Current Citizen Science Initiatives
NOTE: the new date for this planned event did not reach the level of registration required, and has been cancelled.
MVFN Invasive Aquatic Plants Survey
Paddle the creeks and bays of Mississippi Lake and take part in year two of this project. Working in conjunction with the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) and the Mississippi Lakes Association (MLA), we will take part in a survey of invasive aquatic plants.
Our aim is to canoe all seven creeks which flow into the lake, collect samples of five known aquatic invasive species and report back to the MVCA headquarters.
Date: Saturday, July 30th (rain date August 13)
Time: 8:30 AM – approx. 2:30 PM
Meet at: Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority headquarters, 10970 Highway 7, Carleton Place, for donuts and coffee, orientation and reporting kits. Crews will be assigned to a specific creek area.
Bring: You will need the usual required canoe equipment, lunch, a pen or pencil, sunscreen etc
To register, or for more information please contact David Garcia at 613-256-6299 or via email If you have a canoe and need a partner, or if you would like to partner with someone who has a canoe, let us know at the same time.
- 8:30 AM meet at MVCA for coffee and donuts (MLA has budget for this)
- Presentation on Invasive Species by MVCA specialists, information about how to fill out forms, etc.
- Handing out of kits, directions to paddling access points, etc.
- Leave between 9:15 and 9:30 AM
- Return to MVCA around 1:15- 1:30 PM, have a late lunch (bring your own)
- Staff will sort through the results and do a quick summary presentation of results.
- End around 2:30 PM
- A comprehensive report will be written up and sent to all participants, and a copy will be published in Mississippi Belle Online
Manion Corners Butterfly Count
NOTE: This is an Ottawa Field Naturalists Club event, but MVFN members are invited to register and help out! This is an especially “Kid-Friendly” Event!
Date: Saturday July 8th 2017 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (rain date Sunday 9 July)
Leaders: Jeff Skevington and Peter Hall
Meet: in the parking lot at the intersection of Dwyer Hill Road and March Road (NE of Almonte).
Please call Jeff Skevington Friday evening at 613-720-2862 if in doubt about the weather or for specific questions regarding this event. Similar to Christmas Bird Counts, this event is an all-day survey of in a 24 km diameter circle. The count area is centred on Manion Corners (SW of Ottawa) and includes several important butterfly areas such as the Long Swamp and the Burnt Lands alvar. No experience is necessary – we will put teams together on site and match up people so that everyone has a chance to learn from the experts. If you have binoculars and a butterfly net, please bring them along. Butterflies may be captured for identification and release. Rubber boots are recommended, as some of the sites have a lot of poison ivy. It is an all-day event so bring your lunch.
Pot-luck and Count-in: We plan to meet at 6:00 p.m. after the count for a compilation and potluck dinner at the Allisons’ home at 561 Wolf Grove Road, about 2.6 km west of Almonte. Please bring along some food to share plus your own drinks. We hope that everyone can make it to the compilation, as it will be a lot of fun; however, if you can’t, we will get your data in the afternoon before you leave. OFNC has generously offered to pay the count fees for participants to support publication of the data.
The butterfly count is an annual OFNC event. Working in groups or alone, participants patrol the same location – a 24-km diameter circle centred on Manion Corners. Data are submitted to the North American Butterfly Association.
2017 Loon Lake Survey of Mississippi Lake
Observers are required for the 2017 Mississippi Lakes Loon Survey. This year MVFN, in conjunction with the Mississippi Lakes Association, will again conduct a Bird Studies Canada “Canadian Lakes Loon Survey” for Mississippi Lake.
As a volunteer observer, you would be part of a team surveying an assigned region of the lake three times during the summer, once in each of the months of June, July and August. This is a good opportunity to get involved as a volunteer in some interesting and worthwhile citizen science on a local project.
A motor boat and driver will be made available for each team. Each team will coordinate, with the boat driver, the preferred day, time, and location for launch.You will need binoculars and sun screen.
