SFN Conservation Award for 2015

The winner this year for the SFN Conservation award, which was awarded at the Annual Meeting held in April, is Ray Giesler from the village of Greenock.

For at least 30 or more years Ray has faithfully provided food and habitat for birds in his area, with birdseed and suet. From his meat market in Walkerton he was one of the first to provide homemade suet balls with real Beef suet that are solid and often last the whole winter. His suet balls became known throughout Bruce and Grey County and beyond for their excellent quality and attracted customers from a wide area. He not only sold these balls at a small price but over the years gave them away to his friends and the SFN were and still we are considered one of his friends. .

Quite a few years ago he started harvesting hollow dead cedar from his own small swamp and fabricated circular ” suet logs”. These suet logs have a base, are open at the top and are approximately 30 cm in diameter and 40 to 50 cm high. He drills several holes in them and in October he goes to his former meat market on the day that they slaughter, fills a large pail with this warm slightly viscous suet and delivers and fills these logs in the Walkerton area, and in return all he expects is a Thank You. It is interesting to see the warm suet bulge out of the log openings. He has at least 22 of these logs that he services at least once a year and more often if the logs become empty before the next October. If the log deteriorates he repairs or replaces on the spot with a new log.

Many years ago with the advice of a Nursery and suggestions in the Ontario Naturalist magazine he chose and planted on his property many small trees and shrubs in order to attract and provide food and shelter for birds and wildlife. Now this habitat along with his bird feeders attracts not only the common birds in the area but has also attracted the not so common Red-bellied Woodpecker which has nested there different years, but also has attracted the much less common Orchard Oriole on more than one migration.

He prides himself on his small swamp, and the stream that leads to the swamp and is a good steward of both.

Over the years he has built and put up quite a few Bluebird boxes in the Greenock and Walkerton area. For the last several years he has provided our club with about a dozen free boxes. Being a Conservationist he builds them from scrap lumber.

Ray and his wife Kathleen, who also shares this passion for Nature are former members of the SFN.

(info provided by Dave and Jean Schaus

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