MEETINGS

Our meetings take place on the first Thursday of each month from September to July, and include a guest speaker, a short break to socialize, followed by announcements, reports, club business, and nature sightings.The November meeting is our "Member's Night" with short presentations by club members, and the December meeting includes our annual silent auction fundraiser. Both of these meetings feature delicious desserts prepared by members. We wrap up the year with a July picnic meeting at a location somewhere in Muskoka.

Our meetings are held in Gravenhurst at the Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre (Grace and Speed Museum), located at 275 Steamship Bay Road off Hwy. 169 N (towards Bala).

All meetings begin at 7:30, except for the July picnic, which begins at 6:00 to accommodate dinner.

Our meetings are free and open to new members and visitors of all ages. So come on out and give us a try!
UPCOMING MEETINGS 


Thursday, 1 June 2017
Join us for a presentation on Georgian Bay Islands National Park. The park is part of the famous 30,000 Islands and is characterized by windswept white pines, granite shores, verdant forests and sandy beaches. The park itself is made up of 63 islands stretching from Honey Harbour north to Twelve Mile Bay. The Park's largest island, Beausoleil, straddles the transition zone from hardwood forest to the boreal Canadian Shield, which results in a mixing of northern and southern species. Nature lovers are drawn to the diversity of the park, which includes more reptile and amphibian species than any other national park in Canada.

Muskoka Field Naturalists
PAST MEETINGS

Thursday, 4 May 2017
Arni Stinnissen
is another almost local amazing birder and photographer. Arni is a member of the Orillia Field Naturalists and is calling his program Birdwatching Through the Seasons - A Birder's Photographic Journey. His goal is to tell Nature's story by capturing unique one-of-a-kind images that will resonate with the viewer, stir the soul, invoke an emotion or perhaps stimulate a memory. The final compositions capture a fleeting moment, one that partrays the beauty, simplicity and fragility of nature.


Thursday, 6 April 2017
Canada's Great National Bird Debate - Bob Bowles, MFN charter member, wrote about the Royal Canadian Geographical Society's efforts to seek consensus for Canada's national bird in the Orillia Packet & Times in December 2016. He'll speak to the club about the debate about naming a national bird for Canada's 150th anniversary, how the Gray Jay came to prominence by default, and the research he's been doing into small outlier populations in Simcoe, Carden, Muskoka, and eastern Ontario.


Thursday, 2 March 2017
Need a break from the snow? Last summer David and Regan Goodyear journeyed to the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. Join them as they take us on a virtual tour of the tropical cloud forest in search of birds.


Thursday, 2 February 2017
Dan Strickland, known worldwide for his Gray Jay studies, has also become a traveler to all corners of the world. Join Dan as he shares stories and photos of his recent trip to Ethiopia.


Thursday, 1 December, 2016
Eleanor Kee Wellman,
"Alaska Birds, Muskox and Walrus".
The December meeting will also include a Christmas Draw. People can buy as many tickets as they want, and can put them in the draw for one item or spread them around on multiple items. There will be a separate draw for each item. So bring books, baked goods, or other items that you think might be of interest to raffle off at the December meeting. Proceeds help to defray our expenses, and our members get some great bargains. The evening will also include refreshments prepared by our own  MFN cooks.


Thursday, 3 November, 2016
Mark Peck,
"The Art and Ethics of Wildlife Photography". Digital photography has forever changed the way we document natural history and wildlife subjects. Auto-focus, 10 frames per second, 10,000 ISO, 30MP cameras allow us to take still and video images faster and with greater precision. Post production photographic software lets us manipulate, correct and perfect our images. But can we take it too far? When do we cross the line into nature-fakery and non-ethical behaviour? Join Mark Peck, wildlife photographer and collections technician in Ornithology at the Royal Ontario Museum, for a behind the lens look at the history and future of wildlife photography.


Thursday, 6 October 2016
Featuring Ron Tozer, retired Algonquin Park naturalist. Who better to talk about Algonquin's 50 year history. A great program including birding history.

