Paddle the headwaters of South Nation River

Start date: 12 Jun 2023
End date: 25 Jun 2023
Time: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

***This event will run on a day in mid-June, between June 12 and June 25, depending on interest. Please email Lynn in advance of this – see instructions below.***

Leader: Lynn Ovenden

Meet: Spencerville Mill and Museum, 11 Water St., Spencerville ON

Spencerville is about 75 km from Ottawa, a 50 min drive south along Hwy 416. Upstream from Spencerville, the South Nation River abounds in aquatic vegetation as it flows slowly through a silver maple forest. This is a general interest trip. 

We will paddle from the dock at the Mill to Weir Road bridge and back, a total distance of 10 km. The route is scenic and peaceful. We can hope to see herons, orioles, muskrat and beaver along the way. Participants must be competent flatwater paddlers and must wear a PFD. Registration will be limited and is required. If interested, please contact bigskies at xplornet dot ca, to provide the following:

(1) the dates when you are available between June 12 – 25, and

(2) if you’ll bring a canoe or kayak to Spencerville and whether or not you’ll provide a place in your boat for one or two other paddlers, or

(3) if you want to attend and need to paddle in someone else’s boat,

(4) contact information for each participant.  

OFNC Monthly Meeting

Date: 14 Jun 2023
Time: 7:00 am

Thank the Moon for what she does for us

7:00 pm Social

7:30 pm Formal program

Speaker: Peter Croal, P. Geol.

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

City View United Church

Description: We all gaze at the Moon and are held captive by its charm and glow. But few realize how the moon came to be. It was born out of a colossal collision with the young earth, which set in motion a series of events that created life on Earth and continues to do so in a myriad of incredible ways. Without the moon, we would not exist. This talk will unpack some of these secrets and show why we should thank the moon for giving us so much for millions and millions of years.

Zoom registration details will be made available closer to the meeting date (and after the May meeting).

Dragonfly and Damselfly Outing at Blakeney Park

Date: 17 Jun 2023
Time: 10:00 am

Leader: Ken Allison

Meet: The parking lot in Blakeney Park, in Blakeney, on the west side of the Mississippi River near the bridge.

Description: This is a popular park in Lanark County. There are very rugged rapids and a mix of woodland and meadow habitats. It is an excellent location for Odonates and is a breeding location for the endangered Rapids Clubtail. Bring an insect net if you have one. Bring binoculars, as well, as we cannot net an endangered species but should be able to get good looks at them on rocks in the river.

There are good paths, but the terrain is somewhat rugged so good hiking footwear is recommended. There are some interesting plants in the park, as well, so we’ll look at whatever there is to see.

Registration is required. This trip has a capacity of 10 people. Participants must be OFNC members. Call: Diane Lepage at 613-987-5405.

20th Annual Ottawa Area Butterfly Count

Date: 24 Jun 2023
Time: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

*Especially Kid Friendly*

Leaders: Jeff Skevington and Ken Allison

Meet: We will meet in the parking lot at the intersection of Dwyer Hill Road and March Road (NE of Almonte). Groups will be finalized there, and everyone will head off in small groups shortly after we meet. Map Link

Description: Similar to Christmas Bird Counts, this event is an all-day survey of a 24 km diameter circle. The count area is centred on Manion Corners (SW of Ottawa) and includes several important butterfly areas such as Long Swamp and the Burnt Lands alvar. No experience is necessary – we will put teams together on site and match up people so that everyone has a chance to learn from the experts. If you have binoculars and a butterfly net, please bring them along. Butterflies may be captured for identification and release. Rubber boots are recommended, as some of the sites have a lot of poison ivy. It is an all-day event so bring your lunch. We will not be meeting afterwards for a compilation this year. Make sure that you give one of the leaders your contact details so that you receive an email with the totals from the day.

In the event of rain or bad weather, this event will be postponed to Sunday June 25.

If you have questions or the weather for count day is uncertain, please contact Jeff Skevington at jhskevington [at] or 613-720-2862.

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.