Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Mysteries of the Monarch Butterfly

NOTE: Tickets ($40) must be purchased or reserved in advance by Thursday, May 14. 2015

Also see details of the silent auction to take place during the event – Enhance Your Summer – with Art and Experiences

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists, founded in the spring of 1988, will hold their sixth annual Spring Gathering, Thursday May 21, 2015. The evening will feature  Dinner (delicious three-course meal/coffee, tea etc; you choose entree when you purchase ticket!), a Silent Auction Fundraiser for the Burnt Lands Alvar campaign, and the keynote presentation Mysteries of the Monarch Butterfly which will be given by Jean Lauriault, Monarch Conservation Specialist & Canadian Museum of Nature Associate.

When Jean isn’t out monitoring Monarch butterfly caterpillars on his own milkweed patch in the Gatineau Hills, he is either teaching environmental conservation or guiding visitors up rocky paths in Mexico, to the hillside overwintering sanctuaries of the Monarch butterfly, where he has travelled for decades to study them and help develop the North American Monarch Conservation Plan. Jean considers it a ‘super-challenge’ to conserve a species which does not stay put, but which instead makes an annual transcontinental journey through three countries.

So many aspects of the Monarch butterflies’ varied-length life cycle and migration habits are not known or understood. How do the adolescent Monarchs, born in Canada, survive and find their way to the Oyamel fir forests in the mountains of Mexico; do the firs and the adult butterflies require the same unique environmental conditions? Come to MVFN’s Spring Gathering to hear about the many mysteries of the milkweed, the Oyamel firs and the amazing migration of these beautiful creatures, directly from a man whose conservation work has been a 20+ year labor of love!

MVFN’s Spring Gathering 2015 will take place at the Almonte Civitan Community Hall. The reception will begin at 5:30 pm with a chance to meet, share a drink & chat with friends, and bid in the silent auction. Dinner will commence at 6:30 pm and then, sit back and enjoy Mysteries of the Monarch Butterfly. Tickets ($40) must be purchased or reserved in advance by Thursday, May 14 and are available in Almonte at Gilligallou Bird Store, in Carleton Place at Reads Book Shop, and in Perth at The Office. For more information or to reserve your ticket/s for pick up at the venue on May 21st, please contact MVFN’s Brenda Boyd at or 613-256-2706).

Featured image of monarch by Ken Allison

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Looking for  . . . quality items for a silent auction to be held at the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN)  Spring Gathering dinner and talk, May 21, 2015.  We are  looking for . . . . quality items,  offers of experiences, your skills, tours (nature or garden), gourmet meals, spa treatments, greens fees; any good idea will be considered.  Both private and commercial contributions are welcome for this silent auction. All proceeds will go to the campaign to protect Burnt Lands Alvar from development.

If you believe that wilderness and rare natural areas should be managed with care, then join MVFN in its effort to ensure Burnt Lands Alvar and its unique habitats remain intact for future generations to enjoy.

Please contact Bob Smith at 613-624-5307 or  (that’s ‘bob’ underscore ‘o’ underscore ‘links’) with your item, your offer or your idea/s.

Information and tickets will soon be available for the  Spring Gathering. Tickets will include the reception, dinner, keynote presentation by Jean Lauriault, and of course the silent auction!  Information about how to purchase tickets will be announced soon.  See you there!!!

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Press Release

Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

June 2, 2014

MVFN celebrated another successful year at its Spring Gathering and AGM

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) held their Annual General Meeting at the Almonte Civitan Community Hall on May 15th followed by their ‘Spring Gathering’ event which had record-setting attendance. The AGM was conducted by Ken Allison, President of MVFN with attendance by the Board and club members.  Ken provided the membership with an overview of the organizations activities and finances over the last year.  This is the Club’s 26th year as an organization and throughout this time it has been very active promoting the understanding and awareness of the natural world in our community, with its popular natural history lectures series, canoe, hiking and birding outings, environmental programs for children and youth, and strong support for local conservation issues.  The Treasurer, Robert McCook presented the finances which show a well-managed club which can continue to be very active.  Ken introduced each of the board members for the coming year, and of special note is that Cliff Bennett, one of the founding members, will once again be President.  The 2014/15 board members can found on MVFN’s new website (www.MVFN.ca) under the ABOUT MVFN menu.

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Ken Allison presents the highlights of the year to kick-off MVFN’s annual Spring Gathering event. Photo Pauline Donaldson

The AGM was followed by the ‘Spring Gathering’ event which started with a reception, where old friends and acquaintances shared drinks and chatted; many visited the Young Naturalists exhibit and purchased raffle tickets in support of the MVFN Bursary fund, which supports young people going into the environment education field.  Presentation of the 2014 MVFN Champion for Nature also took place. Botanist David White was presented with the award for his work in establishing a Lanark Flora which is available on-line for public use and furthers plant and habitat conservation in our region.

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Cathy Keddy presented the 2014 MVFN Champion for Nature award to David White. Photo Pauline Donaldson

The Almonte Civitan Club did an excellent job of providing top notch service and a very tasty meal.  A special thanks to all the volunteers, especially Cliff Bennett who organized the team and co-ordinated the event.

The Master of Ceremonies, Iain Wilkes, MVFN’s Publicity Chair and well-known leader of the Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count, enthusiastically guided the group through the evening culminating in a talk by Dr. Jayne Yack.  Jayne provided a fascinating talk on the secret world of insect communications with a focus on butterflies and caterpillars, many of them native to eastern Ontario.  Jayne played recordings of sounds caterpillars make and demonstrated that some butterflies can actually hear sounds made by birds, insects and even people.