Thursday, 1 September 2016
"The Amazing Monarch", a talk by Margaret McLaren. Hear the story of how a 50 g insect can fly 6,500 km to winter in Mexico. The talk will also cover the life cycle of the monarch, its population status, and its outlook for the future.

Thursday, 7 July 2016
This meeting will be held at the Muskoka Lakes Museum. Join us as we welcome Peter Mills, the son of Alex Mills. The last time we saw Peter, he was an enthusiastic teenage naturalist following in his father's footsteps. Since then a career choice has made him a full-time naturalist and author. Peter has published a book on amphibians and will have it for sale at the meeting for $30 cash. His program will be on amphibians, and will include some live specimens.

Thursday, 2 June 2016
A little bit of a different program this time as we welcome Barbara Burton and Betsy Rothwell. At this time last year, Muskoka residents Barbara Burton, Jim Miller, and Betsy Rothwell were walking across Spain on the historic pilgrimage route Camino de Santiago. They journeyed over 800 km across several mountain ranges, through forests and tablelands, cities and villages, fields and vineyards as spring arrived and turned to summer. Join them as Barbara and Betsy share their discoveries along the way.

Thursday, 5 May 2016
Alex Mills,
Associate Dean of Science at York University, has conducted research on the structure of songbird communities in the Canadian Shield and the influence of moonlight on timing patterns in night birds. He is probably best known to local birders as the author of The Birds of Muskoka and Parry Sound (1981).


Thursday, 7 April 2016
Bill Sherwood, Astronomer, photographer, and more! From 1967 to 1971, Bill served as Scientific Officer (astronomer) at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, and while there in 1968 he commenced a part-time PhD at the University of Edinburgh, which he completed in 1973. He worked on staff at Ruhr Universitat Bochum Germany from 1971 to 1975. Those nine years werer mainly spent studying the Milky Way and its structure. For the past five years, 2011-2015, he and his wife Vicki have been "Astronomers in Residence" through August in Killarney Provincial Park. "I shall give the classic picture of our solar system and where and why it breaks down," he says. "It was fine as long as we only knew one solar system but now there are some 2,000 exo-planets revolving around some 1,000 stars. I shall discuss the apparent demotion of Pluto from planetary status and include some thoughts on the media coverage of 'Planet Nine.'"


Thursday, 3 March 2016
Leora Berman
is the corporate founder and CEO of The Land Between and is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the organization. The organization is named for a region extending from Georgian Bay to the Frontenac Arch, skirting the Algonquin Dome. It is ecologically, culturally, and socioeconomically unique. It has the highest habitat diversity in Ontario, the most shorelines, and some of the rarest wildlife. It is the meeting point and refuge area for species of both the north and the south: the crow and raven, moose and deer, strawberry and blueberry, white oak and jack pine. The unique ecology and culture will be showcased in this presentation, fostering greater appreciation and stewardship of this wonderful landscape.



Thursday, 4 February 2016
Mike Henry
, a forester with Westwind Forest Stewardship, will talk about the emerald ash borer and other invasive species. This is currently a hot topic that can raise a lot of questions. Mike may have the answers.

Thursday, 7 January 2016
We're always pleased to have a return visit from retired Algonquin Park Naturalist Dan Strickland with a new fascinating nature adventure from his travels to Malaysia.

Thursday, 10 December 2015
It is becoming a tradition to have Eleanor Kee Wellman as our December guest speaker. She hasn't announced her subject yet, but her programs are always a visual delight as they feature her amazing nature photography.

The meeting will also include refreshments prepared by our own good MFN cooks. This is also the evening of our silent auction.


Thursday, 5 November 2015
Algonquin Park's Rick Stronks will present a program on The Wolves of Algonquin Park. Discover what type of wolf is found in Algonquin Park, some of the latest results from research and why thousands of people come out to Public Wolf Howls. Rick Stronks is the Chief Park Naturalist and has managed the education program for the park since 1997. He has a biology and education degree and has also worked as a high school teacher and fisheries biologist.

