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.
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.
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.