“How Things Lead to Other Things: The Unexpected Results of Pursuing Birds”
MVFN Spring Gathering 2017, May 18th
NOTE: Tickets ($40) must be purchased or reserved in advance by May 11, 2017. See details below
Can bird banding be a catalyst for social change? Find out May 18th at our annual Spring Gathering at the Almonte Civitan Community Hall. The evening will feature a banquet, silent auction fundraiser for environmental education, and a keynote presentation “How Things Lead to Other Things: The Unexpected Results of Pursuing Birds” with Rick Ludkin, an Ontario master bird bander and sponsor/educator of birders of all ages, near and far.
Rick Ludkin has a very diverse “history” in conservation birding, particularly with the “close encounters”, hands-on approach of traditional bird banding monitoring. It would be interesting to know exactly how many fragile Snow Buntings, Golden-winged Warblers, various Kenyan weavers and other birds he has held gently in his hands, to measure, band, and glance at for a fleeting moment before releasing. It must be in the many tens of 1000’s! A children’s mental health expert by profession, Ludkin has always had a significant side-career.
He began bird banding in the 1970’s and in 1995 established a Canadian Migration Monitoring Station at Ruthven Park, Haldimand Bird Observatory. Hundreds of school children enjoy time banding and “scribing” about the migrating birds there with his team. Several field-work trips to the Arctic studying Northern Fulmars and Common Eiders, also gave Ludkin a love and respect for Snow Buntings and he later collaborated to create the Canadian Snow Bunting Network. In February, Ludkin and a small team spent a day banding the “Snow Buntings of Lanark County” at a popular stopover site for the migrant flocks at a property in Sheridan Rapids. In 2013 Rick Ludkin set out to a rural area of Western Kenya to help found the “Matangwe Bird Club” and has returned each year. The story of this transformative project and the diversity of birds Rick witnesses during his time there are stunning!
How far do the ripples generated reach, when children and communities develop acute knowledge and skills to study the wild species around them? Rick Ludkin will share his hopes and insights.
Details for the event are as follows:
MVFN’s Spring Gathering 2017 begins at 5:30 pm (doors open 5) with a reception and chance to share a drink with friends and bid in the silent auction. Dinner begins at 6:30 pm and then, sit back and enjoy the presentation! Tickets ($40) must be purchased or reserved by Thursday, May 11th and will be available in Almonte at Gilligallou Bird Inc., at The Blossom Shop, Carleton Place, and in Perth at The Office. Further info at mvfn.ca. To reserve your ticket/s for pick up at the venue, please contact MVFN’s Sylvia Miller at or 613-256-7825.
Sparkling 2016 MVFN Spring Gathering featured generosity of community here and in the North
At the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) 2016 Spring Gathering held on May 19th, Jennifer Kingsley’s “Meet the North” presentation and the generosity of communities near and far shone brightly. The sold-out event saw more than 150 in the community enjoy a reception and banquet dinner in the Almonte Civitan Community Hall decorated with the color and glow of the “Northern Lights.”
MVFN’s 2016 Spring Gathering event was enjoyed by a sell-out crowd at the Almonte Civitan Community Hall, decorated for the evening with a Northern Lights theme thanks to the creative mind and energy of Lucy Carleton and her team.
Through the keynote presentation we were privileged to meet many generous people who are making a good life for themselves and their families in Northern communities (in locales such as Longyearbyen, Svalbard; Pond Inlet, Nunavut; Iceland), and who invited guest speaker journalist/naturalist Jennifer Kingsley into their homes and lives as she traveled to “Meet the North” one introduction at a time. It seemed as if the Arctic circle curved south for this one night as we learned quite unexpected things about Northern life from the sparkling personality of Kingsley. On her journey, Kingsley explained, she has had to “let expectations go” and the result she said is summed up with the word “unexpected.” Enjoying tea in Pond Inlet made with fresh water collected from a nearby iceberg! The unexpected stories from “Meet the North” were told formally for the first time at MVFN’s Spring Gathering, leaving the audience intrigued and humbled by many special moments, for example images of a group of people with divergent political views together “singing their hearts out” in a coal mine in a distant Norwegian archipelago. The stories were all brought to life in the images of photographer Eric Guth, carried south and shared by Kingsley. You can follow the continuing journey on-line on Kingsley’s “Meet the North” blog.
At MVFN’s Spring Gathering, Jennifer Kingsley shared her “Meet the North” stories and signed copies of her award-winning book “Paddle North: Adventure, Resilience and Renewal in the Arctic Wild.”
The generosity of our local community also shone very brightly on this Spring Gathering evening. Thanks to the support of bidders and individuals and business who contributed to a silent auction, over $3000 was raised for MVFN’s Environmental Education program. This program is currently supporting Monarch butterfly conservation education at seventeen local and nearby primary schools. Using provided plants, soil, and milkweed seeds butterfly gardens are being, or have already been, developed and are being nurtured. In September, with “live monarch release kits” students will observe the life cycle of the butterfly and regenerate the “super-generation” of this imperiled species. A special thank you to the following contributors for enabling these efforts!