Thursday, 1 October 2015
Couchiching Conservancy's Ron Reid will present a program on Managing Pastures for Grassland Birds. A founder of the former Muskoka Heritage Foundation (now Muskoka Conservancy), and the Couchiching Conservancy, author and raconteur Ron Reid is now working as program coordinator for the conservancy's properties in Carden Township. Over the past 15 years, the Couchiching Conservancy has been very active in helping to acquire and manage properties on the Carden Alvar, which has some of the most diverse grassland bird communities in southern Ontario. About half of the 9000 acres acquired so far has active cattle ranching. They focus especially on four species at risk - Loggerhead Shrike, Bobolink, Eastern Meradowlark, and Barn Swallow - but many other species benefit as well. Ron lives in Washago with his wife Janet Grand, who runs the Bird House Nature Store in Orillia.


MUSKOKA TRAILS COUNCIL AND MUSKOKA FIELD NATURALISTS SPECIAL PRESENTATION
A special public event is being jointly held by Muskoka Field Naturalists and the Muskoka Trails Council. Those of you with long enough memories will know John and Janet Foster from the shows they did on CBC television from the 1960s through to the 1980s. John Foster got his start on television as host of the long running program This Land of Ours, in the 1960s. He teamed up with Janet in the 1970s on To The Wild Country, narrated by Lorne Greene, which featured their photography trips across Canada; the program averaged 2.5 million viewers. They continue to travel and record Canada's wilderness on film and video today. Their presentation "Stories From The Wild" will feature photos and video of the wildlife around their farm in Madoc, Ontario. They will be speaking at the Port Carling Community Centre on 22 September 2015 at 7:00 p.m. Admission is by donation.

Thursday, 3 September 2015
 "Seeking community input - What do we expect Muskoka to be like by mid-century?"
This will be a chance to discuss your expectations for the future in a discussion introduced and led by Peter Sale. Peter is chair of the Muskoka Watershed Council, and brings with him an impressive resume. Originally educated at University of Toronto and then University of Hawaii, he has studied the ecology of coral reefs at the University of Sydney, (1968-87), University of New Hampshire (1988-93), University of Windsor (1994-2006), and most recently United Nations University's Institute for Water, Environment and Health (2007-2014). He remains University Professor Emeritus at the University of Windsor.


Thursday, 6 August 2015
Janet Fraser's
home. Meet at Janet's house at 3:00 P.M. for a hike in her area followed by a picnic supper. Bring your own picnic and lawn chair. Janet and Bill have a great variety of flora and fauna on their waterfront property. Directions to Janet and Bill's place can be found in the May - June Wakerobin.

Thursday, 4 June 2015
Kenton Otterbein
, Head Naturalist at Killbear Provincial Park, will give an overview of 28 years of research into Massasauga Rattlesnakes, including preliminary results regarding the effectiveness of barrier fencing and ecopassages that the park has installed to try to reduce roadkill.


Thursday, 7 May 2015
Russell Short is a nature photographer who grew up in the Muskoka area. In his presentation you will experience the grandeur and beauty of Muskoka's wildlife and the exquisite beauty of its scenery captured through the lens of his camera.


Thursday, 2 April 2015
Ed Poropat
will be speaking on Ontario's new Reptile and Amphibian Atlas program. Ed is a species at risk field technician and the former Haliburton coordinator of the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, and is now involved in the herpetofaunal atlas.


Thursday, 5 March 2015
The meeting was cancelled because of flooding and repair work that is still being carried out at the Grace and Speed Museum - to be rescheduled
Mark Peck, who oversees the ornithology collection of the Royal Ontario Museum, will be speaking about the Ontario Nest Record Scheme (ONRS). The ONRS, a database of detailed information  about occupied bird nests found largely by volunteers, provides a valuable means of tracking the health of Ontario's bird populations and the impact of human activities on birds.


