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

YN News

MVFN Young Naturalist Registration NOW OPEN for 2017 Winter/Spring Sessions

Happy New Year Young Naturalists and Families of Young Naturalists!!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are enjoying all the snow we are getting this year! It is looking promising for our snowshoeing session in February.

Registration for the Winter/Spring 2017 Young Naturalist program for Young Naturalists age 6-11  is now open! 

The dates and topics for the sessions are:

Feb 4th: Snowshoeing while we learn about how insects survive winter. (snowshoes will be provided)

March 4th: Solar and Wind Power

April 1st: Water

May 6th: Flowers

June 3rd: We will conduct our own mini Bio Blitz!

The cost for all five sessions is $75.

Please let me know your interest through email to and which session you prefer, i.e. 9 am -10:45am or 11am- 12:45 pm and I will send you a registration form and waiver.

​​​​Payment and registration forms will be collected at the first session on Feb 4th. If you cannot attend the first session, please send payment and forms in advance to secure your spot.

The Young Naturalist program continues to be very popular, so if you know a Young Naturalist who would like to participate, please contact me as soon as possible to reserve a space. For further information about the program, send me an email or visit MVFN Young Naturalist Program.

We are looking forward to seeing many familiar and new faces in a few weeks!

Patty McLaughlin



MVFN Young Naturalist Program 

We are excited to announce that our Young Naturalist (YN) Program Fall sessions begin again September 17th. If you know of a keen youngster who is interested in this program you are encouraged to register as soon as possible by contacting Patty McLaughlin. Spaces will fill up quickly and they may all be allocated before our public information booths at Mississippi Mills At-a-Glance and Seniors Expo in early September.

The MVFN Young Naturalist program is for children age 6 -11 with a keen sense of curiosity for the natural world around them.  For the Fall 2016 sessions YN will meet one Saturday each month from September to December to explore nature themed topics and enjoy the outdoors.

Meeting place: Mill of Kintail Conservation Area, 2854 Ramsay Concession 8, Mississippi Mills.

DatesSeptember 17th, October 1st, November 5th, and December 3rd 2016

Times: 9:00 -10:45 am OR 11:00 am – 12:45 pm

Cost: $60 per child for all four sessions ($15 per session)

Registration: As mentioned, the YN program always fills up quickly and registration is on a first come, first served basis. Please contact Program Leader Patty McLaughlin as soon as possible if you would like to register a child in the upcoming sessions. Patty will answer questions and forward application forms and any additional information needed for participants. Contact Patty McLaughlin at  

Here are some other details sent out by Patty:

Hello everyone!  

This year we hope to focus a little more on citizen science. There are many great programs that all of us can use to submit our sightings and nature counts to scientists. Whenever possible we intend to show the kids the proper ways to count different creatures and where / how to submit our findings.  

We hope to modify the sessions to ensure we are maximizing our outdoor time. We know we jam pack the session and we sometimes feel a bit rushed to finish everything, so we have decided to extend each of the session times by 15 mins. The early session will now run from 9-10:45 am and the later session will run from 11 am -12:45 pm.  

If you are interested in joining, please send me an email with the participant’s name and your preferred session time.  Payment must be made at the first session, or if you are unable to come to the first session please send your forms and payment to me by mail. We cannot guarantee your spot if payment is not received by or at the first session.  

Please let me know by email if you are interested in signing up this fall. The registration and waiver forms will be forwarded to you.  

Thank you for your participation in the Young Naturalist program! I look forward to seeing familiar​ and new excited faces next month! 

MVFN Young Naturalists: 2016 Winter/Spring Registration

The MVFN Young Naturalists program is set to begin again for winter/spring sessions. If you are interested in registering a child for this program you are encouraged to do so as soon as possible as spaces are filling up quickly.

The program is for children age 6 -11 with a keen sense of curiosity for the natural world around them.  For the winter/spring session YN will meet one Saturday each month in February, March, April, May and June to explore nature themed topics through short lessons, nature walks, scientific demos, crafts and more!

Here are the important details:

Meeting place: Mill of Kintail Conservation Area, 2854 Ramsay Concession 8, Mississippi Mills.

Dates: Feb 6th, March 5th, April 2nd, May 7th, and June 4th

Time: 11 am – 12:30 pm.     (Please note that the 9-10:30 am session is already full).

Cost: $75 per child for all five sessions.

Nature topics planned: February: Food chains, webs, and a snowshoeing adventure!; March: Snow; April: Seeds and Cones; May: Worms; and June: Nature Photography.

Registration: The YN program is filling up quickly this year and registration is on a first come, first served basis. Please contact Program Leader Patty McLaughlin as soon as possible if you would like to register a child in the upcoming sessions. Patty will answer questions and forward application forms and any additional information needed for participants.

Patty McLaughlin:  


Young Naturalists registration for children age 6-11

Hello everyone!

