Ontario Nature celebrated its 75th anniversary last November 14 at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). Participants were surrounded by displays from the museum’s archival collection of books, photographs and other memorabilia dating back to the early days of Ontario Nature when its members often met on the third floor of the ROM.

More than 350 members and supporters of Ontario Nature attended the gala event, including Ontario’s Minister of Natural Resources, David Ramsay, and Minister of Tourism, Jim Bradley.

Thanks to the very generous sponsorship of Waste Management Canada in support of the event, guests mingled, caught up with old acquaintances and participated in a silent auction. The gala also provided an opportunity for staff to thank the organization’s members, supporters and partners for sharing our commitment to protect nature in Ontario.

Caroline Schultz, Ontario Nature’s executive director, emphasized the importance of recognizing the contributions of members and member clubs. “Ontario Nature is all about people helping nature. Tonight, we get to thank those people.”

Five of the clubs that founded Ontario Nature in 1931 – the Brodie Club, Hamilton Naturalists’ Club, McIlwraith Field Naturalists, Toronto Field Naturalists and the province’s oldest naturalist club, the Ottawa Field Naturalists – received a plaque honouring their role in creating the province’s leading conservation organization.

In addition to sponsorship from Waste Management Canada, we gratefully acknowledge the generous support of Lotek Wireless, Quest Nature Tours, Eco Flora and Bullfrog Power.

Nature Network News: News from Ontario Nature’s member organizations

Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists publishes pamphlet for paddlers

Canoeing and kayaking expeditions to learn more about nature have been one of the flagship outdoor programs of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) for years. Every summer, long-time MVFN member Cliff Bennett leads groups through Lanark County’s streams, rivers and lakes. Trips typically are a leisurely meander around bays and islands to explore beaver dams, wildflowers, birds and other wildlife. Each journey is described on the MVFN website at www.mvfn.ca.

MVFN is going to produce a pamphlet highlighting 25 of the trips to alert more people to these paddling opportunities and as a fundraising activity. The Stewardship Council of Lanark County provided start-up funding so that MVFN members Allan Stanley, Eileen Hennemann and John Donaldson could begin illustrating and designing the pamphlet. MVFN plans to distribute 20,000 copies across Ontario and the northern United States.

For more information, contact Cliff Bennett at bennett@magma.ca or 613-256-5013.

Carden Nature Festival: June 15 to 17, 2007

The first Carden Nature Festival is shaping up to be a wonderful event. Local expert naturalists will lead birding hikes at dawn; others will guide canoe trips through quiet swamps. There will be fly-fishing lessons for beginners, or you can try your hand at nature photography. Expert gardeners will offer tips on how to attract birds and butterflies to your yard.

The Carden Alvar is one of the top birding spots in Ontario for nesting grassland and shrubland birds. It also contains the unique plants that grow on alvars, a globally rare habitat that hundreds of volunteers have helped protect.

During the festival you can see the plants, butterflies and dragonflies of the alvar up close, and listen to the sounds of frogs, owls and other birds.

The Couchiching Conservancy, Carden Field Naturalists, Orillia Naturalists Club, Kawartha Field Naturalists, Carden Plain Important Bird Area and City of Kawartha Lakes are hosting the event, with financial support from Casino Rama and Invenergy Canada.

For more information and registration details, visit www.cardenguide.com/festival.