Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Join our outing to Amherst Island, west of Kingston, to tour the island and Owl Woods, and look for different owl species including Barred owl, Northern Saw-whet, Boreal owl and Snowy owls plus species of hawks and water birds.

Date: February 27, 2016

Car Pooling: Meet at Union Hall for departure at 7 A.M.; Glen Tay Public School for departure 7:30 A.M.

Destination: Amherst Island Ferry dock, for 9:30 A.M. sailing. Return sailing 3:00 P.M.

Bring: Binoculars, spotting scope (if you have one), lunch and hot thermos. Dress warmly for Lake Ontario winds are cold.

Pre-registration: Registration beforehand is required. Please contact Cliff Bennett at 613-256-5013 or 

In case of unsuitable weather, this event will be cancelled. 

The photos below are from a 2005 MVFN Amherst Island outing. We are not certain of the photographer (but if you read this post and can name the photographer, please let us know at ). Read full story of the 2005 trip and others by searching with key word Amherst.

Amherst2  Amherst1

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With the exception of a few reluctant flyers, birds have migrated and most of us have put away the canoes and kayaks. This may be the time of year to consider an outing with friends to our national nature museum!

Come join us for a day of browsing the galleries at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa!

In the morning, we can take our time and wander through a special exhibit: Bugs: Outside the Box. Italian sculptor, Lorenzo Possenti’s massive models challenge viewers to experience the insect world like never before.  If you are not quite convinced, go to the  website and find out more.

In the afternoon, museum staff will guide us on a tour highlighting informative and interesting aspects of the Mammal Gallery, Bird Gallery and Water Gallery.

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Where: Canadian Museum of Nature, 240 McLeod Street, Ottawa

When: Saturday, November 28th.

Time: Meet for carpooling at the Almonte Civitan parking lot at 10:00 am. Park for free at 100 Argyle St. across from the museum.


10:45 am- noon: Special Exhibition, “Bugs: Outside the Box”

12:45 pm-1:45 pm: Guided tour of the Mammal, Bird and Water Galleries.

Approximately 2:45 pm, return to Civitan parking lot.

Cost: $19 Adult; $17 (Seniors 65+). Taxes not included.

Pre-registration: As the museum requires groups of at least 15 people (and up to 20 max), registration is required. For questions, and to register, please contact Gretta Bradley at or 613-256-4202.




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WHEN?  Saturday, June 13, 2015

 WHO?   Twenty-five Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) members,  led by Dr. Allan Donaldson, Professor Emeritus, Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University. 

photo Neil Carleton

MVFN members arrived at Metcalfe Geoheritage Park in Almonte by car, on foot, and on their bicycles.

WHAT ?   This was a full day geoheritage tour to examine and reflect on the geoheritage of our area.


Ordovician Sea Bottom (1024x682)

 In this postcard image (an artist’s interpretation of our local environment during the lower Ordovician period) one can see that about 470 million years ago a tropical ocean teeming with marine life covered our region.

Geoheritage Tour 9 June 13 2015 (732x1024)

The fossil remains of ancient Ordovician sea life can be seen in the area’s limestone bedrock.

Geoheritage Tour 3 June 13 2015 (1024x768)

WHERE? Metcalfe Geoheritage Park & two additional sites: The group gathered at this very picturesque location in Almonte: Canada’s first municipal geoheritage park; this park is new and nearing completion.

Geoheritage Tour 5 June 13 2015 (1024x768)

Geoheritage Tour 10 June 13 2015 (1024x767)

The local metamorphic, sedimentary, and igneous rocks on display at Metcalfe Geoheritage Park in Almonte tell a story of towering mountains, ocean depths, colliding continents, and a landscape locked in ice over the past 1.2 billion years.

The group continued the tour after lunch, traveling via car-pool to two additional sites of interest.

Geoheritage Tour 6 June 13 2015 (1024x768)

The ancient geology of the Canadian Shield in the Carp area was examined at the 2nd tour site.

Geoheritage Tour 7 June 13 2015 (1024x768)

At the third site, the glacially sculpted contours and fossils of recently exposed limestone bedrock invited close inspection.

