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Morris Island Canoe Trip

On Saturday morning, 13 boats and 19 paddlers headed out on calm waters to explore the lovely little islands and waterways of the Morris Island Conservation Area, a local gem which many members had not seen before.  Steve Duffield made sure we all got launched and led us through the area.  Dave Forsyth introduced us to the local geology and explained the origin and properties of the beautiful marble rocks that form the basis of most of this area.  Mary Marsh answered our plant questions. She helped us find the uncommon and beautiful, yellow “sneezeweed” which lives along the water’s edge. Another favourite plant was the wild celery that shot up its flower-capped spiral stalks from the shallow river bottom.  We saw arrowheads, water lilies and pickerelweed, all in glorious bloom.  Painted and map turtles watched us from their lazy resting places.  We passed by one beaver lodge but no residents were in evidence.  The birds were not plentiful, on or off the water, but we didn’t expect to see many at this time.

We enjoyed the privacy of our own little island as a stopover for lunch.  Those of us who thought to bring a bathing suit had a wonderful swim; the rest watched enviously. 

It was an excellent field trip on the river and we left with promises to do this more often.

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Mary Marsh writes:

“Here are a couple of photos from the trip if they might be useful for the write up. Here too are the names of a few of the plants I pointed out: 

The yellow flowers are Sneezeweed – Helenium autumnale

Woolgrass – Scirpus cyperinus – the tall grass with the beige big heads

Water Smartweed – Polygonum amphibium – that was the pink flower in the water

Potamogeton amphifolius – with the large underwater leaves

Wild celery – Valisinera Americana – the curly small stem in the water with the tiny white end flower

Viburnum rafinesquianum – Downy arrow-wood, the bush on the island with the blue berries”

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…and Suzanne Monnon reports:

Here are the things that we saw:

  • Banded Marble and Banded Gneiss
  • Tourmaline
  • Quartz
  • Feldspar
  • Map Turtles
  • Painted Turtle
  • Beaver Lodge
  • Duck Egg (Empty)
  • Water Striders
  • Cormorants
  • Sneezeweed (Uncommon with yellow flower)
  • White Water Lily
  • Water Smartweed (Small pink flower)
  • Soft Stem Bullrush
  • Woolgrass
  • Wild Celery (Like floating threads in the water with one small white flower on the end)
  • Myriophyllum
  • Sensitive Fern
  • Potamogeton amplifolius (Large leaf weed in water)
  • Centipede

We lunched on a small island which had:

  • Basswood Trees
  • Balsam Fir
  • White Pine
  • Alders
  • Ninebark Bush (Woody stalks, small serrated leaves)
  • Poison Ivy
  • Pot Hole Rocks

What a fabulous outing!  Thank you to all of the people who helped make the event a huge success.

(Thanks to Renée Stewart, Mary Marsh, and Olga Janoska for photos)