Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Climate Change and Implications for Health and Well-Being

Climate Change and Implications for Health and Well-Being at next MVFN talk

On Thursday, November 20, 2014, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) will present the third lecture of their current series based on the theme “When a Tree Falls in the Forest, Does Anyone Hear?” This event will be held in the Social Hall of Almonte United Church at 106 Elgin St., Almonte, Ontario at 7:30 pm.

Guest speaker for the evening will be Anita Payne, full-time Climate Activist and a local leader in The Climate Reality Project Canada. Anita’s presentation is entitled “Climate Change and Implications for Health and Well-Being”.

“The debate involving the reality of climate change and global warming has been ongoing for many years. At the November meeting of MVFN, the following questions will inspire your thoughts: What is the scientific explanation and evidence for global warming and climate change? What effects are we seeing locally and globally? What are the implications to the health and well-being of the human race as well as our wildlife population?  Is it too late to stop climate change? Can anything still be done? …We are all in this together and we all, in our own way, need to address the crisis created by climate change”. –Anita Payne

For many years, Anita has been dedicated to the call for action to address the global crisis inherent in climate change, not just for future generations but for all life, now,on planet Earth, our only home. Her thought-provoking presentation will include not only the implications for human health and the health of our natural world, but also what can still be done to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. She will share with us her recent experiences during The Great March for Climate Action in the USA, including a number of in-person meetings with ‘climate refugees’. From the information presented in this lecture, perhaps we will each discover a contribution we can make to help reverse climate change.

Arrival in Washington D.C.

Local climate change action leader Anita Payne  arrives in LaFayette Park, Washington D.C. on November 1, 2014 along with other marchers in The Great March for Climate Action.  Charles Chandler (left)  helped carry the banner part of the way.

Refreshments and discussion will follow the talk. Free for MVFN members, or $5 at the door. For further information, please contact MVFN’s Program Chair, Gretta Bradley at .


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From Impacts towards Adaptation: Mississippi Watershed in a Changing Climate

Almonte Communiqué

The “Almonte Communiqué” was drafted and unanimously endorsed by participants of the “Weathering the Change: Adapting to Climate Change in the Mississippi Valley” workshop, hosted by Mississippi Valley Conservation and the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists in fall 2007.

“Many important economic and social decisions are being made today on long‐termprojects and activities in our watershed based on the assumption that past climate data are a reliable guide to the future. This is no longer a good assumption. We believe that all levels of government are key players in this issue and must raise awareness and incorporate climate change into planning, decision making and leadership.”

From Impacts towards Adaptation header

View the report here  from-impacts-towards-adaptation-mississippi-watershed-in-a-changing-climate  

The extensive literature available on climate change impacts indicates that the Mississippi Valley has and will continue to be affected in many ways, both directly and indirectly by climate change. Published research expects southern Ontario to warm by 3.5°C or more by the year 2050. While warmer temperatures, particularly in the dead of winter may not register as a significant concern, these shifts in average annual conditions will be accompanied by changes in climate variability and the frequency of extreme weather and climate events. Adapting and responding to these changes will present both challenges and opportunities.

Establishing effective dialogue at the local level will be important as the impact of changes in our climate will affect all sectors of society and the response by one sector can have significant implications for other sectors.


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MVFN’s Climate Change Awareness Project

“A look at climate sensitive aspects of the natural environment, their variability and change through time in the Mississippi Valley area”

Introduction to climate change awareness at MVFN

TulipsNot so long ago we spoke of climate change in the context of geological time scales i.e. thousands of years. However, today it is apparent that climate is changing in Canada and around the world, at rates that are detectable within decades. A graph of national long-term temperature averages since 1948 is shown at the bottom of this page.

Although there is much to be learned about climate change, increasing evidence suggests that in the past 50 years or so, increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, due in part to human activity, is a major contributor to climate change If the trend toward global warming continues, there will be a significant impact on our natural environment and the infrastructure of our communities.

