the club’s website, the page, ‘Conservation Information’, you can learn about conservation from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority as well as other groups and associations throughout Ontario.
Membership and Volunteers
Every Thursday, volunteers meet at the conservation area in Stevensville for work parties. “We have 20 -22 volunteers who come out to maintain the building, grounds and equipment.” Connie added, “We’re so blessed.”
“We maintain all the grounds. The gentlemen and ladies still donate their time, volunteering to maintain the trails, the fishing pond, cutting the grass, trimming the trees, mulching the trails, and cutting down the dead trees.”
Connie shared that the club looks after 120+ acres of land.
Members can enjoy playing Darts on a Friday evening, or wood carving on a Wednesday evening.
“We put an aerator for the pond so we can keep it stocked for the kids for the fishing derby, ” adding that the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority put in a new dock and benches for the pond recently.
She then proudly stated, “The Fall Fair last year, we had 74 of our members volunteer for that event.”
Connie has a theory about why they have a successful volunteer history. “I think you can get more bees with honey. I treat them with a lot of respect and I give them a lot. Thursday people get fed lunch. At the end of the year, I take all my volunteers to the Mandarin for lunch. We also have a huge Christmas party.”
New members are welcome. The club is also always looking for new members who enjoy volunteering in the kitchen for their social dinners, organizing or volunteering at their functions, and manning their information booth at the functions they attend to educate the public.
If you are interested in becoming a member, email email@example.com or visit the members at one of their functions.
To find out more information, check out the website: forterieconservationclub.ca