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Press Release – Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

“We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?”

― Doctor Who (Matt Smith) – The Big Bang (TV episode 2010)

Since 2007 the MVFN Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary (CBNB) helped secondary-school students entering post-secondary studies in a natural field, make their story a good one. The CBNB operates within the auspices of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists program.

In 2007 — to honour the former teacher and well-known local naturalist Cliff Bennett on his birthday — his family, friends, and fellow MVFN members donated funding to launch the CBNB. If you wish to learn more about Cliff’s amazing life, read, That’s Me in Here by Cliff Bennett (2021) or contact/join the MVFN.

The CBNB committee disperses funding up to $1000 to each qualifying, local-graduating, secondary-school (or equivalent) students, to help them integrate into their new post-secondary school curriculum. These students will have attended a recognized secondary educational facility, or equivalent, in Lanark County or West Carleton Ward. They are generally expected to reside in this same area. Additionally, a current MVFN membership also helps get you an in.

MVFN is a non-profit organization. If you feel strongly enough about helping local nature and students with allied career aspirations, please consider donating. Donations to the CBNB can be made on the MVFN website ( 

We are pleased and proud of our 2023-2024 CBNB award recipients:

  • James Renaud, from Perth District Collegiate Institute

  • Samuel Stewart, from Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute

  • Toby Stewart, from Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute

  • Garrett Weese, from Notre Dame Catholic High School

And we look forward to this year’s crop of new applicants.

New this year: We will be able to consider funding first year CBNB recipients for their second study year under a June 28, 2023 agreement with the Elisabeth Kelly Foundation (1985 – Eligibility criteria for such an award are still being worked out.

For more information, contact: Joachim Moenig, 2024-25 MVFN-CBNB Committee Chair, at