Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

8th Annual MVFN Canoe Camp

Annual MVFN Canoe Camp, Sharbot Lake Provincial Park

NOTE: Deadline to register is September 1, 2015. However if you plan to attend please let Linda know asap.

All MVFN canoe and kayak enthusiasts are invited to participate in MVFN’s 8th Annual Canoe Camp Sept 11-14!

This year the canoe camp will be held at Sharbot Lake Provincial Park. We will camp for 3 nights in The Point campground, a beautiful campground on Black Lake within the park and spend 2 days paddling on Sharbot Lake.

The park offers a variety of hiking trails, sandy beaches, access to two lakes, and a park store.

Date: Friday Sept 11- Monday Sept 14, 2015

Sharbot Lake from the boat launch at provincial park. Photo Linda McLaren

Sharbot Lake from the boat launch at provincial park. Photo Linda McLaren




Cost:  $40.00 registration fee per person.  This includes registration for three nights camping, parking, firewood and program planning.  NOTE:  the fee is an  estimate based on previous years participant numbers and additional amounts may be requested from campers if needed.

One of the campsites in The Point campground. photo Linda McLaren

One of the campsites in The Point campground. photo Linda McLaren

Registration: Register soon as spaces are limited and registration is on a first come first served basis.

For further details and registration forms, please contact Linda McLaren at 613-614-9177 or  




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Seeing Nature from the Water on another successful MVFN Canoe Camp

Seeing Nature from the Water on another successful MVFN Canoe Camp

After substantial rainfall during the first twenty-four hours, beautiful sunshine and mirror-like waters greeted the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) for their seventh annual Canoe Camp, held at Charleston Lake Provincial Park. The event held Friday September 5 to Monday September 8, was organized by MVFN member Sheldon Scrivens and included seventeen participants.

Scrivens by E. Veninga

















Canoe camp organizer Sheldon Scrivens; photo by Elizabeth Veninga

The theme for the Canoe Camp was ‘Seeing Nature from the Water’s Edge’ and the area did not disappoint the group of paddling enthusiasts. Twenty-three bird species were identified, including loons with their haunting late evening wailing, barred owls which took great delight in jolting the campers out of a peaceful sleep with their loud “Who-cooks-for-you-all” calls, osprey soaring the air currents in search of an unsuspecting lake trout, a whip-poor-will heard off in the distance and very noisy red-shouldered hawks and pileated woodpeckers, heard right at the campsite.

In the animal world, the group noted that whenever the barred owls called out at night, a family of coyotes would respond with howls and yipping. Several large painted turtles were discovered sunning themselves on rock surfaces and two species of snakes were found. Two black water snakes were swimming in a quiet bay and a rare black rat snake was found curled along a stick at the water’s edge. The rat snake is on the endangered species list.

Also found along the shoreline were many beautiful displays of bottled or closed gentian and turtle heads. The latter is a member of the snap-dragon family. Many members of the aster family were discovered by the group, including one clump of the very beautiful New England aster.

The MVFN annual canoe camp is part of a summer-long programme of canoeing and kayaking trips to explore nature and its beauty in and around our many lakes, rivers streams and wetland areas. The final event of the year will be the MVFN Annual Fall Colours Paddle, to be held this year at the west end of White Lake on Sunday, September 28. For more information on MVFN’s canoe programme, please contact Sheldon Scrivens at 613-836-0309 or .

For MVFN information and interest in nature anytime, visit our website:


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7th Annual MVFN Canoe Camp, Charleston Lake Provincial Park

Annual MVFN Canoe Camp, Charleston Lake Provincial Park

Sept 5- Sept 8, 2014

All MVFN canoe and kayak enthusiasts are welcome to join us for our annual MVFN canoe Camp event. This year the canoe camp will be held at Charleston Lake Provincial Park.

The campsite offers showers and laundry facilities (including dryers), a variety of hiking trails, a nature centre and a nearby store.

Cost:  $35 registration fee per person; this includes group site reservation, firewood and attendant costs. Any surplus from registrations will go towards purchase of an ungraded MVFN first aid and safety kit.

Date: Friday Sept 5- Monday Sept 8, 2014

Registration: Register soon as participation is limited to a maximum of 40. Registration and waiver forms will be sent out on the MVFN email network. Or contact Cliff or Sheldon. Completed forms and the registration fee (cheques made payable to the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists) should be mailed to MVFN, P.O. Box 1617, Almonte, ON, K0A 1A0 or delivered in person to Cliff or Sheldon. Once we have received your indication of interest and your cheque, we will send you camp directions, and other relevant camp information etc.

Please note that we must pre-register all participants and participant vehicles with the park.