Surveys are done during the last week of each month and take about two hours to complete. A motor boat and driver are provided for each team.
ORIENTATION SESSION FOR VOLUNTEERS: the orientation session for survey volunteers will take place Thursday, June 15, at 2:00 p.m. at the Mill of Kintail Gatehouse.
If you can help, please contact Cliff Bennett at 613-256-5013 or
For results of last year’s Loon Survey of Mississippi Lake click here.
New Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas App
There is an urgent need for volunteer citizen scientists of all levels to submit sightings of all reptile and amphibian species, not just the rare ones.
“The Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas is a citizen-science project that tracks distributions and spatial trends of reptiles and amphibians across the province over time. The over-arching goal is to increase the collective knowledge base of reptiles and amphibians. Equally important, however, is the engagement of non-scientists of all ages and abilities, in all parts of the province, in nature study and conservation.
Reptiles and amphibians are experiencing global declines of 20 and 40 percent respectively. In Ontario, 75 percent of reptiles and 35 percent of amphibians are listed as nationally and provincially at-risk.”
It is very helpful to report sightings:
We need volunteer citizen scientists of all levels to submit sightings of all reptile and amphibian species, not just the rare ones. Just in time for spring, we’re proud to announce the launch of our updated Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas App!
The new App!
There are several new features, including a field guide for the 48 species of reptiles and amphibians found in Ontario with colour photos, descriptions and calls that can be used to help you identify your sightings. If you have the previous version of the app, make sure to download the updated version to access all the new features! This project is supported by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, and the Environment Canada Habitat Stewardship Program. All illustrations provided are courtesy of the Toronto Zoo. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices.
Audubon Christmas Bird Counts sponsored by MVFN
Again, this season, thousands will take part in Audubon Christmas Bird counts (CBC’s) across the Americas. This sociable citizen science tradition began Christmas Day in 1900. Organized by conservation minded ornithologist Frank Chapman, people at 25 locations, including Toronto, Ontario took part in a “Christmas Bird Census” (instead of a hunt) to identify and record, as many birds as possible for the day. Thus, was founded one of the world’s most significant citizen-based conservation efforts. Bird Studies Canada and partners at the National Audubon Society in the United States rely on the data to monitor populations and guide conservation efforts.
Volunteers are needed for all three counts sponsored by MVFN in our local area. You can help by counting birds at your feeder or out and about by joining a field team. You do not need to be an expert but it helps to be familiar with local species. Field counters are placed in a field team led by an experienced birder. You will need a pair of binoculars. Also, residents with bird feeders within a count area can participate from home by recording visiting birds on count day. At the end of the day field and feeder counters gather to socialize at the “count-in” and share stories and refreshments. Registration information for a few local counts sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists is listed below.
For further information about Audubon Christmas Bird Counts visit http://www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count
Rideau Ferry Christmas Bird Count
Saturday December 17. The count is centered on Rideau Ferry and includes Perth, most of Smith’s Falls, Murphy’s Point Provincial Park, and several conservation areas. Register with Alison Bentley at or 613-273-4428. Feeder counters contact Judy Buehler at or 613-264-8856. Full details of this count can be found in this press release by Alison Bentley.
Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count
Tuesday, December 27. The count area is a 24-km circle centered on the bridge over the Mississippi River in Carleton Place, and includes Almonte, Appleton and Ashton. Contact Iain Wilkes at . Feeder counters register with Georgina Doe at 613-257-2103. Further details can be found in the CP count press release here.
Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count
Wednesday, December 30. The count circle is centered on Watson’s Corners and includes Brightside to the north, Middleville to the east, most of Dalhousie Lake to the west, and south to within a km of Balderson. To register contact Marilyn Barnett at or 613-259-2269. Feeder Counters register with Marj Montgomery before Christmas at or 613-259-3078. Further details can be found in the Lanark Highlands CBC press release here.