Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

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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May 28

A hike in Shaw Woods is planned for Saturday, May 28th. Allan Goddard will be our guide hiking the trails for about an hour before we break for a bagged lunch. The hike will continue after lunch for an additional hour before we leave to return to the Mississippi Mills area. 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 of the site at this link

Details: Allan will lead the group on the Old Growth Loop departing from West Trailhead. This will be followed by a stop for lunch at the Pine Pavilion. He will then take us along Johnny’s Lookout Trail departing from East Trailhead. Our March speaker, Grant Dobson suggests this should be an excellent introduction to the area. NOTE: Level of difficulty: Old Growth Loop: easy;  Johnny’s Lookout: moderate.

Car-pooling: Almonte area meet at Esso Station (corner Hwy 29 and Almonte St.) at 9:15 am for departure at 9:30 am; departure from Pakenham Public School at approx. 9:40 am.

Bring: binoculars, field guides, hat, sunglasses, bug protection, lunch and water. 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   This event will go ahead rain or shine. Please dress appropriately. Should cancellation be necessary, registrants will be contacted by email. If in doubt please call 256-4202 before 9 am the day of the outing to confirm.

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Triple S Geotur 2010

The following account of a recent MVFN field trip was written by Cathy Keddy (MVFN Programme Chair) with photos by Cathy Keddy except as indicated. Read full story with 5 photos as pdf 

This was not just another bicycle rodeo, but a fantastic geological outing in Lanark County led by Dr. Allan Donaldson. The tour really began just downstream from the road bridge at Pakenham where we were carried back to Paleozoic times (about 500 million years ago), when the area was beneath a warm, shallow sea.

Cross-sections of sea lily stems, appearing as half-centimeter-diameter washers, were scattered across the exposed, flat riverside rock pavement. Among them were the fossil remains of long, straight, conical shells of nautiloid cephalopods (like squids with shells on their bodies)—orthocones. The one in this photo, however, was just a baby. Some grew to lengths of meters!  >>>>>>>>> Read full story as pdf with link above.

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MVFN 2010 Spring/Summer/Fall Outdoor Programme

Saturday, May 29 – Annual Spring Nature Walk

Saturday, June 19 – A Field Day-Bugs at Big Creek

Saturday, July 17 -Geology-Lanark County Rocks!

*August 14 or 15 (tba) – CANCELLED

Sep 25 (rain date Sep 26)  – Annual Autumn Field Trip

and the canoe/kayak outings . . .

June 12 or 13 (tba) – Canoe outing-Mississippi River from Dalhousie Lake Downriver 

Sunday, July 4 – Canoe the Mississippi -Appleton to Almonte

Sunday, July 25 – Canoe the Mississippi-Pakenham/ Blakeney

Sunday, August 8 – Canoe Sharbot Lake

Sunday, August 22 – Canoe Clayton/Taylor Lakes

Sept 10-13 – 3rd Annual MVFN Canoe Camp- Algonquin Park

Sunday, October 3 – Fall Colours Canoe trip

Further details for all events will be sent via our members e-mail network and will be posted at closer to the events; or contact Programme Chair Cathy Keddy at 613-257-3089 or

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Annual Spring Walk – Webber Woods of Wolf Grove in the Spring

Saturday, May 29, 2010 —— 10:00 a.m.

Explore nature on the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s newest preserve— in Wolf Grove near Union Hall

Did you miss our winter walk in the Webber Woods in Wolf Grove? Did you enjoy the winter walk and want to witness this wonderful wild woodland wrapped in its spring wardrobe? Join this walk guided by Martha Webber, botanist, naturalist, teacher, and long-time property steward. Only Martha knows the natural secrets of this spectacular property.

Enjoy lunch on the shore of Bowley Lake.

Location: Meet at the end of Ramsay Concession 4B which extends south off Wolf Grove Rd., about 3km east of Union Hall (the hall is at the intersection of Wolf Gove Rd. and Tatlock Rd.); Ramsay Con. 4B is only about 100m long

Parking: Park along Ramsay Con. 4B

Bring: lunch, binoculars, camera, and your natural history notebook.

More information: Contact Cathy Keddy at 613-257-3089 or  (call before 9 a.m. if uncertain event will take place due to weather).

 Do you remember MAD Cap Horse?

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