Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

NOTE: information below is from an article in the December 2017 newsletter of the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT)

“Byrne Big Creek Preserve Making Great Progress”

The MMLT launched a campaign on Giving Tuesday, Nov 28th, to raise funds needed to acquire and manage a wonderful 100-acre parcel of land near McDonald’s Corners. The property was left to the MMLT by Joel Byrne, naturalist, poet and long-time supporter of the MMLT, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists and the Macnamara Field Naturalists’ Club.

The next night, MMLT hosted an evening at the Barley Mow to remember Joel Byrne and to celebrate his wonderful gift of what will become the Byrne Big Creek Nature Preserve. The Campaign received a ’jump-start’ when Irene’s Pub in Ottawa pledged to match donations up to $5000.  The crowd was delighted when the campaign passed the $5,000 target. In fact, this achievement inspired another offer to match the next $5,000 in personal donations. Then the President of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists, Brenda Boyd, took the floor to make a very substantial gift to the campaign.



The Big Creek Campaign hopes to raise $48,500 to cover acquisition and future stewardship costs. The response to date has been truly remarkable. As of mid December, approximately 80% of the goal had been donated.

MMLT is so grateful to all who have come forward with financial support and is appealing to those who might still wish to contribute to this campaign to help us reach the campaign goal.  Plans are also underway for fundraising events in the New Year to close any final gap.  For those wishing to contribute to making this dream a reality, please visit our website at and click on Byrne Big Creek Preserve Campaign.

Congratulations to MMLT for this amazing accomplishment of coming so close to the fundraising goal for Joel’s property, in such a short period of time!


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The 2016 “Trees for Hub Hospice” initiative is an excellent opportunity to  help the environment, create habitat for birds, butterflies etc., while supporting  a wonderful cause for the community.

“With assistance from local horticultural experts Ed Lawrence, Al Potvin and Ron Ayling, Hub Hospice is able to offer a selection of shade, flowering and fruit trees suitable for our area at very reasonable prices.”

trees for hospice

“Trees for Hub Hospice Campaign” news release: Thanks to the generosity of the Mississippi Mills Chamber of Commerce, Hub Hospice Palliative Care is carrying on the legacy of this greening initiative as a fundraiser to support home palliative care services.  With assistance from local horticultural experts Ed Lawrence, Al Potvin and Ron Ayling, Hub Hospice is able to offer a selection of shade, flowering and fruit trees suitable for our area at very reasonable prices. By buying a tree through the Trees for Hub Hospice campaign, you can beautify your property and the community, help the environment, and support your neighbors in need.

Trees sized up to 10 ft. tall are priced under $100 and include fertilizer, compost and an informative planting seminar.  Cleaner air, cooler buildings, better water quality, reduced soil erosion, and increased property value are just a few of many great reasons to plant trees.

For more information, please contact the Trees for Hub Hospice Campaign Team by email at " target="_blank" rel="noopener">


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Nature Network News: Best Practices Guide to Natural Heritage Systems Planning:

Ontario Nature’s Best Practices Guide to Natural Heritage Systems Planning is now available for download from the Ontario Nature website. Or download pdf here: nhs-guide-web.  While provincial regulation promotes the planning of natural heritage systems – and even mandates it in areas like the Greenbelt – many municipalities are failing to do so. In these jurisdictions, natural areas are fragmented to the detriment of biodiversity. Ontario Nature’s new guide is designed to remedy this situation by identifying the best planning examples and providing insightful analysis from which other municipalities can learn. For more information about the guide, contact Josh Wise at . “

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Mississippi Mills Arbour Week

April 22 to 26th

Rekindle Your Love of Trees Replant Our Local Forests and Public/Private Spaces

Brisk sales, over many years, of both deciduous and coniferous trees during Arbour Week indicate that Mississippians have been faithfully planting young trees. This wonderful trend is more pressing now than ever since within the next 5 years we are going to lose most if not all our ash trees to the Emerald Ash Borer.

The Beautification Committee of Mississippi Mills is offering a challenge to residents to increase our planting efforts leading up to Canada’s 150 birthday in July 2017.

This gives us 4 planting seasons. We are setting our target at 2,000 trees per year.

For information about a variety of Mississippi Mills walks and talks you can participate in contact .

Tree Champion Award

Saturday, April 26, 2 pm, Appleton Bay Park.

Join in the celebration as Alison Ball, Tree Champion of 2014, plants a tree with a fancy shovel. This will be followed by a Tree Walk with Rob Cretien and an opportunity to learn about the Appleton Wetlands and the Shoreline Cleanup.

 Tree Walks & Talks

Tuesday, April 22 – Blakeney, 6:30 pm – Mini walk with Ed Lawrence followed by tree film night at Cornelius Berg’s house (194 Blakeney Rd).  Meet us at the Blakeney mailboxes at 6:30 sharp.

Thursday, April 24 – Clayton, 10 am. Start behind the Clayton Community Centre and continue on a loop across properties belonging to Pat and Peter Laurich, Guido and Tanya Patrice, Sylvia Sirrett, Cliff and Lynda Bennett, and Jo Sutton.

Friday, April 25, Pakenham, 6:30 pm on the Martin farm at the end of Comba Lane.

Saturday, April 26, Appleton, 2 pm with Rob Cretien. Meet at the Appleton Bay Park.

Sunday, April 27, 2 pm, Almonte, Strathburn Trail, with Ron Ayling. Meet at Strathburn and Malcolm St.

 Tree Talk & Bike Ride

Sunday, April 27, 9:30 am. Meet Jeff Mills, Ed Lawrence and Neil Carleton at the Palms, Mill St., Almonte for a fun-filled, info-filled

easy tour.

