Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

“Bats Aren’t Scary, but Extinction Is”

Guest speaker for this presentation will be bat conservation expert Mike Anissimoff of the Canadian Wildlife Service. “Bats Aren’t Scary, but Extinction Is” will be the 6th presentation in MVFN’s “When Things Go Bump in the Night” natural history series.

photo courtesy Mike Anissimoff

Over the last decade, Mike Anissimoff has devoted his time to pursuing a passion for conservation and sustainable development of the natural world. Anissimoff has extensive experience researching both bat and bird populations. He spent five years with the Canadian Wildlife Service monitoring the abundance and distribution of migratory bat and bird populations in relation to wind energy development in Ontario. And now, at the Canadian Wildlife Federation, he leads programs for the conservation of Canada’s bats.

Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) – face to viewer. photo Mike Anissimoff

Resident and hibernating bats have been plagued with white-nose syndrome, which has killed millions of bats in Canada and the United States. In addition, bat mortality associated with habitat loss, wind turbines and pesticides has further impaired survival of bat populations and has resulted in unsustainable population growth. Habitat loss has also promoted a continued reliance, for some bat species, on anthropogenic (human-made) structures for roosting sites. Interactions between bats and humans become inevitable, but cohabitation can be important for the animals’ survival. Wildlife control companies play a major role in managing and mitigating the impacts of these interactions. The Canadian Wildlife Federation is working to increase public and industry awareness of bats, to encourage a better understanding of their ecology, and to contribute to the eventual recovery of healthy populations. Anissimoff’s presenation will explore the basic species-specific intricacies of bat life cycles for our local bats, and apply the information to approaches and efforts to conserve these wild species.


“Bats have had a bad rap for years, but they are more closely related to people than you might think. How much do you know about bats?”

Take the Canadian Wildlife Federation bat quiz


Thursday March 15, 2018 /  7:30 PM / Almonte United Church 106 Elgin St. Almonte, ON

Doors to the social hall at Almonte United Church 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 18 and under. Everyone is welcome, $5 for non-members fee at the door. For further information please contact MVFN’s Program Chair Gretta Bradley at  or visit



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AGM and Wildlife Journals: Member’s Night

Members and friends of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) are invited to attend the organization’s 2016 Annual General Meeting. The meeting will take place beginning at 7:30 pm on Thursday, April 21, 2016 at Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin Street, in Almonte. The meeting will be followed by discussion and refreshments, and two, sure to be engaging, “Wild Life Journals: Member’s Night” presentations! Full details at

For the presentation “Encounters with Intriguing Owls,” Simon Lunn, biologist and nature photographer, will introduce us to several very different owls that he has encountered in recent years, both in his wooded backyard and special places within an hours drive of his home just south of Smiths Falls. Each of the owls has a unique story to tell.

Members night 2016 great grey owl flying close up Simon Lunn

Photo: Great Gray Owl photo by Simon Lunn

The second presentation will be “Loons and Human Interaction” by MVFN President and well-known bird expert and local naturalist, Cliff Bennett.

Loon by Gloria Opzoomer

Photo of loon by Gloria Opzoomer.

The past year was a busy one for MVFN (a local member of the Ontario Nature Network serving Lanark County, West Carleton and areas), with significant growth in membership and interest. Highlights included a very successful Program schedule (led by committee Chair Gretta Bradley) – a speaker series and many nature related outings, including an ever popular canoeing program led by Linda McLaren and new birding events held by the Birding Committee, chaired by Tim Pullen. Other highlights were the vigorous fund raising and education effort supporting a campaign to protect Burntlands Alvar, led by Environmental Issues Committee (EIC) Chair, Theresa Peluso; and formation of a new committee, Conservation and Habitat Restoration, chaired by David Garcia. In an effort led by EIC member Tineke Kuiper, MVFN continues to work with the Municipality of Mississippi Mills (MM) on the recognition of Natural Heritage Areas and “wildlife corridors” in MM. The popular Young Naturalists program at Mill of Kintail, continued to thrive under the guidance of instructor Patty McLaughlin (of the Wild Bird Care Centre) and coordination by Ron Williamson of MVFN’s Environmental Education Committee chaired by Bob Smith. Also in 2015, the Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary committee (chaired by Mike Macpherson) awarded a $1000 nature bursary to Almonte and District High School graduate Ruth Tamas. The meeting will feature reports on all of these activities plus a complete financial report and voting for election of directors for the coming year.

