Current Citizen Science Initiatives
Canadian Loon Lakes Survey of Mississippi Lake
Here is a good opportunity to get involved in some interesting and worthwhile citizen science this summer on a local project. MVFN, in conjunction with the Mississippi Lakes Association, has volunteered to conduct this year’s Bird Studies Canada “Canadian Lakes Loon Survey” for Mississippi Lake.
The task involves pairs of volunteers making one, two or three visits to areas of Mississippi Lake, searching for loons and recording the findings. The visit times will be the last week in June, July and August. You can volunteer to do one, two or all three visits. Visits last up to two hrs. Maps and forms will be provided.
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.
Please register with Rick Erskine at or telephone 613-257-1397 and he will match you with a boat driver and lake location. For further instructions, please contact Cliff Bennett at 613-256-5013 or after June 15.
Announcing butterfly count: SW Ottawa & Burnt Lands Alvar
By Ken Allison
On Saturday, July 4, the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club will be holding the 14th annual Manion Corners Butterfly Count. Similar to Christmas Bird Counts, this event is an all-day survey of a 24-km diameter circle. Although this count is facilitated by the Ottawa club, the count area is centred on Manion Corners (southwest of Ottawa) and includes several important butterfly areas such as the Long Swamp and the Burnt Lands alvar.
Appalachian Brown butterfly. Photo Ken Allison
Burnt Lands Alvar is home to Burnt Lands Alvar Provincial Park and the alvar itself, much of which is situated within Mississippi Mills, is a designated Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI). If you are intrigued by recent attention focused on the alvar and the guided walks on the alvar this spring (focused primarily on habitat and the unique and rare plant species), this event will give you a chance to see the rich butterfly fauna of the ANSI. Jeff Skevington and Peter Hall are the coordinators for the count. You might recognize Peter’s name as he is one of the authors of The Butterflies of Canada, which is the standard ‘go-to’ guide book on Canadian butterflies.
If you wish to participate in the count, meet at the parking lot at the intersection of Dwyer Hill Road and March Road at 8:30 a.m. This is a ‘child-friendly’ event and is a great opportunity to introduce children to the interesting world of butterflies. The count goes all day until 4:30 p.m. and this is followed by a meeting, at 6 pm, for a compilation and pot luck dinner. All participants are invited to the compilation and it is always a very enjoyable event with great food and fun interactions with a group of real enthusiasts. If you can’t make it to the compilation, arrangements can be made to get your data in sometime during the afternoon before you leave.
There is a $4 charge to participants, to support the publication of the count results. No experience is necessary – the organizers will put teams together on Saturday morning 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, especially in the Burnt Lands.
The rain date for this event will be Sunday, July 5 at 8:30 am. Call Jeff Skevington Friday evening at 613-720-2862 if there is any doubt about the weather or for specific questions regarding this event.
MVFN Rock Elm Tree Sale
Plant hardy, hand- raised Rock Elm. They are now about 50 cm tall and are growing in biodegradable peat pots for third year.
Price: $3.00 each. These are for planting, ideally, in groups of up to five. Planting instructions supplied.
How to place your order: Phone or email your order to MVFN’s David Garcia: 613-256-6299 or
Pick up date will be Saturday, June 20, at 12 noon at Almonte Lawn Bowling Club, 157 Robert St. corner of Robert and Ann Streets in Almonte.
For more information, please contact David.
Note: Rock elm, once plentiful in our area, almost all disappeared due to harvesting for ship building, construction and furniture making. Moderately fast growing, they live for at least 125 yrs. and grow single, straight trunks 15-25 metres tall. Like other elms, they succumb to Dutch elm disease but are hardier.
Look out for ‘marked’ Milbert’s Tortoiseshell Butterflies
Ross Layberry, one of three authors of The Butterflies of Canada, recently released over 100 Milbert’s Tortoiseshell butterflies on his property near Fitzroy Harbour. He reared them from a nest of larvae which he collected near Cornwall on May 10. Each has been marked on the underside, in the centre of the hind wing, with a small spot of white.
He would appreciate you keeping a lookout for these marked butterflies over the next couple of months. There is no need to capture the butterflies, just note if you see one with a white spot at the centre of the underside of the hind wing, and the coordinates or location of your sighting. If you see a marked Milbert’s Tortoiseshell butterfly, please contact Ross by email at:
Milbert’s Tortoiseshell, photo Ken Allison