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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 September 16, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Leader: Paul Catling
Location: Gatineau Park Visitor Centre, 33 Scott Road, Chelsea, QC

A diversity of snail species are found in the Ottawa area, this fascinating group of gastropods is under-sampled and poorly studied. This full day workshop will begin with both classroom and field activities to familiarize participants with snail identification and the collection of specimens. The afternoon will include dividing participants into groups that will collect snails at different locations throughout Gatineau Park. We have a permit to collect a few snails of each kind that we find, and all specimens from the workshop will become part of the research collection of the Canadian Museum of Nature. Registrants will receive an email with more details and the schedule closer to the event. No previous experience is necessary.

Pre-registration is required as space is limited. Please register for this event by emailing ofnc@ofnc.ca.

Sunday, September 17, 1-4 p.m.
Leader: Elena Ponomarenko
Meet: Parking lot of the Good Companions Senior Centre, 670 Albert St (parking on north end of Empress Ave.)

Recurring disturbances are universal engines of the landscape transformation. Natural disturbances create boundaries within the forest, trigger successions of tree species, and leave their marks - on the trees, on the forest floor, and in the soil. Join us for learning how to recognize traces of various forest disturbances, such as fires, windstorms, flooding, and herbivory during a 3-hour walk through the Gatineau Park. Wear sturdy footwear, bring a hat, a snack, some water, bug spray if you use it, and have your compass and magnifying glass ready.

Elena is a soil scientist with PhD in biology, working as a part-time professor at Ottawa U (Geography Dept), and as a consulting soil scientist at Ecosystem Archaeology Services.

Saturday September 23, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Location: Parking available at 3685 Wilhaven Drive and 3640 Hwy #174

Normally, this 425-acre classroom is closed to the public, but it will be open to the public on this date. Come and take a hike, bring your binoculars, camera, magnify lenses or field guides to explore this unique site, which is part of the Becketts Creek Migratory Bird Sanctuary. No food or drinks will provided for this event, so bring a lunch or picnic. A fire will be set-up at the Pioneer Village, if you would like to bring items for a cookout lunch.

This year, the Centre is celebrating its 50th anniversary of teaching students outside!

Sunday October 1, 1-3 p.m.
Location: Fletcher Wildlife Garden (see map)

Join Trish Murphy of Beaux Arbres nursery for a walk and talk about how and when to collect seeds from our native plant species. Learn collecting tips from a "pro" and find out how to prepare seeds over winter to ensure best germination next spring.

This event is free and open to the public.

Saturday October 7, 7:30 a.m. to noon
Leader: Ken Allison
Meet: Entrance to the Mud Lake hiking trail along Cassels Street, near the water treatment plant, north of Britannia Park. Parking is along Cassels Street on either side. Carpooling is encouraged. The OC Transpo bus #16 provides service into Britannia.

The Britannia Conservation Area is an excellent migrant trap in both spring and fall. This trip will concentrate on later migrants, especially waterfowl on Mud Lake and the Ottawa River. Depending on where birds have been reported, we might move west up the river to Andrew Haydon Park or Shirley's Bay. Dress for the weather and remember it is always colder along the water. Bring binoculars and a scope if you have one. Waterproof footwear would be a good idea.

Tuesday, October 10, 7 p.m. social; 7:30 p.m. presentation

Speaker: Randy Boswell
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

Dr. Edward Van Cortlandt was a 19th-century physician best known to Ottawa history as a hard-working, eccentric medical man with a peculiar interest in collecting objects for his widely admired "cabinet of curiosities". All true, but there is much more. At a time when Victorian science was coalescing into a vital nation-building force in Canadian society, Van Cortlandt's diverse and energetic explorations in the broadly defined realm of "natural history "- from geology and archaeology to botany and zoology - helped shape the intellectual culture of a new country and its burgeoning, backwoods capital. Recent research into Van Cortlandt's activities has shed fresh light on his significant contributions to Canadian environmental history, including the formative phase of what became the Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club.

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.

Saturday October 14, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Leader: Jakob Mueller
Location: NCC Parking Lot P8 off of the Sir George Etienne Cartier Parkway (formerly the Rockcliffe Parkway). Note: This is neither the greenbelt parking lot in Stony Swamp, nor the greenbelt parking lot P26 labelled for Green's Creek. See directions.
Directions: Enter the parkway from St. Joseph Boulevard - following the parkway as it winds north and then west, you will cross a large bridge (over Green's Creek); the lot will be on your left shortly afterwards. (To reach St. Joseph from the city centre, take Hwy 417 to Hwy 174, exiting at Montreal Road. Turn right (east) at the intersection, cross a bridge and go up a hill to an intersection, where you can turn left onto the parkway.)

Green's Creek is an under-appreciated feature of the city's greenbelt, with a number of interesting natural features. The creek meanders through an unusual deep clay valley. A diversity of plants are here, including the region's only population of Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), a late-blooming shrub more common farther south. For the birders, some fall migrants can be expected. If the weather is warm, we might see a number of reptiles and amphibians.

Registration: Please register for this event with Jakob by emailing jm890_7[at]hotmail.com.

