Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists celebrate another successful year

Cathy Keddy resented the 2014 MVFN Champion for Nature award to David White. Photo: © Pauline Donaldson
Cathy Keddy presented the 2014 MVFN Champion for Nature award to David White. Photo: © Pauline Donaldson

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) held their Annual General Meeting at the Almonte Civitan Community Hall on May 15th followed by their ‘Spring Gathering’ event which had record-setting attendance. The AGM was conducted by Ken Allison, President of MVFN with attendance by the Board and club members. Ken provided the membership with an overview of the organizations activities and finances over the last year. This is the Club’s 26th year as an organization and throughout this time it has been very active promoting the understanding and awareness of the natural world in our community, with its popular natural history lectures series, canoe, hiking and birding outings, environmental programs for children and youth, and strong support for local conservation issues. The Treasurer, Robert McCook presented the finances which show a well-managed club which can continue to be very active. Ken introduced each of the board members for the coming year, and of special note is that Cliff Bennett, one of the founding members, will once again be President. The 2014/15 board members can found on MVFN’s new website (www.MVFN.ca) under the ABOUT MVFN menu.

The AGM was followed by the ‘Spring Gathering’ event which started with a reception, where old friends and acquaintances shared drinks and chatted; many visited the Young Naturalists exhibit and purchased raffle tickets in support of the MVFN Bursary fund, which supports young people going into the environment education field. Presentation of the 2014 MVFN Champion for Nature also took place. Botanist David White was presented with the award for his work in establishing a Lanark Flora which is available on-line for public use and furthers plant and habitat conservation in our region. The Almonte Civitan Club did an excellent job of providing top notch service and a very tasty meal. A special thanks to all the volunteers, especially Cliff Bennett who organized the team and co-ordinated the event.

The Master of Ceremonies, Iain Wilkes, MVFN’s Publicity Chair and well-known leader of the Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count, enthusiastically guided the group through the evening culminating in a talk by Dr. Jayne Yack. Jayne provided a fascinating talk on the secret world of insect communications with a focus on butterflies and caterpillars, many of them native to eastern Ontario. Jayne played recordings of sounds caterpillars make and demonstrated that some butterflies can actually hear sounds made by birds, insects and even people.

It was a very successful and enjoyable evening, and everyone is reminded to put May 15th 2015 on their calendars for next years’ gathering. This summer MVFN will be running its regular canoe/kayak program and annual summer walks, and the clubs’ monthly natural history lectures will resume with a new series in September. Please see our new website, www.mvfn.ca , for details of these upcoming activities and for membership information. The new site took roughly one year and hundreds of hours to define, design and have implemented by MVFN’s web team along with Chris Bruce, a local naturalist and web designer. The new site makes it much easier to see what activities MVFN is involved in and to find information in a user friendly manner.

 Dr. Jayne Yack is presented with a thank you gift by MVFN’s Publicity Chair Iain  Wilkes following presentation of her ground-breaking research and intriguing details of butterfly and caterpillar communication.  Photo: © Pauline Donaldson
Dr. Jayne Yack is presented with a thank you gift by MVFN’s Publicity Chair Iain Wilkes following presentation of her ground-breaking research and intriguing details of butterfly and caterpillar communication.
Photo: © Pauline Donaldson