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Travels and triumphs— the stories unfold

by Cheryl Morris for Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

On Thursday, April 16, 2015, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) will host a Members’ Night. This will consist of three unique presentations given by members of MVFN. The event will be held in the Social Hall of Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., Almonte at 7:30 pm. The clubs’ AGM will follow these Members’ Night presentations.

photo by Howard Robinson

photo by Howard Robinson

‘A Photo Journey of the High Arctic’ will be presented by Howard Robinson, who, along with wife Mary travelled to this wild and remote part of Canada in August and September of 2014. Howard and Mary, of Clayton, have been members of MVFN for over 20 years. Howard has served as MVFN Vice-President and Treasurer, and is photographer and researcher for many MVFN projects. The Robinsons are also frequent participants in MVFN canoeing, camping, and bird outings as well as MVFN’s international trips. The Arctic ‘expedition’ had been their dream for many years.  Howard has always had an interest in nature, beginning with his early scouting and hiking days in Northern England, prior to his move to Canada as a young adult. Here he pursued a career in telecommunications but stayed in touch with nature through his hobby farm in British Columbia and later in Ontario through Lake Stewardship and other activities.

Yellow Warbler. Photo Susan Wilkes

Yellow Warbler. Photo Susan Wilkes

We also look forward to a presentation by Iain Wilkes entitled ‘A Lanark County ‘Big Year’—How Many Birds Are There?’  Also a former MVFN board member and long-time member, Iain became interested in nature during the 1950’s when he joined the Ingersoll Nature Club. Field trips to Long Point and Point Pelee established his interest in the environment and especially birds. Iain became involved in a local Christmas Bird Count in the 1990’s and as a result became an MVFN member. ‘Big Year’ stories are written by people who endeavor to identify as many species of birds as possible within a given year in a defined location. In 2012 he completed a ‘Big Year’ for Ontario during which he identified 290 species!  It was late in 2013 when Iain realized no one had established a bird list for Lanark County. In 2014 he set out to do just that and was successful in completing a Lanark County Big Year which has provided a baseline list of county bird species (available on the MVFN website). We will hear his story of triumph, of being in ‘the field’ every day, and of having to be prepared to race to a new location at any time in order to make an identification.

Young Naturalists. Photo Brenda Boyd

Young Naturalists. Photo Brenda Boyd

We will also be privileged to hear a presentation entitled ‘MVFN’s Budding Young Naturalists in Action’. Now in its fourth year MVFN’s Young Naturalists (YN) Program offers highly interactive ‘nature-based’ experiences for children ages 6 – 11. These 90-minute YN sessions take place at the ecologically-rich Mill of Kintail Conservation area under the experienced leadership of Patty McLaughlin and 3 adult volunteers. Participants are engaged in activities based on a wide variety of themes such as ‘Animal Tracks and Snowshoeing’ and ‘Signs of Spring’. Information on this valuable program can be found on MVFN’s website. Biologist Patty McLaughlin who designs and conducts the program for MVFN, obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from Laurentian University and focused her Carleton University Master’s research work on the effects of roads and traffic noise on bird populations in the Ottawa area. Her current employment at the Wild Bird Care Centre involves implementation of educational outreach for sick, injured and orphaned wild birds. For the April 16th presentation, three current ‘Young Naturalists’, Julia Code, and Isaac and Owen Flieler, will utilize images and personal anecdotes to highlight activities they’ve enjoyed within the program. They will be joined in their presentation by Patty McLaughlin and program coordinator Ron Williamson.

Please join MVFN for this interesting evening of presentations. Our Members’ Night presentations will be followed by the Annual General Meeting. Refreshments will be available. For further information, contact Program Chair, Gretta Bradley at . For MVFN events, membership and other club information visit



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