Nature Bursary News
MVFN to award $1000+ for nature studies
Spring is the time of year for the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) to accept student applications for the Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary Awards. This year, one or more $1000 awards will go to local graduating high school students set to “become the environmental leaders of tomorrow” with acceptance to post-secondary studies in a field related to the natural environment.
The awards, named for award-winning naturalist, and retired Councillor and educator, Cliff Bennett, were established by Cliff’s friends as a gift to him and to honour his contributions. Since 2007, $9700 has been awarded to sixteen students, who have gone on to college and university in programs including ecosystem management, environmental engineering, zoology, fish and wildlife management, and others.
Application forms and further information are available from student services at area schools, and on-line at mvfn.ca. Or contact Chair of the awards committee, Mike Macpherson at 613-256-3043 or .
NOTE: THE DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS IS WEDNESDAY, MAY 3, 2017
2016 Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary award
The Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary Awards Committee of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) is seeking a young person who wants to make a difference in meeting the environmental challenges of the future. The Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary is awarded annually by MVFN to assist a graduating high school student who will be pursuing post-secondary studies in a field related to the natural environment. One bursary of $1000 will be awarded this year to a deserving student from our area. The Bursary is named for Cliff Bennett, a founding member of MVFN, and was established in 2007 by Cliff’s many friends on the occasion of his 75th birthday, to honour his contributions with a lasting legacy. To date, $8200 has been awarded to fifteen graduates from six high schools in Almonte, Carleton Place, Perth, and Dunrobin who have pursued studies in twelve programs at three colleges and six universities across the country.
To be eligible for the nature bursary, a student must be graduating from a local high school with acceptance to a college or university program related to nature and the environment. As well as academic achievement, the Committee will consider an applicant’s involvement in issues related to the natural environment; previous recipients actively promoted environmental awareness through school projects and volunteering.
Post-secondary studies by bursary winners have included ecosystem management, environmental engineering, and zoology. Other recipients followed their passion in environmental stewardship by studying fish and wildlife management or biotechnology. “I am pleased that the Bursary may encourage a young person today to become an environmental leader tomorrow” says Cliff Bennett. “I consider it an investment in our shared environmental future”.
Bursary application forms will be available from the student service offices at area high schools, or at mvfn.ca . The deadline for applications is Monday, May 2, 2016. For further information, students may contact Mike Macpherson, Chair of the Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary Awards Committee, at 613-256-3043 or
Reminder all invited to garden party set for Friday!
This is a reminder that all are cordially invited to enjoy an afternoon & evening of great company, music, garden tours & potluck refreshments at the home of Al Potvin and Shirley Deugo-Potvin at 38 Carss Street in Almonte this Friday, August 21st from 4-8 pm.
No RSVP’s are needed and all are welcome. Just remember to bring a potluck dish, and your favorite non-alcoholic beverage. We are planning this event as alcohol-free; there will be cold water available.
The party is being co-hosted with the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists to celebrate and raise funds for the Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary Fund which supports awards to graduating high school students going on to study in an environmental field.
Bring your favourite dish to the potluck refreshment table and a non-alcoholic beverage. Also bring a folding chair and your bathing suit for a swim in the pool. A lifeguard will be on deck!
Come and enjoy toe-tapping music with the Jimmy Tri-Tone Band; garden tours with Ed Lawrence, local horticulture expert & CBC Radio gardening host; walks amongst the trees on the property with Dr. Ron Ayling, retired University of Toronto forestry professor; and birding with Cliff Bennett.
See you there!
You’re invited to a garden party !
REMINDER: No RSVP’s are needed and all are welcome. Just remember to bring a potluck dish, and your favorite non-alcoholic beverage. We are planning this event as alcohol-free; there will be cold water available.
You are cordially invited to enjoy an afternoon & evening of great company, music, garden tours & potluck refreshments co-hosted by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists with Shirley Deugo and Al Potvin at their beautiful property at
38 Carss Street in Almonte, Ontario
on Friday, August 21, 2015
from 4:00 – 8:00 pm
to celebrate and raise funds for the
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary Fund.
Bring your favourite dish to the potluck refreshment table.
Also a folding chair, and your bathing suit for a swim in the pool.
A lifeguard will be on deck!
Come and enjoy:
***Toe-tapping music with the Jimmy Tri-Tone Band***
***Garden tours with Ed Lawrence, local horticulture expert
& CBC Radio gardening host***
***Walks amongst the trees on the property with Dr. Ron Ayling, retired forestry professor, University of Toronto***
***Birding with Cliff Bennett***
The Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary Fund awards bursaries to local high school graduates undertaking college or university studies related to the natural environment.
