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Written by Terry Spraque   
Oct 31, 2007 at 11:52 AM

Some of our past guests have signed our guestbook and you can get an idea of what they thought of Nature Stuff and the local attractions and amenities by reading through their comments.  Please take a moment and  sign our guestbook 


 (Laurie Johnston, Verona, Ontario), February 03, 2017

 Was just reading the article by Terry Sprague (The Scoop, Tamworth). Thought he might enjoy these pics. I'm sure this is the same owl. He has enjoyed a few of our chickens. LOL hope he gets to see.


 (Bill Kendell, Verona, Ontario), February 04, 2017:

Just a note to applaud the inclusion of this 'nature' piece (Barred owl). Well done. I hope to see more 'pages' from the author's local nature experiences.


(Belleville, Ontario), January 06, 2016: 

Hello Terry,
I have been wanting to respond to your 'rant' from Dec.27/15. It is so true that one can create an argument to defend any position they wish to take. Of course we all have an impact on our environment but fortunately more and more people are trying to minimize their 'footprint'. Sadly, big money seems to run the world to a huge extent. There are so many examples around us where the environment is threatened or destroyed for profit. Thank you for a very well written and informative article. Perhaps you should consider writing for the Rick Mercer rant.  Thanks again. - T. Pordham


 

(Picton, Ontario), January 04, 2016: 

I’ve just finished reading Naked in the Sand.  Though you dropped off a copy several weeks ago. What amazes me every time I read an autobiography is how much the writer recalls of his life!    I scarcely remember what happened last week, and have completely blanked out most of my academic career.  The memory lapses are especially bad for the personal experiences I used in my fiction writing.  After I reshaped them to satisfy dramatic and thematic purposes I could no longer distinguish fact from fiction.  Now that I’ve read Up Before Five and Naked in the Sand I can probably recall more of your life than my own. The strength of both books is the honest storylines that reflect resilience, responsibility, good humour, and hard work.  I’ve seen the last directly when you’ve given nature presentations and led hikes, and I know it’s not easy to master a lot of details and to maintain one’s enthusiasm when delivering material.  Without belabouring the subject, Naked in the Sand gives a clear sense of what it’s taken to earn your reputation as the County’s great naturalist.  I think readers will respect your achievement all the more. Thanks for giving me a memorable read. - H. Garand

(Allisonville, Ontario), April 26, 2015: On a personal note, I just read your column on the retirement party. It was a great occasion and you are full deserving of every kind word uttered -- and more. As two of the host of nature enthusiasts that you have helped along over the years, we add our sincere thanks for your sharing of your knowledge and unflagging willingness to help duffers along. I have encountered some folks with far less stature and knowledge than you have who only have time for an inner circle of "pros". This has never been our experience of Terry Sprague. I'm convinced that you speak to me in the same way that you do to the Fosters or other experts (except you don't have to explain so much to them)! You truly have what is called the common touch -- a rare quality indeed these days.Thank you for enriching our experience of the County.  Brian & Gloria Durell


(Brighton, Ontario), April 18, 2015: Months ago I signed on to lead a field trip for the Lone Pine Marsh Sanctuary and sadly it is tonight, which is why I can’t be there in person to wish you well in your “retirement” at your Celebration in Wellington.  But please know that I am there in spirit and that I am extremely grateful for having known you for 42 years!!!  I wish you all the best and hope that maybe you will have some time on your hands where we might actually get out birding sometime!  Many of us are very curious to know what “Terry in retirement” is going to be like - hopefully not much different and that you won’t retreat to hermitdom.  Very best wishes Doug McRae 


(formerly Napanee, Ontario), January 22, 2015: We moved from the Napanee area in 1963, but have continued to receive that Napanee Beaver.  Can't express how much I miss your wonderful column.  As a nature lover and birder, it was something I looked forward to every week.  Wishing you a sort of retirement, but couldn't let the occasion pass without telling you how much your work for the paper meant to me and I am sure a host of others.M. Kinkley  