Sunday October 15, 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. This trip MIGHT go on DND property at Shirley's Bay where access can be by OFNC members only - the range officer will check the OFNC membership list. Those not on the list will have to wait for a time (1 hour?) in the parking lot.

Saturday October 21, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Leader: Sarah Rabideau (nee Walton)
Meet: 9 a.m. at NCC Parking Lot 9 off Moodie Drive

Join Sarah to enjoy a morning hike in the woods in Stony Swamp to get an up-close and personal experience with some of Canada's infamous winter songbirds - chickadees and nuthatches - in their race to prepare for winter. Best part - they eat from your hand! Once the thrill of bird feeding wears off (does it ever?) the hike will continue around the Jack Pine trail system, with opportunities to learn about about the seasonal changes in the forest system. Hikers are encouraged to continue onto the Beaver and Chipmunk loop systems (total of about 7 km). Bring snacks, water, plenty of peanuts and bird seed for our feathered friends, and a charged camera/phone to take plenty of fun photos and videos!

Registration: Maximum of 30 people. To register please email Jakob Mueller at jm890_7 [at] hotmail.com.

Saturday, November 4, 9 a.m. to noon
(Rain date is November 11)
Leader: Chris Rochefort
Meet: Parking lot 8, Meech Road at Gatineau Parkway

On this field trip, participants will observe igneous and metamorphic rocks along with geological structures such as folds, dykes and faults. There are many intrusions in the rocks which were deformed approximately 1000 million years ago. Dress for anticipated weather. We will go even if there is a light drizzle or snow. We will postpone to November 11 if there is rain. Chris will be wearing his orange safety vest in order to be highly recognizable when members arrive.

Please note: The parkway will be closed to motor vehicles but there could be many cyclists present, especially if the weather is good. A safety vest is highly recommended.

Saturday, November 4, 8 a.m. to noon
Leaders: Tony Beck & Nina Stavlund
Meet: Petrie Island Causeway, north of the intersection Highway 174 and Trim Road (Orleans). "North" will be to your left if you are driving from Ottawa.

In early November, most of our local agricultural fields have been harvested and cut. This provides open views from the roadside where birds are easily observed as they forage through the stubble. Although many will have already passed through, we'll still witness much evidence of migration. After a quick check of the Ottawa River for diving ducks, we'll drive through open country east of Ottawa looking for Sandhill Cranes, various geese, gulls and hawks. We'll check all flocks of waterfowl for unusual species like Ross's Goose or Greater White-fronted Goose. Recent late-fall migrations have produced thousands of Greater Snow Geese - an extremely impressive sight. While checking the Snow Geese, we hope to find a mega-rarity; Pink-footed Goose!

This trip will only be cancelled if we have severe weather conditions. Listen to the weather forecast and dress accordingly. The leaders encourage you to carpool as this will help the group to stick together and stay safe along roadways. Bring binoculars and telescopes.

Contact the leaders if you have questions: TonysAlwaysAnAdventure@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 14, 7 p.m. social; 7:30 p.m. presentation

Speaker: Howard Simkover
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

For hundreds of thousands of years, humans have gazed up into the night sky at shooting stars. These sudden flashes of light - called meteors - are caused by tiny particles from space plunging into the Earth's atmosphere at very high speeds, and burning up. Several times per year, such as during the Perseids in mid-August, we experience a meteor shower. Perhaps we've all had the experience of "wishing on a falling star". On occasion, a much larger "rock from space" - a meteorite - enters the atmosphere and can even impact the surface of our planet, causing a crater. As far as we know, only one person has ever been struck by a falling meteorite.

In February 2013, a huge object from space exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia, leading to thousands of injuries from flying glass. It appears that 65.5 million years ago, something much worse happened to the dinosaurs, who experienced a very bad day when an asteroid the size of Ottawa came calling.

Howard Simkover, who has produced shows for Montreal's Dow Planetarium, will share his experiences and knowledge of meteors and meteorites.

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.

Saturday November 18, 8:45 or 9 a.m. to noon
Leaders: Bev McBride and Dave Moore
Meet: In the Lincoln Fields shopping centre parking behind the Pizza Pizza (Richmond Road and Assaly Road) OR at 9:00 at the Britannia Conservation Area (Mud Lake), Cassells St., at the small parking area near the filtration plant driveway entrance.

We will take our time checking spots along the Ottawa River between the Britannia Conservation Area and Shirley's Bay, if we get that far. We will look for birds and anything else of natural history interest. We will focus on enjoying whatever we find. Dress to be warm, dry and wind resistant! Bring binoculars, a spotting scope and a hand lens if you have them, but these are not essential. We will go rain or shine.

Tuesday, December 12, 7 p.m. social; 7:30 p.m. presentation

Speaker: Diane Lepage
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

Join OFNC President Diane Lepage as she discusses the diversity of moth species found in our area. You will learn all about the fascinating world of moths, primarily the Macro moths, but Diane will also touch on the Micro moths, taxonomy, food plants, equipment, time of year, best locations, and how she goes about finding them.

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.

Tuesday, January 9, 7 p.m. social; 7:30 p.m. presentation

Location: Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretive Centre

The board 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 executives and the chairs of the various committees and to find out what makes your Club tick.

Saturday January 27, 2018, 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 16 September 2017
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