Our 2016 donors: Garden Inspirations, Pat Purdy, Greta Bradley, Ken Allison, Carolyn Lunn, Bob and Sherryl Smith, David Sale, Love That Barr, Pakenham General Store, Pakenham Golf & Country Club, Terri Knuuttila, Mill Street Books, Arnold Polk, Cartwright Springs Brewery, Textile Traditions, My Upholstery Shop, JB Arts, Blackbird Home Décor, Kentfield Kids, Gene Fytche, Centennial Restaurant, Fern Martin, Al Potvin, Paddye Mann, Jim Bendell, Bob McCook, Equator Coffee, Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, Marion Wilson, Fulton’s Maple Sugar Products, Fairwinds B&B, Pakenham Horticultural Society, JazzNHouse, Cliff Bennett, Wilderness Tours, Helena & Gerome Knap, Alan Goddard, Café Postino, Al Barratt, Chris Hashimoto, Whitehouse Perennials, Five Span Feed & Seed, L.G. Lee & Sons, Maple Leaf Auctions, Howard Clifford, Acanthus Florals, Almonte Fitness Club, The Mill Street Crepe Company, Textile Traditions, Almonte Bike Shop, Barley Mow Pub, Mississippi Animal Hospital, Mississippi Golf Club, Nancy Young, General Fine Craft, Gilligallou, Healthy Food Technologies Inc. (HFT), Baker Bobs, Nicholson’s, Vamos, Home Hardware.
MVFN as a charitable organization and member group of Ontario Nature has a mission to advance nature education and conservation, and presents several awards to recognize and support excellence. At the Spring Gathering, the 2016 Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary Award for post-secondary education was presented to St. John Catholic High School (Perth) student Erin Symon who will begin a 4-year Bachelor of Arts degree program in Environmental and Resource Studies in September.
Erin Symon, a student at St. John Catholic High School in Perth, was awarded the 2016 Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary for post-secondary studies presented by Cliff Bennett (left) and Nature Bursary Committee Chair Mike Macpherson.
In addition to the student award, two MVFN Champion for Nature awards were presented, to recognize individuals or groups for outstanding achievements in wildlife conservation, and whose actions have raised awareness and contributed to the protection of our local natural heritage. Dr. Tineke Kuiper, a resident of Wolf Grove and former MVFN Board member and Program Chair, was nominated for her tireless research work making presentations and providing support and advice regarding development of Natural Heritage System policies for Mississippi Mills and for heading up MVFN’s recent efforts to prevent development within Burnt Lands Alvar. A second 2016 Champion for Nature award was presented to Ray Holland, a “transporting angel of injured birds.” Lynda Bennett: “There is nothing Ray would not do to protect any living species.” In the 1980’s Ray helped Kathy Nehei save hundreds of Ring-billed gulls and as a resident of Pakenham, he has spent a lifetime studying birds and their habitat. He watched over and cared for the female Bullock’s Oriole found in Pakenham last March. More detailed Champion “Profiles” can be found at mvfn.ca.
The 2016 MVFN Champion for Nature Awards were presented by MVFN President Brenda Boyd (right in both photos), one to Tineke Kuiper and the other to Ray Holland.
MVFN wholeheartedly thanks everyone who made the event such a success! We remind members of the upcoming summer paddling program and invite the public to join the club for the summer program of canoeing, nature field trips and citizen science work; our natural history lecture series will resume in September after a summer break. Please visit mvfn.ca for an events calendar and membership information.
All photos by Pauline Donaldson
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
Your silent auction items and ideas in support of Burnt Lands Alvar
Looking for . . . quality items for a silent auction to be held at the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) Spring Gathering dinner and talk, May 21, 2015. We are looking for . . . . quality items, offers of experiences, your skills, tours (nature or garden), gourmet meals, spa treatments, greens fees; any good idea will be considered. Both private and commercial contributions are welcome for this silent auction. All proceeds will go to the campaign to protect Burnt Lands Alvar from development.
If you believe that wilderness and rare natural areas should be managed with care, then join MVFN in its effort to ensure Burnt Lands Alvar and its unique habitats remain intact for future generations to enjoy.
Please contact Bob Smith at 613-624-5307 or (that’s ‘bob’ underscore ‘o’ underscore ‘links’) with your item, your offer or your idea/s.
Information and tickets will soon be available for the Spring Gathering. Tickets will include the reception, dinner, keynote presentation by Jean Lauriault, and of course the silent auction! Information about how to purchase tickets will be announced soon. See you there!!!
PLEASE NOTE: Tickets are $35 and must be purchased or reserved in advance by Friday, May 9. See details below
The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN), founded in the spring of 1988, will hold their fifth annual Spring Gathering on Thursday May 15th. The evening will include a banquet and a keynote presentation entitled Caterpillars Talk and Butterflies Listen which will be given by Dr. Jayne Yack, acoustic ecologist at Carleton University.
Once thought to be both deaf and mute, we now know that caterpillars can talk and butterflies can listen. During their daily activities these creatures communicate via a wide range of sounds and vibrations. Caterpillars send signals to defend territories or to startle predators. Butterflies eavesdrop on predators. Tap into the secret communication channels of the acoustic sensory world of insects and meet translator, Dr. Yack.
Dr. Jayne Yack connects with a spectacular Blue Morpho butterfly
MVFN’s Spring Gathering will take place Thursday May 15, 2014 at the Almonte Civitan Community Hall, 500 Almonte St., just west of Highway 29, in Almonte. The reception will begin at 6:00 pm with a chance to meet, share a drink, and chat with friends. The banquet commences at 6:45 and will be followed by the featured presentation at approximately 8 pm. Tickets are $35 and must be purchased or reserved in advance by Friday, May 9. Tickets may be purchased in Almonte at Gilligallou Bird Inc., 14 Mill St. Unit 3 (613-461-7333), in Carleton Place at Read’s Book Shop, 135 Bridge St. (613-257-7323), in Lanark at New Runway Clothing, 46 George St. (613-259-5677), and in Perth at The Office, 11 Wilson St. (267-2172). For more information or to reserve your tickets for pick up at the venue on May 15th please contact MVFN’s Brenda Boyd (; 613-256-2706)