WILD LIFE JOURNALS 2017
-submitted by Cheryl Morris-Putman for MVFN
NOTE: feature photo by Judy McGrath
On Thursday, April 20 at 7:30 pm., the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) will host their annual Members Night, to be held in the Social Hall of Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., Almonte Ontario. We will welcome from our membership four ambassadors for nature, Bob and Sherryl Smith, and Karen and Bruce Thompson. During the first presentation we will be inspired by a dedicated project in our region involving local youth, gardening experts and enthusiasts, and environmental educators from MVFN, all partnering to create garden habitats for our area’s pollinators, and in particular Monarch Butterflies. The second presentation will feature stunningly beautiful photographic images inspired by nature and created by two accomplished photographers from Almonte.
Sherryl and Bob Smith, who reside in Pakenham have authored the first interesting presentation entitled “Partnerships, Pollinators, and Plants”. Sherryl is an active member and past-president of Pakenham Horticultural Society (PHS) and also volunteers with the Pakenham Public School (PPS) Garden Club. Bob is the chair of the MVFN Environmental Education Committee (EEP). EEP enhances opportunities for youth education relating to the wonders of the natural world in the Mississippi Valley Watershed, one of the key goals of MVFN. The presentation highlights the partnerships which have been created between PHS, PPS, and MVFN. EEP’s latest project, The Pollinator Garden Project, began in the spring of 2015 with 5 schools and continued through to the fall of 2016 involving 15 schools and utilizing the knowledge, skills, and dedication of volunteers from PHS and EEP in creating gardens that nurture and provide habitat for diminished numbers of Monarch Butterflies. The project was initiated and funded by MVFN and EEP in an effort to alert young people to the issue of the threatened Monarch. Over 100 Monarch butterflies were nurtured, hatched and released by the students and teachers of these schools. Bob and Sherryl will describe plant selections that attract Monarch butterflies and other pollinators. They will also outline the life cycle of the Monarch and will provide some observations about garden conditions necessary for pollinator habitats in our region.
Karen and Bruce Thompson have entitled their presentation “Takin’ A Hike”. They are gifted photographers and have traveled extensively coast-to-coast and abroad, all the while nurturing their ‘first love’ of nature photography. They are founding members of “Photography Matters”, a group of local photographers. The members of this talented group include professionals, amateurs, film aficionados, and digital enthusiasts. There is an organized monthly and sometimes a longer-term photo challenge theme, a photo critique, as well as guest speakers or presentations, all of which helps this talented group of photography artists to further develop their artistic passion and skill. Karen and Bruce will guide us as we step into the natural world around Prince Edward County and beyond. Our eyes will feast on the beautiful photographic images of birds, flowers, animals, and native scenery. Soft music will further enhance the experience.
Please join us for this relaxing and informative evening. The doors will open at 7 pm. for those wishing to socialize until the start of the presentation. Refreshments will be available throughout the evening. The MVFN Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held at 7:30 pm. followed by the presentations at 8 pm. There is a visitors fee of $5; there will be no charge for youth 18 and under. For further information, please contact MVFN’s Program Chair, Gretta Bradley at .
Mysteries of the Monarch Butterfly
NOTE: Tickets ($40) must be purchased or reserved in advance by Thursday, May 14. 2015
Also see details of the silent auction to take place during the event – Enhance Your Summer – with Art and Experiences
The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists, founded in the spring of 1988, will hold their sixth annual Spring Gathering, Thursday May 21, 2015. The evening will feature Dinner (delicious three-course meal/coffee, tea etc; you choose entree when you purchase ticket!), a Silent Auction Fundraiser for the Burnt Lands Alvar campaign, and the keynote presentation Mysteries of the Monarch Butterfly which will be given by Jean Lauriault, Monarch Conservation Specialist & Canadian Museum of Nature Associate.
When Jean isn’t out monitoring Monarch butterfly caterpillars on his own milkweed patch in the Gatineau Hills, he is either teaching environmental conservation or guiding visitors up rocky paths in Mexico, to the hillside overwintering sanctuaries of the Monarch butterfly, where he has travelled for decades to study them and help develop the North American Monarch Conservation Plan. Jean considers it a ‘super-challenge’ to conserve a species which does not stay put, but which instead makes an annual transcontinental journey through three countries.
So many aspects of the Monarch butterflies’ varied-length life cycle and migration habits are not known or understood. How do the adolescent Monarchs, born in Canada, survive and find their way to the Oyamel fir forests in the mountains of Mexico; do the firs and the adult butterflies require the same unique environmental conditions? Come to MVFN’s Spring Gathering to hear about the many mysteries of the milkweed, the Oyamel firs and the amazing migration of these beautiful creatures, directly from a man whose conservation work has been a 20+ year labor of love!
MVFN’s Spring Gathering 2015 will take place at the Almonte Civitan Community Hall. The reception will begin at 5:30 pm with a chance to meet, share a drink & chat with friends, and bid in the silent auction. Dinner will commence at 6:30 pm and then, sit back and enjoy Mysteries of the Monarch Butterfly. Tickets ($40) must be purchased or reserved in advance by Thursday, May 14 and are available in Almonte at Gilligallou Bird Store, in Carleton Place at Reads Book Shop, and in Perth at The Office. For more information or to reserve your ticket/s for pick up at the venue on May 21st, please contact MVFN’s Brenda Boyd at or 613-256-2706).
Featured image of monarch by Ken Allison
This is an Ontario Nature (ON) Action Alert. For all ON action alerts please see http://www.ontarionature.org/act/action_alerts/index.php
Have your say in protecting Ontario’s monarch butterflies
As warmer weather approaches, we – Ontario Nature Youth Council members – are anticipating the arrival of one of the most magical insects in the province, the monarch butterfly. Last year, monarchs had one of the worst years in history due to a number of factors along their extensive migration route. Unfortunately, this declining population trend may continue and 2014 could be the worst year for these butterflies yet. With the decline of monarchs, we are worried not only about losing a precious piece of biodiversity, but also about the loss of a significant pollinator.
Monarch larva on backyard self-seeded milkweed. photo Pauline Donaldson
Please take action with Ontario Nature’s Youth Council to bring the monarch butterfly back from the brink. The provincial government is proposing to take an important step to help monarchs, and we need to show them that they have strong public support. Currently, milkweed is designated as a noxious weed in Ontario, meaning that landowners must remove this species from their properties. This designation is detrimental because milkweed is the sole host plant for monarch caterpillars. In fact, scientists now believe that the decline of monarchs is linked to the eradication of milkweed (food source for monarch larva). Fortunately, the government is proposing to remove milkweed from the noxious weed list, which will result in healthier habitats for monarchs.
Please join us and support the government’s proposal to remove milkweed from the noxious weed list. Comments on the proposal can be made through the Environmental Registry, and must be submitted by April 14th. Be sure to mention the EBR Registry number: 012-1204
Or, you can send a form letter through Ontario Nature’s website.
Please let your friends know about this opportunity to help the monarch.
By taking this step, you will be doing your part to protect a provincial treasure and ensure young people like us will have a future where monarchs thrive.
Thank you for your support.
Jayden, Joyce & Sally
On behalf of the Ontario Nature Youth Council
Friday a.m. at home
July 4, 2008
On Tuesday afternoon, July 1st, I saw my first Monarch butterfly of the year here at home in Almonte. While I was working outside in the late afternoon, it floated past my field of view and landed close by on a lower branch of one of our front yard maple trees. While I marvelled at the wonder of its migration, the Monarch sat in the sunshine for quite a while before lifting off and disappearing around the corner of the house.