Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley
Mississippi River at Pakenham

Lecture

The following are the program dates planned thus far. Full details will be posted under ‘upcoming events’ for each event in turn.

March 3 Outing: Hawks and Owls on Amherst Island

Mar 15 Lecture: The Great River Project with Ottawa Riverkeeper Meredith Brown

March 27 Outing: Ducks at Presqu’ile – CANCELLED

April 4 Outing: Owl Prowl

April 11 Outing: Early Bird Walk

April 18 Outing: Early Bird Walk

Apr 19 Lecture: Spring bird tune-up: be ready to identify them before they arrive!

(Lesley Howes, Canadian Wildlife Service)

April 25 Outing: Early Bird Walk

May 17 Annual Banquet: Spring Gathering 2012

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Stromatolites at Fitzroy

Press Release

Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

September 9, 2008

Submitted by Pauline Donaldson

Journey back in geological time with Professor Donaldson to discover the secrets to Lanark County’s astonishing biodiversity, as MVFN celebrates twenty years

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists’ (MVFN) new lecture series From the Ground, Up: Celebrating the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists’ First 20 Years will explore local natural heritage literally from the ground, up beginning September 18th with the presentation Geodiversity: The Foundation for Biodiversity by Professor Allan Donaldson.

Earth Scientists such as Dr. Donaldson study ancient events revealed through patterns in Precambrian rocks (over 4 billion years old) and the sequence of events shown in more recent geological formations to understand present landforms and how life itself arose. While officially retired from a distinguished teaching and research career at Carleton University, Dr. Donaldson continues to inspire newcomers to the field of geology through lectures, local geological tours and as Chair of Friends of Canadian Geoheritage. This group, launched by Donaldson and others in 2002 strives to make geoscience, or how Earth ‘works,’ more accessible. A key aspect is preservation of geoheritage or the ‘rocks that talk’ whether they are in heritage buildings, unique features in road cuts, quarries, or unique sites. For example, earlier this year Donaldson and teacher Neil Carleton spearheaded a successful effort to make Almonte’s Metcalfe Park the first municipal geoheritage park. It should soon be home to fascinating rock specimens ‘georescued’ from Hwy 417 and become a jumping off point for geoscience education and tours.

Did you know that where we walk today whales once swam in arctic-like waters of the Champlain Sea, whose shoreline can still be traced on the local landscape? Learn how the extraordinary geodiversity of Lanark County gave rise to the astonishing diversity of life which now inhabits the Canadian Shield and St. Lawrence Limestone Plains of our Lanark County. To appreciate the rocks that form our landscape, bring your imagination on a journey through time with Professor Donaldson, to ocean depths, colliding continents and a landscape locked in ice, as MVFN celebrates twenty years of natural world enjoyment and education.

The founding meeting of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists was held in April of 1988 at the Carleton Place Canoe Club. A Steering Committee, consisting of Steve Coaker, Carleton Place; the late Marilyn Wood, Beckwith; Mike Yee, Neil Carleton, Almonte and Cliff Bennett, Ramsay, presented a comprehensive set of by-laws for approval at this meeting. The first Annual General Meeting of MVFN was held at the Mill of Kintail, June 26, 1988, attended by twenty-nine persons. Following a picnic and nature ramble, a slate of officers was presented and Ken Bennett, Beckwith, became the club’s first president.

Professor Donaldson’s presentation is 7:30 p.m., September 18th at the Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., Almonte. All are welcome with a $5 fee for non-MVFN members. For further information, please contact MVFN’s Program Chair Cathy Keddy at 613-257-3089 or see MVFN’s website at www.mvfn.ca .

From the Ground, Up: Celebrating the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists’ First 20 Years

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists’ (MVFN) lecture series this year proudly celebrates the club’s first 20 years by looking at local natural heritage, literally from the ground up! The Fall lecture series gets underway September 18, 2008 with Geodiversity: The Foundation for Biodiversity, a lecture by Allan Donaldson, Chair of the Friends of Canadian Geoheritage, and Professor Emeritus, Carleton University.

Did you know that where we walk today was once the heart of a mountain buried beneath 30 km of rock, or flooded by the sea? From gneiss to marble, hills to valleys, and clay plains to rock barrens… is it any wonder that such extraordinary geodiversity gives rise to Lanark County’s astonishing biodiversity? To appreciate the rocks that form our familiar landscape, bring your imagination to this presentation by Dr. Donaldson for a journey far back in time to the ocean depths, erupting volcanoes, colliding and splitting continents, and a landscape locked in ice.

Then in October the lecture series continues with, Earth, Water, Fire: Our Natural Heritage a lecture by Ecologist, Dr. Paul Keddy, which will explore the unique beauty and ecology of our region- one often overlooked by outsiders and taken for granted by those who live here.

