Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Shifting Perceptions of Nature: The Two-way Mirror of Landscapes, Inscapes, and Proscapes


Alvar walk 2009

Press Release

Submitted by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

January 8, 2010

Reflections between local history and the natural landscape with Queen’s University Geographer/Historian

For the next lecture in the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists’ (MVFN) “Big Picture Conservation” series, guest speaker Dr. Brian Osborne takes us back to a time when people first began to put down roots in our region. A specialist in unfolding the fascinating history of Eastern Ontario, Dr. Osborne will hold up a two-way mirror to shed light on the interaction between the natural environment and human history. Professor Emeritus of Geography at Queen’s University, Osborne is also past-president of the Ontario Historical Society and the Kingston Historical Society, and advises agencies such as Parks Canada, the National Capital Commission, and the National Film Board.

Our natural environment is a template guiding local human history, from the paths taken by our ancestors in exploration, settlement and stewardship to the marks made on the urban and rural landscape by present day activities. The nature of past and present human activities reflects both the opportunities and harshness presented by the local natural environment, and, in turn, the state of our natural environment mirrors our activities. The rugged, billion-year-old bedrock of the Canadian Shield with its great forests and legacy of ancient glacial lakes, a diverse landscape crisscrossed by rivers and a mosaic of wetlands and uplands-our lives today are intimately connected to our natural heritage. To what extent is our history reflected in the landscape we view today?

To understand and appreciate the intimate relationship between our own lives and the diversity of the natural landscape, attend Professor Osborne’s presentation “Shifting Perceptions of Nature: The Two-way Mirror of Landscapes, Inscapes, and Proscapes” at MVFN’s next lecture, Thursday, January 21, 7:30 p.m., 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

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