Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

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 AlmonteOntario

on Friday, August 21, 2015

from  4:00 – 8:00 pm

IMG_2496 (1280x686)

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, U 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!


Continue reading...

Creativity Blitz

All  are invited to attend the Creativity Blitz to be held by the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT)Saturday May 2, 9 am until 3 pm. at High Lonesome Nature Reserve, 867 Carbine Road, Pakenham.

For full details see the MMLT website at:

This will be a day  focused on exploring how nature can inspire our creativity whether it be music, poetry, journals, sculpture, or art, just to name a few. Cost:  $10 (children under 16, free).

Contact information:  or phone 613 624-5530.



Continue reading...

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!!!

Continue reading...

by Cheryl Morris for Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

On Thursday, April 16, 2015, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) will host a Members’ Night. This will consist of three unique presentations given by members of MVFN. The event will be held in the Social Hall of Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., Almonte at 7:30 pm. The clubs’ AGM will follow these Members’ Night presentations.

‘A Photo Journey of the High Arctic’ will be presented by Howard Robinson, who, along with wife Mary travelled to this wild and remote part of Canada in August and September of 2014. Howard and Mary, of Clayton, have been members of MVFN for over 20 years. Howard has served as MVFN Vice-President and Treasurer, and is photographer and researcher for many MVFN projects. The Robinsons are also frequent participants in MVFN canoeing, camping, and bird outings as well as MVFN’s international trips. The Arctic ‘expedition’ had been their dream for many years.  Howard has always had an interest in nature, beginning with his early scouting and hiking days in Northern England, prior to his move to Canada as a young adult. Here he pursued a career in telecommunications but stayed in touch with nature through his hobby farm in British Columbia and later in Ontario through Lake Stewardship and other activities.

We also look forward to a presentation by Iain Wilkes entitled ‘A Lanark County ‘Big Year’—How Many Birds Are There?’  Also a former MVFN board member and long-time member, Iain became interested in nature during the 1950’s when he joined the Ingersoll Nature Club. Field trips to Long Point and Point Pelee established his interest in the environment and especially birds. Iain became involved in a local Christmas Bird Count in the 1990’s and as a result became an MVFN member. ‘Big Year’ stories are written by people who endeavor to identify as many species of birds as possible within a given year in a defined location. In 2012 he completed a ‘Big Year’ for Ontario during which he identified 290 species!  It was late in 2013 when Iain realized no one had established a bird list for Lanark County. In 2014 he set out to do just that and was successful in completing a Lanark County Big Year which has provided a baseline list of county bird species (available on the MVFN website). We will hear his story of triumph, of being in ‘the field’ every day, and of having to be prepared to race to a new location at any time in order to make an identification.

We will also be privileged to hear a presentation entitled ‘MVFN’s Budding Young Naturalists in Action’. Now in its fourth year MVFN’s Young Naturalists (YN) Program offers highly interactive ‘nature-based’ experiences for children ages 6 – 11. These 90-minute YN sessions take place at the ecologically-rich Mill of Kintail Conservation area under the experienced leadership of Patty McLaughlin and 3 adult volunteers. Participants are engaged in activities based on a wide variety of themes such as ‘Animal Tracks and Snowshoeing’ and ‘Signs of Spring’. Information on this valuable program can be found on MVFN’s website. Biologist Patty McLaughlin who designs and conducts the program for MVFN, obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from Laurentian University and focused her Carleton University Master’s research work on the effects of roads and traffic noise on bird populations in the Ottawa area. Her current employment at the Wild Bird Care Centre involves implementation of educational outreach for sick, injured and orphaned wild birds. For the April 16th presentation, three current ‘Young Naturalists’, Julia Code, and Isaac and Owen Flieler, will utilize images and personal anecdotes to highlight activities they’ve enjoyed within the program. They will be joined in their presentation by Patty McLaughlin and program coordinator Ron Williamson.

Please join MVFN for this interesting evening of presentations. Our Members’ Night presentations will be followed by the Annual General Meeting. Refreshments will be available. For further information, contact Program Chair, Gretta Bradley at . For MVFN events, membership and other club information visit



Continue reading...

Heritage Tree Workshop 

Mississippi Mills Tree Committee

7 – 9 pm, Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Almonte Old Town Hall, 14 Bridge St. Almonte ON

R.S.V.P. to Neil Carleton at   or  613-256-2018

NOTE: MVFN members and others are invited to register for this event organized by the Town of Mississippi Mills Tree Committee. This is  not an MVFN event.


The Mississippi Mills Tree Committee, chaired by Almonte resident Ron Ayling, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto, is a subcommittee of the municipality’s Beautification Committee.

During 2014, the work of the Tree Committee volunteers has been focused on the development of a heritage tree program for Mississippi Mills.  This included consultations with municipal staff and provincial advisors.  In communities across Ontario, heritage trees are being identified, recognized, and protected as important components of urban and rural neighbourhoods.





This is a public “how to” workshop for our new Council and other community residents on the identification, recognition, and protection of heritage trees on municipal property in Mississippi Mills, and on private property with owner consent.

 The workshop will be presented by the Ontario Urban Forest Council (OUFC) , an incorporated not-for-profit organization that has been advocating for trees in urban areas for the past 50 years. The PowerPoints and handouts will include:

  •  how to define and identify heritage trees;
  • how to undertake the cultural-historical research needed to determine if a tree qualifies for heritage status;
  • how to (i) nominate a tree for recognition under the Ontario Heritage Tree Program (a joint commemorative program run by OUFC and Forests Ontario), or
  • how to (ii) work with a local municipal Heritage Committee to seek protection by designation under the Ontario Heritage Act. 

The OUFC  presenters will be: 

Barbara Heidenreich, Natural Heritage Coordinator, Ontario Heritage Trust (see

Edith George, OUFC Advisor (see


What are heritage trees?  Why are they of significance?  How would a heritage tree be identified, recognized, and protected under a Mississippi Mills by-law?  What criteria would be used to assess a tree for possible heritage designation?  How have other municipalities in Ontario launched heritage tree programs?  In what ways could businesses + organizations + individuals in our community get involved?

This “how to” workshop will be an opportunity for community discussion on heritage trees before a by-law is presented for consideration in the Council chamber later in 2015.  A public forum of this nature is consistent with the interests recently expressed by candidates and the electorate to engage in dialogue on issues before a decision process is put in motion for Council’s consideration.

To help us prepare for the event, please register in advance with Neil Carleton at   or  613-256-2018 

Continue reading...