40 Years in 40 Days

The first issue of our newsletter rolled off the press September, 1938, a modest two page affair celebrating a Member’s discovery of a yellow rail’s nest in Holland Marsh (a Canadian first!), voicing concern over invasive goatsbeard, and offering up a recipe for Chickadee Pudding (no, not pudding made of chickadee). While restrictions during the war years threatened our fledgling publication, they did not stop it, and to this very day ink’s been spilled to produce eight (occasionally nine) issues each and every year.

In 2016, “electronic newsletter” memberships were introduced which gave Members the choice of downloading the newsletter from our website instead of, or in addition to, receiving a printed copy. The growing inventory of downloadable newsletters this summoned in to existence was expanded, as time & labour allowed, with pre-2016 issues scanned in by interested volunteers. By the end of 2020 over two-hundred back issues were available on the website, not just for Members but for the public-at-large.

With COVID limiting so many of TFN’s usual activities we set ourselves a challenge for 2021: finish digitizing 100% of our back issues. We’re super proud to say that this job is now complete.

This is kind of a big deal for us! To celebrate, every day for the next forty days we’ll be releasing a full year of digitized newsletters to our website. Today we released issues from 1989, and when we hit the year 1950, several weeks from now, every TFN newsletter ever produced will finally be available for everyone to read, reference, and enjoy!

Members can look forward to a detailed report on this milestone in our September 2021 newsletter (available to non-Members in November, 2021). Until then, enjoy the parade!

The Toronto Field Naturalists wish to acknowledge this land through which we walk. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississauga of the Credit River. Today it is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to be on this land.