Thursday, 5 February 2015
Hemlocks in Algonquin
Currrently President of Algonquin Eco Watch (AEW), Mike Wilton has had his eye on the park for 31 of his 35 years in a career with MNR as a fisheries and wildlife biologist. AEW was established to assess, protect, and sustain the park's ecosystem. Learn how moose and deer browse heavily on hemlock regeneration causing concern over the future of the species.


Thursday, 8 January 2015
Ash Borers and More
Cancelled because of weather - to be rescheduled
Steve Munroe, from Westwind Forest Stewardship, will update us on the Ash Borer presence in Muskoka and what this means for the health of our forests. (Note the change of date to the second Thursday in January).


Thursday, 4 December, 2014
From Caribou to Loons
MFN member Eleanor Kee Wellman brings another program highlighted by her outstanding photography. The December meeting is also the night of our annual silent auction and the evening for "eat, drink, and be merry" with MFN cooks providing Christmas treats.


Thursday, 6 November, 2014
All Abuzz Over Mosquitoes
Lori Holmes, a public health inspector and manager of the West Nile virus program with the Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit, talks about trapping mosquitoes and identifying species, and the natural cycle that creates the risk of transmission of the West Nile virus to humans. MFN member John Challis will add some comments on his own efforts to learn species of mosquito.


Thursday, 2 October, 2014
Glimpsing the Natural History of Madagascar
Dan Strickland, retired Algonquin Park Naturalist, is back to the MFN stage. Come and learn about some of the lemurs, chameleons, and strange birds that inhabit the species rich island of Madagascar.


Thursday, September 4, 2014
60 Years of Birding - Changes We've Seen
MFN member, George Bryant, will discuss the changes in Muskoka's avifauna that he has witnessed over the last half century of birding.


Thursday, July 3, 2014
Picnic and talk at Muskoka Lakes Museum
Meet at the Museum at 6:00 p.m. for a picnic supper of your own choosing. Bring a lawn chair if you prefer it to the picnic table. The program in the Museum will be presented by David Homer, a frequent Carden Plain plant and bird observer.


Thursday, June 5, 2014
Ornithological History Tour of Muskoka
MFN President, David Goodyear, will discuss the rich ornithological history of Muskoka and introduce us to several individuals who made significant early contributions to recording the status and distribution of birds. He will also talk about his project compiling records of Muskoka bird sightings and relate interesting stories he has uncovered so far.


Thursday, May 1, 2014
Butterflies on the Move
We know that Monarch butterflies migrate each year from Ontario all the way to Mexico and back, but other butterflies are also on the move. James Kamstra will discuss how some are expanding their ranges northward, some go beyond their normal ranges to establish temporary colonies, while others are just plain disappearing. Find out about some of the recent trends in the status and distribution of Ontario butterflies and gear up for the MFN butterfly count on June 28, 2014.


Thursday, April 3, 2014
Severe Weather and Changing Patterns
Geoff Coulson
is the Warning Preparedness Meteorologist with Environment Canada and will present a talk on severe weather and trends in Ontario.


Thursday, March 6, 2014
Canada's Everglades
David Featherstone
is the manager of watershed monitoring with Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority. His program will bring the amazing Minesing Swamp to life. The swamp is the largest and best example of a fen bog in southern Ontario and one of the most diverse undisturbed wetland tracts in Canada. It provides habitat for over 400 plant species (11 provincially rare) and 206 species of birds. There will be a canoe or car hike arranged for a later date if enough interest is shown.


Thursday, February 6, 2014
Desperately Seeking Spring
David Hawke
, naturalist, photographer, and speaker will present a narrated show, with his own touch of humour, of his photography focusing on early signs of spring. David is well known is Simcoe County and Muskoka for various projects he has worked on. Copies of his book Wetlands will be available for sale at the meeting for $15 as well as his reference book on the blooming dates of wildflowers for $5.