 (Belleville, Ontario), December 20, 2014: The spring of 2015 will not be like season in the past, when Monday evenings in May and June were such a delight - those hikes in the many scenic locations you found for us. Terry - your hikes have been the highlight of my retirement. I can't thank you enough. The potluck at your place in June 2013 was the best, an occasion I'll always look back on with nostalgia. Looking forward to your retirement party on April 18th. -  P. Sprague  


(Demorestville, Ontario), December 18, 2014: Thanks, Terry for all the articles and all the years.  Your column will be sadly missed, it has been a highlight for us each week. Merry Christmas to you and yours -  C. & B. McDermaid


(Tweed, Ontario), December 17, 2014: Just a note to thank you for your columns in the Tweed News. We are relatively new to Tweed, (05) and have enjoyed your columns since then.  Best wishes for a long and happy retirement. - R. & J. Copas


(Napanee, Ontario), December 03, 2014: Well Terry… I'm just in the process of putting this final piece on the page. It is a PAINFUL job.  Thanks so much for your work… you're a great writer, and you've added a lot to the Napanee Beaver every week. I'm going to miss having you on page 7, and so are our readers. Hopefully I'll get a chance to extend my thanks in person in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, all the best this Christmas and moving forward! - Seth Duchene, Editor, Napanee Beaver


 (Tweed, Ontario), December 03, 2014: Your column in the Tweed News, Nov. 26, was alarmingly enlightening. I had no idea that the wind turbines on Wolfe island have caused the second highest bird and bat death toll in all of North America. It was a timely article considering the upcoming appeal that PECFN has initiated to save wildlife by keeping Ostrander Point "turbine free".  Your message and Myrna Woods' comments about the urgency of supporting this cause prompted us to send a substantial donation to the appeal fund. Your newspaper column is always educational and entertaining. It's the first thing I look at in our weekly paper. We will miss it greatly when you retire soon. Maybe you could do a monthly column instead.  We've really enjoyed some of the special outings that you organized for groups: canoeing Depot Lakes and hiking conservation areas. You've given a lot of readers an introduction to new territory.


(Tweed, Ontario), December 03, 2014: The loss of your weekly article in the Tweed News will leave a huge gap in our little community.  I hope you have cloned yourself for us!  However, you, of all people, deserve to retire and take time to do all the things you want to do and I wish you all the best.  It's been a pleasure reading your column and joining you on the occasional hike.


(Picton, Ontario), November 29, 2014: I have been a resident of this blessed County now for 9 1/2 years, and enjoyed just about Every Minute of it. I adore reading our local newspapers and staying current with all of the challenges and victories within our communities. I can't call myself an 'active ecology or environmental proponent' ... more like one of the lazy one's who spouts lots of opinions, without necessarily showing any commitment through action. Hence, I've been meaning to write this note to you since I first started reading your columns .... whenever that started! To say I am impressed with you and your body of work would be an understatement .... perhaps feeling more ... Blessed .... Your words, thoughts, and explanations have lead me to an appreciation of our world that I already thought I appreciated .... You give thoughtfulness, and knowledge, and wisdom, and breadth to each topic you address ... whether it's about deer, bird feeders, turtles, those pre/dawn walks .... Appreciation .... That's the Word ... of our Stunning and regular but magnificent Natural World! It is impossible to be indifferent to what is happening 'out there' after reading one of your columns ... it just makes me want to stand up and shout about how incredibly Awesome the Universe is .... I was so devastated to hear you had decided to bring your columns to an end ... to me, that makes NO Sense .... What will the County do without your quiet, thoughtful observations of life in 'the Universe'? My only 'slight' critique was that I thought, you, at times avoided the 'Politics of Nature' and although your recent column addressing the Wind Turbine issue no longer puts you in that camp, it is not that column that finally ignited me to write ... It's my hope that I missed the column where you said - Gee Folks, I've decided not to stop after all ..... or minimally -- I've found this savvy young person who wants to step into the void and fill my column with their own thought-filled observations about life in the Universe   ..... If I am merely dreaming, then I am saddened ...but still know that what you've given us readers in this newspaper,  has been an opening into worlds that we often ignorantly plod through, in, and around ... oblivious to the miracle that is our natural world.   And for THAT, I will say Thank You once more!


