Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley
Mississippi River at Pakenham

2014-2015: When a tree falls in the forest does anyone hear?

Servants and Masters: Trees on the Landscape

by Cheryl Morris for the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

On Thursday, March 19, 2015, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) will present the sixth lecture in their current series. The event will be held in the Social Hall of Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., Almonte Ontario at 7:30 pm.

The  guest speaker will be Justin Peter, Director of Programs and Senior Naturalist for Quest Nature Tours. He has entitled his talk “Servants and Masters: Trees on the Landscape”. Prior to working at Quest, Justin was Senior Naturalist at Ontario’s world-renowned Algonquin Park where he coordinated the park’s interpretive program and recruited promising junior naturalists. He is a popular speaker at birding festivals and nature clubs, including MVFN , and, as well, is researcher for regional and international projects and publications. He founded the Facebook page ‘Landmark Trees of Ontario’, which features some of Ontario’s many remarkable trees and their stories. He recently led the review of the popular book Trees of Algonquin Provincial Park (author Dan Strickland), the latest edition of which was released in 2015. This book emphasizes that “…of all the living things that inhabit Algonquin Provincial Park, none are more important than trees.”

photo Howard Robinson

Trees in the landscape: Lanark County. photo Howard Robinson.

Justin Peter states: “In one sense, trees are passive elements of the landscape, vulnerable to the vagaries of environmental change and human activity. On the other hand, they are tremendously adaptable and responsive to opportunity, and their presence (or absence) influences life all around them. In this illustrated talk, we will discover some of what our native trees can tell us about our landscapes as we explore the diverse ecological and cultural roles that they play—past and present—as well as their potential to enrich our future landscapes.” Justin will expand on this statement as he discusses how the economic value that we place on different trees affects how much or how little we know about them and their conservation status. His talk will enlighten about how important specific trees are to the wildlife that depends on them for survival. He will discuss the existence and magnitude of ongoing threats to the survival of our trees including those posed by pests, diseases and climate change. As well, he will describe the under-appreciated presence of historic trees in nature and their great potential to help re-forest the landscape. In discussing these topics Justin will make us aware of how our own values affect the ability of trees to survive and flourish.

Please join MVFN for this interesting and informative presentation. Refreshments and discussion will follow the talk. There is a non-member fee of $5. For further information, please contact MVFN’s Program Chair, Gretta Bradley, at . For MVFN events, membership and other club information visit http://mvfn.ca.

 

A Springtime of Silence?

Will we one day experience a springtime of silence? On Thursday, February 19, 2015, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) present the fifth lecture in their current series.  Award-winning Carleton University educator Michael Runtz will be guest speaker for this presentation entitled “Environmental Threats to Avian Species”.

Yellow Warbler

 

What are the current threats to birds such as this yellow warbler photographed in the Spring of 2014?  Photo by Susan Wilkes.

Runtz is a well-known biologist and naturalist and author of many scientific articles and award-winning books about nature, such as Wild Wings: The Hidden World of Birds, which features, as do several of Runtz’s books, his own spectacular photographic record of the natural world. A passionate and insightful observer of birds (and many wild creatures) since childhood, in addition to his work in the Carleton Biology department, Runtz educates and inspires the public to learn about the natural world; for example in his role as coordinator of the annual Pakenham-Arnprior Christmas Bird Count and his long-standing volunteer involvement, currently as President, with the Macnamara Field Naturalists Club.

Runtz states: “Rachel Carson was instrumental in preventing deadly insecticides from killing millions of birds. But today many other threats exist, some equally as insidious as DDT. This highly visual presentation will examine a few of the challenges that currently face our bird populations.” Runtz refers of course to Rachel Carson, author of the 1962 book Silent Spring which first brought to the world’s attention, the startling facts about environmental damage (particularly to birds) caused by pesticides. Birds continue to be threatened, but which threats would Michael Runtz consider the most important for birds today?: environmental toxins both new and old? . . .  habitat loss? . . .  introduced predators? . . .  or other threats?

