Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Western Chorus Frog Monitoring



May be of interest to some MVFN members – please get in touch with the company directly if you are interested in helping out. 

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence-Canadian shield population of western chorus frogs is listed as threatened in Canada, and declines have been anecdotally noted in recent years. Blazing Star Environmental has partnered with the Canadian Wildlife Service and Trent University to create a long-term, range-wide monitoring program for the western chorus frog. Their project hopes to determine the distribution and extent of the chorus frog in its range through periodic monitoring of the species.

They are looking for volunteers in our area to monitor local sites 2-3 times, during the 2-3 week calling window. Unlike most other frog call programs, the surveys take place during the day.

Blazing Star Environmental will provide training, help select sites and send out alerts when frogs start calling in our area. They have provided an informational webinar on the program. The webinar recording is available for download here:

If you are interested in participating in this effort, contact Blazing Star Environmental at

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Announcing butterfly count: SW Ottawa & Burnt Lands Alvar

By Ken Allison

On Saturday, July 4, 2015, the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club will be holding the 14th annual Manion Corners Butterfly Count. Similar to Christmas Bird Counts, this event is an all-day survey of a 24-km diameter circle. Although this count is facilitated by the Ottawa club, the count area is centred on Manion Corners (southwest of Ottawa) and includes several important butterfly areas such as the Long Swamp and the Burnt Lands alvar.

Appalachian Brown photo 1

Appalachian Brown butterfly. Photo Ken Allison

Burnt Lands Alvar is home to Burnt Lands Alvar Provincial Park and the alvar itself, much of which is situated within Mississippi Mills, is a designated Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI). If you are intrigued by recent attention focused on the alvar and the guided walks on the alvar this spring (focused primarily on habitat and the unique and rare plant species), this event will give you a chance to see the rich butterfly fauna of the ANSI. Jeff Skevington and Peter Hall are the coordinators for the count. You might recognize Peter’s name as he is one of the authors of The Butterflies of Canada, which is the standard ‘go-to’ guide book on Canadian butterflies.

If you wish to participate in the count, meet at the parking lot at the intersection of Dwyer Hill Road and March Road at 8:30 a.m.  This is a ‘child-friendly’ event and is a great opportunity to introduce children to the interesting world of butterflies. The count goes all day until 4:30 p.m. and this is followed by a meeting, at 6 pm, for a compilation and pot luck dinner. All participants are invited to the compilation and it is always a very enjoyable event with great food and fun interactions with a group of real enthusiasts. If you can’t make it to the compilation, arrangements can be made to get your data in sometime during the afternoon before you leave.

There is a $4 charge to participants, to support the publication of the count results. No experience is necessary – the organizers will put teams together on Saturday morning and match up people so that everyone has a chance to learn from the experts. If you have binoculars and a butterfly net, please bring them along. Butterflies may be captured for identification and release. Rubber boots are recommended, as some of the sites have a lot of poison ivy, especially in the Burnt Lands.

The rain date for this event will be Sunday, July 5 at 8:30 am. Call Jeff Skevington Friday evening at 613-720-2862 if there is any doubt about the weather or for specific questions regarding this event.


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Climate Change Outreach Project – Plant Watch 2006

MVFN Plant Watch – 2006 Wildflowers

Invitation to participate in MVFN’S Local Plant Watch Wildflower watch

TrilliumWatch closely for changes in plants and trees of the Mississippi River watershed over the coming years. This spring (2006) MVFN will begin recording the first bloom date for area wildflowers at a variety of locations (some have started already of course). Results will be tabulated and posted later in the spring and summer. These can be used to compare with results in the coming years, as part of our climate change awareness project.

Flowers to watch for 2006 and forms

A group of MVFN members took the first step this spring (2006) by selecting the wildflower species to watch. These include plants representing a variety of preferred habitats (see full details of MVFN Plant Watch wildflowers chosen and form to record observations). We ask others to join in monitoring. On the wildflower watch forms check the wildflowers to monitor for 2006 and fill in the location, plant and flowering dates on the sheets as indicated. Then submit to Sheila Edwards at (email to be posted soon) or send to MVFN Wildflower Watch c/o Janine de Salaberry, RR# 2 Almonte, KOA 1A0.

April temperatures are on the rise!
Many climate variables affect plant growth and flowering. Length of growing season is one key climate variable affecting plant growth. Another variable is mean temperature. A graph of Ottawa’s mean April temperatures from the 1930’s to 2005 (based on climate data from Environment Canada) shows that although there is variation from year to year, a warming trend, which scientists predict will continue, is evident. How will this affect the growth and the flowering time of wildflowers and other plants?

MVFN Plant Watch Form

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