NOTE: Photos and [most] text by MVFN founding and current member Neil Carleton






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Date: Saturday, June 27, 2015

This photography hike along the Rock Dunder trail within the Frontenac Arch Biosphere will be led by Simon Lunn, naturalist, landscape/wildlife photographer and recently-retired Parks Canada ecosystem scientist for the Rideau Canal. Simon will provide photography tips throughout the day. He will also interpret some of the natural and cultural history of Rock Dunder and the Rideau Canal & Waterway during the hike. Rock Dunder is a highly recommended Eastern Ontario hiking destination.

Location: Our destination is the 4 km Rock Dunder loop trail within the Frontenac Arch Biosphere near Elgin and the small hamlet of Morton. The trail meanders through woods adjacent to Morton Bay, a fascinating Precambrian shield landscape featuring one of the most dramatic views overlooking a particularly scenic portion of the Rideau Canal Waterway.  Access is free of charge, though on-site donations are always appreciated by the Rideau Waterway Land Trust who own and manage this significant ANSI-designated property. Parking is available at the on-site trailhead.

Carpooling: Meet at the Esso station, Almonte St./Hwy 29 in Almonte for 9 am departure. Arrival at the Rock Dunder parking lot is anticipated by 10:30 am. Our event leader, Simon Lunn, will meet us there.

Driving directions:  The suggested driving route is to follow Hwy 29 south to Carleton Place, take Hwy 15 south through Smiths Falls, Portland, Elgin and the small hamlet of Morton. Just south of Morton (approx. 1/2 km), you will see a sign on the right for Stanley Lash Lane. Turn right & proceed up Stanley Lash lane for several hundred metres to the parking lot on the left. Approximate map coordinates for laneway access are lat 44.532984 degrees long -76.199218 degrees. IMPORTANT NOTE: do not turn right into the private residential property located on the right partway up the lane.

Trail Difficulty & Conditions: Participants should be in good health. Be prepared for a half-day hike along a trail that is mostly of moderate difficulty. There is a short (roughly 100 m) steeper section to reach the Rock Dunder plateau & viewpoint.

Bring: sturdy hiking boots or shoes, a packed lunch, water, a camera, sunscreen, & mosquito repellant (just in case). We will eat  lunch at the top of Rock Dunder. A walking stick or pole, hat, and binoculars can also be useful.

You must pre-register for this event. To register, please contact Chris Baburek at   Chris has kindly agreed to take care of registrations on behalf of Gretta Bradley, for this event.  Please remember to give your name and the event you wish to attend.

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This full day geology tour for MVFN members and friends will be led by Dr. Allan Donaldson. The tour will start at the outdoor display of rock specimens at Almonte’s Metcalfe Geoheritage Park. We will spend the morning there discussing the rocks on display, as well as a suite of additional hand specimens of rocks and fossils representative of local geology.

After lunch (from approx. 11:45 am – 1 pm), the tour will continue with an afternoon drive and visits to outcrops of both Precambrian bedrock and fossil-bearing Paleozoic strata.

Date: Saturday, June 13, 2015

Time: 9:30 am

Location: Meet at the parking lot, Metcalfe Geoheritage Park, Almonte St. (South of Mill St.) in Almonte. In the afternoon we will be going to two other sites, with a return to Almonte at approximately 4:30 pm. Please arrange to car pool to minimize the number of vehicles for travel in the afternoon.

Bring: lunch, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug repellant, and hiking boots (the afternoon sites are on open but uneven rocky areas free of brush and boggy areas, so wear hiking boots rather than rubber boots). We will be observing rather than collecting, so also consider bringing a hand lens and camera.

You must pre-register for this event:  please contact Gretta Bradley at  or 613-256-4202.  Please remember to give your name and the event/s you are registering for.

NOTE: Our geoheritage tour leader,  Dr.Allan Donaldson (B.Sc. Geol. Eng., Queen’s; Ph.D. Sedimentology, Johns Hopkins), spent 10 years as a Research Scientist with the Geological Survey of Canada investigating Precambrian strata in Canada’s  northern Territories. He then joined Carleton University’s Department of Geology, where he taught for 30 years and during this time he and his graduate students continued research work in the north. Soon after retiring in 1996, Allan founded the Ottawa-Gatineau Geoheritage Initiative, an organization devoted to advancing public appreciation of the underpinnings of the landscape: via talks, field excursions and networking with other nature-based groups. In the past, Allan has led several other geology tours for MVFN.

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