Join MVFN for what promises to be an interesting and informative presentation. The presentation “Environmental Threats to Avian Species” will be held at the Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., Almonte, ON at 7:30 pm. Come with your questions about your favourite local species. There is a non-member fee of $5. For further information, please contact MVFN’s Program Chair, Gretta Bradley, at . For MVFN events, membership and other club information anytime visit http://mvfn.ca.

Press Release

By Cheryl Morris

On Thursday, January 15, 2015, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) will present the fourth lecture in their current series which is based on the theme “When A Tree Falls In The Forest, Does Anyone Hear?” This event will be held in the Social Hall of Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., Almonte Ontario at 7:30 pm.

Guest speaker  for the evening will be author and biologist Donna Naughton. Donna has recently retired from a career spanning 38 years at the Canadian Museum of Nature where she worked as a research and collections assistant. Donna’s presentation will be entitled “Changes To Canadian Mammal Fauna Due to Human Influence”.

“At a time when the natural environment is more threatened by human activity than ever before, the decisions we make in the next few decades could be key to species and habitat survival.” – Donna Naughton from her book The Natural History of Canadian Mammals, published in 2012. Humans have changed the mammalian fauna in North America in major ways at least three times. Some changes are still ongoing. Our speaker will talk about these extinction events and discuss how global climate change fits into this picture. She will discuss which mammals existed in the past in eastern Ontario, which mammal groups are currently living in this region, and which ones are likely to still exist here in the future.

Donna will also say a few words about her book, The Natural History of Canadian Mammals.  Naughton spent eleven years studying and drawing mammals to include in the book. This visually stunning volume is a definitive guide to the 215 species of mammals in Canada. The book outlines the story of each of Canada’s mammals through detailed text, colourful photos and informative drawings and artwork. The beautiful 800-page book is truly the culmination of a long and inspired career.

Donna Naughton figureA figure from Donna Naughton’s beautifully illustrated book The Natural History of Canadian Mammals. Naughton will be the featured guest speaker January 15, 2015, as MVFN’s natural history lecture series continues in Almonte.

In a past interview with North Country Public Radio, Donna states “One of my jobs in my 37 years at the museum was to answer questions from the public. So anybody who phoned or emailed with a mammal question got sent to my desk. So I had a pretty good idea of what the Canadian public wanted to know and how they would like it answered . . . you get a feel for what they really want to know”.

Please join MVFN for this interesting and informative presentation. Refreshments and discussion will follow the talk. There is a non-member fee of $5. For further information, please contact MVFN’s Program Chair, Gretta Bradley, at . Visit mvfn.ca for all MVFN events, membership and other club information.

 

 

Climate Change and Implications for Health and Well-Being at next MVFN talk

On Thursday, November 20, 2014, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) will present the third lecture of their current series based on the theme “When a Tree Falls in the Forest, Does Anyone Hear?” This event will be held in the Social Hall of Almonte United Church at 106 Elgin St., Almonte, Ontario at 7:30 pm.

Guest speaker for the evening will be Anita Payne, full-time Climate Activist and a local leader in The Climate Reality Project Canada. Anita’s presentation is entitled “Climate Change and Implications for Health and Well-Being”.

“The debate involving the reality of climate change and global warming has been ongoing for many years. At the November meeting of MVFN, the following questions will inspire your thoughts: What is the scientific explanation and evidence for global warming and climate change? What effects are we seeing locally and globally? What are the implications to the health and well-being of the human race as well as our wildlife population?  Is it too late to stop climate change? Can anything still be done? …We are all in this together and we all, in our own way, need to address the crisis created by climate change”. –Anita Payne

For many years, Anita has been dedicated to the call for action to address the global crisis inherent in climate change, not just for future generations but for all life, now,on planet Earth, our only home. Her thought-provoking presentation will include not only the implications for human health and the health of our natural world, but also what can still be done to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. She will share with us her recent experiences during The Great March for Climate Action in the USA, including a number of in-person meetings with ‘climate refugees’. From the information presented in this lecture, perhaps we will each discover a contribution we can make to help reverse climate change.

