Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley
Mississippi River at Pakenham

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Welcome to the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) club . . .  exploring and learning about nature in the Mississippi Mills, Carleton Place, Perth, Lanark Highlands,  and surrounding areas of Lanark County in Ontario’s pristine Mississippi River Valley, since 1988. “If you enjoy the out-of-doors and you want to know more about the wonderful world of nature in our area we urge you to become a member of the MVFN.” Those words appeared in our first club newsletter published in November of our first year as a naturalist club. Now approaching our 30th year as an organization, and now a registered charitable organization, MVFN continues to be an active field naturalist club providing the opportunity to learn about and help conserve the natural world with people of all age groups and ranging from neophyte nature lovers to knowledgeable field naturalists and experts.


MVFN offers many activities, from monthly natural history talks, regular nature walks, field trips and canoe/kayak outings and other opportunities to explore many fascinating aspects of our natural world. There are also opportunities to take part in habitat creation projects, trail building, citizen science work, environmental stewardship projects, writing about natural history for MVFN publications, communications and other volunteer work.

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Photos clockwise from top left: butterflies outdoors led by Henri Goulet,; 2010 ;  Winter walk on Clayton Lake, 2007;  volunteer maintenance team repairs at Al Potvin Observation Tower outside Almonte, 2012; Mississippi River Paddle 2010. Photos Howard Robinson


Our goal is to increase public knowledge, appreciation and respect for the natural world in Ontario’s Mississippi River watershed in the Mississippi Mills, Carleton Place, Perth, Lanark Highlands, Beckwith and surrounding areas of Lanark County. All of our activities and committees work towards these goals.

Education, Outreach and a ‘Voice’ for Nature

In addition to our lectures and learning opportunities, our Environmental Education Program funds in-school and other programs for youth where funding is not available in school budgets, but where qualified educators can be identified to conduct programs. The Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary Awards program provides bursaries for local secondary school students going on to post-secondary education in a nature and environment related field of study.

Also, in 2011, a renewed program, the MVFN Young Naturalists program for youth ages 6-11, was launched.

MVFN provides a voice for protection of local nature and support for protection of local natural areas, both locally and as part of the Ontario Nature Network and the Algonquin to Adirondacks Collaborative. Also through our association with, assistance to, or representation on, other like-minded local conservation and other groups, including the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust, Mississippi River Water Management Plan Advisory Committee, Mississippi Valley Conservation Foundation, Lanark County Stewardship Council, Lanark County Trails Corporation,  forest stewardship organizations, and several municipal environmental advisory committees.

MVFN’s official newsletter, The Whip-poor-will, was first published in 1988 with earlier print-only issues available in MVFN’s archives, and issues from Sept 2002 available on-line. MVFN has also published two map/guide publications, Lanark County Canoe & Kayak Journeys and Lanark County Birding Journeys.

Our new 2017-18 Board of Directors (contact info for new directors to be updated soon):

President: Brenda Boyd:   613-256-2706

Vice-President #1: Sandy O’Hara

Vice-President #2: Patricia Enright

Past President: Cliff Bennett   613-256-5013

Treasurer: Jim Atack:  613-461-0299

Secretary: VACANT

Finance Chair: VACANT

Program Chair: Gretta Bradley:  613-256-4202

Environmental Education Program Chair: Bob Smith

Chair Environmental Issues: Bob Betcher

Conservation and Habitat Restoration Chair: David Garcia: 

Membership Chair: Sylvia Miller: 

Publicity and Public Relations Chair: VACANT

Director-at-Large: Tineke Kuiper

Director-at-Large: Doug Younger-Lewis

Our Dedicated Volunteers

 The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists club is run entirely by volunteers, from the Board of Directors, to leaders of outings, refreshment duty at lectures, audiovisual help, website posting, cutting wood or digging for habitat and trail creation projects, Baillie Birdathon and many other activities and roles. 

Charitable Registration

Charitable Registration # 88173 6417 RR0001

Constitution and By-laws

Updated constitution and by-laws were enacted April, 2016

MVFN Constitution and By-laws pdf


MVFN went on-line in 2001 with a website designed and maintained by MVFN volunteer Christine Birkett; in 2007 MVFN volunteer Simon Broadbent became webmaster and undertook an extensive reorganization of the site to a WordPress format which was a great help in allowing others to easily post information; in 2006 Pauline Donaldson took over as webmaster, and since then has been MVFN’s volunteer website manager and poster. For questions about workings of the current website or to report a website problem, please contact

Current website design

Our current website design was developed and implemented in 2013 by Chris Bruce Technology Consulting & Website Management Services,

Banner image of the Mississippi River at Pakenham donated by Chris Bruce,

The Messenger

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MVFN's natural history talks take place on 3rd Thursdays, Jan-April and Sept-November, at  Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., Almonte, ON. All welcome!

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