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Dr. Jayne Yack is presented with a thank you gift by MVFN’s Publicity Chair Iain Wilkes following presentation of her ground-breaking research and intriguing details of butterfly and caterpillar communication. Photo Pauline Donaldson

It was a very successful and enjoyable evening, and everyone is reminded to put May 15th 2015 on their calendars for next years’ gathering. This summer MVFN will be running its regular canoe/kayak program and annual summer walks, and the clubs’ monthly natural history lectures will resume with a new series in September. Please see our new website, www.mvfn.ca , for details of these upcoming activities and for membership information.   The new site took roughly one year and hundreds of hours to define, design and have implemented by MVFN’s web team along with Chris Bruce, a local naturalist and web designer.  The new site makes it much easier to see what activities MVFN is involved in and to find information in a user friendly manner.

 

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PLEASE NOTE: Tickets are $35 and must be purchased or reserved in advance by Friday, May 9. See details below

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN), founded in the spring of 1988, will hold their fifth annual Spring Gathering on Thursday May 15th. The evening will include a banquet and a keynote presentation entitled Caterpillars Talk and Butterflies Listen which will be given by Dr. Jayne Yack, acoustic ecologist at Carleton University.

Once thought to be both deaf and mute, we now know that caterpillars can talk and butterflies can listen. During their daily activities these creatures communicate via a wide range of sounds and vibrations. Caterpillars send signals to defend territories or to startle predators. Butterflies eavesdrop on predators. Tap into the secret communication channels of the acoustic sensory world of insects and meet translator, Dr. Yack.

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Dr. Jayne Yack connects with a spectacular Blue Morpho butterfly

MVFN’s Spring Gathering will take place Thursday May 15, 2014 at the Almonte Civitan Community Hall, 500 Almonte St., just west of Highway 29, in Almonte. The reception will begin at 6:00 pm with a chance to meet, share a drink, and chat with friends. The banquet commences at 6:45 and will be followed by the featured presentation at approximately 8 pm. Tickets are $35 and must be purchased or reserved in advance by Friday, May 9. Tickets may be purchased in Almonte at Gilligallou Bird Inc., 14 Mill St. Unit 3 (613-461-7333), in Carleton Place at Read’s Book Shop, 135 Bridge St. (613-257-7323), in Lanark at New Runway Clothing, 46 George St. (613-259-5677), and in Perth at The Office, 11 Wilson St. (267-2172). For more information or to reserve your tickets for pick up at the venue on May 15th please contact MVFN’s Brenda Boyd (; 613-256-2706)

 

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 MVFN celebrates 25 years encouraging love and knowledge of nature at recent Spring Gathering

by Iain Wilkes

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) held their Annual General Meeting at the Almonte Civitan Club on May 16th followed by a very successful ‘Spring Gathering’ event. The AGM was conducted by Ken Allison, President of MVFN with attendance by the Board and club members. Ken provided the membership with an overview of the organizations activities and finances over the last year. This is the Club’s 25th year as an organization and during that time it has been very active promoting the understanding and awareness of the natural world in our community, with its popular natural history lectures series, canoe, hiking and birding outings, environmental programs for children and youth, and strong support for local conservation issues. The Treasurer, Robert McCook presented the finances which show a well managed club which can continue to be very active. Ken introduced each of the board members for the coming year, and of special note is that Cliff Bennett, one of the founding members has once again been elected to the Board where he will serve as Vice-President for 2013-14. Cliff has been very actively involved with MVFN from it first days and will ensure it continues to be a vibrant and relevant organization.

The AGM was followed by the well-attended and exciting ‘Spring Gathering’ event. Starting with the reception; old friends and acquaintances shared drinks and chatted; many visited the Young Naturalists exhibit, the Reduce Plastic Bag campaign table and made bids on the Silent Auction items. The Almonte Civitan Club did an excellent job of providing top notch service and a very tasty meal. A special thanks to all the volunteers, especially Rosemary McGinnis, this years’ event co-ordinator for MVFN.

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Guest speaker at MVFN’s Spring Gathering event, Éric Hébert-Daly (right), Executive Director of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, is thanked after his presentation by Iain Wilkes, MVFN’s newly elected Publicity Chair. Photo Pauline Donaldson.

The Master of Ceremonies, Iain Wilkes, MVFN’s new Publicity Chair and well-known leader of the Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count, enthusiastically guided the group through the evening culminating in a talk by Éric Hébert-Daly, Executive Director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. Éric provided a passionate and insightful look at how conservation work was done traditionally such as through protected area campaigns, local land trusts, and re-naturalization projects, and he explored how we might be more efficient and successful in the years to come through a shift towards a focus on ecological integrity, and methods such as land-use planning, network (vs. islands) planning, multilateralism, and First Nations involvement to name a few. Eric fielded many interesting questions after his presentation, reflecting that our community is very engaged when it comes to the environment and conservation.

It was a very successful and enjoyable evening, and everyone is reminded to put May 15th on their calendars for next years’ gathering. This summer, ongoing MVFN activities include the canoe/kayak program and annual summer walk, and the clubs’ monthly natural history lectures resume with a new series in September. Please see mvfn.ca for details of these upcoming activities and for membership information.

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Amongst those present at MVFN’s recent Spring Gathering was the clubs first President Ken Bennett. Ken and Cathy Keddy, current Program Chair, shown with pieces of the celebratory ‘25 years of nature’ cake. Cliff Bennett (left), one of MVFN’s founding members and newly elected as Vice-President for 2013-14, is seated next to Brenda Boyd, MVFN’s Chair of Environmental Education, at MVFN’s Spring Gathering. Photos Pauline Donaldson.

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