Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

2009 Champion for Nature: Neil Carleton

Elementary school teacher Neil Carleton is a founding member of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists. Neil is one of those rare individuals who combine passion with knowledge in teaching others about the natural world, and the need to protect it. He has influenced countless individuals in his role as a teacher in and outside of the classroom

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Neil at MVFN’s Booth at the Art of Being Green Festival (photo Pauline Donaldson)

From the early days of the club to the present day Neil has been involved as a volunteer: chairing MVFN’s bylaws committee, taking part in the Ontario Rare Bird Survey, leading fossil hunting for youth and trips to the Museum of Nature in the 1990’s, staffing educational booths at Art of Being Green and local fairs, participating with his class in MVFN’s Frost Watch climate change awareness program (in2005). Neil’s volunteer environmental advocacies have included everything from lobbying for the creation of our local curb recycle program, to suggesting to the president of Ontario Nature that they consider adopting a more proactive stance on Climate Change, to raising awareness of the environmental impacts of mining. While he may prefer to be in the field he is not afraid to put pen to paper or sit on a committee for the right cause.

Often first to report an interesting nature sighting, Neil shares his marvel at the natural world and his detailed observations inspire others to take a closer look and develop a deeper understanding of nature.

Neil wrote A Short Geological History of Lanark County and provided it to MVFN for use on our website. It is a journey back in geological time to discover the secrets to Lanark County’s astonishing biodiversity, so important to understand our underlying bedrock and its influence on what is above ground. Neil Carleton, along with Allan Donaldson, launched the Almonte Geoheritage Project in 2004. This led to the creation of Canada’s First Municipal Geopark, declared on April 9, 2008, located in Almonte, Ontario.