Environment Canada - Summaer Temperature Trends 1948-2005Canada is a signatory to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change and the Kyoto Accord, and has a national climate change program in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare the country to adapt to future climate changes. The province of Ontario is also involved in emission reduction activities and is also a signatory to the National Adaptation Framework. However, there is little specific information on possible impacts of future climate change in our own local area of the Mississippi Valley and Eastern Ontario. This information is useful if we are to understand consequences of climate change for our area and to begin discussion and planning for adaptation to change.

The natural environment which we enjoy and which fills us with such wonder, faces amazing challenges. By examining features of our natural world which might be climate sensitive and which might be undergoing changes here “in our own back yard”, MVFN hopes to create an interesting learning experience which should help us understand and adapt to the future climate changes.

To get the ball rolling, MVFN started exploration of climate change during the 2005-06 speaker series which focused on the theme “Change in our Natural World” . This series presented important background information on changes in climate, nature, and the environment.We also began collecting data on aspects of the local and natural environment that may be climate sensitive. We hope to continue to involve members as well as the public and groups in the community in observing changes in local phenomena, and in recording and sharing the information.

In the fall of 2005 we began the Alberts Gardens project by planting tulip bulbs across several hardiness zones to compare emergence dates in the spring. Read about Alberts Tulip Gardens. The Alberts Gardens project was conducted in collaboration with several Eastern Ontario horticultural societies and the National Capital Commission who generously supplied bulbs. In the spring of 2006 Alberts Gardens began to bloom and we posted emergence and bloom dates on our tulip indicator map .

MVFN’s Plant Watch – wildflowers

In the spring of 2006 MVFN began recording the first bloom date for area wildflowers at a variety of locations. Results will be tabulated and posted later in the summer or when available. These can be used to compare with results in the coming years, as part of our climate change awareness project.

A group of MVFN members took the first step by selecting the wildflower species to watch. These include plants representing a variety of preferred habitats. Read more about MVFN’s Plant Watch and details for participants.

Lake and River water-temperature survey of the Mississippi Watershed

Held on the August holiday weekend August 5-7, 2006, this project was the first ever volunteer-driven water-temperature survey of the entire watershed. Read about the project and print out guidelines for participants and reporting forms.

Background information on the climate change awareness project

Brought forward to the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists in the summer of 2005, the Climate Change Awareness project began shortly thereafter through the efforts of members of a dedicated Climate Change Awareness Committee, including Paul Egginton as Chair of the newly formed Committee, Cliff Bennett, Michael Macpherson, and Lorri McKay, and subsequently other members have served on the committee.

An overview of national and international perspective on climate change was the first topic of the 2005-06 speaker series “Change in our Natural World”. This was presented on September 22, 2005 by Paul Egginton, who introduced the scientific, environmental, social, economic, issues associated with climate change. New to the Board of Directors of MVFN, Egginton also introduced for the first time his concept for a Climate Change Awareness project at MVFN. Then MVFN president, Mike Macpherson, invited members and others to consider participating by sharing locally collected data and/or observing and reporting information on various features of the natural world which are likely to show change in response to climate change.

A number of features or `indicators’ could be subjects for observation under this project. Examples include dates of first and last frost, ice-on and ice-off water bodies, birds over wintering and arrival dates; emergence and bloom dates of wildflowers. Other data such as water flow regime in rivers and streams, ice thickness on lakes, depth of frost penetration are also possible features which could be studied to give us a better picture as to whether climate change is having an impact here.

The intention is to look at a number of familiar ‘indicators’ from the natural environment, make observations using simple protocols, and report and share the results. Contextual information could be drawn from government data bases; supplemented, we hope, by personal records by MVFN members and others in the community over the years. Thus, current local observations could be placed into a broader chronological, topical, and geographical framework.

MVFN’s goal for this outreach project is to raise awareness of the climate sensitive nature of our natural environment and to help develop a better understanding of whether change is currently taking place. We hope the project will be of interest not only to field naturalists but to other individuals and groups.

