Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

“Our Human Need for Wild Nature and Conserving its Incredible Diversity” first lecture topic for MVFN’s 2010-2011 series

Blueberry Mountain

Blueberry Mountain

Press Release

Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

September 1, 2010

Our Human Need for Wild Nature and Conserving its Incredible Diversity

by Cathy Keddy

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists public lecture series on natural history and biology is set to start again September 16th. There was record attendance at MVFN’s lecture series last year. Talks this year will once again be held at the Almonte United Church, and are open to the public as well as MVFN members. You do not need to be an expert to enjoy the presentations—just a curiosity or appreciation for wild nature. Cottagers, hunters, fishermen, canoeists, hikers, campers, artists and seasoned field naturalists alike are invited to explore what lives in Lanark County and how best to protect it for future generations. Refreshments are offered at each lecture.

The coming year marks the beginning of the United Nation’s ‘Decade of Biodiversity’, so the underlying theme of the series will be Biodiversity and Vital Connections for Fauna, Flora, and People. Lectures will include a wide range of topics from the psychological benefits of wild nature to the status of the wild turkey. We have species here that many people have never seen—such as red efts, whip-poor-wills, map turtles, lizards, and even egrets. Who knows what lurks in your favourite bit of local forest?

Our first lecture will be presented by Dr. Baylor Johnson, Professor of Philosophy and Director of outdoor studies at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. Dr. Johnson has an interest in environmental philosophy and the causes and solutions to environmental problems and has written articles for journals such as Environmental Values and Rethinking Sustainability. The lecture will focus on how to amplify the benefits humans derive from time spent in wild lands, and ways to encourage everyone to similarly benefit. This is a very broad topic. Why do fall colours captivate us? Why do hunters take pleasure in the autumn deer and turkey hunts? Why do naturalists look forward to the autumn hawk migration? Why do artists so often find inspiration in our forests and lakes? Why did Jesus and the Buddha, among others, spend hours alone in the wilderness? What is clear is that while there are a great number of ways people appreciate nature, we all share a common interest in wild things and the need to experience a sense of wildness.

So enjoy an evening among friends, take in some spectacular photography, and prepare yourself for an autumn and winter of talks and field trips. Attend Dr. Johnson’s presentation “Our Human Need for Wild Nature and Conserving its Incredible Diversity” which kicks off MVFN’s new lecture series Thursday, September 16 at 7:30 p.m., at the Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., Almonte. All are welcome ($5 fee for non-members). For further information please contact MVFN’s Program Chair Cathy Keddy at 613-257-3089.

Photo 1: MVFN member Edwin Rohr atop Blueberry Mountain, one of Lanark County’s spectacular wild lands. The first lecture in the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists’ 2010-11 series will explore why we all share a common interest in wild things and a need to experience a sense of wildness. Photo courtesy Howard Robinson.