Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Join the Mississippi Lake Association’s Invasive Aquatic Species Survey



Members of MVFN are invited to join the Mississippi Lake Association’s citizen-science project to survey the lake for invasive weeds. There are three phases to the project but all training is virtual with the field work taking place July 24th or 25th.

Phase One: Webinar on June 16th hosted by the MLA and the Invasive Species Centre to discuss several IAS already found in the lake, the economic impact of IAS and how to use EDDMapS. This webinar is open to anyone interested in IAS. To register use this link.

Phase Two: a second webinar will be held on June 29th and will only involve the volunteers who will be helping conduct the survey on Mississippi Lake. It will cover the ‘operational’ aspects of how to conduct the survey. We will review the key species that we are looking for, how to identify them, how to take samples and record locations using EDDMapS and on paper. We will also review the survey kit that each set of volunteers will be receiving. Prior to Phase 3 (outlined below) MLA will be delivering the sample kits to everyone so that they are prepared for the survey.

Phase Three: Volunteers will go out on the lake to assigned locations on the 24th of July (rain date of July 25th) and look for IAS in the water in their assigned areas. Volunteers can go out at any time during the day; however, we do recommend morning or late afternoon as wind conditions are typically more favourable at those times for viewing into the water. Samples will be collected by the volunteers and can be kept in fridges (in Ziploc bags) for several days. Members of the MLA will make arrangements to gather all the samples afterwards and will then review the samples to determine if they are IAS or not.

Volunteers will be provided kits which include a field guide, Ziploc bags, a sharpie and a map of the lake. Volunteers will need their own form of transport on the lake – a kayak or canoe or even a paddleboard work very well for visibility and for accessing the samples. Recognizing that not all volunteers live on the lake, the MLA will make efforts to find host launch properties for the volunteers. The MLA strongly recommends that volunteers work in pairs for safety.

Please contact MLA at   to register your interest

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Spring Ephemerals

Na na na na

Na na na na

Hey hey hey

… Goodbye

Hello, MVFN members!

Grab your phone or a digital camera and get outside to enjoy the warner temperatures. While you are out, keep an eye open for the spring ephemerals posing at your feet. They won’t be there for much longer as the trees leafing out will spell an end to the ephemerals for another year.

We are looking for photos of trilliums, colts foot, hepatic, trout lily, bloody root or any of the other spring ephemerals. And, we would like you to add them to our iNaturalist project “Spring in Lanark County”.

Ontario’s provincial flower is the iconic trillium.
Can you find the other 10 spring flowers common to Lanark?

You do not need to be an expert to participate in this project. iNaturalists helps with identification if you can take some photos of the subject. To learn more about this project and to join, go to our website for more information.

Also on the website is information on typical spring flowers found in Lanark.

Let’s show the world the beauty of Lanark County!

Stay safe, stay healthy, and keep sharing!


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The Secret Life of Lichens

On Thursday, January 17, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists 2018-19 series “Earth, Water, Wind and Fire” continues with a presentation by Troy McMullin Ph.D.,  lichenologist with the Canadian Museum of Nature. Our speaker has studied lichens throughout Canada and internationally, and has published extensively on this group, including the 2015 book Common Lichens of Northeastern North America: A Field Guide, co-authored with Frances Anderson.

Join Troy to explore the often overlooked, but beautiful and fascinating world of lichens.  Learn about their role in different ecosystems, rare species in southern Ontario, and how they are used in medicine, science, and more.  You will gain a new appreciation for the small things in life!

Teloschistes chrysophthalmus or Golden-eye lichen; the Great Lakes population of this species has a status of ENDANGERED in Ontario. Photo provided by speaker


Speaker: Troy McMullin Ph.D.

Presentation: The Secret Life of Lichens

Date:   Thursday, January 17, 2019

Time:  7:00 PM for socializing & refreshments, 7:30 for program

Place:  Almonte United Church Social Hall, 106 Elgin St., Almonte

Admission: is free for MVFN members. There is an admission fee of $5 for non-members. No charge for youth 18 and under. We always welcome new members.

For further information, please contact Cliff Bennett MVFN Program Chair at or 613-798-6295.


Golden-eye lichen (Teloschistes chrysophthalmus), Great Lakes population, is ENDANGERED in Ontario. Ontario Species at Risk information for this species, as follows, can be found at

“The Great Lakes Population of Golden-eye lichen is vulnerable to several threats due to its limited restriction to a single host tree. Threats that may impact on this population include severe weather events, invasive species, acidification from air pollution and recreational activities . . .

