Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

AGM and Member’s Night

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Join MVFN for two Member’s Night presentations following MVFN’s Annual General Meeting (note: only current MVFN members may vote during the AGM).   Doors open 7 pm for refreshments, which are also available after the presentations and meeting. The AGM will begin at 7:30 pm, and following a short break, there will be two presentations.

Member’s Night presentations:

“Partnerships, Pollinators and Plants” by Sherryl and Bob Smith

“Exploring Prince Edward County” by Karen and Bruce Thompson


updated April 2017 AGM poster.indd


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Spring Gathering 2016 tickets available starting tomorrow at AGM/Member’s Night

Advance tickets for MVFN’s Spring Gathering 2016 will be available starting tomorrow night, April 21st at our Annual General Meeting/Member’s Night and as outlined below.

MVFN’s Spring Gathering 2016 will take place Thursday May 19, 2016 at Almonte Civitan Community Hall. The evening will feature a reception, banquet dinner, silent auction fundraiser for our Environmental Education Program, and a keynote presentation. Meet Jennifer Kingsley, an award-winning naturalist and journalist who will be our Spring Gathering 2016 guest speaker sharing her experiences from visits with people around the top of the world. After dinner, sit back and enjoy the stories and spectacular images of her presentation: “Meet the North: Life in the Arctic, One Introduction at a Time.”  Tickets ($40) will be available at the AGM/Member’s Night tomorrow night. Tickets will also be available in Almonte at Gilligallou Bird Store, in Carleton Place at The Blossom Shop, and in Perth at The Office. Or, to reserve your ticket/s for pick up at the venue on May 19, please contact MVFN’s Brenda Boyd at  or 613-256-2706All tickets must be purchased or reserved in advance by Friday, May 13.

REMINDER: Following the brief AGM tomorrow night, we have a wonderful pair of Wildlife Journals presentations planned, highlighting intriguing owls and then loons. Also, if you have not already renewed your MVFN membership for the April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017 membership year, you may do so tomorrow night prior to the AGM. Elizabeth Veninga of the Membership Committee will be at the Membership table to answer your questions.

Thank you and we hope to see you there!

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AGM and Wildlife Journals: Member’s Night

Members and friends of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) are invited to attend the organization’s 2016 Annual General Meeting. The meeting will take place beginning at 7:30 pm on Thursday, April 21, 2016 at Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin Street, in Almonte. The meeting will be followed by discussion and refreshments, and two, sure to be engaging, “Wild Life Journals: Member’s Night” presentations! Full details at

For the presentation “Encounters with Intriguing Owls,” Simon Lunn, biologist and nature photographer, will introduce us to several very different owls that he has encountered in recent years, both in his wooded backyard and special places within an hours drive of his home just south of Smiths Falls. Each of the owls has a unique story to tell.

Members night 2016 great grey owl flying close up Simon Lunn

Photo: Great Gray Owl photo by Simon Lunn

The second presentation will be “Loons and Human Interaction” by MVFN President and well-known bird expert and local naturalist, Cliff Bennett.

Loon by Gloria Opzoomer

Photo of loon by Gloria Opzoomer.

The past year was a busy one for MVFN (a local member of the Ontario Nature Network serving Lanark County, West Carleton and areas), with significant growth in membership and interest. Highlights included a very successful Program schedule (led by committee Chair Gretta Bradley) – a speaker series and many nature related outings, including an ever popular canoeing program led by Linda McLaren and new birding events held by the Birding Committee, chaired by Tim Pullen. Other highlights were the vigorous fund raising and education effort supporting a campaign to protect Burntlands Alvar, led by Environmental Issues Committee (EIC) Chair, Theresa Peluso; and formation of a new committee, Conservation and Habitat Restoration, chaired by David Garcia. In an effort led by EIC member Tineke Kuiper, MVFN continues to work with the Municipality of Mississippi Mills (MM) on the recognition of Natural Heritage Areas and “wildlife corridors” in MM. The popular Young Naturalists program at Mill of Kintail, continued to thrive under the guidance of instructor Patty McLaughlin (of the Wild Bird Care Centre) and coordination by Ron Williamson of MVFN’s Environmental Education Committee chaired by Bob Smith. Also in 2015, the Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary committee (chaired by Mike Macpherson) awarded a $1000 nature bursary to Almonte and District High School graduate Ruth Tamas. The meeting will feature reports on all of these activities plus a complete financial report and voting for election of directors for the coming year.

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Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists Announce April 16 AGM

Following Members’ Night presentations, all members and friends of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists are invited to attend the Annual General Meeting of MVFN. The meeting will be held at the Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin Street, Almonte on Thursday, April 16th, immediately following Members’ Night presentations, which begin at 7:30 pm.

For MVFN, the 2014/15 year was a very busy one. With one of the club’s original founding members, Cliff Bennett, once again leading the club, and Brenda Boyd serving as Vice President, the club saw significant growth in membership and interest. Highlights of the year include: a very successful speaker series, led by Programme Committee chair  Gretta Bradley;  the launch of a vigorous fund-raising campaign to support protection of the Burnt Lands Alvar, led by the chair of the Environmental Issues Committee Theresa Peluso;  the publishing of a significant research document by MVFN’s Appleton Wetlands Research Committee on the cause of death of the Appleton Wetland;  and the continuing success of the very popular MVFN Young Naturalists programme. The Young Naturalists programme is part of the Environmental Education Program Committee chaired by Bob Smith. The sessions are designed and led by biologist Patty McLaughlin and the program coordinator is MVFN’s Ron Williamson.

