Nature reserve to be named after biology professor

Friday, June 25, 2010 - 11:19am

Professor James Fullard of U of T Mississauga's Department of Biology, who passed away in March 2010, is being honoured with his name on a nature reserve in eastern Ontario.

The James H. Fullard Nature Reserve will be located on the 30-acre Sugarbush Island, which sits at the mouth of Murphy's Bay in Lake Opinicon. Lake Opinicon is on the Rideau Canal, north-east of Kingston, Ont. There are plans to add 50 to 70 acres to the reserve in the future.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Rideau Waterway Land Trust are collaborating on the purchase of the land, across the channel from the Queen's University Biological Station where Fullard conducted field research for 35 years. Murphy's Bay contains a provincially significant wetland, recognized for its turtle breeding areas and fish-spawning grounds. The island hosts hardwood forests and an array of species including Northern Map Turtles, Whip-poor-wills and Northern Ribbonsnakes.
The Nature Conservancy has pledged $30,000 toward the land purchase, and the Rideau Land Trust has agreed to name it for Fullard.

"James, who was a colleague and close friend since Erindale College undergraduate days, would have been touched and proud to have a nature reserve named after him," said Professor Darryl Gwynne of biology. "He believed strongly in conserving natural habitats as evidenced by his ‘ownership' of a small piece of Amazon rainforest and his regular donations over his lifetime to The Nature Conservancy of Canada. In particular, he was passionate about the wild places in eastern Ontario."

Fullard was an undergraduate at Erindale from 1971 to 1975, and returned to campus as a post-doctoral student following PhD studies at Carleton University. He took up the position of assistant professor at U of T Mississauga in 1980, becoming a full professor in 1995. He was an insect neuroethologist and sensory ecologist, studying the auditory control of defensive behaviour in insects.

People who would like to contribute to the project and help the Nature Conservancy raise $30,000 should contact Dana Kleniewski of the Nature Conservancy of Canada at 1-800-465-0029 x246 or dana.kleniewski@natureconservancy.ca.