Code of Ethics


Some unfortunate events have occurred over the past couple of years that have caused concerns amongst many about the welfare of birds and property owners in popular birding areas. The BFNC executive has reviewed and endorsed and adopted the Code of Ethics prepared by the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

We encourage all of our members to review the OFO Code of Ethics by following this link

(This link will open in a new window)

Mission Statement


The Brereton Field Naturalists' Club of Barrie is a group of friendly people who enjoy and work to protect our natural heritage. Our aims are to acquire and share knowledge of natural history, to protect wildlife, and to stimulate public interest in nature and its preservation. The Breretons advocate the protection of significant green spaces and corridors in the planning process for our high-growth region. Little Lake, a provincially significant wetland, is also a high priority. We monitor and advise the city on the management of its woodlands bordering Little Lake.

In addition, we work with the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority to manage Minesing Wetlands, an international Ramsar site and provincially significant wetland complex; support MTM Conservation Association in managing provincial wildlife areas at Marl Lake, Tiny Marsh and Matchedash Bay (another Ramsar site); and support local Rails-to-Trails organizations. Visitors are welcome to our meetings and field trips which include birding, wildflowers, scenic trails, reptiles, mushrooms, insects, fossils, stargazing, potluck meals, etc. Our Blue Heron newsletter reports on club activities and provides information on local natural history.



This history of our club appeared in the 50th Anniversary edition of our club publication the Blue Heron

I am indebted to the work of Betty Hill in compiling several scrapbooks from a collection of clippings and photos donated by Anastasia Hughes. Then Betty and her friends added to it. Without this collection, our history may well have been lost.

On January 28, 1951 a nomination meeting to bring in a slate of officers was set up by a group of interested people who met at the Community House with the aim of forming a field naturalists' club in Barrie. About 15 people attended and it was reported that at least another 20 were interested. The committee was comprised of William A. Bell, Chairman; Miss Anastasia Hughes, Russell Dingman, and Mrs. Fran Westman. Mr. Bell pointed out that things to be considered in the formation of the group are a name, objects and aims, membership, officers and meetings.

The constitution and name committee was comprised of Miss Hughes, Dr. E. G. Bilkey, Mr. A. Cockburn, and Mrs. R. S. Carmen. Harry Morgan suggested that children could be brought in later if they showed an interest in subjects related to nature studies.

February 1951 (the exact date is not recorded other than it was a Thursday) (Thursdays in February 1951 were the 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd) the Brereton Field Naturalists' Club of Barrie was formed by thirty-five people meeting at the Community House. It was noted "that besides serving hobby and conservation purposes the club would perpetuate the memory and work of the late Dr. E. L. Brereton, distinguished Barrie naturalist, who gave encouragement to many of the members in their pursuit of this interest."

The first officers of the Club were as follows: Hon. President, Major Mark Robinson (long associated with Dr. Brereton and field studies in Algonquin Park) President - William A. Bell First Vice-President - Mrs. Fran Westman 2nd Vice-President - Dr. E. G. Bilkey Secretary-Treasurer - Miss Anastasia Hughes Directors - Mrs. R. S. Carmen, Mr. A. B. Cockburn, Mr. Russell G. Dingman, Mrs. J. H. Gable, and Mr. Harry Morren.

Meetings were to be held on the fourth Monday of each month. The annual dues were set at $1.00 per adult and 50 cents for juniors. It should be noted that Russell Dingman was one of the original twelve founders of the Toronto Field Naturalists' Club.

The new executive was quickly off the mark and scheduled the first field trip for Saturday March 24th leaving at 9 a.m. and returning at noon. Members were to meet at Queen's Park, at the intersection of Ross and Toronto Streets.

One regular excursion was to be held each month at 2 p.m. on the Saturday following the fourth Monday of each month.

With that we were up and running and have been for 50 years. Congratulations to all members past and present and an expression of gratitude to those original thirty-five individuals who had the foresight and enthusiasm to launch our organization.

It is interesting to note that on our 25th anniversary a listing of the Charter Members was compiled. They were able to record 25 names of the original 35. They were Wm. A. Bell, Mrs. R. S. Carmen, Alan Carmichael, Mr. & Mrs. A. B. Cockburn, Mrs. Jean Gable, Mrs. Eva Fisher, Miss Anastasia Hughes, Dr. R. E. Ives, Mrs. S. E. Lewis, Alf Mitchener, Mrs. J.Sheppard, Mrs. Fran Westman, Russell G. Dingman, Harry Morren, Dr. E. G. Bilkey, Harold Webb, A. D. Schneider, Miss E. Petch, Frank Munroe, Miss Edna West, Major Mark Robinson, Mrs. R. S. Rollis, Mr. P. Bingham, and Mr. J. Gilmore.