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The Great 2010 MVFN Carbon Reduction Challenge!

The Great 2010 MVFN Carbon Reduction Challenge!

– brought to you by MVFN’s Environmental Issues committee-

During World War II, gasoline was rationed. Those who drove, used up their gas ration coupons and had no more gas for that time period. Pretend that gasoline is rationed now!

Who? All MVFN members and family and friends who drive vehicles.

What? A pilot project and challenge to test a simple method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2, a greenhouse gas) we put into the air by driving our vehicles.

When? Get ready now, but the challenge runs for the 26 week period: June 1st to Nov. 30th.

Where? Everywhere you drive.

Why? On average, every adult is responsible for contributing about 20 tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere each year. ·Burning fossil fuels is a significant source of our CO2input. ·Burning a litre of gas adds about 2.2 kg of CO2 to our air.

How? Follow the directions below.

How to participate:

1. Choose a typical ten-week period. Calculate the number of litres of gas you use for those ten weeks; e.g. use credit card receipts. Divide the total by 10 to calculate your average use/week.

2. Set yourself a goal to reduce the average number of litres used per week; e.g. 10% or 30%.

3. Make a ration book and record your weekly consumption. Trick: Put the same number of litres in your vehicle each Saturday and try to make that last a whole week.

4. Register your goal with the MVFN Challenge Registrar, Cliff Bennett (contact information below).

Cliff will keep track of the challenge goals and announce the challenge results in early December.

An Example – Cliff Bennett’s personal goal:

Cliff found he was using 30+ litres per week during his ten-week assessment period. He will challenge himself to reduce fuel consumption for his Ford Focus from 30 litres per week to 20 litres per week during the challenge period. That will reduce his CO2 input by 572 kg (260 l X 2.2). If ten MVFN members meet this challenge, the reduction would equal 5,720 kg and, if 100 did it, that would equal 57,200 kg.

Ways to reduce your gasoline consumption:

Drive less. Walk or cycle. Car pool. Keep your vehicle well tuned. Go easy on acceleration.

Buy a more fuel efficient vehicle. Don’t idle. Combine several errands into one trip.

For more information, contact Cliff Bennett, 613-256-5013 or .

Join the challenge, help alleviate climate change, reduce our drain on fossil fuels and save money on gas!

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Climate Change Presentations by MVFN to Local Municipal Councils in Spring 2009

Climate Change Presentations by MVFN to Local Municipal Councils in Spring 2009

By the close of spring of 2009 the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists will have completed a series of  presentations on Climate Change Awareness and Adaptation to the Stewardship Council of Lanark County, the Mississippi-Rideau Source Water Protection Committee and to the municipal Councils of Mississippi Mills, Lanark Highlands, Carleton Place, Tay Valley, North Frontenac, Ottawa, Drummond-North Elmsley, and Beckwith.

The purpose of the presentations is to communicate the details of the findings of a two-day workshop, called “Weathering Climate Change”, held in September 2007 in Almonte, Ontario. Emerging from this workshop is the 2008 publication “From Impacts Towards Adaptation – Mississippi Watershed in a Changing Climate.” The document captures much of the key information and feedback from the workshop. The presentations were made by MVFN’s Environmental Issues Committee Chaired by Bill Slade and with presentations by members Howard Robinson and Cliff Bennett

Based on the discussion and feedback at the workshop and as documented in the publication, MVFN is aware that evidence shows the climate is already changing and that it will continue to change. Thus there is a need to plan for the impact of the future changes. Local strategies for action should be developed with assistance of the conservation authorities.

Please click on the following link to view summary slides of MVFN’s 2009 presentations to Councils and which contains links to other source material for further information and study: Adapting to Climate Change in the Mississippi Watershed 

Click the following for copy of the 2008 publication:  From Impacts Towards Adaptation-Mississippi-Watershed In a Changing Climate



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