Also of significance this year was the redevelopment of the MVFN website. This project was led by former Publicity and Public Relations chair Iain Wilkes and resulted in an updated more user-friendly and interesting format. Current chair of Publicity and Public Relations, Pauline Donaldson also led the website reorganization and continues to manage ongoing improvements to information provided on the site.

The MVFN Environmental Issues Committee continues to deal with a range of subjects of concern to the environment and protection of nature. For example, led by Tineke Kuiper, MVFN continues to work with the Town of Mississippi Mills to ensure recognition of Natural Heritage System policies to protect natural features and vital connective ‘corridors’ between them. A new Membership Committee was formed this year, chaired by Noel Noyes-Brown.

Very many nature-related outings were held over the past year, including outings of the ever-popular canoe/kayak programme led by Sheldon Scrivens and birding activities organized by the new MVFN Birding Committee, chaired by Tim Pullen. The AGM will feature reports on all of the above activities plus a complete financial report and election of officers for the coming year. Refreshments will be available. For further information contact Cliff Bennett at / 613-256-5013 or visit

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Travels and triumphs— the stories unfold

by Cheryl Morris for Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

On Thursday, April 16, 2015, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) will host a Members’ Night. This will consist of three unique presentations given by members of MVFN. The event will be held in the Social Hall of Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., Almonte at 7:30 pm. The clubs’ AGM will follow these Members’ Night presentations.

photo by Howard Robinson

photo by Howard Robinson

‘A Photo Journey of the High Arctic’ will be presented by Howard Robinson, who, along with wife Mary travelled to this wild and remote part of Canada in August and September of 2014. Howard and Mary, of Clayton, have been members of MVFN for over 20 years. Howard has served as MVFN Vice-President and Treasurer, and is photographer and researcher for many MVFN projects. The Robinsons are also frequent participants in MVFN canoeing, camping, and bird outings as well as MVFN’s international trips. The Arctic ‘expedition’ had been their dream for many years.  Howard has always had an interest in nature, beginning with his early scouting and hiking days in Northern England, prior to his move to Canada as a young adult. Here he pursued a career in telecommunications but stayed in touch with nature through his hobby farm in British Columbia and later in Ontario through Lake Stewardship and other activities.

Yellow Warbler. Photo Susan Wilkes

Yellow Warbler. Photo Susan Wilkes

We also look forward to a presentation by Iain Wilkes entitled ‘A Lanark County ‘Big Year’—How Many Birds Are There?’  Also a former MVFN board member and long-time member, Iain became interested in nature during the 1950’s when he joined the Ingersoll Nature Club. Field trips to Long Point and Point Pelee established his interest in the environment and especially birds. Iain became involved in a local Christmas Bird Count in the 1990’s and as a result became an MVFN member. ‘Big Year’ stories are written by people who endeavor to identify as many species of birds as possible within a given year in a defined location. In 2012 he completed a ‘Big Year’ for Ontario during which he identified 290 species!  It was late in 2013 when Iain realized no one had established a bird list for Lanark County. In 2014 he set out to do just that and was successful in completing a Lanark County Big Year which has provided a baseline list of county bird species (available on the MVFN website). We will hear his story of triumph, of being in ‘the field’ every day, and of having to be prepared to race to a new location at any time in order to make an identification.

Young Naturalists. Photo Brenda Boyd

Young Naturalists. Photo Brenda Boyd

We will also be privileged to hear a presentation entitled ‘MVFN’s Budding Young Naturalists in Action’. Now in its fourth year MVFN’s Young Naturalists (YN) Program offers highly interactive ‘nature-based’ experiences for children ages 6 – 11. These 90-minute YN sessions take place at the ecologically-rich Mill of Kintail Conservation area under the experienced leadership of Patty McLaughlin and 3 adult volunteers. Participants are engaged in activities based on a wide variety of themes such as ‘Animal Tracks and Snowshoeing’ and ‘Signs of Spring’. Information on this valuable program can be found on MVFN’s website. Biologist Patty McLaughlin who designs and conducts the program for MVFN, obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from Laurentian University and focused her Carleton University Master’s research work on the effects of roads and traffic noise on bird populations in the Ottawa area. Her current employment at the Wild Bird Care Centre involves implementation of educational outreach for sick, injured and orphaned wild birds. For the April 16th presentation, three current ‘Young Naturalists’, Julia Code, and Isaac and Owen Flieler, will utilize images and personal anecdotes to highlight activities they’ve enjoyed within the program. They will be joined in their presentation by Patty McLaughlin and program coordinator Ron Williamson.

Please join MVFN for this interesting evening of presentations. Our Members’ Night presentations will be followed by the Annual General Meeting. Refreshments will be available. For further information, contact Program Chair, Gretta Bradley at . For MVFN events, membership and other club information visit



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