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Wild Life Journals

submitted by Cheryl Morris for MVFN

 On Thursday, April 21 at 7:30 pm., the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) will host Member’s Night, to be held in the Social Hall of Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., Almonte Ontario. At that time and place, we will enter the intriguing worlds of the loon and the owl, described by two well-known ambassadors for nature in our region, Cliff Bennett and Simon Lunn.

 Simon Lunn is an accomplished photographer and naturalist from Smiths Falls, Ontario who has enjoyed a 30-year career with Parks Canada. Simon entitles his presentation “Encounters With Intriguing Owls”. Through a series of  alluring photographic images, he will introduce us to several different owls encountered in recent years, both in the wooded backyard of his home in Smiths Falls and in other special places in nature that are within an hour’s drive from his home. These fascinating birds each have a story to tell…

Simon’s interest in the outdoors and passion for photography came early in life. When he was a young lad, Simon’s parents gave him a brownie camera and introduced him to a photographic darkroom. With his family, he explored the natural outdoor world throughout rural Ontario. Simon’s early career in photography included photographing landscapes, plants, and animals in their natural habitats; the images were then shared with park visitors through detailed slide presentations. More recently, he has shared his stunningly beautiful images of nature with various magazines and tourism agencies, and contributed his talents in the form of local photography workshops and community presentations.

 Cliff Bennett is a well-known naturalist and educator from Lanark County. In 1988, he was one of the founding members of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists and is currently serving a second term as president. Cliff has been the recipient of several regional, provincial and national awards for his work in the area of conservation but the MVFN Champion For Nature Award is most special to him because it was presented to him by his peers, the people who, in his words, “inspire him to continue doing the activities for which he received the award”. Cliff is an avid birder and canoeist, and until recently was the Eastern Regional Director with Ontario Nature. Cliff was also one of the people responsible for the development of MVFN’s flagship Environmental Education Program (EEP). The Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary Fund was created in 2007 by Cliff’s many friends who wished to honour his contributions to the community and nature.

Cliff’s presentation on April 21 is entitled “Loons And Human Interaction”. He will explore the world of loons in various habitats, explaining their classic calls and habits. He will demonstrate how man’s intrusion into the natural world is threatening the survival of the loons.

 Please join the MVFN for this interesting and informative evening of presentations. Refreshments will follow the talks. For further information, please contact MVFN’s Program Chair, Gretta Bradley, at


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