Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

NEW ‘MVFN Young Naturalists Program’

MVFN Young Naturalists Program Gets Go Ahead after Successful Pilot project  NOTE: For more information and to register your youngster in the MVFN Young Naturalists program, please contact Brenda Boyd at 613-256-2706 or email . There are still several spaces available for the monthly Saturday morning sessions which run for an hour and a half April 21, May 12, and June 9. Two different time slots are offered, so students can choose the 9 or 11 am start time. Each month is a “stand-alone” unit, so children may join at any time. A fee of  $10 per session applies for each participant which covers a portion of the cost to run the program. The balance of the funding for the program is provided by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists. With the success of a pilot project held last fall, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists club (MVFN) is delighted to announce the formation of the “MVFN Young Naturalists” program as a regular monthly activity. The goal of the Young Naturalists Program is to offer young local children an opportunity to develop and expand their knowledge and love of the natural world. Geared towards children aged 7 to 12, the full program was launched in February, 2012, with sessions now being held each month at the Mill of Kintail. The sessions are organized and run by Patty Summers of the Wild Bird Care Centre, with assistance from two volunteer teachers. Patty’s great enthusiasm, natural rapport with children and her expertise were vital to the pilot project’s success and will carry the program forward. During the pilot program the children learned about: ”Creepy Crawlies”, “Changing Seasons”, “Owls” and “Animal Survival in Winter”. According to a post-evaluation of the program, the children all had a lot of fun, learned many fascinating new things about nature, and especially enjoyed dissecting owl pellets, looking for insect larvae in the Indian River, making simple bird feeders and playing a scent scavenger hunt game. Many of these children and their friends have now signed up again to participate in the MVFN Young Naturalists program which was launched following the pilot. The MVFN Young Naturalists Program takes place one Saturday morning per month (with two per morning, so students can choose the 9-10:30 am or the 11 am -12:30 pm time slot) in March, April, May and June 2012. The program begins again in the Fall one Saturday a month from September to December. Each Saturday morning program includes some more formal instruction as well as outdoor exploration and hands-on activities.  Topics planned for the Winter/Spring program include: searching for animal tracks, snowshoeing, learning about weather, searching for and learning about frogs and toads, how to make a toad abode in the garden, seeds, soil composition, birds and birds’ eggs and nests. The lead program instructor, Patty Summers (B.Sc. Zoology and M.Sc. from Carleton University) first volunteered at the Wild Bird Care Centre in Nepean as a high school student and  presently works full-time at the Wild Bird Care Centre, caring for sick and injured birds. She has recently created and implemented an educational outreach program to offer to local schools. MVFN has funded several of Patty’s presentations at elementary schools in Pakenham, Almonte and Carleton Place, which have been a great hit. Joyce Clinton, MVFN President, spoke in glowing terms of the Club’s success in the development and delivery of the new MVFN Young Naturalists program. “In a very short period of time,” remarked Clinton, “a community of 7 to 12 year-olds has joined together to learn about and engage with the wonderful natural world we cherish in Eastern Ontario. Future environmental leadership may well be found from any of these youngsters. We look forward to a display of their journals and projects at MVFN’s annual “Spring Gathering” in May.” The MVFN Young Naturalists is a function of the MVFN Environmental Education Program, which is chaired by Brenda Boyd. Lead member for the development of the project was EEP committee member Katie Cotnam, along with Brenda, Cliff Bennett, Neil Carleton and Ron Williamson. NOTE: For more information and to register your youngster in the MVFN Young Naturalists program, please contact Brenda Boyd at 613-256-2706 or email . There are still several spaces available for the monthly Saturday morning sessions which run for an hour and a half April 21, May 12, and June 9. Two different time slots are offered, so students can choose the 9 or 11 am start time. Each month is a “stand-alone” unit, so children may join at any time. A fee of  $10 per session applies for each participant which covers a portion of the cost to run the program. The balance of the funding for the program is provided by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists. _____________________________________________________________________________________