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Our Trees—Our Heritage: to Protect or Destroy?

Servants and Masters: Trees on the Landscape

by Cheryl Morris for the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

On Thursday, March 19, 2015, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) will present the sixth lecture in their current series. The event will be held in the Social Hall of Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., Almonte Ontario at 7:30 pm.

The  guest speaker will be Justin Peter, Director of Programs and Senior Naturalist for Quest Nature Tours. He has entitled his talk “Servants and Masters: Trees on the Landscape”. Prior to working at Quest, Justin was Senior Naturalist at Ontario’s world-renowned Algonquin Park where he coordinated the park’s interpretive program and recruited promising junior naturalists. He is a popular speaker at birding festivals and nature clubs, including MVFN , and, as well, is researcher for regional and international projects and publications. He founded the Facebook page ‘Landmark Trees of Ontario’, which features some of Ontario’s many remarkable trees and their stories. He recently led the review of the popular book Trees of Algonquin Provincial Park (author Dan Strickland), the latest edition of which was released in 2015. This book emphasizes that “…of all the living things that inhabit Algonquin Provincial Park, none are more important than trees.”

photo Howard Robinson

Trees in the landscape: Lanark County. photo Howard Robinson.

Justin Peter states: “In one sense, trees are passive elements of the landscape, vulnerable to the vagaries of environmental change and human activity. On the other hand, they are tremendously adaptable and responsive to opportunity, and their presence (or absence) influences life all around them. In this illustrated talk, we will discover some of what our native trees can tell us about our landscapes as we explore the diverse ecological and cultural roles that they play—past and present—as well as their potential to enrich our future landscapes.” Justin will expand on this statement as he discusses how the economic value that we place on different trees affects how much or how little we know about them and their conservation status. His talk will enlighten about how important specific trees are to the wildlife that depends on them for survival. He will discuss the existence and magnitude of ongoing threats to the survival of our trees including those posed by pests, diseases and climate change. As well, he will describe the under-appreciated presence of historic trees in nature and their great potential to help re-forest the landscape. In discussing these topics Justin will make us aware of how our own values affect the ability of trees to survive and flourish.

Please join MVFN for this interesting and informative presentation. Refreshments and discussion will follow the talk. There is a non-member fee of $5. For further information, please contact MVFN’s Program Chair, Gretta Bradley, at For MVFN events, membership and other club information visit


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