Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

MVFN’s Young Naturalists program (YN) is a nature-oriented program for nature loving young naturalists aged 6-11 years. YN meets one Saturday a month at beautiful Mill of Kintail Conservation Area to explore a different nature-themed topic each month. The young naturalists are provided with a nature journal, which we add pages to each month.

Each session includes an outdoor component and a take home craft/activity.

The dates and topics for the fall 2017 Saturday sessions are as follows:

September 16: Nature Exploration Day. A day to discover more about each other and the awesome habitats around the Mill of Kintail Conservation Area.

October 14: Fall and Leaves

November 4: Owls and, our favorite activity, Owl Pellet Dissection

December 2: Hibernation and Migration ​​

For each session there are two time slots to choose from. Participants attend one or the other time slot:

Early: 9 am – 10:45 am OR

Later: 11 am – 12:45 pm

REGISTRATION: Each session is limited to 15 participants. Cost is $60 per child and includes all four sessions.

If you are interested please email the Patty McLaughlin asap at to reserve your space.

Patty will then send you registration forms and answer questions etc.

Further information about the Young Naturalists program can be found at this link.

Tree study

Young Naturalists


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Happy New Year Young Naturalists and Families of Young Naturalists!!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are enjoying all the snow we are getting this year! It is looking promising for our snowshoeing session in February.

Registration for the Winter/Spring 2017 Young Naturalist program for Young Naturalists age 6-11  is now open! 

The dates and topics for the sessions are:

Feb 4th: Snowshoeing while we learn about how insects survive winter. (snowshoes will be provided)

March 4th: Solar and Wind Power

April 1st: Water

May 6th: Flowers

June 3rd: We will conduct our own mini Bio Blitz!

The cost for all five sessions is $75.

Please let me know your interest through email to and which session you prefer, i.e. 9 am -10:45am or 11am- 12:45 pm and I will send you a registration form and waiver.

​​​​Payment and registration forms will be collected at the first session on Feb 4th. If you cannot attend the first session, please send payment and forms in advance to secure your spot.

The Young Naturalist program continues to be very popular, so if you know a Young Naturalist who would like to participate, please contact me as soon as possible to reserve a space. For further information about the program, send me an email or visit MVFN Young Naturalist Program.

We are looking forward to seeing many familiar and new faces in a few weeks!

Patty McLaughlin



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The MVFN Young Naturalists program is set to begin again for winter/spring sessions. If you are interested in registering a child for this program you are encouraged to do so as soon as possible as spaces are filling up quickly.

The program is for children age 6 -11 with a keen sense of curiosity for the natural world around them.  For the winter/spring session YN will meet one Saturday each month in February, March, April, May and June to explore nature themed topics through short lessons, nature walks, scientific demos, crafts and more!

Here are the important details:

Meeting place: Mill of Kintail Conservation Area, 2854 Ramsay Concession 8, Mississippi Mills.

Dates: Feb 6th, March 5th, April 2nd, May 7th, and June 4th

Time: 11 am – 12:30 pm.     (Please note that the 9-10:30 am session is already full).

Cost: $75 per child for all five sessions.

Nature topics planned: February: Food chains, webs, and a snowshoeing adventure!; March: Snow; April: Seeds and Cones; May: Worms; and June: Nature Photography.

Registration: The YN program is filling up quickly this year and registration is on a first come, first served basis. Please contact Program Leader Patty McLaughlin as soon as possible if you would like to register a child in the upcoming sessions. Patty will answer questions and forward application forms and any additional information needed for participants.

Patty McLaughlin:  


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MVFN Young Naturalists Fall 2012 Program Explores Nature at Mill of Kintail

Now in its second year, the MVFN Young Naturalists, headed by Patty Summers from the Wild Bird Care Centre in Nepean, will hold a series of four monthly sessions at the Mill of Kintail, from September to December. Registration for these sessions is open for children 7 to 12 years of age with an interest in nature and a willingness to explore!

Each month we explore a different topic. Take a peek at what we have planned:

Scavenging Species in September will provide an opportunity for new and returning members to get to know each other. Sporting new, personally decorated nature hats, we will try to locate and identify some items and species found in the forest and the Indian River which runs through the property.

October’s session will explore Invisible Nature. Working with the developed observation skills from September, the group will look even closer at some of the aspects of nature not easily spotted. The members will head out on a nature walk with a wool sock over their shoes to collect some of nature’s hitch hikers. Spider webs, mushroom spores and organic specimen found in mud puddles will be examined.

Bones will be the November topic as the youngsters will examine and compare a variety of different bones from mammals and birds. We will even turn a bone into a rubber bone! We will then try to piece together a skeleton from the bones dissected from owl pellets!

The autumn sessions will conclude in December with a nature ramble, complete with cameras for a “Fall photo finish”. The group will head out on a scavenger hunt focused on looking for signs of the changing seasons. A photo display will be produced and shown at MVFN’s indoor lecture series. We will then make some holiday snacks to take home for our back yard visitors!

Program leader Patty Summers began volunteering at the Wild Bird Care Centre (WBCC) at the age of sixteen and continued working there during the summer months while pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Zoology at Laurentian University. With a particular interest in birds, Patty focused her Master’s research at Carleton University on the effects of roads and traffic noise on bird abundance in the Ottawa area. She has participated in local bird counts and has been a volunteer bander at both Innis Point and Long Point Banding Stations. Patty has since returned to the WBCC to implement an educational outreach program and care for sick, injured and orphaned wild birds. Patty has been instrumental in developing and leading these exciting MVFN Young Naturalist sessions for an enthusiastic group of children.

The MVFN Young Naturalists Club is a function of the MVFN Environmental Education Program (EEP) and is headed by MVFN EEP Chair Brenda Boyd. For more information on this and other EEP program, contact Brenda at 256-2706 or .


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Wanted  “Budding” Youth Aged 7 to 12

To become:  MVFN Young Naturalists

Requirements: Curiosity, Imagination, Motivation, Love of Fun, Love of Nature

Aged 7 to 12

We are doing a survey to see if you have children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews who would meet these requirements and would be interested in joining the MVFN Young Naturalists’ Pilot Project”

This Pilot Project will involve four sessions. They will be held on one Saturday a month beginning in late September and ending in December. Registration $20 (covers all four sessions). With a successful Pilot Project, the “MVFN Young Naturalists’ Club” will be launched on a permanent basis in the new year.

Please inundate the e-mails of Katie Cotnam () and Cliff Bennett() with expressions of interest no later than June 17, 2011!


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