MFN members participate in a number of on-going projects and have completed several build projects. New comers are always welcome to join in. No experience necessary! If you would like to help out or have an idea for a project, contact us at (replace at with @ - we do this to try to prevent spamming!).
As part of the celebrations of Rotary International on the occasion of its 100th Anniversary each club was asked to create a permanent project that would benefit its community. The Rotary Club of Bracebridge, in cooperation with the District of Muskoka and the Town of Bracebridge, chose to develop a destination garden at the northeast corner of Taylor Road and Pine Street adjacent to the Pines Long Term Care Residence. Local businesses, organizations, and individuals were approached to establish and maintain a garden on this two acre site.

Muskoka Field Naturalists have created a native wildflower garden. Like all gardens this is a work inprogress. Much of the planting has taken place and many of the plants are well established. The goal is to have a low maintenance garden requiring little water and which features plants found in Muskoka. The Rotary Centennial Garden, as it is known, is a beautiful, peaceful place to be enjoyed by all.

MFN is responsible for picking up garbage along both sides of Highway 11 between the Ministry of Natural Resources Offices at High Falls Road north to the Bracebridge Resource Management Centre. Cyril Fry always manages to find "treasures" among the refuse, and presents an annual "Trash Talk" about his discoveries at the Club meeting following the pickup.
One of the objectives of MFN is to develop and advance public knowledge about nature and conservation issues. To this end, MFN conducts Outreach programs in the community. You will find our display board and friendly MFN members attending local events, such as Earth Day celebrations, local school and youth related activities, and annual environmental summits sponsored by other organizations. MFN also conducts nature walks for local organizations and interested members of the public.
The H. N. Crossley Reserve is an area of approximately 25 acres which includes the pond known locally as the Bruce Pond. It is located south of the Village of Rosseau on the Burgess Road. The pond and surrounding lands were donated to Ontario Nature in 1984 by the Crossley family. MFN are the stewards of the Reserve and constructed and maintain the entrance sign to the Reserve, the boardwalk, and viewing stand.
The Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica is a small dark coloured bird shaped like a cigar with wings. An aerial insectivore, it feeds on the wing, consuming up to 1,000 insects per day or more when feeding nestlings. It is unable to perch or stand and clings upright on vertical surfaces. It is on the Threatened List, both provincially and federally, and in Canada its population has declined by 95% over the past forty years. Habitat loss seems to be the major cause of this decline, but it seems a lack of certain insects may also be a contributing factor.

In Bracebridge many folks recall seeing a flock of about two dozen birds circling over the downtown area, but in recent years fewer than ten have been observed. It is thought that this may be the result of chimneys being capped on buildings in downtown Bracebridge, and so MFN decided that a tower mimicing a chimney should be built in Bracebridge to provide a possible roosting and nesting site.

With funding available through the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve and the generous support of Lafarge Canada and Fowler Construction, and with Town of Bracebridge approval, a spot on Entrance Drive just past Bird Mills Mews was selected as a suitable building site and a twelve foot tower with an interior chamber of about fourteen inches square, lined with rough lumber for swift footholds, was constructed. The purpose of the tower is not just to provide much needed habitat for the Chimney Swift, but also to create an opportunity for education of the public to the plight of this species. The site selected is close  to the trails system and historic landmarks of interest to visitors and residents alike. A butterfly garden was created around the base of the tower and an interpretive panel was installed at the front of the tower explaining the purpose of the tower and thanking those who made it possible. The tower is monitored on a regular basis by Club members for signs of nesting or roosting activity in the spring and summer, and each fall the chamber is checked for droppings and/or nests.
May 1993 saw the construction of a bird viewing platform that overlooks the cells of the Bracebridge Sewage Treatment Ponds. The viewing platform provides an ideal covered vantage point for scoping out the birds that frequent the Ponds. Bob Burton was the driving force behind the project, but many other Club members were also involved, and additional manpower and financial resorces were provided by the Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School Outer's Club, The Town of Bracebridge, which donated $500 towards the project, the Ministry of Natural Resources, and the Muskoka Bird Carvers Club.
In 2005, Eleanor Kee Wellman noticed that Common Terns, that had bred for at least a hundred years on Long Island in Sparrow Lake, were not doing well. They were being forced off the island by Ring-billed Gulls and Common Tern nestlings were being predated by the gulls. In June of 2006, MFN members joined forces with local Sparrow Lake homeowners, and the Ministry of Natural Resources, to improve the nesting area of the Common Tern. They filled crevices with pea gravel to increase the area available for nesting and constructed small wooden A-frame shelters for the Common Tern chicks to hide under. Twenty-five Common Tern chicks fledged that breeding season! In 2008, volunteers returned to oil Ring-billed Gull eggs to prevent them from hatching and wire grids were installed over the Common Tern nesting area to prevent Ring-billed Gulls from using the area. The breeding colony continues to be monitored.
Muskoka Field Naturalists