Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Field Naturalists Score Big-time With Environmental Education

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
Submitted by Cliff Bennett
April 25, 2005

Field Naturalists Score Big-time With Environmental Education

In September of 2000, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) embarked on a bold new initiative to bring environmental education to youth in this area. Not having the people resources to carry out a junior naturalists programme, the MVFN Board of Directors at the time decided the best approach was to raise funds in support of existing groups with their own leadership such as schools, Scouts and Guides.

A committee was struck to manage the programme, entitled Environmental Education Projects Programme (EEPP). Its mandate is to assist financially with environmental education project-based programs in our area schools and youth groups, by helping to fund project costs and materials not adequately covered in existing budgets.

To fund the cost of the EEPP, MVFN organized several fund-raising activities including two gala events featuring key speakers, a dinner and silent auction. In addition, sponsorships for the programme were sought from the Community Stewardship Council of Lanark County, Mississippi Valley Conservation Rural Clean Water Project, and the Ontario Trillium Foundation. As a result of its efforts, MVFN has provided to date over $10,000 to support projects within its membership area of Lanark Highlands, Mississippi Mills, Carleton Place and Beckwith and surrounding area.

Trillium FoundationA recent Ontario Trillium Foundation three year grant has enabled MVFN to continue with stable funding for the next two years. With additional fund-raising activities and other sponsorships, the group hopes to fund another $10,000 worth of activities through until 2007. At the present time, due to the popularity of the programme, all 2004/05 funds have been allocated and MVFN has had to defer some applicants to the next year’s budget.

Three key programmes are being offered this financial year. The Eastern Ontario Biodiversity Museum, through its presenter Andrea Howard, is offering Museum in a Suitcase units covering many diverse topics on Biodiversity . A new company from Barrie Ontario, Paul’s Critters, uses live small animals to illustrate to grades one to six children how animals adapt to their environment. These two programmes are geared to classroom settings and the later is offered only during Education Week, the first week in May.

Also appearing during Education week is an exciting demonstration of live raptors presented by The Canadian Raptor Conservancy, from Vittoria Ontario. This group will use several of these birds of prey to educate children on the importance of raptors in the scheme of our natural world. EEPP has been able to fund this show, presented in school gymnasiums, for four area schools during Education Week.

MVFN Coordinator of the EEPP programme is Janine deSalaberry, supported by former MVFN president Cliff Bennett. Applications for programmes are submitted in writing to Ms. deSalaberry and the committee processes and approves recommendations for funding. “The EEPP initiative is a very progressive step forward in meeting the mandate of the Field Naturalists”, stated Mike Macpherson, President of MVFN. “It (the programme) is the best way possible for us to involve young people in learning what nature is all about”.

For further information on EEPP, contact Janine at 256-7292. To learn all about MVFN, call up its website at www.mvfn.ca.

Continue reading...

EEPP Launches New Partnership

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
Submitted by: Cliff Bennett
January 27, 2004

EEPP Launches New Partnership

Eastern Ontario Biodiversity MuseumMVFN and our Environmental Education Projects Programme (EEPP) has entered into a contract with the Eastern Ontario Biodiversity Museum to supply an exciting new programme to schools in our membership area. Living up to our motto of “Proud Sponsors of Environmental Education”, we are very pleased to support financially this programme entitled Museum in a Suitcase.

The Museum in a Suitcase programme comprises of five strains of curriculum-based biodiversity topics entitled Secret Life of the Forest-The Biodiversity of Decomposition; Climate Change-Biodiversity and Global Warming; Life Cycles and Seasonal Adaptations-The Biodiversity of Survival; Bugwatch/Insecta-The Biodiversity of Insects and Introduction to Taxonomy-The Classification of Biodiversity. Each strain is divided into grade-specific units and can cover all grades from K to Gr.12, where applicable. As the title suggest, this is a very “hands-on” type of education.

Up until now, EEPP grants awarded by MVFN have been for taking children out of the classroom for environmental education. Other than providing each school a copy of a teacher manual of lessons on Species at Risk, this is the first, and a very welcome and exciting opportunity, of bringing environmental education into the classroom.

The programme is delivered to the classrooms by the museum’s Educational Coordinator Andrea Howard. Andrea brings to the project twelve years as a classroom educator and holds a unique background in science, drama and environmental advocacy, attributes which add great enrichment to the topics.

Coordinator of our EEPP programme is MVFN Board member Janine deSallaberry. Janine processes applications from the schools and coordinates with Ms. Howard. Project units so far, have been delivered to Maple Grove Public School in Lanark, Pakenham Public School, Arklan Public School in Carleton Place and Naismith and R.Tait McKenzie Public Schools in Lanark.

The cost of units, including promotion and delivery, range from $100 to $250 each, depending upon how many presentations and units are delivered at one time. These costs are fully funded by EEPP.

Funding for this programme comes from grants provided by the Stewardship Council of Lanark County and the Mississippi Valley Clean Water Programme plus MVFN fund-raising initiatives.

For more information or for applications, contact Janine deSalaberry, 256-7292 or Cliff Bennett 256-5013.

Continue reading...

EEPP Grant Helps MM Student Trip to Montreal

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
14th August 2003

EEPP Grant Helps MM Student Trip to Montreal

Photo credit: Montreal Biodome websitePenguins seemed to be the favourite attraction for 63 students from Naismith Memorial Public School and their 25 parent and teacher supervisors as they explored the Natural History
Biodome in Montreal on May 2. The group progressed through educational experiences in four different biodomes, tropical, polar, forest and marine.

The field trip was organized by teacher Lee Ann Lyons, who applied for and received an Environmental Education Project (EEPP) grant from MVFN. As a follow-up project, the children produced a well organized and informative booklet on their experiences.

Included in the booklet were individual student short essays on their personal learning experiences, supplemented by photographs, artwork and pictures. Ben Reside was fascinated by the winter flounder which swam sideways but had both eyes on the one side. Descriptions of the four species of penguins presented were written by Jessica Smith and Jimmy Schonauer learned about sea urchins and their life in high water and in tidal pools.

The booklet was presented to MVFN as the required project completion report. It was reviewed by the Board of Directors at their August meeting and all comments expressed wonderment at the quality of work put into the publication and of the environmental learning that seemed to have taken place.

Mrs. Lyons concluded with special tanks to MVFN for their financial support. She reported the trip as one of quality with excellent learning opportunities for all.

Click here to visit the Biodome website.

Continue reading...

MVFN Helps Fund School Project

 

MVFN Helps Fund School Project

Foley Mountain Image (c) RVCANancy Timmon’s Grade four class from Naismith Public School, Almonte, had a fantastic two day trip to Foley Mountain at the end of last school year, thanks to financial support from Mississippi Valley Field Naturalist’s Environmental Education Projects Programme (EEPP). The event was a camping situation, with help from many parent volunteers and included field activities, a sumptuous BBQ and a campfire in the evening.

Field activities, which complimented the children’s at-school environmental programmes, included a geological exploration of Foley Mountain followed by a study of plant life on the rock outcrops, pond studies, a hike to the beach and orientation with map and compass exercises.

Mrs. Timmons, who had taken several groups to Foley Mountain in the past, remarked her Grade Four’s camp experience was judged by parents and children to be one of the best school experiences yet, one full of memories lasting for a long time. In her post project report to MVFN, Timmons thanked the club for their generous financial support in making the camp possible.

 

Continue reading...