For further information, please contact Sheldon Scrivens at 613-836-0309 or or Cliff Bennett at 613-256-5013 or If you wish to participate but need either a canoe or a partner, please contact Sheldon or Cliff and we will try to match you up.




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6th Annual MVFN Canoe Camp, Algonquin Park

6th Annual MVFN Canoe Camp, Algonquin Park

All current MVFN members who are canoe/kayak enthusiasts

When: Friday, September 13 to Monday, September 16, 2013

Where: Whitefish Lake Group Campsite, Algonquin Park

Cost: $30.00 per person. This amount is an estimate and should cover site registration, individual registration for three nights, parking, firewood and program planning. The estimate is based on the previous costs and number of registrants. If necessary a small additional amount may be charged at the site.

Maximum Registrants: 40

To Register: Participants must pre-register for this canoe camp. Registration is limited and is on a first come first served basis. Both a registration and waiver form must be filled out. These are not posted on-line; if you did not receive these via the MVFN e-mail network, please contact Sheldon Scrivens. To complete your registration, mail a registration form, waiver and payment to

MVFN at P.O. Box 1617 Almonte, ON K0A 1A0. Cheques may be made payable to the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN).

 To register and for further information, please contact Sheldon Scrivens at 613-836-0309 or email



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A Hardy Group Survives Heavy Storm at 5th Annual MVFN Canoe Camp 2012 in Algonquin Park

A Hardy Group Survives Heavy Storm at 5th Annual MVFN Canoe Camp in Algonquin Park

by Cliff Bennett

Printable pdf with 7 photos [A hardy group survives heavy storm at annual MVFN canoe camp]

Coming through a drenching rain and high winds, which emptied most of Achray campsite in Eastern Algonquin Park, forty-one members of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) actually enjoyed the challenges at their fifth annual Canoe Camp, September 7th to 10th. By pooling all picnic tables and camp stoves under a huge tarpaulin, members were able to continue cooking comfortably and taking part in activities in relative dryness. A few personal tents didn’t stand up to the continuous overnight downpour and six members packed up and went home to get dried out.










Photos by Simon Lunn (please see more photos in printable pdf; link above)

At the Friday evening opening activities, Camp Leader Cliff Bennett welcomed all and introduced the camp committee members and explained their roles. Health and Safety leader Graham Hunt talked about regulations and practices the participants would be following to keep everyone as safe as possible during the next three day’s paddling. Doug Younger-Lewis and Joyce Clinton revealed the activities and program items to choose from during the camp and the sign-up process to be used.

On Saturday, after the rain eased, the members divided into three activity groups. While one group chose to do the hike to High Falls and area, the other two decided to paddle in the rain; one travelling up Grand Lake and the other exploring around the local bays and wetlands. The Grand Lake group just got off the water in the afternoon when a real tempest stirred up the water’s surface.

Sunday saw the paddlers join into three explorations. One group paddled across Grand Lake and up to the Carcajou Bay Falls, another cruised down the east side of Stratton Lake to explore the top of High Falls while the third group took the west side of Stratton, through a series of portages and small lakes to explore the bottom of High Falls.

‘Seeing Nature from the Water’ was the theme of the camp and an impressive list of flora and fauna were seen. Thirty species of birds were listed including a barred owl, common merganser, ring-necked duck and green-winged teal, brown creeper, red-tailed hawk and great crested flycatcher. One black bear was spotted in the distance, a wolf and its juvenile appeared right behind one of the tents during the night and a painted turtle and a beaver were filmed during a canoe trip.

Dining was a great feature of the camp and members served each other a pot-luck dinner on both Saturday and Sunday evenings. A formal campfire program was conducted on Sunday evening with many skits, songs and stories creating good laughter and camaraderie.

After breaking camp on Monday, members had many choices including canoeing the famous Barron Canyon, exploring McGrath Lake or doing the hiking trail to the top of Barron Canyon. All returned home, happy and tired, without even a single scratch or upset canoe. Arne Snyder chaired the camp organizing committee, which started meeting in April to prepare all of the details, site reservations, site lay-outs and registration of participants.

The location for next year, MVFN’s 6th Annual Canoe Camp, has not yet been settled but the dates will be September 6th to 9th 2013. The MVFN canoeing program is a part of the Program Committee, chaired by Cathy Keddy. A new season of MVFN’s natural history lecture series has now begun at the Almonte United Church at 106 Elgin St. in Almonte. The next lecture will be held Thursday November 15; the presentation Earthworms: Whose Friends Are They? will be given by Paul Gray of the Science and Information Resources Division, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. For further information please visit or contact Cathy Keddy at 613-257-3089


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