How a Microscope Works

Date: 2 Dec 2023
Time: 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Leader: Paul Hamilton, Senior Research Assistant and Curator of Canada’s National Algae Collection

Meet: Natural Heritage Campus of the Canadian Museum of Nature, 1740 Pink Road, Gatineau, Quebec. At gate call (voice box on post) security.  Lots of free parking. Enter at the front door, using the voice box on the wall. 

Description: We all know how to use a microscope, but do we? This workshop will examine how to optimize your use of a microscope to get the best results. It will look at the different types of microscopes and into the future what a microscope might look like. Approximately half of the time will be working on the microscope(s) including an electron microscope.

Registration is required and will be limited to 10 participants. Please contact Lynn via email to bigskies at xplornet dot ca.

OFNC Monthly Meeting

Date: 13 Dec 2023
Time: 7:00 pm

Building Bridges Trees, Birds, and Mental Health

7:00 pm Social

7:30 pm Formal program

Location:  In person at City View United Church, 6 Epworth Avenue, Ottawa

City View United Church 

For a group of naturalists, the link between spending time in nature and mental health may seem obvious. Yet, there is an increasing body of science demonstrating the connection between biodiversity and human health. Also, there are an increasing number of “nature-based interventions” and “nature-based solutions” aimed at restoring and protecting nature while benefiting people’s health. Dr. Buxton will walk you through some of her own research exploring the breadth of health benefits of birds, trees, and soundscapes.


If you are unable to join the meeting in person (which is better – trust us!), you can connect on Zoom. To join online, please use the link below to register. You will then receive a link from Zoom to join the meeting.

The Pitch Pines of Blue Mountain

Date: 24 Feb 2024
All-day event

Leader: Justin Peter (jbpetr [at] or 613-858-3744)

Meet: 8:00 a.m. Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre, at the northeast corner of the parking lot, near Pizza Pizza (Richmond Road and Assaly Road)

or 9:30 a.m. at the intersection of Blue Mountain and Warburton Roads, Leeds & Grenville Co. (Coordinates: 44.46781609855241, -75.98938442318924)

Description: The Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida) is Ontario’s rarest and most localized native pine species and stands out from our other pines in various respects. Blue Mountain in Eastern Ontario’s Charleston Lake Provincial Park is the largest accessible and contiguous stand of this rare pine. On this full-day outing, we will walk through wonderful mixed forests to reach the Pitch Pine stand. Our destination reached, we’ll take a good look at the pines to understand what makes them unique and so rare, and also enjoy the sweeping views from the site onto the landscapes below. Bring a lunch, snacks and beverages. With fair weather, we will picnic upon Blue Mountain. This excursion will be cancelled in the event of stormy weather or heavy, sustained winds.

Difficulty: The trail is 10 km return over varied terrain. The trail may be snow covered or icy depending on conditions, although most of it is relatively level until a rise near the farthest point. Sturdy footwear for winter walking is required. A walking stick may be helpful.

We will aim to be back at our vehicles by 4 PM.

All 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.

The OFNC website calendar contains the most up-to-date information on events. Please check it regularly for additions or changes to events. Some weather- and year-dependent events can only be announced at the last minute, via the website and by email to members.

Many events require participants to register. Please consult the details in the event description.

Please read
Guidelines for participants on field trips

Field Trips

Field trips to natural areas in our region and beyond take place all year round. OFNC events are for members only. Prospective members with interest in attending should contact the trip leader in advance. For some events, participation is limited and members will be given priority. All participants will be asked to sign a waiver. 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. Please always wear long pants and closed-toe shoes. Binoculars and/or spotting scopes are essential on all birding trips. Unless otherwise stated, transportation will be by carpool.

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 held on the second Wednesday of every month (no longer Tuesdays) except July and August. After three years of meeting online, the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club has resumed in-person monthly meetings  at 7 pm, presentation begins at 7:30 pm.  The new venue is City View Church, 6 Epworth Avenue (off Merivale near Meadowlands).  Masks must be worn to enter the building, but it is optional once in the room.

Watch past OFNC presentations on YouTube.

Events oriented to all ages

Kids are welcome on all of our trips. We highlight particular hikes as “oriented to all ages” or “especially kid-friendly” 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.

Guidelines for participants on field trips

The following guidelines were prepared by the Events Committee. They reflect common sense and experience and make field trips more enjoyable for all.

  1. READ the excursion announcement and register if required. Make notes of the meeting place and be on time.
  2. BE PREPARED. If the trip notice calls for binoculars, insect repellent, lunch, etc., bring them. Preparation against insects and ticks is essential if you want to enjoy the trip, especially in May and June. A hat, long sleeves, gloves and a turned-up collar may help. If you depend on insect repellent, we recommend one containing DEET (in various concentrations). However, if you do apply insect repellant, please refrain from touching any insects or amphibians. Especially sensitive persons may find a head net or ‘bug jacket” useful.
  3. DRESS APPROPRIATELY. Always dress for comfort. Traditional sources of discomfort for beginners are unsuitable footwear and clothes that are too good for mud, snags and grass stains. Bush wear and comfortable hiking boots or shoes are best for nature rambles. For cold weather Spring and Fall trips, wear wool socks (with a spare pair) and hiking boots or water-proof winter boots. If the trip calls for wading in cold water, use rubber boots with insoles and wool socks. For Summer exploration of wetlands, wear canvas running shoes and bring a change of footwear for the trip home.
  4. COOPERATE with your leader(s). On a trail, stay behind the leader and let him/her set the pace and direction. Do not expect special treatment for you or your children; the leader is not a babysitter. Please INFORM THE LEADER if you wish to leave the group for any reason.
  5. DO NOT TRAMPLE THE VEGETATION; it may not recover until the next season, if then.
  6. AVOID COLLECTING, PICKING AND DIGGING. Removing natural objects from the trail leaves it poorer for others. If your leader says that it is okay to collect specimens, move off the trail to take them but always ask permission if you are on private land. Collecting on NCC property, including the Greenbelt and Gatineau Park, is illegal without a permit.
  7. SAVE YOUR GARBAGE and dispose of it later. Apple cores are biodegradable but they make a trail unsightly, and habituate wildlife to humans as a food source.
  8. BE A RESPONSIBLE PHOTOGRAPHER. Be aware of the damage you may cause by altering the physical environment to improve your picture. Do not take pictures at the expense of the wildlife.
  9. DO NOT BROADCAST the location of rare or valuable flora and fauna.
  10. RESPECT ACCESS to private property; it may have been specially arranged for the trip. Do not assume that you have a right to go back without permission.
  11. DO NOT BRING PETS; they are neither appropriate nor welcome on field trips.
  12. DOUBLE UP IN CARS if possible usually at the meeting place. This saves fuel and makes it easier for the leader to keep track of people. Observe the normal etiquette for driving and parking if the “cavalcade” stops for an observation.
  13. USE COMMON SENSE. The trip could be spoiled for everyone if you are lost or injured.
  14. IS THIS OUTING REALLY FOR YOU? Don’t go if you have doubts about your physical capacity to undertake the trip – it is unfair to others. Persons with a disability should bring a responsible companion if required. Inform the leader of your limitations before the trip starts.
  15. REFUND of a fee for a trip, if applicable, will be made only in exceptional circumstances.

CHILDREN are welcome on field trips and are subject to the same rules as anyone else and should be with a responsible adult. Any special restrictions on activities should be explained to children before the trip begins. Children too young or too active to be reasonably quiet on a bird walk should be taken on other kinds of trips.