We hope you are all having a fantastic summer!

September is just around the corner and it is time to begin the registration process for the fall 2015 session of the MVFN Young Naturalist’s (YN) program. The Young Naturalist sessions are designed to develop and expand the interests of the children in the natural world with the hopes that they may grow to be lifelong naturalists and citizen scientists. During each session YN meets the first Saturday of each month to explore a nature-themed topic.

For children aged 6-11: Young Naturalists meet at the beautiful Mill of Kintail Conservation area and are led by qualified educator/biologist Patty McLaughlin with assistants, and coordinated by Ron Williamson! We have now completed 4 very successful years of the program. If you have children or grandchildren this age then this message is definitely for you. Also we greatly appreciate you telling any potential Young Naturalist’s you may know about the program.

Snowy owl and patty

Young Naturalists leader/biologist Patty McLaughlin with an avian patient at the Wild Bird Care Centre. photo by Barbara Adams

The dates and topics of the 2015 session are as follows:

Sept 12, 2015 – What is a Naturalist? : Exploring and appreciating the diversity of creatures around the Mill of Kintail

Oct 3, 2015 – Invisible nature: a look into puddles, spider webs and mushroom spores!

Nov 7, 2015 – Bones! and of course our favourite activity, owl pellet dissection!

Dec 5, 015 – Rocks and Minerals

Cost: for all 4 sessions is $60 per child.

Maximum number of participants in each session is 17

Early session  9:00 am – 10:30 am

Later session 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Thank you all for your great feedback at the end of the last session. This year we are going to make a greater effort to spend more time outdoors. Ron has made some great portable sit-upons for everyone so we can take the classroom lessons outside! We also aim to give everyone a bit more freedom to explore the topic of the month by spending some of the time in smaller groups. We hope this will give everyone a greater opportunity to ask more questions, and share more nature stories.

Registration: is on a first come first served basis. If you are interested in signing up please let Patty McLauglin know through email at =<",mi="KG134GCCJ:?G=46<94=@F:1D5A7J:?G=46<;?07@HI?G=4E3I?G=4E3 asap so that your spot will be held. Payment and paperwork can be submitted at the first session. Please find see here the registration and waiver forms. If you cannot make it to the first session please make arrangements to get the payment / forms to Patty. We cannot hold your place beyond the first session if we have not received the paperwork. Thank you for your understanding.

Looking forward to seeing you in Sept!

MVFN Young Naturalists

MVFN Young Naturalists Fall 2012 Program Explores Nature at Mill of Kintail

Now in its second year, the MVFN Young Naturalists, headed by Patty Summers from the Wild Bird Care Centre in Nepean, will hold a series of four monthly sessions at the Mill of Kintail, from September to December. Registration for these sessions is open for children 7 to 12 years of age with an interest in nature and a willingness to explore!

Each month we explore a different topic. Take a peek at what we have planned:

Scavenging Species in September will provide an opportunity for new and returning members to get to know each other. Sporting new, personally decorated nature hats, we will try to locate and identify some items and species found in the forest and the Indian River which runs through the property.

October’s session will explore Invisible Nature. Working with the developed observation skills from September, the group will look even closer at some of the aspects of nature not easily spotted. The members will head out on a nature walk with a wool sock over their shoes to collect some of nature’s hitch hikers. Spider webs, mushroom spores and organic specimen found in mud puddles will be examined.

Bones will be the November topic as the youngsters will examine and compare a variety of different bones from mammals and birds. We will even turn a bone into a rubber bone! We will then try to piece together a skeleton from the bones dissected from owl pellets!

The autumn sessions will conclude in December with a nature ramble, complete with cameras for a “Fall photo finish”. The group will head out on a scavenger hunt focused on looking for signs of the changing seasons. A photo display will be produced and shown at MVFN’s indoor lecture series. We will then make some holiday snacks to take home for our back yard visitors!

Program leader Patty Summers began volunteering at the Wild Bird Care Centre (WBCC) at the age of sixteen and continued working there during the summer months while pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Zoology at Laurentian University. With a particular interest in birds, Patty focused her Master’s research at Carleton University on the effects of roads and traffic noise on bird abundance in the Ottawa area. She has participated in local bird counts and has been a volunteer bander at both Innis Point and Long Point Banding Stations. Patty has since returned to the WBCC to implement an educational outreach program and care for sick, injured and orphaned wild birds. Patty has been instrumental in developing and leading these exciting MVFN Young Naturalist sessions for an enthusiastic group of children.

The MVFN Young Naturalists Club is a function of the MVFN Environmental Education Program (EEP) and is headed by MVFN EEP Chair Brenda Boyd. For more information on this and other EEP program, contact Brenda at 256-2706 or .


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MVFN natural history talks:  7:30 pm on third Thursdays of Jan, Feb, March, April,  Sept, Oct, and Nov at Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St. Almonte ON. All welcome! Non-members $5. 

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