Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Species at Risk in Lanark County: What do we have to lose?


What do we have to lose? Discover Species at Risk in Lanark County at next MVFN Lecture

Thursday, Feb 19, 2009

MVFN Press Release

by Cathy Keddy

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists’ (MVFN) lecture series continues February 19th with biologist Marie-Andrée Carrière’s presentation “Discover Species at Risk in Lanark County”. This will be the fifth in MVFN’s lecture series From the Ground, Up: Celebrating the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists’ First 20 Years.

Ms. Carrière is a Species at Risk Biologist whose work with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources helps to ensure implementation of the Endangered Species Act through research, field inventories and working with various groups on recovery strategies for species at risk. She conducted graduate research work on two turtles at risk- the northern map turtle (special concern) and the stinkpot (musk) turtle (threatened). Both occur in Lanark County.

Over 500 native species are considered at risk in Canada. Among the provinces, Ontario is home to the greatest number of these species. Most species at risk (SAR) in Ontario are classed as endangered, threatened, or of special concern. Some of the species listed, such as the eastern elk and deepwater cisco, are extinct and already lost from the province. Ninety-four or about half of Ontario’s species at risk occur in the ecological area known as the “Mixed Forest” region, where Lanark County is found. Wildlife categories with the largest numbers of SARs include birds such as the barn owl of grasslands; plants such as butternut and juniper sedge, as well as the dwarf iris of alvars; fish including the redside dace of clear, cool streams; and reptiles such as the five-lined skink of fire barrens. There are also mollusks, lichens, insects (e.g. Monarch butterfly) and mammals of our region on the provincial SAR list. Protection for all of these treasured species was greatly enhanced in 2008 with the passage of the provincial Endangered Species Act. In addition, funding has become available for stewardship programs as well as species recovery and management plans.

With these resources, how can we contribute to conserving our SARs? Which species in Lanark County are at risk? How is a species listed? Bring your questions about species at risk to the next meeting of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists. Marie-Andrée Carrière will address Species at Risk in Lanark County. Join MVFN February 19, 7:30 pm., at Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., Almonte to learn more about species at risk. A $5 charge for non-members applies. Please contact Program Chair, Cathy Keddy (613-257-3089) for more information.

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Geodiversity: The Foundation for Biodiversityi a lecture by Allan Donaldson




Stromatolites at Fitzroy

Press Release

Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

September 9, 2008

Submitted by Pauline Donaldson

Journey back in geological time with Professor Donaldson to discover the secrets to Lanark County’s astonishing biodiversity, as MVFN celebrates twenty years

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists’ (MVFN) new lecture series From the Ground, Up: Celebrating the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists’ First 20 Years will explore local natural heritage literally from the ground, up beginning September 18th with the presentation Geodiversity: The Foundation for Biodiversity by Professor Allan Donaldson.

Earth Scientists such as Dr. Donaldson study ancient events revealed through patterns in Precambrian rocks (over 4 billion years old) and the sequence of events shown in more recent geological formations to understand present landforms and how life itself arose. While officially retired from a distinguished teaching and research career at Carleton University, Dr. Donaldson continues to inspire newcomers to the field of geology through lectures, local geological tours and as Chair of Friends of Canadian Geoheritage. This group, launched by Donaldson and others in 2002 strives to make geoscience, or how Earth ‘works,’ more accessible. A key aspect is preservation of geoheritage or the ‘rocks that talk’ whether they are in heritage buildings, unique features in road cuts, quarries, or unique sites. For example, earlier this year Donaldson and teacher Neil Carleton spearheaded a successful effort to make Almonte’s Metcalfe Park the first municipal geoheritage park. It should soon be home to fascinating rock specimens ‘georescued’ from Hwy 417 and become a jumping off point for geoscience education and tours.

Did you know that where we walk today whales once swam in arctic-like waters of the Champlain Sea, whose shoreline can still be traced on the local landscape? Learn how the extraordinary geodiversity of Lanark County gave rise to the astonishing diversity of life which now inhabits the Canadian Shield and St. Lawrence Limestone Plains of our Lanark County. To appreciate the rocks that form our landscape, bring your imagination on a journey through time with Professor Donaldson, to ocean depths, colliding continents and a landscape locked in ice, as MVFN celebrates twenty years of natural world enjoyment and education.

The founding meeting of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists was held in April of 1988 at the Carleton Place Canoe Club. A Steering Committee, consisting of Steve Coaker, Carleton Place; the late Marilyn Wood, Beckwith; Mike Yee, Neil Carleton, Almonte and Cliff Bennett, Ramsay, presented a comprehensive set of by-laws for approval at this meeting. The first Annual General Meeting of MVFN was held at the Mill of Kintail, June 26, 1988, attended by twenty-nine persons. Following a picnic and nature ramble, a slate of officers was presented and Ken Bennett, Beckwith, became the club’s first president.

Professor Donaldson’s presentation is 7:30 p.m., September 18th at the Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., Almonte. All are welcome with a $5 fee for non-MVFN members. For further information, please contact MVFN’s Program Chair Cathy Keddy at 613-257-3089 or see MVFN’s website at .

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Eastern Ontario Species at Risk Data Mining Project

EOMF is looking for input for Eastern Ontario Species at Risk Data Mining Project

 Provincial and municipal governments have a responsibility to protect Species at Risk (SAR) through relevant legislation and municipal planning processes. However, providing accurate and complete information regarding SAR to decision makers remains a significant challenge as information on SAR occurrence in eastern Ontario is limited. As a result SAR stewardship, recovery and conservation initiatives may be inadequate.It is suspected that a considerable volume of SAR location information may exist concealed in hard-copy files within organizations such as local conservation authorities, municipalities, the Ministry of Natural Resources, as well as with members of naturalist groups and online taxa-based news groups. It is believed that a wealth of information may already have been collected and recorded in documents such as Environmental Impact Statements; wetland, forest and life science inventories; as well as in species checklists and personal observation diaries having yet to contribute to the larger body of regional knowledge.

