Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Michael Runtz starts field naturalists’ lecture program with “Beaver Ponds in the Watershed”

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
September 6, 2006

Submitted by Pauline Donaldson

Michael Runtz starts field naturalists’ lecture program with “Beaver Ponds in the Watershed”

Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) proudly presents the first lecture in their 2006-2007 public lecture series on Thursday September 14th., entitled “Beaver Ponds in the Watershed”.

Keynote speaker for the first seminar, Michael Runtz, is a well-known naturalist, award winning author and photographer, and an accomplished educator who has taught natural history at Carleton University for many years. Audiences have often been regaled with “beaver tales” from the man who is presently writing a book on them. This book follows others by Runtz which all feature aspects of his understanding of the natural world, such as “The Howls of August: Encounters with Algonquin Wolves, Moose Country and Wild Wings”. Runtz came to know and respect the natural world during years as interpreter/ researcher in Algonquin and other provincial parks.

It is fitting that the beaver, a natural watershed engineer, is the VIP for the first of a lecture series exploring the topic of the “watershed”. There is much to be learned about habitats and workings of the watershed by studying this quintessential Canadian mammal, Castor canadensis. In creating its own unique homes it not only takes care of its own family but creates homes for other creatures. Runtz’s presentation will explore the fascinating biological features of the animal which equip it for the life it leads, the well-known structures it builds and how in many ways its transformation of the environment gives life to other living things in the watershed.

MVFN’s 2006/07 series of speakers and presentations will focus on the theme “The Mississippi Valley Watershed”. The clubs’ new program committee, chaired by Joyce Clinton, is very enthusiastic about this years’ program. The series will include seven presentations, each looking at a different aspect of the watershed, including “diversity of habitats present”,” managing forests to protect the watershed”, “the effects of agriculture”, “development issues in the watershed”, “rehabilitation of shorelines”, and “factors affecting water quality”. One goal of the lecture series this year is to emphasize actions and practices individuals, organizations and communities can engage in to protect and enhance watershed conservation. The natural environment of the watershed faces many challenges. This lecture series will help us develop a better local understanding of the workings of our own Mississippi watershed.

Michael Runtz will be introduced by Cliff Bennett, Eastern Regional Director for Ontario Nature, who, as a local resident, was recently recognized by the Town of Mississippi Mills for his nature conservation efforts. The presentation by Michael Runtz takes place Thursday, September 14th at 7:30 pm at the Almonte United Church on Elgin St. All are welcome; following the presentation refreshments are available. MVFN members and children under 16 receive free admission to the lecture series. For others a non-member fee of $5 applies. MVFN memberships can also be purchased at the door. For more information on this lecture and others in the series, please contact MVFN Program Chair Joyce Clinton at 613-257-4879, or email  or check the MVFN website at