The fund was established in 2007 by friends and family of local retired educator, naturalist and MVFN founding member, Cliff Bennett, on the occasion of his 75th birthday.
Since 2007, more than $8,000 has been awarded to 15 students including graduates of Almonte and District High School; Carleton Place High School; Notre Dame Catholic High School, Carleton Place; Perth and District Collegiate Institute, St. John Catholic High School, Perth; and West Carleton Secondary School.
Donations over $20 will receive an income tax receipt. See you there!
Monarch’s ruled at MVFN Spring Gathering
A monarch of the insect variety ruled at the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists’ (MVFN) 2015 Spring Gathering at the Almonte Civitan Community Hall on May 21st. Over 130 people gathered for the 6th annual dinner, awards ceremony and presentation, Mysteries of the Monarch Butterfly.
The Almonte Civitan was a flourish of butterflies, spring wildflowers and brilliant ‘butterfly & spring’ colors of green, orange and yellow sprouting from sparkling glasses, thanks to the design inspiration of MVFN members Lucy and Neil Carleton. An interesting educational display on butterflies was created by Neil Carleton. The large group mingled and met with friends as much interest and excitement was generated by the Burnt Lands Alvar Silent Auction fundraiser, organized by Bob and Cheryl Smith and the Alvar Campaign committee. Amongst the items: a basket loaded with everything needed to create a monarch butterfly garden with a young child! Thanks to the generosity of club members and local community gardeners, birders, artists, business owners, and of course successful bidders, the Burnt Lands Alvar fundraiser was a resounding success!
Following a delicious dinner by Civitan volunteers, awards presentations began with MVFN Past President Ken Allison as Master of Ceremonies. Friend and Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT) co-board member, Mary Vandenhoff, presented an MVFN Champion for Nature award to Howard Clifford, MMLT President and co-steward of the ‘Cliffland’ nature preserve and Blueberry Mountain. Almonte and District High School student Ruth Tamas was awarded the 2015 Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary Award, presented by Bursary Chair Mike Macpherson. Dedicated to a sustainable future, Tamas plans to study Environmental Engineering. An exciting announcement also took place when Barbara Chouinard of the Ottawa Field Naturalists Club presented a $5000 cheque for MVFN’s Burnt Lands Alvar Campaign.
Guest speaker Jean Lauriault (Canadian Museum of Nature Associate) was enthusiastically introduced by Mary and Howard Robinson who were part of MVFN’s first ever international outing, led by Jean, to the overwintering grounds of the Monarch butterfly in Mexico.
In an inspired presentation, Jean told the story of the Monarch, the only butterfly to migrate; with the eastern North American ones migrating to Mexico and back each year. Now they are on their way back —the ‘great grandbutterfly’ descendants of the ones that left here last fall. Almost here now— out of Mexico they follow spring weather and healthy milkweeds through the Southern U.S. (where native milkweeds grow in early spring but then die off), progressing northwards to our area. Once here several generations lasting only a few weeks are born, but in August those born will live for ~9 months. During that time the same individuals seen here will fly to the mountains of Mexico using staging grounds such as Point Pelee to cross large lakes, live the winter in Mexico along with millions of others in very dense clusters in trees, and finally travel north out of Mexico, then breed and die. Still a mystery: how they manage the journey; is it an inherited behavior triggered by circadian clock, or is navigation via the sun, magnetic fields, etc.? Originally a tropical species, it is thought that 10,000 years ago the species came north as glaciers melted and they now must migrate. Also a mystery: why one location in Mexico, El Rosaria, is the choice overwintering ground, chosen first over others.
Between Monarchs and milkweeds, a delicate relationship exists. Eggs must be laid on only certain milkweed species; the only plants the caterpillar can eat. The adult chooses plants with enough, but not too much, toxic cardenolides (which is sequestered to make the Monarch toxic to prey); plants are evaluated carefully using receptors on the legs and antennae. Loss of wildflower habitat (nectar species for the adults) in the U.S. where millions of hectares are planted with corn and soybean for biofuels, pesticides such as the neonicotinoids, loss of the critical milkweed hosts, threats to the integrity of overwintering grounds, and climate change all threaten the Monarch. Efforts in the Southern U.S. to plant certain milkweed species are now known to backfire because unlike native milkweeds, some species do not die off and the population’s movement north and its subsequent migration (which keeps the population healthy and lowers diseases) may not take place. Protecting milkweed and preserving pesticide-free wildlife space here helps the butterfly.
Jean was thanked by former MVFN President Joyce Clinton and the evening wrapped up with door prizes and hidden chair-prizes of mixed milkweed seeds to be planted as food to help out the larvae of our favorite butterfly!