 Tree Talk Dr. Ian Nadar

Wednesday, April 23, 7 pm Almonte Old Town Hall

“Little Green Monster” or “What to do about the Emerald Ash Borer?” Dr. Nadar has many years experience in urban forestry in the areas of pest and disease control. He was head of the Dutch Elm Disease control program for the National Capital Commission for more than 25 years. He was the Manager of Parks & Forestry for the city of Rochester, New York for almost 10 years. His work there included oversight of 135 parks and more than 200,000 street trees. Rochester has one of the best city forestry divisions, receiving the “Tree City USA” award.

 Pitch In – April 22-27

Let’s get ready for spring by picking up garbage along rural roads, town streets & in Mississippi Mills parks. PITCH-IN can be done on your own anytime during the week of April 22-27th or join us downtown Almonte, Saturday, April 26th

9:00 am-Noon.

PITCH-IN bags available at Nicholson’s Sundries, Pakenham, Clayton General Store, Appleton Mail Boxes, Baker Bob’s, the Recreation and Culture office at Almonte’s Old Town Hall

2014 Tree Sales

“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time is today.”

Big Trees

Mississippi Mills Chamber of Commerse Pick-up your trees on Sat. April 26 at the municipal office, 9 am – noon.

Visit for a catalog of beautiful, nursery grown trees – flowering, shade and fruit. You’ll even find planting tips!

Order by April 18 online at or phone Kathryn at 256-7886.

Little Trees

Mississippi Mills Beautification Committee 3 and 4 yr old transplants – Fraser Fir, Colorado Blue Spruce, White Spruce and 2 yr Eastern White Cedar for $3 and 4 yr White Pine $4

To order please call Bonnie Hawkins, 256-1077 by April 18.

Rain Barrel Sale

Neighbourhood Tomato Community Gardens are selling 220 litre rain barrels for $55. Order at and pick up at the municipal office on April 26.

For further information contact, Tiffany MacLaren, Town of Mississippi Mills Community Economic & Cultural Coordinator

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 Keddy Nature Sanctuary


















photo Cathy Keddy

In late January, the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust Conservancy (MMLTC) finalized its newest conservation easement agreement with Paul and Cathy Keddy on their beautiful 530-acre property located in the northeastern corner of Drummond-North Elmsley Township.

The Keddys, both professional ecologists, first discovered this spectacular property back in the ’70s, long before the area was designated a Provincially Significant Wetland Complex. Here follows Cathy’s account about their decision to legally protect their property forever.

“One of the first decisions we made when preparing for marriage back in 1976, when we were still students at Dalhousie University in Halifax, was to buy our first 100 acres of forest in Lanark County. Many thought we were foolish. But we had walked that property and seen 30 pairs of Great Blue Herons nesting in a wetland. How better to celebrate a marriage than to protect these magnificent creatures. Over the years we camped and eventually built a small cabin where we spent many happy weekends. As we got to know the property better, we found a stream that flowed to the east, and a patch of wild orchids in a seepage area. We owned neither. But over time, these properties came on the market, and we added them to our debt load. Twice we could buy a property only after it had been logged. This was painful, but we knew that whatever the short term damage, the trees would eventually regrow and wildlife habitat would recover. The last property was the toughest, and we were able to buy it only after the landowner had quite deliberately increased the price and sold the logging rights, just to be spiteful. The skidders were already felling huge beech trees as we signed the mortgage papers. Paul’s parents very generously contributed $20,000 so we could buy out the logging company before it felled the 30 acres having the oldest trees. At this point we were the proud owners of a square mile.

Now there is a commitment. Not only were we responsible for protecting the forest, and for making our monthly payments, but at home we had two growing children, while on the land we had populations of salamanders and frogs and warblers and turkey vultures. What a family! When Paul became ill in the early ’90s, finances were stretched to the limit.

Eventually, our family moved to Louisiana for eight years where Paul earned enough money to pay off the accumulated debts. Now it was all ours! But there would be little point in protecting 120-year-old oaks or populations of wild orchids if the next owner would simply log them or create estate lots. We were determined to pass it on intact. The Nature Conservancy of Canada was interested, but by the time we returned from Louisiana there was a new local land conservancy on the scene, the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust. We were delighted that they agreed to become partners, and take over from us in the long run. And 999 years, renewable, is indeed a long-term arrangement! Each of us will die. We know that when that happens to us, all the wild creatures we have known over the past 50 years will be safe from developers and loggers. They will carry on their lives without us. The 120-year-old oaks and hemlocks will live several more centuries, and then, when they die, become homes for owls and hawks and tree frogs. Yes, we could have sold the land, and burned through the money on expensive cars and luxury cruises. But, we would have been no happier. And, as they say, you can’t take it with you. What about our sons and the issue of inheritance? The boys are thrilled that a property with so many happy memories will stay just the way they remember it. Moreover, the easement agreement we signed leaves each of them the option to someday live on the edge of the property and enjoy it with their own families. And the salamanders and frogs and warblers and turtles and all the rest of the innumerable inhabitants, while they may not speak our language or understand land trusts, will be left alone to carry on their lives in relative peace. We cannot think of a more satisfying conclusion to our lifetime project.”

The MMLTC is delighted with the choice the Keddys made and knows it will have untold benefits for generations to come. Paul and Cathy have already compiled an initial inventory of species on their property, including several species at risk. To add to this list, the Lanark County Stewardship Council will be hosting a 24-hour Bioblitz at the Keddy Nature Sanctuary on Friday, June 6 to Saturday, June 7. Species experts from area naturalist clubs will be invited to assist with this event.

Watch for more information coming soon on the MMLTC website at

Submitted by the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust Conservancy.


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