Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

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 Young Naturalists Program Gets Go Ahead after Successful Pilot project  NOTE: For more information and to register your youngster in the MVFN Young Naturalists program, please contact Brenda Boyd at 613-256-2706 or email . There are still several spaces available for the monthly Saturday morning sessions which run for an hour and a half April 21, May 12, and June 9. Two different time slots are offered, so students can choose the 9 or 11 am start time. Each month is a “stand-alone” unit, so children may join at any time. A fee of  $10 per session applies for each participant which covers a portion of the cost to run the program. The balance of the funding for the program is provided by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists. With the success of a pilot project held last fall, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists club (MVFN) is delighted to announce the formation of the “MVFN Young Naturalists” program as a regular monthly activity. The goal of the Young Naturalists Program is to offer young local children an opportunity to develop and expand their knowledge and love of the natural world. Geared towards children aged 7 to 12, the full program was launched in February, 2012, with sessions now being held each month at the Mill of Kintail. The sessions are organized and run by Patty Summers of the Wild Bird Care Centre, with assistance from two volunteer teachers. Patty’s great enthusiasm, natural rapport with children and her expertise were vital to the pilot project’s success and will carry the program forward. During the pilot program the children learned about: ”Creepy Crawlies”, “Changing Seasons”, “Owls” and “Animal Survival in Winter”. According to a post-evaluation of the program, the children all had a lot of fun, learned many fascinating new things about nature, and especially enjoyed dissecting owl pellets, looking for insect larvae in the Indian River, making simple bird feeders and playing a scent scavenger hunt game. Many of these children and their friends have now signed up again to participate in the MVFN Young Naturalists program which was launched following the pilot. The MVFN Young Naturalists Program takes place one Saturday morning per month (with two per morning, so students can choose the 9-10:30 am or the 11 am -12:30 pm time slot) in March, April, May and June 2012. The program begins again in the Fall one Saturday a month from September to December. Each Saturday morning program includes some more formal instruction as well as outdoor exploration and hands-on activities.  Topics planned for the Winter/Spring program include: searching for animal tracks, snowshoeing, learning about weather, searching for and learning about frogs and toads, how to make a toad abode in the garden, seeds, soil composition, birds and birds’ eggs and nests. The lead program instructor, Patty Summers (B.Sc. Zoology and M.Sc. from Carleton University) first volunteered at the Wild Bird Care Centre in Nepean as a high school student and  presently works full-time at the Wild Bird Care Centre, caring for sick and injured birds. She has recently created and implemented an educational outreach program to offer to local schools. MVFN has funded several of Patty’s presentations at elementary schools in Pakenham, Almonte and Carleton Place, which have been a great hit. Joyce Clinton, MVFN President, spoke in glowing terms of the Club’s success in the development and delivery of the new MVFN Young Naturalists program. “In a very short period of time,” remarked Clinton, “a community of 7 to 12 year-olds has joined together to learn about and engage with the wonderful natural world we cherish in Eastern Ontario. Future environmental leadership may well be found from any of these youngsters. We look forward to a display of their journals and projects at MVFN’s annual “Spring Gathering” in May.” The MVFN Young Naturalists is a function of the MVFN Environmental Education Program, which is chaired by Brenda Boyd. Lead member for the development of the project was EEP committee member Katie Cotnam, along with Brenda, Cliff Bennett, Neil Carleton and Ron Williamson. NOTE: For more information and to register your youngster in the MVFN Young Naturalists program, please contact Brenda Boyd at 613-256-2706 or email . There are still several spaces available for the monthly Saturday morning sessions which run for an hour and a half April 21, May 12, and June 9. Two different time slots are offered, so students can choose the 9 or 11 am start time. Each month is a “stand-alone” unit, so children may join at any time. A fee of  $10 per session applies for each participant which covers a portion of the cost to run the program. The balance of the funding for the program is provided by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists. _____________________________________________________________________________________

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Wanted  “Budding” Youth Aged 7 to 12

To become:  MVFN Young Naturalists

Requirements: Curiosity, Imagination, Motivation, Love of Fun, Love of Nature

Aged 7 to 12

We are doing a survey to see if you have children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews who would meet these requirements and would be interested in joining the MVFN Young Naturalists’ Pilot Project”

This Pilot Project will involve four sessions. They will be held on one Saturday a month beginning in late September and ending in December. Registration $20 (covers all four sessions). With a successful Pilot Project, the “MVFN Young Naturalists’ Club” will be launched on a permanent basis in the new year.

Please inundate the e-mails of Katie Cotnam () and Cliff Bennett() with expressions of interest no later than June 17, 2011!

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