(Newcastle, Ontario), October 27, 2014: I have enjoyed your columns for some time now. Although I live in Newcastle, Ontario, I am originally from Napanee. My mother and father, who still reside there, clip out your columns from the Napanee Beaver  each week and save them for me. One of your most recent articles about the Sheffield Conservation Area was of particular interest and personal relevance to me.  You may have noticed the remains , probably only the chimney, of an  old log house just south of the entrance to that conservation area. My parents and my  mother's parents rented that building as a " cottage "  back in the late 40's and early 50's .  In the late 50's and early 60's, the family would frequent the area to pick blueberries , hiking those " big rocks " that you described. When I was 12 years old, my father took me in to Hayley Lake for the first time.  I have tried to go there at least once a year ever since and have also hiked into and fished Round and Mud Lakes as well as the two Melon Lakes on many occasions. The whole area has a special place in my life and certainly helped to foster my love of the outdoors. As you know, the Dark Skies project is now located  there. I can recall as a teenager spending a night under those dark skies when a friend and I tried to hike out of Haley Lake one summer evening and ran out of daylight - and trail! My wife and I have a cottage just north of Verona on Howe's Lake. Frontenac Park, which you have written about ,  has long been another place we have frequented for interior camping, canoeing  and hiking.. At some point, I do plan on checking out some of the areas in the County that you have described. I presently chair the volunteer committee responsible for looking after the Samuel Wilmot Nature Area on the outskirts of Newcastle. When I first became part of that committee, a chap named Jim Richards was also a member. I suspect you may have encountered him in your travels. If not, he is another naturalist and prominent birder/photographer who writes a column in one of our local papers. Since I retired earlier this summer, I have been spending more time with my binoculars and camera learning about birding. In the past couple of weeks, I and another retiree have visited Cranberry Marsh, part of Lynd Shores Conservation Area on the border of Whitby and Ajax, observing raptor migration.. We were fortunate that on each occasion some real pros were present  and provided a lot of guidance. All of us who enjoy  nature are fortunate that there are people like them - and you - who share your knowledge and expertise with the rest of us. Thanks for all you do and for the enjoyment that your writing has provided - and enjoy your own upcoming retirement.


 (Picton, Ontario), July 04, 2014: This is the note that I have been meaning to send almost weekly for years, but haven't until now, finally. I just want to say how much I enjoy your columns and especially this week's, which made me realize that I need to take my walks into the woods and off the road. Your words should be pinned in every physician's office. We would all be the better for it. Thanks for the taking the time to share your writing.


(Massassauga Point, Ontario), August 11, 2013:  Very nice job on your updated web site. Attractive, clean and easy to use. I like the idea that the active page size is relatively controlled so will look good on smaller screens such as tablets.

 


(Belleville, Ontario), August 11, 2013: Your new home page looks really great, and so is your reason for it. I know that PEC has always been your focus point, as it should be, but nice to see that some coverage will be given to our areas to the north. After all, most of our feathered friends who first arrive in your lovely piece of real estate do venture further afield and it should interesting to see just where they end up.

 

(Belwood, Ontario), July 07, 2013:  (commenting on the Ostrander Point appeal) Just a quick note of congratulations to PECFN and the team who worked so hard to gain your ERT victory last week.  This is precedent setting and will help formulate direction for further challenges in other communities, moving forward.


