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Nature Tours
Outdoor Education



Morris Sorensen passed away March 14, 2006
These pages, edited by Morris in January 2006, remain in his honor.
An obituary, Free Press article and eulogy have been added, below.
A Service was held for Morris on Saturday, April 8, 2006.


Passages Obituary:
MORRIS SORENSON (published on March 24, 2006)

With great sadness, we announce the passing of our dear nephew, cousin, friend and brother in the Lord, Morris Alfred Sorensen, The Urban Naturalist, September 16, 1947 - March 14, 2006. Morris was the only child of Pastor Harold Sorensen and Eunice (nee McEldon), both deceased. He touched the lives of all he met. Morris was steady and a strong character, a true friend and gentle man. His wisdom, memorable stories of nature and life will be missed. He leaves a void in the education of our youth and in our hearts. Morris was a member of the Manitoba and Ontario Naturalists, ham radio club, camera club and Kildonan United Church. 1 Thes. 5; 9 11



Winnipeg Free Press Article:
"Urban naturalist savours his strolls
on the wild side of Winnipeg's walkways"

Wednesday, July 16, 2003
By Martin Zeilig

MORRIS Sorensen savours strolls on the wild side of Winnipeg, places like Assiniboine Forest, Kildonan Park or any of the other "natural environments" found throughout our city. His business cards and brochures are, after all, labelled the Urban Naturalist: Nature Tours and Outdoor Education.

"My idea is to stimulate an interest in the outdoors with children and the general public, because we have a lot of pressures on the environment today. If people are going to preserve the environment, they have to gain an appreciation of it," says Sorensen, who conducts activities for schools, summer camps, youth groups, church groups, seniors' groups and other organizations throughout the year.

Local environmentalist Kim Larsen, who used to work with Sorensen at the Todmorden Mills Museum in suburban Toronto, says she's very thankful that Sorensen has relocated to Winnipeg.

"He's got a great respect for the natural world, and a very good eye," says Larsen. "He's very patient on his walks with the public."

Originally from Richmond, Ont., just north of Toronto, Sorensen's initial interest in nature was sparked by his paternal grandfather and parents.

"My grandfather gave me a love of the north. He worked in the dairy industry in Northern Ontario and was always talking about Canadian Shield country, and how beautiful it was," he says.

"My parents were both keen amateur naturalists. My dad was interested in nature photography and botany, and my mother was very interested in birds. They were always taking me on nature walks as a kid."

The West Kildonan resident jokes that his folks had trouble at first getting him interested because of his fear of bears.

"So I always carried a stick. Dad said, 'If a bear attacks, don't try hitting it with a stick. It will only make it more angry,'" Sorensen says with a laugh.

"My folks encouraged me to keep nature notebooks and took me camping and canoeing."

To this day, he records his observations in three-ring notebooks.

For example, on May 19, 2003, Sorenson scrawled, among other things: "overcast, cool, damp/in Ass. Park: Canada white violet, yellow violet, pussytoes, starry false Solomon's seal...white breasted nuthatch, crow, chipping sparrow, Canada goose, mallard...."

He points out that a starry false Solomon's seal is a wild plant closely related to Lily of the Valley.

Sorensen, who has a B.A. in History from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ont. and is a certified teacher in environmental studies, has also worked as a museum interpreter and educator for the Halton Region Museum near Toronto, and at the Muskoka Lakes Museum in Southern Ontario.

"With any museum, it was contract to contract and you never knew if you'd get a job from year to year," says Sorensen, noting that he took most of his formal science courses at Toronto's Seneca College.

"So then I got the idea of working as a freelance naturalist and marketing it directly to the public."

That was back in 1995 in Toronto, a city, stresses Sorensen, in which it is hard to make yourself known.

"I came to Winnipeg to visit old friends, who I'd either worked with in Ontario or had met here when I was teaching in Leaf Rapids (Northern Manitoba), plus I have a lot of relatives here," he says. "Friends suggested I try to be an urban naturalist in Winnipeg because it was a smaller city and easier to be known here."

Another attraction is Manitoba's many ecosystems, including tall-grass prairie, aspen parkland, boreal forest, a semi-desert and a subarctic zone, Sorensen emphasizes. "I do snowshoe walks in the winter and teach nature and landscape photography, too."

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 2003 The Winnipeg Free Press. All rights reserved.


Eulogy for Morris Sorenson
The Urban Naturalist

Saturday, April 8, 2006
By George Holland

It is with the deepest regret that I had learned of the passing of Morris Sorensen, a true friend, and fellow naturalist.

I first met Morris several years ago on one of my Hecla outings. I didn't know how to take him at first because of his reticence and his habit of following the rest of the group at a distance. On succeeding outings I made a point in getting to know him better and soon found him to have an affable manner and a quiet sense of humour. He began to fit in with the rest of the group and, quite frankly, I was surprised at his considerable knowledge of birds, plants and insects which he would readily impart to other members of an outing. He eventually volunteered to lead nature outings and conduct workshops for the MNS, a real challenge given his quiet demeanor and retiring nature. He joined the MNS Board and although he did not say very much during our meetings, he was intelligent and clear thinking. Consequently, when he did speak, everyone listened. He gained the distinction of being known as the Urban Naturalist as a result of his many popular nature outings in Winnipeg.

I join many others in the Society who had the pleasure of knowing Morris and also share in their sorrow for a gentle soul whose memory will linger long in our hearts.







Morris Sorensen

The Urban Naturalist

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada



Updated April 12, 2006

Urban Naturalist Brochure
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Go wild in the city!

Discover the secret places that still exist virtually unknown and undiscovered in a large urban area. You will be amazed at what you find with the Urban Naturalist as your guide.

Outdoor Education for Kids

Morris Sorensen, the Urban Naturalist, is a well-known educator and environmental studies teacher with over 20 years of experience in the field. Currently a Board Member and outings leader with the Manitoba Naturalists Society, he is a past president of the Toronto Field Naturalists and the founder of The Club for All Seasons, a nature and outdoor recreation club in Northern Manitoba.


Throughout the year, the Urban Naturalist offers many entertaining and informative activities for all ages including school groups, summer camps, Guides and Scouts, service clubs, seniors organizations, church groups, conference attendees and the general public. Anyone of any age with even a passing interest in nature and the environment is sure to find something of interest with the Urban Naturalist.



Snowy Owl

If you wish to book a program or need further information,
don't hesitate to call.

A portion of profits are donated to local environmental initiatives.

Our rates are very reasonable and our enthusiasm is immense!



This website was created October 29, 2000.


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