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MVFN publishes book of natural history lectures

MVFN publishes book of natural history lectures

Full text of the book here

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) host natural history talks throughout the year in Almonte. These lectures have been taking place more or less regularly since the club’s founding in 1988. You do not need to be an expert to enjoy these presentations, just a fascination and curiosity for the natural world!

Speakers are experts in their fields, often at a world-class level. The information provided, whether giving insights into a particular species or habitat or even a global environmental issue, is up-to-date, and there is a focus on the local perspective. This means the lectures really are worthy of and likely of interest to a larger local audience than attend the talks. In order to spread the word to a wider audience, volunteer MVFN reporters diligently write up accounts of the talks for the local media and for posting on the club’s website.

As one of several 25th anniversary initiatives, MVFN decided to publish these lecture reports in book form last year. The first volume, Natural History Lecture Series of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists 2013 is now available on loan from the Almonte Branch of the Mississippi Mills Public Library. The book and individual lecture reports are also available for download from the MVFN website click here. Accounts of other MVFN natural history lectures may also be found on the website as well the announcements of upcoming lectures.  We invite you to visit there to learn more about the natural world!

Photo 1 by P. Donaldson












Presentation of MVFN’s Natural History Lecture series book to the Mississippi Mills Public Library took place at the Almonte Branch. L-R: Cathy Keddy, Pauline Donaldson (co-editors of the new book, along with Jim Bendell), Pam Harris (CEO/Chief Librarian, Mississippi Mills Public Library), Yvonne Bendell (MVFN member), and Jim Bendell.

The book includes reports of natural history talks for two series: Trends in Fauna and Flora and Nature Beneath our Feet held between September 2011 and May 2013. Topics include Citizen Science Networks, Lanark County Soil FUNdamentals, Ground Beetles-My Favourite Group and other topics ranging from salamanders, arctic ground-nesting birds, flying squirrels, green ‘aliens’ and more. Also included in the volume are the speaker biographies and contact information, and some key references. The book includes a dedication to Mike McPhail, President of MVFN from 2006-2009. MVFN’s goal in providing the information is to contribute to a broader understanding and greater appreciation of our natural environment, and wiser interaction with it. In addition, in reading a report or biography, perhaps a young reader will be inspired to follow in the footsteps of one of the expert speakers.

Photo 2 by Henri Goulet













From Joel Byrne’s report on Henri Goulet’s Ground beetle talk: “As if an expert sculptor and jeweler had collaborated to craft it! A Carabus vietinghoffi, from the ‘land of the small willows’, with its turquoise wing covers trimmed with copper. This is the ground beetle Henri considered ‘the best’ in Canada.” Photo Henri Goulet

The lecture reporting project would not have been possible without the dedication of the following people who authored reports: Joel Byrne, Mary Robinson, Fred Schueler, Lynda Bennett, Jim Bendell, Linda Mosquin, Pauline Donaldson, Mike Macpherson, Cliff Bennett, Eugene Fytche, Christine Hume, and Elizabeth Wiles.All are active and passionate volunteers for nature, several having served on the board of MVFN, and all enthusiastically gave their time and effort to provide excellent details of the talks, as well as their own personal insights and impressions.  Cathy Keddy was the inspiration behind the lecture series and coordinated the lecture program as Program Chair for MVFN from 2008-2014. Project organizers and editors were Pauline Donaldson, Cathy Keddy and Jim Bendell. MVFN thanks Peter Nelson, former Head Librarian of the Town of Mississippi Mills Public Library for his advice and encouragement with the project, and also Pam Harris, new CEO/Chief Librarian of the Mississippi Mills Public Library.

MVFN’s natural history lectures began again for a new season earlier this September. The talks take place in the social hall of the Almonte United Church on Elgin St. in Almonte. Mark your calendars for the next presentation on Thursday, October 16, 2014. Watch for speaker details in the local media and on the website.

Photo 3 by P. Donaldson
















The book, now available at the Almonte Public library, includes a report of the presentation by wildlife expert Patty Summers (shown posing with a highly specialized winter survivor, a Great Grey Owl) entitled Survivor: winter wildlife edition. Photo Pauline Donaldson

Photo 4 by P. Donaldson












Included in the newly published MVFN lecture report book is the report “Soil Fundamentals talk a natural start to MVFN’s Nature Beneath our Feet lecture series” detailing the soil talk by David Kroetsch of the Canadian Soil Information Service. Following the talk there was an opportunity to enjoy refreshments and look at soil profile samples provided by the speaker. Photo Pauline Donaldson

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