Next Meetings

Please check for upcoming Meetings and Outings on the Calendar.

Past Meetings

March 6, 2024

Guest Speaker: Alberto Suarez-Esteban

Can Agriculture help biodiversity?
Industrial agricultural practices have helped us produce more food, but they have also undermined the ecological systems we depend on.  Industrial agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, loss of biodiversity and water pollution. It is also a major contributor to climate change.  If we want future generations to be healthy and happy, we need to change the way we produce food.  Regenerative agriculture offers alternative methods of food production that can prevent the degradation of ecosystems. Alberto Suarez-Esteban from Nature’s Apprentice Farm provided an excellent educational presentation that reviewed how agriculture can help biodiversity. Alberto also provided tips that members can apply in their garden.

December 6, 2023

Guest Speaker: Troy McMullin

Lichens in Ontario

What do Witch’s Hair, Toy Soldiers and Yellow Specklebelly have in common?
All three are among the 450 species of microlichen featured in Lichens, an extensive guide to lichen species of Ontario and central parts of North America, written by Troy McMullin, one of the foremost lichenologists in North America.

Two books books by Troy McMullin Lichens and The Secret World Of Lichens: A Young Naturalist’s Guide 




Did you know that Canada has a national lichen? The star-tipped reindeer lichen (Cladonia stellaris) was Canadians’ top pick in a 2020 contest run by the Canadian Museum of Nature. The star-tipped reindeer is a perfect choice for a national lichen, says McMullin, because it grows in every single province and territory, and is an important food source for caribou and reindeer during the winter months.


1 November 2023

Dragonflies and Damselflies

Lifelong naturalist Colin Jones, coordinator of the Ontario Odonata Atlas project and co-author of “A Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Algonquin Provincial Park and Surrounding Area,” will acquaint us with these masters of flight- the hawks of the ancient insects.

Dragonflies and damselflies are beautiful and truly fascinating creatures! From the Ebony Jewelwing to the Stygian Shadowdragon, these insects are not only an important part of our ecosystem. They are also exciting to watch.

20 October 2023 – MFNC Annual Banquet

Underwater Exploration

The consensus is that our 2023 banquet was one of our club’s best ever,

starting with the venue at the Fitzroy Harbour Community Centre, continuing with the wonderful catering and range of items in our silent auction and wrapping up with the fascinating presentation delivered by our guest speaker, Canadian Geographic Explorer in Residence Jill Heinerth.

Her book “Into the Planet: My Life as a Cave Diver” provides a firsthand account of exploring the earth’s final frontier: the hidden depths of our oceans and the sunken caves inside our planet, notes HarperCollins.

Jill’s presentation to our club will include a special focus on work she is doing in Canada’s longest underwater cave system which lays beneath the Ottawa River.

4 October 2023


Growing up in the Apollo Era, astronomy educator Tim Cole has been fascinated with space and astronomy for as long as he can remember. Past president of the Ottawa chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s (RASC’s), Cole’s greatest interests are lunar and solar astronomy; observing bright planets is fun, too, he notes.

Tim Cole highlighted stargazing points of interest, taking us on a guided tour through the Winter Hexagon, one of the most spectacular regions of the sky visible in late fall and winter.

Tim Cole has suggested further resources that members may find useful: Planisphere aka star finder: It’s a year-round star chart, and just noodling around with it for a few minutes will teach you a great deal about the sky and how it changes through the year. Here’s a link that includes DIY planispheres, he notes. Tooting my own horn here, I designed these planispheres for the Science and Tech Museum.” Here’s an Amazon link for NightWatch, the book he recommends for getting started with Astronomy.

12 September 2023

Research in Action: Tracking the spread of ticks that carry Lyme disease in Eastern Ontario

Dr. Manisha Kulkarni – Epidemiologist

Dr. Manisha Kulkarni discussed the ecology of blacklegged ticks and describe some of the research she is leading at the University of Ottawa to track the spread of ticks and tick-borne diseases.

Most of us know that Lyme disease is spread through infected blacklegged ticks. But did you know that Blacklegged ticks are still active when temperatures are as low as 4°C notes the Canadian Lyme disease research network.

7 June 2023

Use of Plants for Food and Medicine by First Nations of Eastern Canada, then and now –

Dr. John (Thor) Arnason

Dr. John (Thor) Arnason’s June 7 presentation on Medicinal Plants kept everyone’s attention and looking for more. Dr. Arnason has kindly provided us with some of his references that include: Use of plants for food and medicine by Native Peoples of eastern Canada. The open access issue Ethnobotany and Ethnopharmacology of the Americas in the journal Botany available at: or the CIHR Team in Aboriginal Antidiabetic Medicines Cree project: at

Also mentioned in the presentation was Champlain’s Dream, the Pulitzer Prize-awarded book by David Hackett Fischer first published in 2009. Hackett Fischer writes at length about Champlain’s history, his many voyages to and from France and within the New World (the trip up the Ottawa when he lost his astrolabe was 1613), his relationships with indigenous peoples, and so much more.