(Belleville), June 27, 2013:  (commenting on Monday Evening Hikes) That was the best potluck yet, so relaxing to sit under the welcome shade of your trees, with the birds flitting about and all that good food and sparkling soft drinks. Your grounds are beautiful, especially now that the trees have matured. We enjoyed ourselves immensely. What a motley crew you have assembled. In spite of our varied backgrounds, geographical and otherwise, we’re all happily brought together under your wing, joined together by appreciation of the great outdoors as experienced through you.  You have enriched our lives with the enjoyment of the places you have discovered, truly an extra dimension to life in this area of Eastern Ontario. Thanks so much for another season of great evening hikes, and to both you and Nola for your warm hospitality in that lovely setting.

 


 

(Massassauga Point), June 27, 2013: (commenting on Monday evening hikes) Thank you for your warm hospitality on Monday evening. The pot luck dinner was a perfect finale for our hikes. I believe a good time was had by all. Please extend my gratitude to your wife.

 


(Peat's Point), November 01, 2012:

hi Terry, I always enjoy all of your newsletters but this month I really enjoyed your enthusiasm about what nature has to offer us on every day and in every season..we are so fortunate to have you as our spokesperson..to consolidate and express the beauty in our natural world. Thanks terry.


(Tweed), February 10, 2011:

I have enjoyed your column over the years.  I read it in the Tweed news as I live on Hwy 7 NE of Tweed on a 100a of rocks ponds and trees. I would say I live in the top of the watershed for the Moira. On a granite finger of the shield although if you continue south on my Rd the Potter Settlement Rd in a few kilometers you are on the limestone shore of that great inland sea. It's beaver territory. Damming and filtering the catchment areas between the ridges. It's an interesting and enjoyable place that we have lived for for the past 25 years. We have seen a lot of wildlife and considering that we have seen many of these creatures numerous times they have become neighbours and familiars. Like the skink living beside the basement door, the red squirrel with the broken tail, the bear that hung around for a month or so, the deer that like my wife's gardens, the turtles that lay eggs in the driveway every May ( my wife has taken to putting plywood on the fresh deposits to help against the raccoons).  We engage and study, get out the books, show the grandkids and thoroughly appreciate the show including the life and death drama within the food chain.  We spend a fair bit on winter birdfeed and enjoy their proximity. 


(Napanee), November 27, 2010: re black & white photos of Presqu'ile on website

What a delight these photos are for me.  I just turned 60 in September and when I was but a teen, we camped at this magnificent park.  We traveled from Ottawa and, as a young family, we were enchanted by it.  Only a few years ago I took my 91 year-old Mom on a trip down memory lane as we traveled from Napanee, where I now live, to Brighton and the park.  We felt the same magic despite the fact that time and governance has dramatically changed the park.  Digital photography is a marvel but nothing detracts from the romance of black and white.  Thanks Terry, for the sharing the enduring charm of this medium!

 


(Newburgh), February 04, 2010:

Your latest article on coyotes etc. really impressed us. We have  become quite upset about the hysteria around this issue. We do live in a nature area with many forests, open areas and many wild animals. They were here first!!  If I may use an analogy. When  we moved into the village of Newburgh 22 years ago the farmer was selling some pasture land to  builders. The farmer put up a big sign saying:"I was here first",  meaning if you have some farm smell later, do not complain to me. People have responsibility to protect their animals. Cats should not run freely outside - they do more damage to the environment than any  other wild animal - and will have to leash their dogs on properly supervise them in safe area. We have 2 cats - indoors of course - who love to watch the birds from behind the window and the birds and the squirrels start to completely  to ignore them. Of course farmers have problems with them but even they can take  better measurement other than killing the animals. We wanted to tell you that your articles are sensitive, insightful, and very educational. We hope that you can continue doing it for a long time.


Phil Norton (Picton), November 01, 2009:

Terry, I was among the many who enjoyed your presentation at the Waring Hall last weekend. It is an awesome message, inspirational, motivational and educational.....and you can quote me!".


Rosemary Kent (Northport), October 26, 2009:

A big thank you for your terrific presentation at the dinner. Like the gymnasium full of students, the Saturday audience was spell-bound. As per your usual standard, your talk was very informative with great anecdotes all delivered with your "County charm".  We received many very positive comments from the guests as they were leaving. I'm sure you did too. So, thank you once again for helping to make this happen, and for your continued support for the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory.