In response to this issue, the Eastern Ontario Model Forest (EOMF) has recently launched the Eastern Ontario Species at Risk Data Mining Project to:

1. locate and collect existing location information on SAR, including species formally tracked by the NHIC, within eastern Ontario that has not been submitted to the Natural Heritage Information Centre (NHIC);

2. review and transcribe relevant information into a digital format compatible with the NHIC database; and

3. develop a digital map of the information, if possible, so that it can be made readily available to relevant stakeholders with a SAR protection mandate and individuals with a vested interest in SAR stewardship.

If you have information to contribute, please get in touch with our office. Our staff is available to meet with you or your organization to facilitate the exchange of information. The EOMF will return a copy of the information that you have provided in an organized spreadsheet file if desired. Please feel free to contact us with any questions regarding this initiative.

Rick Marcantonio
Species at Risk Data Mining Technician
Eastern Ontario Model Forest
10 Campus Drive
Kemptville, ON, K0G 1J0
Tel. (613) 258-6567
Fax (613) 258-8363

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“Changes in our natural world” with an Ontario Parks conservation ecologist

Press Release

Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

Submitted by Pauline Donaldson, MVFN Public Relations Chair

April 10, 2006

 “Changes in our natural world” with an Ontario Parks conservation ecologist

There is an opportunity to hear about conservation issues, past, present and future from a real ‘grass roots’ biologist at the next Mississippi Valley Field Naturalist meeting to be held Thursday evening April 20 in Almonte. The presentation will be given by Dr.William Crins, Senior Conservation Ecologist in the Planning and Research Section of Ontario Parks, at the Ministry of Natural Resources in Peterborough. A botanist by training, Bill has devoted his career to the study of living things, specializing in the evolution and ecology of important grasses and sedges. Several species new to science, including the juniper sedge Carex juniperorum Catling, Reznicek & Crins, bear his name.

As a ‘budding’ biologist in the early 70’s Dr. Crins worked summers at Algonquin Park as an interpretive naturalist and later conducted biological inventories and assessments used to develop the Nature Reserve Zone system in the park. Following graduate studies at the University of Toronto, Dr. Crins did research at UBC and the New York State Museum in Albany. As senior ecologist with Ontario Parks, he now applies his knowledge of conservation and biodiversity issues to projects such as the Ecological Land Classification system for Ontario and the development of old growth forest policy, as well as contributing to detailed inventory of Ontario’s habitat resources and Species at Risk habitat mapping guidelines.

Dr. Crins says that his presentation on Thursday “will illustrate some of the changes in flora and fauna that have occurred during the past century, and will speculate on some of the changes that may occur in the future.” What effects have development and the intensification and then abandonment of agriculture had on species and ecosystems? What have been the effects of accidental introduction of exotic species, changes in forest management practices, or changes in land use patterns? Potential impacts of climate change on species distribution and ecosystem composition will also be discussed.

The presentation, “Changes in the Flora and Fauna of Southeastern Ontario: Past, Present, and Future” is the last in MVFN’s series “Change in our Natural World” and takes place Thursday April 20th at 7:30 pm at the Almonte United Church on Elgin St. Program Chair Tine Kuiper will host the evening, and refreshments will be offered. All are welcome. A non-member fee of $5 applies (for those over 16) or MVFN memberships are available. For further information visit or contact Pauline Donaldson at 256-9399.


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Field naturalists launch biodiversity lecture series

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2004

Field naturalists launch biodiversity lecture series

GeeseOn Thursday, 16 September, members of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) were privileged to hear a very interesting lecture introducing the theme for this year’s program — “Biodiversity”. At the lecture, Dr. Charles Francis, Chief of the Migrating Birds Section of the Canadian Wildlife Research Centre in Ottawa addressed four questions: What is biodiversity? How does Biodiversity arise? Is Biodiversity of any importance? and What are the main threats to Biodiversity?.

Introduced by MVFN member Dr. Don Wiles, the speaker starting his talk by defining what is a species (this is not always clear). Dr. Francis used examples from a large number of photos and illustrations, many of them from the tropical rain forests of south east Asia, where he has extensive experience. These photos aptly demonstrated the nature of biodiversity and also showed a few instances of species that seem more distinct than they really are.

Noting that there are thought to be about 1.4 million species alive on earth today, the speaker showed how population estimates are made, and speculated on the accuracy of the data. On the development of new species, he pointed out that speciation requires isolation from other populations of similar species.

Dr. Francis noted the greatest benefits derived from biodiversity are efficient use of nutrients and protection against mass extinction of monocultures. He pointed out that the biggest threats to continued biodiversity appear to be destruction of habitat and human over consumption.

A lively question period following the lecture brought out further ideas and more and stimulated further conversation on the subject. Dr. Wiles, in thanking the speaker and presenting him with a gift of local herb and garden products, complimented Dr. Francis on a really a memorable lecture, noted for its incisiveness, its balanced perspective and the excellence of its presentation.

Also at the meeting, MVFN Programme chair Tine Kuiper outlined the up-coming programme, including the annual nature walk on Sept. 19, the annual Fall Colours canoe trip, Oct 3 and the speaker for the next meeting, Thursday, Oct. 21, Mr. Mike Yee, Mississippi Valley Conservation, who will talk on the Biodiversity of the Mississippi Watershed. Please consult the MVFN web site for further details.

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