Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Leader: Allan Goddard, B.Sc., ODH

Date: Saturday, March 25, 2017 *THIS IS THE NEW DATE

Wander the Fortune Family Farm with Allan Goddard. Learn how maple syrup gets from the roots of the tree to your breakfast pancakes. Experience a day in the woods in early spring. Activities include bird identification, examination of early insects, tree identification, and animal track identification. Go into the sugar house to see the process of boiling down the sap to the sweet syrup we all love. Enjoy that yearly tradition of taffy on the snow. If we are lucky they will be making maple fudge. Lunch will be around the fire.

Maple syrup


Child and Grandchild Friendly: It’s March Break. Bring the kids and grandkids.

Departure: meet at 9:30 am. for departure at 10 am from Almonte Civitan parking lot, or meet at Fortune Farms at 10:10 am.

Returning: from Fortune’s Farm:1:30 pm.

Car-pooling: Highly recommended. Meet at the Almonte Civitan parking lot (Wolf Grove Road). This is important as the parking lot at the sugar bush fills quickly and parking spreads to a busy road.

Level of difficulty: easy, snow-packed main walkways. We will walk the trails if they are hard-packed and in stable, walking condition.

Bring: binoculars, field guides, layered clothing, waterproof footwear, sunglasses, sun protection, lunch and water.

Facilities: There is a store where you can buy freshly produced maple syrup.

Cost: There is no cost for this event and no entrance or parking fees apply.

Registration: You must pre-register for this event. To register, please email Gretta Bradley at glbradley@icloud dot com and provide the following information:

1. Names of participants and

2. Where you intend to meet the group (Almonte Civitan parking lot or at Fortune Farms).

Please dress appropriately. Should cancellation be necessary, registrants will be contacted by email by 8 am. If in doubt, please call 613-256-4202 before 8:30 am the day of the outing to confirm.

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MVFN is offering a change of venue for our major nature tour this year: a Canadian trip led and organized by Quest Nature Tours (our tour company for the four down South tours we have organized in the past several years).  We thought it was time we did some exploration of our own country that’s not within driving distance of our area.

We have selected a six-day tour, starting in Moncton, travelling down the Bay of Fundy, and taking the ferry to Grand Manan Island.  We would leave Ottawa by Porter Airlines on July 31, 2017, and return from St. John by Air Canada August 5 evening. Ian Shanahan is the Tour leader (yes, son of Don Shanahan, our leader on our first trip to Cuba).

Quest’s description of the Bay of Fundy & Grand Manan nature tour:

“Every six hours and thirteen minutes, over 100 billion tonnes of Atlantic Ocean seawater move in and out of the Bay of Fundy, which is the bay with the highest tides in the world. But the tides themselves are just one reason that Fundy has become such an iconic piece of Canada. Our tour of this region begins in the upper bay where hundreds of thousands of migrating Semipalmated Sandpipers fill mudflats and beaches for a few magical midsummer weeks. We then move to Grand Manan Island in the lower bay where puffins, razorbills, gannets, storm-petrels, shearwaters and whales are too numerous to count. The Grand Manan archipelago has a pull of its own, owing to its unspoiled nature and welcoming island residents.

We are staying four full days at the Marathon Innon Grand Manan near Fundy’s entrance where so many people have first felt Fundy’s allure. Startling rock formations, coniferous forests, wildflower-filled meadows and tidal pools are the backdrop to an incredible annual migration of songbirds and shorebirds. Off shore, resident and migratory seabirds join whales in spectacular congregations of marine life. There is a pervasive “anything can happen” vibe underscoring each day here.”



Trip costs are as follows:

Tour: $2,295 CDN

Gratuities:  $195

15% HST:  $345

Flights: ~ $ 500*

TOTAL: ~ $3,265 CDN

The tour total includes:  tour leader, local guides, ground transportation, accommodation, meals, gratuities.  The only additional costs are:  snacks, beverages, extra tips.  Please note that all these figures are in Canadian dollars.  (FYI, many other tour companies’ prices are quoted in American dollars).

*I will investigate the possibility of group rates for the flight, when the trip is a “go” (minimum of 12 participants).  MVFN will book the flights for the whole group, so we arrive & depart at the same time.

There is a $500 refundable deposit upon registration, an additional $1,000 deposit due February 28, and the balance (excluding the air fare) due April 30. There is a single occupancy room premium.

As the maximum number of participants is limited to 16, please let me know you wish to register ASAP or 256-2706.  I will put you on the list, and send you a detailed itinerary.


Please feel free to contact Brenda Boyd with any questions, concerns, etc.

Looking forward to an exciting new Canadian area to explore together!

Brenda Boyd

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“Along the lines of smoky hills there will be a crimson forest stand, and no doubt the blue jay will call throughout the woodlands. It is possible we may see a crimson maple leaning over a brook, and of course the sumacs on the hillsides will have turned red from their summer green. There may be a mist over a marsh, but there’s no river nearby. The birds will be collecting to fly southward as we quietly walk this autumn day.”  ~With thanks to Wilfred Campbell

Please join me, and others as we re-visit this woodland at a different time of year. This time we’ll walk the trails from finish to start, to see what it looks like going the OTHER way!!   If you weren’t with us in the spring, please come along for an enjoyable day out!

