Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley


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Welcome to the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists . . .


. . .   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 for people of all ages 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.

our club header

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.


2018-2019 Board of Directors

President: Linda McCormick: 

Vice President #1: Patricia Enright 613-808-2865

Vice President #2 and Canoeing Kayaking: Stan Holloway   613-797-5695

Past President & Publicity Coordinator: Brenda Boyd   613-256-2706

Secretary:  Louise Beckinsale  613-882-2358

Treasurer: John Blais  613-256-4462

Programs: Cliff Bennett   613-798-6295

Finance Committee: Jim Atack  613-461-0299

Environmental Education: Bob Smith  613-800-1236

Conservation & Habitat: David Garcia 

Membership: Sylvia Miller 

Director at Large: Tineke Kuiper 

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 MVFN volunteer Pauline Donaldson took on the duties from Simon as  MVFN’s volunteer website manager and currently continues to post items as webmaster. 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 and updated again in 2017,

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