The Durham Region Field Naturalists (DRFN) is a local club that has been serving the city of Oshawa and Durham Region for fifty years. The club was founded as “The Oshawa Naturalist Club” in March 1955 with an initial membership of 40 persons.  In 1976 the name was changed to “Durham Region Field Naturalist” in recognition of the newly formed Regional Municipality of Durham and the increasing representation of membership beyond the borders of Oshawa.  Over 100 persons are now counted as members.


The club’s motto has always been “Conservation Through Education”.   It’s written constitution expands upon this theme by setting out several purposes of the club including:  

1. To increase the knowledge and appreciation of the flora and fauna in our district.

2. To foster and increase interest in the preservation of our natural resources, i.e. encourage wildlife sanctuaries, etc.

3. To compile natural history records for our district

4. To provide opportunity for nature lovers to meet, exchange views and observations and to increase the appreciation of the wonders and beauties of the natural world.


The club has worked over the last 50 years to fulfill these commitments with eight yearly general meetings, five newsletters per year, and numerous field outings.  The general meetings take place on the last Monday of each month excluding June, July, August and December at the the Bobby Orr Room in the Oshawa Civic Centre starting at 7:30 pm until 9:30 pm. At each meeting there are updates given by the executive members as to their ongoing activities including future programmes and outings, correspondence and conservation issues.  And there is a general discussion in which members and guests are invited to share concerns, ideas and observations.  A major portion of every meeting is spent with a presentation by a guest speaker with topics that cover all aspects of the natural environment from conservation to natural areas, birding, plants and animals.  


The DRFN conducts numerous outings every year encompassing many aspects of nature including some yearly outings and workshops such as the Winter Feeder Tour, the Annual Spring Weekend Outing, the Butterfly Workshop, The Niagara Gull Outing and the Christmas Bird Count.

Many current and former members of the Durham Region Field Naturalists have participated in the conservation of such local natural areas as the Second Marsh and the Thickson’s Woods Heritage Foundation and continue to sit on the supporting boards.




In 2004 DRFN joined with the local chapter of the Canadian Organic Growers (COG) and the City of Oshawa to create a butterfly garden next to the Oshawa Creek on Rossland Road west of Simcoe Street.  This endeavor is meant to provide a habitat for butterflies and a teaching tool to public.

On December 4, 2007, Otto Peter accepted a Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (CLOCA) Watershed Award for DRFN. We were selected for the organization’s support of the Authority’s watershed management and natural heritage projects.  Along with conducting tree plantings, hosting various natural heritage inventories and a garlic mustard removal public event, members also provided interpretive services as part of CLOCA’s Watershed Wilderness Nature Hikes.  Durham Region Field Naturalists members also take a leading role in organizing the Cranberry

Marsh and Heber Down Raptor Watch.

In 2005 DRFN won the Durham Environmental Advisory Committee’s  Irene Kock Education/Communication Award.

The DRFN is an active member of Ontario Nature being a member club within ON's Ontario North section of the Nature Network.  The club provides support both monetarily and otherwise to Ontario Nature and other conservation groups such as the Thickson’s Woods Heritage Foundation,  etc.


An eight to twelve page newsletter is published five times a year and provides schedules of upcoming meetings and outings.  It also contains local and provincial conservation issues, rare bird sightings, write-ups of past outings, recent bird observations, articles of interests to naturalists covering birds, plants, animals and ecosystems and articles of environmental importance such as energy conservation, recycling and organic foods and products. Club members write most of these articles.    

The Durham Region Field Naturalist is a not-for profit organization and is a registered charity. Yearly membership fees and donations finance it.  


In 1986 The DRFN published a booklet entitled “ Natural Areas of Durham Region” that was made available to the public.