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 www.mvfn.ca .