Duckmidland - penetang field naturalists

Meet on the third Thursday at 7:30pm of each month at the Wye Marsh Nature Centre

For more information on the MPFN outings, meetings, and who they are please visit their website.

MPFN Club - Who We Are by Bob Whittam

The Midland Penetanguishene Field Naturalists Club (MPFNC) is one of the oldest affiliates of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. The objective of the Club is to promote public awareness of natural history, conservation and the environment through outings, public lectures and nature study. The MPFNC is involved in many projects in the area including the Adopt-a-Highway program, the Christmas Bird Count as well as environmental and wildlife surveys.

The MPFNC began in 1961 with a few local individuals lead by Midland Secondary School (MSS) teachers Warren Jacklin and Ed Cable. They began a tradition of meeting once a month to discuss natural history and to learn more about the natural world. The first meetings were held in the old YMCA building in downtown Midland and they are still meeting on a regular basis.

One of the most important contributions of the MPFNC was to secure the development of the Wye Marsh Nature Centre in negotiations with the Canadian Wildlife Service in 1967-68. Local entrepreneur Bill Cranston and Warren Jacklin met with Dr. Dave Munroe, Director or the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) to encourage him to make Wye Marsh the first wildlife interpretation centre in Canada. They were successful and the centre was opened officially in 1970 by future Prime Minister, Jean Chretien who was then a young Minister.

It was the beginning of a series of trans Canada ecology centres and Wye Marsh quickly became the home for the MPFNC. It has been the venue for hundreds of public lectures on Natural History ever since.

The MPFNC was also instrumental in lobbying the government in 1984-85 when the Wye Marsh Nature Centre was closed due to government cutbacks. The MPFNC helped to lead the charge against this bureaucratic decision and was a key factor in the Friends of Wye Marsh taking over the operation of the centre.

There have been many dedicated members of the MPFNC and one of these exemplifies the kind of personality that makes the club so special. Fran Westman was called the Mother of the Marsh. She was an avid naturalist who lived in Tay Township and she mentored many naturalists such as Tony Reznicek now one of North Americas leading botanists. She was an avid birdwatcher and an active wildflower gardener and she was always ready to share her knowledge of nature with others.

The MPFNC is still affiliated with the FON, now Ontario Nature and meets regularly at the Wye Marsh Nature Centre on the 3rd Thursday of the month from September until June. For more information contact the MPFNC, Box 393, Midland ON L4R 4L1 (705) 526-8320 (www.csolve.net~mpfnc)

The MPFNC welcomes you and looks forward to your participation.