by Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists sixth annual Spring Gathering will take place Thursday May 21, 2015 at the Almonte Civitan Community Hall.

Tickets must be purchased or reserved in advance. The deadline to purchase or reserve tickets is Thursday May 14, only two days away. Tickets are available in Almonte at Gilligallou Bird Store, in Carleton Place at Reads Book Shop, and in Perth at The Office. For more information or to reserve your ticket/s for pick up at the venue on May 21st, please contact MVFN’s Brenda Boyd at or 613-256-2706. Further information:

Tickets ($40) include a delicious 3-course Almonte Civitan dinner and you choose from a selection of 3 different main course entrée items (including a vegetarian option) when you purchase your ticket. At the Almonte Civitan, the reception will begin at 5:30 pm with a chance to meet, share a drink & chat with friends, and bid in the silent auction. Dinner will commence at 6:30 pm and then, sit back and enjoy Mysteries of the Monarch Butterfly.

Photo 1 Spring Gathering
Spring Gathering, photo by Pauline Donaldson.
Photo 2 Monarch by Ken Allison
Monarch Butterfly, photo by Ken Allison. 

The Silent Auction Fundraiser will be an important fundraiser event taking place during the evening, for MVFN’s effort to preserve the Burnt Lands Alvar from development. You can bid on a few pieces of silent auction fine art ahead of time, while they are displayed at Mill Street Books in Almonte (from May 12 to 20). And bidding on these will continue on until the close of bidding at the May 21st Spring Gathering event. All other auction items will be available for bidding at the Spring Gathering only.

Watch the MVFN website and Burnt Lands Alvar Campaign FB page for an updated listing of all silent auction items which will be in the auction at the Spring Gathering, as well as our weekly featured silent auction item.

A word about our monarch expert guest speaker

Photo 3 Jean Lauriault
Photo of Jean Lauriault (courtesy of Jean Lauriault)

When Jean isn’t out monitoring Monarch butterfly caterpillars on his own milkweed patch in the Gatineau Hills, he is either teaching environmental conservation or guiding visitors up rocky paths in Mexico, to the hillside overwintering sanctuaries of the Monarch butterfly, where he has travelled for decades to study them and help develop the North American Monarch Conservation Plan. Jean considers it a ‘super-challenge’ to conserve a species which does not stay put, but which instead makes an annual transcontinental journey through three countries.

So many aspects of the Monarch butterflies’ varied-length life cycle and migration habits are not known or understood. How do the adolescent Monarchs, born in Canada, survive and find their way to the Oyamel fir forests in the mountains of Mexico; do the firs and the adult butterflies require the same unique environmental conditions? Come to MVFN’s Spring Gathering to hear about the many mysteries of the milkweed, the Oyamel firs and the amazing migration of these beautiful creatures, directly from a man whose conservation work has been a 20+ year labor of love!