Details: Allan Goddard will be our guide hiking the trails of Shaw Woods. We will walk for about an hour, before a break for a bagged lunch, and then continue after lunch for an additional hour. The hike will go along Johnny’s Lookout and the Old Growth Loop. Lunch will be at the Pine Pavilion. Level of difficulty: Old Growth Loop: easy; Johnny’s Lookout: moderate. Arrival back in Almonte should be between 3:30 and 4 pm.

Shaw Woods is located at 2065 Bulger Road, North Algona Wilberforce Township. See details at

Car-pooling: From Almonte area: meet at the Almonte Arena (160 Bridge St.) parking lot at 9:15 am. for departure at 9:30 am. From Pakenham area: departure from Pakenham Public School at approximately 9:40 am.

Bring: binoculars, field guides, hat, sunglasses, insect repellent, sun protection, lunch and water.

NOTE: Entry to Shaw Woods is free, but there are donation boxes for those who wish to contribute.

Registration: You must pre-register for this event. To register, please email Gretta Bradley at  and provide the following information:

1. Names of participants and where you intend to meet the group (Almonte or Pakenham).

2. If you plan to meet the group at a different location, please indicate the place and time. It must be a clearly identifiable, safe location for meeting.

The event will go ahead rain or shine. Please dress appropriately. Should cancellation be necessary, registrants will be contacted by email. If in doubt call 613-256-4202 before 9 am the day of the outing to confirm.



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On May 28th a group of MVFN members took part in a morning visit to Shaw Woods, hiking around some of the trails and having lunch there. Below is an account of the day by trip leader Allan Goddard, and following the account, some of the excellent  photos, taken during the visit by Howard Robinson. Also included is a list, provided by Mary Robinson, of all the birds seen or heard during the visit.

NOTE: Shaw Woods is off Hwy 9 near Eganville and Golden Lake, about an hour or so drive from the Almonte area. For directions and other details, visit the Shaw Woods Outdoor Education Centre website at 

MVFN Shaw Woods Hike Spring 2016

I don’t recall that any one of us had been to this gem of a woodland.  Our first hike was into the old growth forest, and we were in awe as to what we had entered. Huge towering trees, sugar maples, eastern hemlock, American beech, created a cathedral -like canopy over our heads, and under – canopy trees and shrubs such as striped maple, Canada yew, and various species of dogwood, and of course the many ferns and mosses at eye level as we meandered along the trail. It was quiet. The silence being beautifully interrupted by the musical voices of the wood thrush, veerie, hermit thrush, ovenbird, red eyed vireo, various warblers, and even the robin. We were in THEIR element. And on what was a muggy buggy day elsewhere, we were in a different world.

After Grant had shown us the eagles’ eerie which was plainly in view from the roadside, and after we all lined the road shoulder to view it and take many photos of this year’s family, we lunched at the shelter and boardroom table of the center, all the while being entertained by a red squirrel, which was clearly intent on a luncheon with us. He or she was not disappointed! Grant also stayed with us and answered queries about this and that, and then very much needed to get to his greenhouse to water crops in need!

Our second hike took us on to an upland trail, more open, sunny and crispy dry. Fire wouldn’t have waited a second. This trail was very different in vegetation with a mixed, open forest canopy typical of granite uplands, with plenty of ironwood, chokecherry, shrub juniper, and numerous lower shrub species. Birds were quiet –it was hot. It was much more of an up-and-down trail and when we arrived back to the lake on the loop, we could see the eagles again, and briefly watched them for a bit. Also saw the fringed polygala, a beautiful and small pink spring flower typical of this forest, which very much had a boreal character at times.

Haven’t been there?  Strongly suggested. Grant and his supporters have created a very special place. We all agreed that a fall hike would be another enjoyable outing.

 Allan Goddard




List of Birds during Shaw Woods Hike 2016, compiled by Mary Robinson

  1.  American Woodcock
  2. Ovenbird
  3. Black-throated Blue Warbler
  4. Wood Thrush
  5. Eastern Wood-Pewee
  6. American Redstart
  7. Pileated Woodpecker
  8. Red-eyed Vireo
  9. Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  10. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  11. Blue Jay
  12. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  13. Veery
  14. Great Crested Flycatcher
  15. Hermit Thrush
  16. Black-capped Chickadee
  17. Bald Eagle
  18. Pine Warbler
  19. American Robin
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Sunday June 19, 2016

Dr. Ted Mosquin will be our guide on this early summer visit and walk at Purdon Conservation Area. We plan to walk to the lookout and walk along the boardwalk to view the spectacular Showy Lady’s Slipper orchids. We will learn from Ted, who has worked and studied extensively on conservation of the orchids at Purdon, the history of Purdon and what is required to maintain the orchids. We will take the Highland Trail by the Marsh Boardwalk, reaching the picnic area by noon for lunch. Ted is hoping we will catch a glimpse of European Skippers visiting the flowers!

We plan to leave for the return trip home from Purdon upper parking lot area at approximately 1:30 pm.

Details: Car-pooling: Almonte area meet at the Esso Station (corner Hwy 29 and Almonte St.) for departure by 9 am. Departure from Hopetown will be at about 9:30 am.

Bring: binoculars, field guides, hat, sunglasses, bug protection, lunch and water.

Pre-registration: You must pre-register for this event. To register, please email Gretta Bradley at

 Should cancellation be necessary, registrants will be contacted by email.

If in doubt please call 256-4202 before 8:30 am the day of the outing to confirm.

NOTE: there is no entry fee to Purdon, however there are donation boxes for visitors.

Purdon 1 GutoskiePhoto courtesy Shannon Gutoskie

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