Judith & George Zelmanovits (Rednersville), September 21, 2009:

Now that we have completed the summer season of Monday evening hikes led by Terry Sprague, I would like to thank you and Quinte Conservation for sponsoring such an excellent activity for people in the Quinte area. This is the third year we have participated and we carefully plan our schedule so that we miss as few hikes as possible over the summer season. We enjoy walking in different conservation areas and private properties learning as we go about the wildlife and flora as well as the history of the area. Sometimes what we hear is not pleasant --for example, the story of the Bakelite plant site in Belleville but it is important for us to be aware of problems such as this. Terry is a wonderful guide -- knowledgeable, engaging, and enthusiastic. We hope that you will continue to offer this worthwhile program in the years ahead. We look forward to participating.
 
With our special thanks to our guide -- Terry Sprague.

 


 Phil Norton (Picton), September 21, 2009: 

Just a note of congratulations for the series of 15 articles that ran   about County natural areas and topics. I'm happy to see them all   posted on your Nature Stuff website in case I missed a couple during   the busy summer. Finally, I hope you are working on a book that would package the best   of your articles and pictures about the local area. We need a rallying   point for nature lovers of the County to become more active in   conservation and you are well placed to do it!


 Robin Knight (Picton), April 11, 2009:

Thank you very much for your column of Thurs, April 9, 2009. Since moving to the County less than a year ago I have been concerned about the lack of concern for conservation and environment on the part of those who push "green development". I was very reticent to settle here knowing that councillors,developers and landowners were pushing wind turbines and subdivision type development in an area that has so much natural beauty and importance to migratory birds. So antithetical it becomes mind boggling!
I am still nervous about having invested in 49 acres of South Bay, but someone like yourself who has a public voice and forum speaks for me. There seem to be many others as well and it gives me some hope and small comfort. Our current Premier seems bound, bent and determined to spoil the future for us all for the sake of political expediency.


Richard Koppens (Kingston) , October 24, 2008:

Just read your piece on hickory nuts on the website. Thanks for the memory. While I was in the County, I developed a special liking for shagbark hickories. I not only enjoyed the nuts, the trees themselves are 'special' enough that I made note of each one that I encountered and often used them as landmarks, summer or winter. I still do, actually.
 
One special day comes to mind when I was collecting Hickory nuts on a beautiful, sunny day on a farm near County Rd 1. I crawled around on hands and knees, sifting through the leaves while two squirrels chastised me and a herd of dairy cattle watched from only a few feet away on the other side of the fence. Nothing exciting happened, it was just a pleasant moment that I had the good sense to make a memory of.

 



Peg Allison, (Napanee)    January 16, 2008:

Your column on your website in the Napanee Beaver, "Let It all Hang Out." I am a farmers wife and hung my clothes out for over 70 years and I never felt poor, just useing common sense, we sure are in a mess and brought it all on ourselves. I am just starting my 90th year. I enjoy your messages.


 Orland French, (Belleville)     January 17, 2008:

Great column! We were discussing this just the other day. Indoors, we use a regular dryer but also an old-fashioned rack which not only helps  humidify the house but saves on energy. The government should mandate and require developers to install umbrella-style clothes dryers in all  backyards to encourage outdoor drying. That should be Code. At the least, abolition of clotheslines should be, well, abolished.



 Bob Betteley, (Kitchener)       December 20, 2007:

Your columns bring me a breath of fresh County air for which I thank you. Last week I had the wonderful experience of, while re-stocking the feeders in our rear yard,  being in the midst of a blizzard of Redpolls. A lot within inches of me and several landing on my arm and head. Both feeders covered, twelve around my feet and upwards of fifty on the ground under the other feeder. I watched a similar spectacle today but from inside out of the rain. Marvelous! In addition there were numerous Chickadees and approximately ten Juncos and a pair of Cardinals.  Thanks again.  

 

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