Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Peter Gilling “Pete” Goddard

GODDARD, Peter Gilling


Left us suddenly and too early with dignity and love, while walking the autumn trails of Shaw Woods with the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists and his brother, Allan.

Third son of his late parents Elizabeth Anne Goddard (Macdonald) and Raymond Gilling Goddard of Smiths Falls. Survived by brothers John (Debbie), Allan, David (Nancy), sister Jennifer (Grant), Barbara (and husband) Kathy, nephews Graeme (Emily), Geoffrey, nieces Naomi (Andrew), Keenan Anne (Adam), friend Caroline and especially the twinkles in his eyes, Zoey Elizabeth and Winston Gilling.

Pete served with dedication the Boy Scouts of Canada for over 40 years in various capacities of teaching, instruction, leading and managing. He instructed and lead outdoor activities at the Bill Mason Center and recently retired from active outdoor field management and instructing with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. He was an active and caring member of the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa.

Dear Peter, so fondly missed by his loving family and so many friends and especially by brother Allan, room-mate, friend, brother.

In memory of Pete, please plant a tree, save one, contribute to his beliefs. He cared so much about the world in which we live.

A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, November 26 at 4:30 PM in First Unitarian Congregation, 30 Cleary Ave., Ottawa. Dress casual.

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the care of the C. R. GAMBLE FUNERAL HOME & CHAPEL 127 Church Street, Almonte, Ontario. (613)256-3313

Condolences & Tributes:


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Black caterpillar seen on December 9

Black Caterpillar seen in December

MVFN Naturenotebook sighting: On December 10, 2015, Lise Balthazar of Lanark Highlands (Sheridan Rapids) wrote: “I spotted a large black caterpillar yesterday and took a picture.”

Ken Allison: It looks like a species of tiger moth caterpillar, a large group which includes the common Woolly Bear caterpillar.
Black caterpillar
photo by Lise Balthazar
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Naturally Special Places: theme for MVFN’s 2015-2016 series of nature talks

updated Jan 4, 2016

The theme for this season of MVFN nature talks/presentations is Naturally Special Places. We have a wonderful group of guest speakers for these presentations. All presentations take place at 7:30 pm at Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., Almonte:

NOTE: featured image of gray tree frog on cardinal flower is by our March speaker, Grant Dobson, President of Shaw Woods Outdoor Education Centre, one of our featured Naturally Special Places.

September 17

Sparrows, Warblers and Hawks, OH MY! Taking a Peep at the Wild Bird Centre, Patty McLaughlin, Wild Bird Care Centre

October 15

What’s Happening Down in the Pasture?  Pesticides and Pollinators, Dr. James Coupland, FarmForest Research

November 19

On Guard for Nature: Ontario Nature’s Fight to Uphold the Endangered Species Act,  Dr. Anne Bell, Ontario Nature

January 21,  2016

Exploring the Soundscapes of Naturally Special Places, Chad Clifford, Wilderness Rhythms

February 18

Purdon: Uniquely Natural, Shannon Gutoskie, Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority

March  17

Shaw Woods: A Diverse Ecological Gem, Grant Dobson, President, Shaw Woods Outdoor Education Centre

April 21

Wild Life Journals, Members Night 

Grant Dobson (1280x899)

photo by Grant Dobson, Shaw Woods Outdoor Education Centre


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Discovery of orchid Spiranthes magnicamporum Sheviak in Burnt Lands Alvar

Discovery of orchid species in Burnt Lands Provincial Park

Ontario Parks: “Burnt Lands Provincial Park contains an extensive alvar ecosystem supporting a diversity of plant and animal species, many of which are provincially or regionally rare. Surrounding and interspersed among the open habitats are areas of cedar, white spruce, balsam fir and poplar forest which support a distinct array of plants in the undergrowth.”


The Great Plains Ladies’-tresses, Spiranthes magnicamporum Sheviak, is an orchid that occurs in the North American Great Plains from extreme southeastern Manitoba to central Texas.  In 2011, it was found 150 km farther east, in the Carden Alvar in the City of Kawartha Lakes.

On 18 September 2013, this species was discovered in the Burnt Lands Provincial Park near Ottawa, Ontario. The publicly owned lands within this area, which straddles the boundary between Lanark County and the City of Ottawa, comprise the Burnt Lands Provincial Park (Nature Reserve).

The findings were described in a 2013 publication in The Candian Field-Naturalist 127(4):348-351 written by Joyce M. Reddoch, Paul M. Catling, and Allan H. Reddoch.

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In Memoriam Mike McPhail 1954 – 2012

Mike McPhail

Michael ‘Mike’ Robert McPhail, well-known former President of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists passed away peacefully at his home on the morning of January 11, 2012 after a courageous battle with cancer. One year after his passing he is still missed by all of us who worked with him, travelled with him and enjoyed his enthusiasm for nature. Mike was an ardent supporter of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists and a deeply committed lover of the natural world. At the time of his passing Mike was a member of MVFN’s Board of Directors and had previously served as MVFN’s President. Mike was a true champion for nature. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike’s family, wife Peggy,  daughters Amber and Christine, sister Susan, and all his family and friends.

In September 2012 the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists were pleased to dedicate a memorial bench installed at the Mill of Kintail Conservation area in Mike’s memory. The bench, which bears a plaque was placed near the play structure and education building. A ceremony with members of Mike’s family, took place to dedicate the bench designed and built in memory of Mike McPhail.

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