Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Birdhouse Auction



The winter weather may be for the birds, but there’s more for the birds coming soon.  The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists have stepped up to revive the birdhouse auction in early April to support of the Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary.

Imaginations can run wild, with creations in two categories; functional birdhouses made to attract specific birds, or decorative birdhouses made to elicit a smile or enhance a garden.  Any sort of structure, using any materials from string (think a knitted hummingbird nest) to steel  (think a house made of old licence plates), will be welcome. There will be a separate division for kids in each category, making this the prime opportunity for creative little hands to work on a new project.

To help get creative juices flowing, Gilligallou has books, kits, and ideas for builders to explore, along with wooden birdhouses and an array with different sized holes for different birds.  Check out the shop when you’re Christmas shopping for a unique gift that’ll keep giving through the winter months.

Further, Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists are selling Bluebird Nest Boxes ( for $20 with the money going to their Conservation and Habitat Rehabilitation Committee. The nest boxes can be decorated and entered into the contest or they also make nice Christmas gifts. To purchase a nest box contact Nick de Boer at  or 613 256-5963.

It is expected that the birdhouse auction will take place over the first two weeks of April, with houses displayed in various Mill Street locations where bids will be received.

More details will be announced in January through the Humm, the Millstone, MVFN website ( , or contact (613)256-6479.

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Youth Summitt Awards 2019

MVFN sponsors two youth to attend the Ontario Nature Youth Summit

Thanks to the generosity of our members and a donation by the Wesley M Nicol Foundation, MVFN is able to sponsor two students to attend the Ontario Nature Youth Summit in September.

The Youth Summit brings together about 100 students in grades 9-12 from across Ontario to learn about the variety of life in our province and to exchange ideas and search for positive solutions to conservation and environmental issues in a complex and changing world. Hosted by the Ontario Nature Youth Council, all workshops and activities reflect topics that are the most important to today’s youth.

Our Nature Protection Committee chaired by Tineke Kuiper evaluated applications from 5 students. Although all of the applicants were excellent, the committee unanimously selected Garrett Weese, grade 9 Notre Dame Catholic High school, Carleton Place and Jacob Cooke, grade 11, Perth and District Collegiate. R. Tineke Kuiper, Garrett Weese, Jacob Cooke
Photo: H. Robinson

Both young men stood out because they have put action to their words, participating and showing leadership with their peers. Garrett, mentioned that he had taken a unit of biodiversity with his teacher and presented the information to his class mates, quite relevant to today’s concerns about biodiversity.

All students who applied were offered a complimentary youth membership in MVFN to allow them to attend Nature Talks and participate in other club activities.

For more information on the Youth Summit see our Bursary and Awards page



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Four Area Students Selected to Receive Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary Awards

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) are pleased to announce that four district graduating High School students were recently awarded the 2019 MVFN Cliff Bennett Nature Bursaries.  The deserving recipients of the $1000 bursaries are:  Hazel Cobus, who graduated from St. John Catholic High School in Perth and will be pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science at the University of Ottawa; Natalika Culhane, a graduating student at Carleton Place High School who will be working toward a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Geography at Carleton University;  Kea McKay who graduated from Notre Dame High School in Carleton Place and will be studying for a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, with the intention of specializing in the field of Marine Biology at the University of Victoria; and Jasper Nault from Perth and District Collegiate Institute who will be attending Algonquin College in Pembroke in a program to become an Outdoor Adventure Naturalist.


Photo: H. Robinson

The MVFN Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary was established in 2007 by MVFN members, friends and family of retired educator Cliff Bennett and co-founder of MVFN, on the occasion of his 75th birthday. Since 2007, more than $16,700 has been awarded to twenty-one  students from Almonte and District High School; Carleton Place High School; Notre Dame Catholic High School; Perth and District Collegiate Institute; St. John Catholic High School in Perth and West Carleton Secondary School.

Application information for the bursary awards on MVFN’s website, under Bursary and Awards, at school Guidance Departments in late fall, or through Trish Larkin, Chair of the MVFN Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary Committee.


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