Arrival in Washington D.C.

Local climate change action leader Anita Payne  arrives in LaFayette Park, Washington D.C. on November 1, 2014 along with other marchers in The Great March for Climate Action.  Charles Chandler (left)  helped carry the banner part of the way.

Refreshments and discussion will follow the talk. Free for MVFN members, or $5 at the door. For further information, please contact MVFN’s Program Chair, Gretta Bradley at .

 

Noted naturalist Dr. Ken Beattie will be our speaker at the next MVFN talk: Without Education, There Will Be No Conservation!

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) will present the second lecture of their new series “When a tree falls in the forest, does anyone hear?” on Thursday October 16th at the Almonte United Church.

MVFN’s guest speaker will be Dr. Ken Beattie, noted naturalist and current Manager of Habitat Programs with the Canadian Wildlife Federation. Beattie will inspire with his presentation“Without Education, There Will Be No Conservation!”

Ken Beattie has applied his extensive knowledge and experience to urban habitat development, practical environmental projects, food security initiatives, and of course, education. His professional activities have spanned over four decades and extended to the four corners of the globe! Ken Beattie is renowned on the national and international stage, whether delighting audiences in lecture halls or on cruise ships with his witty and intelligent series of talks entitled The Earth’s Garden, or in presentations at horticultural shows such as Toronto’s Canada Blooms or the BC Home and Garden Show.  Beattie has also been the host of award-winning television shows inspired by garden themes and in particular those focusing on wise management of the earth’s resources. He was the popular host of the live Canadian television series Get Growing.

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“To walk in a forest can, and usually does evoke a deeper sense of self and one’s position within a larger scheme. Not all Canadians have the privilege or opportunity however to ‘walk in a forest’. How then do those of us who have walked in a forest, perhaps even metaphorically, synthesize or translate our experiences to others?” asks naturalist Ken Beattie.  photo Pauline Donaldson

Ken Beattie completed a Niagara Parks Diploma in Horticulture at the prestigious Niagara Parks Botanical Garden. He is one of Canada’s most esteemed and approachable authorities on most if not all aspects of the plant world and on the relationship between people and plants. Beattie encourages his audiences to live in harmony with nature, even within the confines of a small urban backyard: “To walk in a forest can, and usually does evoke a deeper sense of self and one’s position within a larger scheme. Not all Canadians have the privilege or opportunity however to ‘walk in a forest’. How then do those of us who have walked in a forest, perhaps even metaphorically, synthesize or translate our experiences to others? Engagement or re-engagement with nature, urban conservation ethic, and demonstrated best practices at home, schools, offices and governments may have overwhelmingly positive effects on the next generations.”

If we were to lose a species or its habitat does it matter or is it worthy of our attention? It is imperative, now and in the generations to follow, that a much deeper sense of understanding, caring and nurturing of our relationship with nature be established such that any threat to even one species or habitat will evoke not only our attention but also effective intervention.

Join us for this talk by Dr. Ken Beattie: ‘Without Education, There Will Be No Conservation!’  The talk takes place at 7:30 pm, Thursday, October 16, 2014 at the Almonte United Church Social Hall, 106 Elgin St., Almonte, ON. Refreshments and discussion follow the talk and there is a non-member fee of $5. For further information, please contact MVFN’s Program Chair Gretta Bradley at .  For all MVFN events, membership and other club information anytime, visit http://mvfn.ca.

“In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous” -Aristotle

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FULL-SIZED  CALENDAR WITH DETAILS

MVFN natural history talks:  7:30 pm on third Thursdays of Jan, Feb, March, April,  Sept, Oct, and Nov at Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St. Almonte ON. All welcome! Non-members $5. 

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