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Ottawa Valley Nature Fix
“Inspiration to get out in nature”
A project of the Ottawa River Institute 
~ March 2020 ~ 

Dear ORI Members and Friends
Science tells us that spending time in nature has enormous benefits for our mental and physical health, benefits that are all the more valuable in these times of much bad news about the state of Earth’s ecosystems and climate.  This page is part of our attempt to inspire us all to get out in nature more often. We invite you to join us in the woods and on the waterways of the beautiful Ottawa River watershed!

This Month's Special Destination- The Petawawa Research Forest
The On Saturday March 21, International Day of Forests, we will visit the Petawawa Research Forest. The PRF is Canada’s oldest and largest research forest; it celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018! We invite you to visit the website of the Friends of the Petawawa Research Forest for lots of information about this wonderful place to visit for a nature fix. The friends also have a Facebook page:
The photo below was taken in the PRF in 2008 by Bob McElroy and is part of a blog posting entitled “Some large White Pines in the Deep River/Chalk River area” on the McElroy’s website.

On March 21 starting at 1:00 pm, we will walk or snowshoe 4-5 kilometres of snowshoe trails in the PRF.
In the event of inclement weather, please contact us at to find out if the walk is still happening or is being re-scheduled.
Directions: The Petawawa Research Forest (PRF) is located along Highway 17, just east of Chalk River, Ontario 36 km from Pembroke, 91 km from Renfrew and 180 km from Ottawa. The entrance to the forest is a left turn off Hwy 17, on to Clouthier Road if heading north.
The map below of the the trail network in the Petawawa Research Forest is posted on the Friends of the PRF website

International Day of Forests - March 21
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests in 2012. The Day celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests. On each International Day of Forests, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees. Here are some key messages from the UN for international day of forests:

  • Understanding our forests and keeping them healthy is crucial for our future
  • Both modern and traditional knowledge are key to keeping forests healthy. 
  • Forests are home to about 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity.
  • Forests and woodlands are made of over 60,000 tree species.
  • More than a billion people depend directly on forests for food, shelter, energy and income.
  • Biodiversity is under serious threat from deforestation, forest degradation and climate change.
  • Managing forests sustainably, and restoring them when needed, is crucial for people, biodiversity and climate.

February's Snowshoe Outing - On and Off the K & P Trail near Renfrew
Photos below of happy snowshoers in the woods on a crown land area adjacent to the K & P near Renfrew, Feb 23, by Ole Hendrickson. The outing was enjoyed by 20 people. It was a beautiful day, but very warm so the original planned route had to be adapted. Our intrepid leader, ORI founding board member John Almstedt prepared a guide for the walk that is posted on the ORI website for download, in case anyone would like to check out the walk on their own. We may revisit this area in the spring of summer. Stay tuned!


**Coming Events**
Saturday March 21 ~ International Day of Forests ~ Winter walk at the Petawawa Research Forest 1:00 pm - Snowshoes may be needed for this walk on the trails at the Petawawa Research Forest, Canada’s oldest and largest research forest. The PRF is located at 1000 Clouthier Road, Chalk River.
Saturday April  25  ~ iNaturalist Challenge ~ Spring walk on the Macnamara Trail - 8 am. (tentative)
The MacNamara Trail is located near Arnprior, Ontario. This walk is inspired by the iNaturalist City Nature Challenge to identify as many species as possible of plants and animals within cities. Part of the Macnamara Trail is within the city of Ottawa-Gatineau which is registered for the challenge. (more details to follow)
Sunday April  26  ~ Inspiration Point ~ Spring walk beside the Ottawa River near Forresters Falls 10 am - This is a beautiful trail beside a wild stretch of the Ottawa River. The river will be high and the rapids in full flow. Much of the trail is high above the water level so should not be affected by spring flooding. (more information to follow in the April newsletter)
For all of the above events, in the event of inclement weather, please contact us at to find out if the walk is going ahead or being re-scheduled.
Also check out the Whitewater Active Living Group on Facebook  and the Pembroke 50+ Active Living Centre Facebook Page for upcoming events.

Two Awesome Books About Forests
Given that March 21st is International Day of Forests, and this year's theme is "Learn to Love Forests," consider checking out The Overstory by Richard Powers and The Global Forest by Dianna Beresford-Kroeger.
The Overstory is the winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.  A reviewer in the New Scientist said "this is the first time I’ve read a novel that manages to celebrate and warn about the natural world in such a compelling and affecting way. It’s changed the way I look at trees, and I loved trees to begin with."
     The book begins with a series of chapters about people who have life-changing experiences with trees. Later, many of them meet on the front lines of the fight to save old-growth redwood forests.  My favourite character is Patricia Westerford, a botanist who carries out pioneering work on how trees communicate with each other.  After her research attracts media interest, the scientific establishment gangs up on her and destroys her career.  Eventually her findings are rediscovered and proven correct.    
      Reviews of The Overstory are not all positive and I confess I had trouble finishing it.  But it is opening many peoples' eyes about the wonders of trees and forests, and that's all to the good.  This review was submitted by Ole Hendrickson.
The Global Forest was brought to our attention by ORI founding board members Joanne Murray and Ken Birkett of Matawatchan who were inspired by the book’s advocacy for growth and preservation of indigenous trees. Quill and Quire had this to say in a review:
“The rhythm and style of Beresford-Kroeger’s own writing emulates the storyteller’s oral tradition, which proves to be an effective means of presenting pithy and sometimes radical ideas….Interesting details and an optimistic tone make The Global Forest more than just another book on impending ecological disaster. By drawing on mythology and spirituality, Beresford-Kroeger broadens the book’s scope beyond that of a simple scientific treatise, while also reminding readers that nature is the best healer and sustainer of life we have.”
     Again, reviews are not all positive; but it seems overall that this book is a valuable offering with its positive tone and concrete advice for planting indigenous trees. Positive advice for helpful actions ordinary folks can undertake is so welcome at this time!

Recent photos from the Nature Notebook Facebook page
A selection of photos from the Nature Notebook Facebook page.

Note that we have also started a Nature Fix ~ Ottawa Valley Facebook Page to share inspiration for getting out in nature. Here is the link, in case you’d like to follow:

Nature loving Facebook users will also want to “like” The View from Connaught Pond, source of many fine photos, nature lore and interesting insights shared by Grant Dobson, from the edge of the woods near Cobden, Ontario.

Red Breasted Nuthatch with lichens, photo by Grant Dobson, The View from Connaught Pond

Snowy Owl, Crystal Odile Vaughan, Pembroke and Area Field Naturalists

Tree Sparrow, photo by Bev Moses, Pembroke Area Field Naturalists

Great Grey Owl, photo by Brian Houle

If you'd like to get involved

  • Post your nature pics to Nature Notebook FB page or if you're not on FB, send to
  • Use iNaturalist to identify plants and animals; share your results with us
  • Tell us about your favourite place to get your nature fix; visit our website Renfrew County Nature Notebook for information on new places to go
  • Create and share an event like a walk, hike or paddle. Send us the details and we will post on Facebook and include in the next newsletter.
  • Share this newsletter with your friends and neighbours. Invite them to subscribe by sending a request to info@ottawariverinstitute 
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