Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Spring has arrived early this year, and the ephemerals are out (showing off)!

So far, Denis has seen Hepaticas, Carolina Spring Beauty, and Dutchman’s Breeches in bloom. Yellow Trout Lilies, Trilliums, and others are sprouting all over and will soon be blooming!

Remember, it’s a short season for the ephemerals, so this is the time to get out and enjoy the show. Don’t forget to bring your cell phone or camera to capture their beauty. The photos can be posted to MVFN’s Biodiversity in Lanark project on iNaturalist either in the field from your cell phone or once you get home with either your cell phone or camera.

Remember you don’t have to be an expert. iNaturalist will make suggestions. If you need help getting started check out the instructions on our website. Or, complete this form if you are interested in an zoom tutorial.


Can you hear what I hear?



This presentation by Toby Thorne of the Toronto Zoo will contain a synopsis of the Zoo’s bat research in the Rouge Valley Urban National Park. Following a quick recap on bats in Ontario and the threats they face, he will delve into bat acoustics and how to collect and interpret the data. His presentation will also summarize species occurrence, spatial activity patterns, temporal activity patterns and behaviour gleaned from this research.

Toby has worked on the Native Bat Conservation Program at the Toronto Zoo since 2016. He caught his first bat at the age of eleven, and hasn’t looked back. He spent his teenage years hanging around the woodlands and churchyards of southern England learning about bat biology and how to study them. He studied biological sciences at the University of Oxford, including an honours project examining social relationships among bats in a long-term banding study. He moved to Canada in 2013 to undertake a research master’s investigating bat migration around the Great Lakes, supervised by Dr. Brock Fenton. Since completing his master’s he has remained in Ontario, working on a variety of bat conservation programs, and authoring a field guide to the bats of the province.

This presentation will be on Zoom. To participate all you need to do is to register by filling in this form. A link for the meeting will be sent to you the day before the presentation.

Date: Thursday, April 15, 2021
Time: :6:45 p.m. for socializing & familiarization with Zoom





We still have one spot open for this excellent Red Cross course, given by our own Stan Holloway at First Aid Plus.  Even if you have taken the course in the past, it’s definitely worth taking again as a refresher course (which is recommended every three years). Protocols, especially with CPR, seem to change over the years.

It is a two-part course, the first part being online at your own pace, and the second part in-person at their classroom in Bells Corners on Monday, April 26.   Only nine students are allowed in a classroom that normally holds over 20 participants.  STRICT COVID protocols are followed to a “T”.  The reason why this course can still be held in-person at this time is that it is considered an essential service.

To read more about this course, please go to:, and look at the course outline of “Standard First Aid, Blended”.

Stan has offered MVFN members a discount, so the cost is only $75 for us. Anyone who takes the course an subsequently helps out with an outing will have the course fee reimbursed.

To register for this course, please fill out this form. For any questions, contact Brenda Boyd at:  , or 613-256-2706.


COVID strikes again!


Sad to say the new lockdown announced last week means MVFN will once again have to cancel our Early Morning Bird Walks.

However, spring migration is still underway and everyone is encouraged to go out on these dates and see what you can find around your own place. And, you don’t even have to get out of bed. Just go to sleep with the window open and take note of all the birds you hear singing as the sun comes up.

So join other MVFN members each Wednesday morning in April at 6:30 a.m. for a virtual walk to see who has arrived. Take a few minutes afterwards and log your observations into iNaturalist. If you haven’t already joined our iNaturalist project, you can find directions on the website at

Wed.  April 7 – your backyard*

Wed.  April 14 – your front yard*

Wed.  April 21 – your porch*

Wed.  April 28 – under the covers*

* no mask required, no need to register.

To see the results for last year, check out this article on the MVFN website. Michel Gauthier and Ken Allison walked the routes to record what they saw and heard in 2020.



This will be a fun, informal opportunity to refresh our memories of many of the local bird vocalizations ahead of the busy field work season for the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas. We will use the Dendroica app as a source.

These two nights will be targeted at those who already know most of the common bird songs but wish to have a review before heading out to Atlas this spring. If you are just beginning to learn bird songs, you’re still welcome but you might prefer to wait until May for the Bird Songs in your Backyard Zoom series as it will start at a more basic level.

These sessions will be informal and the coverage of species will largely depend on the needs expressed by the participants. So, come prepared with requests for birds or groups of birds that you struggle with.

To register for this event complete this form.

Location: ZOOM
Date: April 6 and 13 , 2021
Time: 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Leader: Ken Allison