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PLEASE NOTE: This web page contains the most up-to-date information on events. Please check it regularly for changes or additions to events. The Club's Facebook group and Twitter account (@OttawaFieldNat) will also be used to announce last-minute changes to events.

We expect to hold several weather- and year-dependent events that are not included in Trail & Landscape and will only be announced at the last minute via our website, Facebook and Twitter. These include seasonal events such as Snowy Owl viewing, the spring Snow Goose spectacle, Eardley Eagles and Mudpuppy Night.

Please read
Guidelines for participants on field trips

Check out the web site of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists for more local events.

The OFNC's Events Committee plans an extensive program of monthly meetings, workshops, day trips, and longer excursions for the education and interest of our members.

Almost every weekend all year round, you can join a knowledgeable nature buff on an excursion to one of the many conservation areas in our region. Learn to identify some of the hundreds of birds that frequent our lakes, fields, and forests; wade through a marsh searching for amphibians; or take a leisurely stroll with fellow nature lovers.

Complete details of all the activities can be found in our quarterly newsletter Trail & Landscape, which is free to members.

All outings

Field trips to natural areas in our region and beyond take place all year round. OFNC events are for members only. Prospective members interested in attending should contact the trip leader in advance. For some events, participation is limited and members will be given priority. Times given for events are departure times. Please arrive earlier, as leaders start promptly. If you need a ride, please contact the leader.

Please bring a lunch on full-day trips and dress according to the weather forecast and activity. Binoculars and/or spotting scopes are essential on all birding trips. Unless otherwise stated, transportation will be by car pool.

Trip waiver

There can be risks associated with any recreational pursuit. Before you participate in nature walks and similar outdoor activities, we will ask you to read and sign a statement in which you assume the risk of the activity and release the OFNC from liability for any loss, damage or injury, however caused and whether or not contributed to by the OFNC’s negligence. This assumption of risk and release includes any minors accompanying you.

Monthly meetings

Our monthly meetings are be held on the second Tuesday of every month except July and August in the K.W. Neatby Building, Salon B, at 960 Carling Avenue. There is ample free parking in the lot on the west side of Maple Drive by Carling Ave., immediately to the east of the main entrance to the Neatby Building. Details below.

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Events oriented to all ages

Kids are welcome on all of our trips. We have highlighted particular hikes as "oriented to all ages" as these are most likely to be enjoyed by typical children. Depending on your child(ren)'s interests and stamina, please feel free to bring them along on any events. For events tailored to kids, check out the Macoun Field Club.

Saturday, 17 September, 8:15 a.m. to noon
Leader: Justin Peter
Meet: 8:15 a.m. Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre, at the northeast corner of the parking lot, near Pizza Pizza
9 a.m. at the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre parking lot on Scott, off Old Chelsea Road, Gatineau Park

The Ottawa area has over 50 native tree species, each of which has adaptations that allow it to exploit certain conditions successfully. We will walk the Sugarbush Trail, identifying various trees along the way while looking at how their presence as species and their individual forms can inform us about local environmental conditions, both present and historic. Besides the abundant Sugar Maple and other common species, we expect to see some locally sporadic to uncommon trees, including Butternut, Rock Elm, Slippery Elm and Bitternut Hickory. We will draw heavily on tree lore and on our own field observations. This excursion should appeal to those who are interested in how various trees fit into our local forested environments as well as those who would like a better grasp of tree identification. If time, energy and interest allows, we may "branch out" and explore surrounding areas. A drink and a snack for the return to the car are recommended. Sturdy footwear for walking is recommended as well. Bring binoculars if you have them. This excursion will be cancelled in the event of stormy weather or heavy, sustained winds/rain.

Difficulty: the Sugarbush Trail is universally accessible and is rated as easy by the NCC. We may also walk a short side-trail that is considered moderate in difficulty.