Dates for all the lectures in this years series are listed below and full details for each lecture will be posted here. Lectures are held on the third Thursday of the month (with a break for December) and begin at 7:30 pm at the Almonte United Church. All are welcome, with a $5 charge for non-members. For further information on the lecture series please contact MVFN’s Program Chair, Cathy Kedddy at 613-257-3089.

September 18
October 16
November 20
January 15, 2009
February 19
March 19
April 16

Canadian Timber Wolf

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
April 4, 2008
Submitted by Pauline Donaldson

“Conservation and management of coyotes, wolves and cougars” at next MVFN

On Thursday, April 17, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalist’s (MVFN) will host a lecture by Glenn Desy, a wildlife biologist who has studied a variety of rare birds and mammals, but who has a special interest in wild canids, the group of dog relatives that includes foxes, wolves, and coyotes. The lecture “Conservation and Management: Coyotes, Wolves, and Cougars” will be the last one in MVFN’s series “Our Natural World: Conservation Challenges.”

Glenn Desy’s work as a wildlife biologist has spanned ten years and taken him around North America studying a range of species and habitats from boreal birds to mangrove monitor lizards. His University of Guelph thesis work was part of a 4-year Georgian Bay ‘wolf telemetry’ study involving year-round wolf capture, snow tracking, and prey surveys. Recently Desy joined the Ministry of Natural Resources in Kemptville as Species at Risk Biologist with the Natural Heritage Information group.

Wolves and coyotes are symbolic of the wilderness. As top predators they require a lot of territory and can compete with humans for resources. The Eastern wolf has disappeared from southern Ontario but is found in Eastern Ontario where its hunting is regulated under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (1997). It is listed as a species of special concern provincially and nationally. The Eastern wolf is distinct from the northern Gray wolf (Canis lupus) and very closely related to the red wolf (Canis rufus). Hybridization with coyotes (Canis latrans) makes distinctions between the species more difficult. Which do we have here and what are the differing landscape needs and predation talents of the wolf, the coyote, and the coy-wolf hybrids? Our speaker will help answer these questions and explore ways to manage human/wolf interactions, to help conserve them, and increase our understanding of these animals.

Desy also plans to talk about wild cats or cougars. They remain a source of widespread interest to local residents. An endangered species, the Eastern Cougar tends to be quite rare in this area but their presence in Ontario is generally acknowledged, as there have been hundreds of sightings reported. Glenn Desy’s presentation is 7:30 p.m., April 17th at the Almonte United Church Social Hall, Elgin St., Almonte. All are welcome and refreshments are offered. There is a $5 fee for non-MVFN members. For information, please contact Joyce Clinton at 613-257-4879 or see MVFN’s website at www.mvfn.ca.

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
March 12, 2008
Submitted by Pauline Donaldson

Conservation Challenges: Focus on Turtles

On Thursday, March 20, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalist’s (MVFN) proudly present a lecture by David Seburn, author of Ontario’s recovery strategy for turtles and an ecological consultant who specializes in the conservation of reptiles and amphibians. The lecture entitled “Biology, Ecology and Conservation of Ontario’s Turtles” will be the 6th in MVFN’s series “Our Natural World: Conservation Challenges.”

Baby TurtleDavid Seburn is a member of the Ontario Multi-Species Turtles at Risk Recovery Team. Turtles are amongst the most endangered of all living things in Canada. According to Seburn about ¾ of Ontario’s turtles are on the species at risk list as either endangered or a species of special concern. Seburn has worked for the past 9 years on the conservation of the endangered Spotted Turtle in Eastern Ontario. This turtle is a small, slow growing turtle which does not always reproduce every year. It is in decline and now rare in many areas. It is sensitive to degradation of water quality in the marshes, beaver ponds, vernal pools and other wetlands where it is found. Spotted turtles are also susceptible due to popularity for the pet trade and habitat destruction.

The lecture on turtles by David Seburn, as with other lectures in MVFN’s series this year, will take a back-to-basics approach in focusing on a specific group of animals, in this case turtles. David will discuss the basics of turtle biology and provide a introduction to the identification, ecology and distribution of Ontario’s turtles including the northern map, the stinkpot, spiny softshell, wood turtle, spotted turtle, snapping turtle, Blandings, and Midland and western painted turtles, with a focus on those of concern locally.

David will then go on to explore why these animals are so vulnerable. What are the major threats facing turtles and what can we do to help conserve these beautiful and fascinating creatures?

David Seburn’s presentation will be March 20th at 7:30 pm at the Almonte United Church Social Hall, 106 Elgin St., Almonte. There is a fee of $5 for non-members over 16. Refreshments are provided. All are welcome. For more information, please contact MVFN’s President Mike McPhail at 613-256-7211 or see MVFN’s website at www.mvfn.ca.

The Messenger

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FULL-SIZED  CALENDAR WITH DETAILS

Our natural history talks are at 7:30 pm on the third Thursday in January, February, March, April,  September, October and November at Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St. in Almonte, Ontario. All are welcome to attend! Non-members $5. 

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