What you can do?

Report a sighting

Report a sighting of an endangered animal or plant to the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Photographs with specific locations or mapping coordinates are always helpful.


Volunteer with your local nature club or provincial park to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk.

Be a good steward

Private land owners have a very important role to play in species recovery. If you find Golden-eye Lichen on your land, you may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats.



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The Worst Invasive Plant in Ontario Wetlands

On Thursday, November 15th, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists 2018-19 series “Earth, Water, Wind and Fire” continues with a presentation by wildlife biologist Ken Allison, local Lanark County resident and former President of MVFN and the Ottawa Field Naturalists’ Club.

When Ken spoke about roadside and aquatic invasive plants in his “Green Aliens in Lanark County” presentation in 2012, invasive Phragmites, did not seem to be on this invasive plant expert’s radar.

However, during his upcoming presentation, Ken will focus on this plant, (Phragmites australis subspecies australis), one of the worst aquatic invasive plant species there is. He will explore the features of a healthy wetland, before leading us into the unhealthy realm of a wetland invaded by these disruptive plants!

Learn from Ken how to identify this plant and distinguish it from native Phragmites (Phragmites australis subspecies americanus) and other invasive plants, and how to deal with them on your property.

Ontario Phragmites Working Group: “When attempting to manage and control invasive Phragmites, it is important to first determine if the plants you are managing are the native or invasive strain of Phragmites. Native Phragmites is an important component of a healthy wetland ecosystem. It grows in marshes and unlike the invasive strain, does not typically develop into dense monocultures or degrade habitat quality.”

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists and other groups are helping to map the distribution of this invasive species in Ontario. For more information visit

Ken and Phragmites. photo Ruth Allison


Speaker: Ken Allison, Wildlife Biologist

Presentation: The Worst Invasive Plant in Ontario Wetlands

Date:   Thursday, November 15, 2018

Time:  7:00 p.m. for socializing & refreshments, 7:30 for program

Place:  Almonte United Church Social Hall, 106 Elgin St., Almonte

Admission is free for MVFN members. There is an admission fee of $5 for non-members. No charge for youth 18 and under. We always welcome new members.

For further information, please contact Cliff Bennett MVFN Program Chair at or 613-798-6295.


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Wildlife crime topic of next MVFN nature series talk

MVFN’s 2017-2018 natural history speaker series “When Things Go Bump in the Night” continues February 15th in Almonte, Ontario with the presentation:  “Rhinos, Tigers, Bears and . . . Wild Ginseng: Wildlife Crime Comes To Canada.”

Sheldon Jordan. photo courtesy our speaker

Our guest speaker is Sheldon Jordan, Director General for Wildlife Enforcement for Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Enforcement Branch. Jordan is responsible for enforcement of Canadian laws regarding species at risk, international and inter-provincial trade, and migratory birds and their habitats. He is also Past Chair of INTERPOL’s Wildlife Crimes Working Group that brings together countries and networks of enforcement agencies to organize operations and advise international bodies on wildlife and forestry crime matters. In addition, he is Co-Chair of the North American Wildlife Enforcement Group and Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian Natural Resources Law Enforcement Chiefs’ Association.

Jordan will lead a discussion using seized plants and animals to tell the story of how wildlife poaching, and trafficking threatens the conservation of species, ecosystems and sustainable communities and economies here in Eastern Ontario, in Canada and around the world.

INTERPOL and the United Nations estimate that environmental crime is the fourth most “valuable” crime field globally, valued at over $100 billion US per year and increasing at a rate of 5-7% every year.

The negative impact on wild species worldwide is very significant.

Jordan:  “Like it or not, we’re all dependent on the Earth for our survival. . .  the more that’s taken without being regulated, the less ecosystems are able to continue the services they provide all life — including ourselves.”

[Source for quote above: ]




Thursday February 15, 2018 /  7:30 PM / Almonte United Church 106 Elgin St. Almonte, ON

Doors to the social hall at Almonte United Church will open at 7 PM and the program gets underway at 7:30 PM. Refreshments are available throughout the evening and a discussion will follow the presentation. As always, the event is free for MVFN members and youth 18 and under. Everyone is welcome, $5 for non-members fee at the door. For further information please contact MVFN’s Program Chair Gretta Bradley at  or visit

A seized reptile

Polar Bear hides and Narwhal tusks: intercepted illegal exports from Canada






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