Sunday, 18 September, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Leader: Paul Gammon, Geological Survey of Canada (613-730-7725)
Meet: 9:30 a.m. at Samuel de Champlain parking lot, Gatineau. Head north on Pont Champlain Bridge to the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. Turn west onto Boulevard du Lucerne at the first set of lights on the Quebec side. Proceed 150 m along Boulevard du Lucerne and turn south (left) into Samuel de Champlain parking lot. The entrance to this parking lot is relatively small and the lot is not easily visible from the road due to trees, so if you reach the Rue Champêtre exit on the north side of the road, you have gone too far west.

Come explore the 450 million-year-old Ottawa Group limestones, deposited in the Ottawa Embayment during the Ordovician Period. This was possibly the most interesting period of all in earth's history, marking the time when our current marine ecosystems evolved. Prior to this, the Cambrian "explosion" of multi-cellular life was a set of random evolutionary experiments, many of which were evolutionary dead ends. The two field sites will show fossil groups and arrangements that demonstrate this Ordovician revolution. Our first stop is reminiscent of the earlier simple ecosystems, as we visit Ottawa's famous stromatolites, accretions formed in shallow waters by micro-organisms (usually blue-green algae). Our second stop demonstrates the ways in which fossil diversity increased during the later Ordovician period. This is also a great spot for a picnic lunch. Bring a lunch, a drink, and a hand lens if you have one. Rain will cancel this trip, as it is difficult to observe features on wet limestones. Kids with an interest in fossils are encouraged to come along, as long as they are supervised.

Saturday, 1 October, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Coordinator for the OFNC: Jakob Mueller; if you have any questions, feel free to contact him at (613) 314-1495 or jm890_7 AT hotmail.com
Meet: Pioneer Village (Trails End) Field Centre's Inn, 3685 Wilhaven Drive, Ottawa. Prepare for 3 minute walk to the Village.

MacSkimming Outdoor Education Centre in Cumberland is having its annual "Open Trails" event. It is the only day when the public may explore these Ottawa-Carleton District School Board lands. OFNC members and the public are invited.

This year, we have an opportunity to explore the property in conjunction with Les Mycologues amateurs de l'Outaouais (MAO). The MAO is a mushroom-specific club that is primarily active on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, but will be joining the OFNC on this day so we can share in their knowledge, enthusiasm and experience for mushroom hunting.

Useful items to bring include: mushroom field guide, hand lens, field knife, small basket (like fruit basket), pencil and paper, brown paper sandwich bags. Bring a lunch, your curiosity and dress appropriately for the weather. This activity will occur rain or shine.

The Centre is a diverse site, including a marsh by the Ottawa River, agricultural fields in series of successional stages, red maple swamps and mature mixed-forest. You are also welcome to explore the Centre. For more information: http://www.ocdsboutdooreducationcentres.ca/.

Sunday, October 9, 8 a.m. to noon
*oriented to all ages*
Leader: Roy John
Meet: Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre, northeast corner of parking lot, Richmond Road at Assaly Road, near Pizza Pizza

Stop or stops along the Ottawa River, depending on what has been sighted and where, to look for Fall migrants. This is a rain or shine walk, so dress for the weather. Bring binoculars, a scope if you have one, a drink and a snack.

Tuesday, 11 October, 7 pm social; 7:30 pm presentation
Speaker: Justin Peter
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

The Galapagos Islands are often touted as a laboratory of evolution by natural selection, and some of the archipelago's birds are among the best-studied organisms anywhere. In this illustrated talk, Justin will help us get acquainted with some of these birds. We'll see what they look like and how they behave, as well as gain insights into their origins through some of the latest research findings stemming from decades of research.

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.

Thursday, 20 October, 7-8:30 p.m.
Presenter: Greg Froude
Location: Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretation Centre

Greg is a Carleton University graduate student in earth sciences who has experience leading field trips as a teaching assistant with both Memorial University of Newfoundland and Carleton University. As the former Geological Association of Canada-Newfoundland Division vice-president he was expected to give public outreach lectures and field trips about local eastern Newfoundland Paleozoic palaeontology. He also has 13 years of experience giving lectures as an interpreter and resident geologist at the Johnson Geo Centre in St. John's. Now, having lived in Ottawa for a year, he hopes to bring his previous experiences as a passionate lecture to introduce a broad-spectrum view to the discipline of palaeontology and highlight the paleo-environmental history of Ottawa using photos and information collected over the past year.

