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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Monday, July 28th 2014 - Hatcher Island to Westover Plantation

Hi, Henry!
So the day started out just about perfect with fluffy cinnamon buns graciously prepared by our host Ron Alexander at Hatcher’s Island. After eating as many as we could hold, we left the island and headed towards Presquile Wildlife Refuge to meet up with Mr. Henry Wooley. Henry, a long-term intern at Presquile, talked to us about ecosystems, the island itself, and population diversity. Fascinating! We took a break as we conversed and then Henry joined us as we made our trek to City Point.

Paddling by one of the Oxbow Bends
City Point was the site of a major Union camp during the Civil War and once held one of the biggest wharfs in the United States for that time. But first, we had to cross the Appomatox, a lot like how George Washington had to cross the Delaware. Only our trip was harder. The wind and current were against us the whole way and we had a few shoe casualties, but we made it! But you probably knew that, considering we’re writing this… So we made it to City Point and had lunch! While there we had a stimulating conversation about pollution and Kepone and the Dirty Dozen and renewable vs nonrenewable fuels. (We’re just throwing out terms here, for definitions ask your kid. Hopefully they remember.) Our journey continues!

We then paddled to the VCU Rice center where Dr. Crawford, VCU professor, met and instructed us. He went on about ongoing experiments such as the placement of artificial reefs to aid the Atlantic Sturgeon resurgence and then the creation of artificial nests for neo-tropical birds. He led us to the Educational Building next. It was INSANE! (in the good way). L.E.E.D. certified, and powered 40% by the sun that building is the definition of helpful, eco-friendly technology with a purpose. Inside, he showed us some baby sturgeon, a whole collection of dead turtles and snakes, and provided us with some greatly appreciated Gatorade! And don’t worry, all the dead animals were found dead-none were killed. Impressive, right? The Rice center was definitely a fan favorite.

Dr. Crawford at the VCU RICE Rivers Center pointing out the solar panels mounted on the roof of the boat house
Critter Collection (all in the name of education!)

The team taking a break in the shade before paddling on from the RICE Center

Eventually we had to leave the Rice center and then headed on to our campsite at Westover Plantation. Beautiful, luscious grass covered the ground and just begged to be squished by our tents. We set up camp, had a delicious dinner of beans and rice, then tried some riddles before hitting the hay. I’ve never fallen asleep faster. Ya’ll are probably wondering when the story is ever going to end, so we’ll go ahead and sign off. Just remember, you’ve got at least four more days of articles to read after this!

-Monday Reporters Elle and Coleman

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