Dr. Brereton


We know the Brereton Field Naturalists' Club was named for Dr. Brereton, a local dentist. But what do we actually know about him? Lynne Gibbon spent some time researching Dr. Brereton and provided the following

Dr. Ewart Lount Brereton: Biographical Information.

The following is a word for word transcription from the Barrie Newspapers, as cited:

Barrie Examiner. July 16, 1903, p.l.

A quiet wedding took place at the home of the bride’s parents in Schomberg, on Tuesday morning at eleven o’clock, the contracting parties being Miss Adele Davis and Dr. Brereton of Barrie. The bride was assisted by her sister, and the groom by Dr. Richardson of Newmarket. Rev. Wm Frizzell of Toronto performed the ceremony. On Tuesday afternoon Dr. and Mrs. Brereton passed through Barrie on their way to Muskoka where they are spending their honeymoon. On their return they will take up their residence on Bayfield Street in the house lately occupied by W. G. Colville.

Barrie Examiner. July 6, 1950, p. 18.

BRERETON – at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Barrie, on Wednesday, July 5, 1950, Dr. E. L. Brereton, beloved husband of Adele M. Davis, in his 75th year. Resting at his late residence 162 Dunlop Street. Funeral private on Saturday, July 8, at 2:30 p.m. Internment Barrie Union Cemetery.

Barrie Examiner. July 13, 1950.

Under the Photo: Dr. Ewart Lount Brereton, who died in Barrie on Wednesday July 5, was well known as one of Ontario’s most expert ornithologists and played a key role in building up the Royal Ontario Museum’s bird collection. He is shown above holding a young great horned owl. Dr. Brereton was a dentist in Barrie for over 50 years.

Dentist 53 Years Director of Ont. Naturalists Dies A private funeral service for the late Dr. E. L. Brereton was held at his residence at 162 Dunlop Street Barrie, on Saturday afternoon, July 8, 1950 at 2:30 o’clock, following his death at the Royal Victoria Hospital on Wednesday evening, July 6. The service was conducted by Rev. James Ferguson of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and internment was at Barrie Union Cemetery. Pallbearers were Del Cole, Dr. F. W. McDowell, Clarence Simpson and Dr. E. G. Bilkey of Barrie and Dalton Lowery and Thomas Black of Toronto.

Among the floral tributes were wreaths from the dentists of Barrie and the Session of St. Andrew’s Church where Dr. Brereton had been an elder since 1904.

A Barrie dentist for 50 years, Dr. Brereton had also been one of the country’s outstanding amateur authorities on birds. He had played a key role in building up the Royal Ontario Museum’s bird collection. Born in Schomberg on January 9, 1876, the son of a physician, the late Dr. W. J. Brereton, and Anna Lount, he attended public school there and high school at Aurora. He went on to Toronto University, graduating from the Royal College of Dental Surgeons in 1897. He practiced first with Dr. Mills of Toronto and then for one year in Schomberg and also for a short time in Grand Valley, coming to Barrie in 1900. Dr. Brereton had been engaged in general practice for 50 years when he specialized in orthodontia, which he had begun working in while in general practice.

He was married in 1903 to Adele Davis. He was a Masonic member for a number of years and was superintendent of the Sunday School at St. Andrew’s Church and a teacher of the Adult Boys Class for over 40 years.

His interest in ornithology began with visits to Algonquin Park, when Mark Robinson was superintendent. This interest soon resulted in the connection with the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, which further broadened his studies and led to a wide connection with other ornithological societies. He eventually became well known as an outstanding amateur ornithologist, gaining distinction as Director of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists.

He wrote many notes on a wide variety of subjects for the Canadian Field Naturalist and for The Barrie Examiner and supplied a great quantity of notes and valuable specimens for the Ontario Museum collections. He was a collaborator with Ott Devitt in the publication of “Birds of Simcoe County” and also contributed notes to the Toronto Field Naturalist’ Club. Surviving are his wife and a daughter, Mrs. A. E. Lawes (Dorothy) of Barrie.