Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

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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Ken Allison will lead a tour for MVFN members and friends; a spring tour of Burnt Lands Alvar, on Saturday morning, May 30, 2015.

We will spend the morning searching for the special plants that thrive in this habitat, such as Fringed Polygala, Seneca Snakeroot and New Jersey Tea. Hopefully, some of the lady’s-slippers will be in bloom. We will also be looking at any birds and butterflies that are present.

We will be looking at alvar woodland, alvar meadows, alvar wetland, and the regenerating burn site to see a variety of different habitats.

Date: Saturday, May 30, 2015

Time: Meet at location at 7:30 a.m.

Location:  Meet along Golden Line Road beside Burnt Lands Alvar Provincial Park area (marked by signs on the fence) at 7:30 a.m. There is roadside parking.

Bring:  mosquito repellent, binoculars and a camera. Rubber boots are strongly recommended as parts of the alvar can be flooded a few inches deep early in the year and there are patches of poison ivy.

NOTE: You must pre-register for this event. 

To register, please contact Gretta Bradley at  or 613-256-4202.  Please remember to give your name and the event/s you are registering for.

NOTE: If you wish to become an MVFN member or renew, please complete a Membership Form. Memberships dues are very reasonable and include all MVFN events and lectures, as well as supporting MVFN’s many  local conservation and education initiatives.

Photos below are from a May 2009 Burnt Lands Alvar Tour led by Paul Catling (orange shirt). In spite of the nearly constant rain that day, the wonder of the alvar in springtime kept everyone so mesmerized that no one noticed the rain!

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Saturday, February 7th was a perfect winter day for a large group of members from the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) enjoying the club’s annual winter outing.  With medium-cold temperatures and softly falling snow, the group wandered a trail in a deeply wooded area of the Pakenham uplands, enjoying the solitude, searching for animal tracks and listening for bird sounds.

The trek ended at the camp of noted conservationist Gerry Lee, who graciously hosted the group and provided a warm interior around a wood fire and also a pot of delicious mulled cider. Lee then gave a learned dissertation on the trapping industry and how traps are studied and constructed to have the minimum negative effect on the welfare of the animals sought. In addressing a question about the trapper as a conservationist, Gerry pointed out that it is always in the trappers’ economic interest not to rid the area of entire populations. Trapping is regulated and controlled by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and all trappers must be licensed.


Outside, the group watched the bird activity at one of Gerry’s bird feeders and sought out eagles at a carcass feeding area on a rock across a stream from the cabin. Only one bald eagle was sighted but other birds at the feeders included over a dozen chickadees, both hairy and downy woodpeckers, white breasted nuthatches and blue jays. A ruffed grouse was seen earlier, budding in a tree along the trail.

Warm thanks were presented to the host Gerry Lee, noting especially his great humour and generous hospitality. Leader of the group was MVFN President Cliff Bennett, who announced that the next MVFN outing will be April 25 and the theme will be nature photography. For more information on MVFN membership and programming, go to the website at MVFN is a local naturalist group and member of the Ontario Nature Network.


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 A Winter Nature Ramble into the Pakenham Highlands

Date: Saturday, February 7, 2015

Car pooling: from the  Esso Gas Bar, Almonte at 9:30 am.

Bring:  lunch, hot beverage, snowshoes or cross- country skis.

Host: Jerry Lee. NOTE: the trail in to Jerry Lee’s cabin is groomed

You must pre-register for this event. Please register before hand with Cliff Bennett  613-256-5013 or bennett For more information please contact Cliff.

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The Friends of Murphy’s Point Park are hosting a Geoheritage Tour on Saturday, October 25th, 2014.  For full details please see the poster below and the Friends of Murphy’s Point Park Website.

For further information about geological heritage of our area, visit the Ottawa-Gatineau Geoheritage Project website. The Ottawa-Gatineau Geoheritage Project promotes greater public knowledge and appreciation of the geology and related landscapes in and around Canada’s National Capital Region.




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