Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Unforgettable Places: A Biologist’s Explorations of the Arctic and Antarctic

Thursday October 19 / 7:30  PM / Almonte United Church Social Hall / Doors open 7 PM

On Thursday, October 19, 2017 we will host the second presentation of our 2017-18 series “When Things Go Bump in The Night.”

We will be treated to the expert environmental storytelling and insights of our special guest speaker, along with her photographic/videographic tour of two incredible “lands of the midnight sun”.  “Unforgettable Places: A Biologist’s Explorations of the Arctic and Antarctic” will be presented by biologist Dr. Shelley Ball.

Chinstrap Penguins, Antactica. photo Dr. Shelley Ball

Chinstrap Penguins, Antarctica. photo Dr. Shelley Ball

photo Dr. Shelley Ball

Ball, an ecologist and population geneticist, photographer and passionate environmental communicator (including as a university professor of Biology and a September 2017 TEDx Ottawa speaker)  is the founder and president of Biosphere Environmental Education. The organization strives to make a positive impact by connecting people with nature, by “show[ing] them the earth’s incredible places, and [inspiring] them to protect these amazing places.”At the core of the approach is experiential learning and teaching the tools of environmental observation and communication, including photography and videography, writing and public speaking. The Youth Environmental Ambassadors Program sees youth undertake significant expeditions, to learn “in-place” in challenging places such as the arctic, thus being inspired to “care for the environment through travel, discovery, photography and video”.

“In December 2016, Shelley was one of 76 women from around the world selected to be part of the inaugural Homeward Bound Women in Science Leadership Expedition to Antarctica – the largest all-women’s expedition to the frozen continent.”

We hope you will decide to join us for what promises to be an excellent and very interesting presentation by Dr. Ball. Doors to the social hall at Almonte United Church (106 Elgin St., Almonte) will open at 7 PM and the program gets underway at 7:30 PM.  Refreshments are available throughout the evening and a discussion will follow the presentation. As always, the event is free for MVFN members and youth under 18; non-members fee at the door is $5; all are welcome.

For further information, please contact MVFN’s Program Chair, Gretta Bradley at

Click here to open the October event press story pdf:  The Call of the Midnight Sun by Cheryl Morris-Putman

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Spring Gathering 2016: “Meet the North” with Jennifer Kingsley

NOTE: Feature photo: A bundled smile. Jennifer Kingsley after a few hours outdoors at Pond Inlet, Nunavut. Photo by Eric Guth

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists, a local member of the Ontario Nature Network will hold their seventh annual Spring Gathering on May 19 at the Almonte Civitan Community Hall. The evening will feature a banquet and a keynote presentation by award-winning naturalist and journalist Jennifer Kingsley.

Photo 1 A bundled smile photo Eric Guth

Jennifer Kingsley first met the north on long canoe trips, and is the author of Paddlenorth: Adventure, Resilience, and Renewal in the Arctic Wild, winner of a top prize at the 2015 National Outdoor Book Awards. Her work as a broadcast journalist has been recognized by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. In 2015 Jennifer Kingsley founded the “Meet the North” project, and during the past year, as field correspondent for Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic she has undertaken a remarkable journey— from home in Ottawa, to Europe, Svalbard (an Norwegian archipelago), Iceland, Greenland and towns in the Canadian Arctic— to understand the ecology, the culture, and most importantly the people of remote and northern lands increasingly the focus of global attention.

In her presentationMeet the North: Life in the Arctic, One Introduction at a Time.”  Kinglsey will take us on a journey around the top of the world with stories you won’t find in any newspaper! With a small project team, “Meet the North” gets its direction from the people of the north. “Their ideas set our path; we listen, and we follow their lead. By meeting one person at a time, and by asking that person to introduce us to someone new, we are getting to know the Arctic community, and we are sharing our journey.”  Kingsley provides regular updates at Meet the” From April 2016 Nunavut: “This berg is within walking distance from town . . . Aside from being very beautiful, it’s a destination for ice harvesters. Iceberg meltwater makes the best tea in town”; Sept 4, 2015: “These [crowberries] are perfectly ripe, with the best balance of juice, sugar and bitterness. Eva is teaching me about what to gather from the land.She’s an Inuk from Baffin Island, Canada, she was the premier of Nunavut, and she is a language expert. I am already looking forward to visiting with her again.”

 Join us May 19th as Jennifer Kingsley travels south to share stories and spectacular images with us, taking us beyond the headlines and into the lives of those who call the Arctic their home. For naturalists and travelers alike, it is an unexpected Arctic which Kinglsey will share.

Spring Gathering 2016 begins at 5:30 pm with a reception and chance to share a drink & chat and bid in the silent auction to benefit Environmental Education. Dinner begins at 6:30 pm and then, sit back and enjoy the journey: “Meet the North: Life in the Arctic, One Introduction at a Time”. Tickets ($40) must be purchased or reserved in advance by Friday, May 13 and will be available in Almonte at Gilligallou Bird Store, at The Blossom Shop, Carleton Place, and in Perth at The Office. For more information or to reserve your ticket/s for pick up at the venue, please contact MVFN’s Brenda Boyd at or 613-256-2706.


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Change in the Arctic: Environmental History and Archaeology along the Northwest Passage

Press Release

Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

Submitted by Pauline Donaldson, MVFN Public Relations Chair

January 8, 2006

Whale bone ‘tales’ from the Northwest Passage on the agenda for next MVFN

The fourth in the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists seminar series, “Change in our Natural World,” will focus on, “Change in the Arctic: Environmental History and Archaeology along the Northwest Passage.” Our guest speaker, Dr. Art Dyke, will tell the amazing story of the Northwest Passage from ice-age hunters some 10-20,000 years ago, to the postglacial bowhead whaling cultures. From this he will lead us to present day speculation about an ice-free NW passage. The story is ‘read’, in part, from the examination of more than a thousand samples of recovered whalebone.


Dr. Dyke, a geologist with the Geological Survey of Canada, has conducted archaeological research on ancient human civilizations and large sea mammals in the Canadian North. His work also includes geological mapping with a focus on historical aspects of climate change, sea level change and glacial history from the last ice age to the present. Dr. Dyke is co-author of “Mapping Ancient History,” a website, developed with the Museum of Civilization, of mapped radiocarbon dated artifacts, which allows users to follow the historic migration of human societies and animals. Several years ago, Dr Dyke also contributed to important research on an abrupt climatic change caused by drainage of a lake ‘de-plugged’ by melting of the massive ‘Laurentide’ ice sheet. Historic information such as this is being used to understand and reduce vulnerability to future climate change in Canada.

In his work on skeletal remains of the Atlantic walrus and the bowhead whale in Paleo- and Neo- Eskimo archaeological sites, Dr. Dyke examines historic ranges and interaction with human societies. Thursday’s seminar will focus on research to determine whether the central portion of the Northwest Passage, plugged year-round in modern times, was ever ice-free. The history of sea ice is of interest due to the potential for a lucrative new NW shipping lane, should the climate warm significantly. In addition to shedding light on this exciting prospect, new information on the links between human and climatic history will be revealed, depicting ‘peaks’ and ‘crashes’ of human populations along the Northwest Passage over the last 10,000 years.

Join MVFN members and Vice President Mike McPhail, who will host the presentation. The event takes place Thursday, January 19th at 7:30 pm at the Almonte United Church on Elgin St. Members of the public are welcome. Following the presentation, all are invited to enjoy refreshments. A non-member fee of $5 applies, or, for those interested, MVFN memberships can be purchased at the door. For more information, please contact MVFN Program Chair Tine Kuiper @ 256- 8241 or see the MVFN website at


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