Sunday, 23 October, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Leaders: Greg Froude and Martha Farkas
Meet: W. Erskine Johnston Public School, 50 Varley Dr., Kanata

This site is a wonderful exposure to Precambrian shield metamorphic paragneiss with various generations of both mafic and felsic igneous intrusions. After examining this "basement rock" the participants will visit other sites representative of different layers of sedimentary rock which accumulated in the various paleoenvironments that existed in Ottawa during the Cambrian to Ordovician. Participants will get introduced to, discuss and apply various Earth Sciences topics including paleontology, sedimentology and stratigraphy, mineralogy, as well as basic metamorphic and igneous petrology. All sites go ahead regardless of weather. Bring a lunch, something to drink, dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes/boots.

Tuesday, 8 November, 7 pm social; 7:30 pm presentation
Speaker: John Alexander
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

John Alexander and Peter Kaellgren began exploring nature together in 2003. A suggestion from friends had them looking for wild orchids after a visit to Purdon Conservation Area in 2011. In their quest to document the wild orchids of Ontario, they have found many other unusual and intriguing plants. In Weird, Wild and Wonderful - Carnivores, Parasites and other unusual plants John and Peter will introduce you to some of our unique botanical curiosities. And the Wonderful? Of course it will be orchids.

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.

Sunday, 13 November, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Leader: Owen Clarkin
Meet: Gillies Grove main entrance at the west end of Ottawa Street, around 100 m west of Harrington Street. Coordinates: 45.439221, -76.358559

Gillies Grove in Arnprior has the distinction of being one of the few old-growth forests in Ontario containing an original stand of our provincial tree: White Pine (Pinus strobus). Full sized pines in the range of 110'-140' tall are the highlight of this small forest, and many impressive specimens of other trees such as Sugar Maple, Hemlock, etc. are also to be found. This event will focus on showing not only the magnificent large specimens of various trees present, but also highlight the biodiversity located in this relatively small woodlot at the edge of the Ottawa district. Bring a lunch and something to drink. This is a rain or shine outing, so dress appropriately.

Tuesday, 13 December, 7 pm social; 7:30 pm presentation
Speaker: Roy John
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

Join Roy and Stephanie on a trip along Mexico's Baja coast into the Sea of Cortez looking for whales and other marine animals. While the land is arid and life is sparse, the sea is rich in plankton and attracts birds, fish, turtles, pinnipeds - and whales. Some species use the warm coastal waters to give birth. Now we have stopped slaughtering for profit, these giant animals have become friendly, allowing for close, personal encounters.

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.

Tuesday, 10 January, 7 pm social; 7:30 pm presentation
Speaker: Roy John
Location: Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretive Centre

The Council for 2017 will be elected at this meeting. There will be a brief review of the activities in 2016 and a statement of the Club's finances will be given. This is an opportunity to meet most of the Club's executive and the chairs of the various committees and to find out what makes your Club tick.

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.

Saturday, 14 January, 7-10 p.m.
*oriented to all ages*
Leaders: Barry Cottam and Hume Douglas
Location: K.W. Neatby Building, 960 Carling Ave.

If you take natural history photos, this is your opportunity to share some of your images with fellow members. The mix of different topics and voices makes for an enjoyable evening. Contributions may be 7-10 minutes long. We can handle most digital presentations (images on a flash-drive), and even conventional slides (with some warning please). We encourage presenters to speak about their images. Please contact Hume Douglas (humedgl (at) gmail.com) or Barry Cottam (b.cottam (at) rogers.com) so that we can organize the presentations.

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This page was revised on 17 September 2016
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