April 17, 2012

Government Island Guided Nature Hikes Begin this Month

The Master Naturalists are pleased to announce the first guided nature walk at Stafford County's Government Island, off Coal Landing Road, just east of Route 1 in North Stafford. The first walk will take place on Saturday, April 21 at 2:00 pm. Members Maria Cannata and Kristen Murphy will meet participants in the parking lot for an informative, lively nature walk along well-marked trails. Bring walking shoes and water.

Maria and Kristen have been working for months locating and learning the flora, fauna, and geology of the park. Government Island is a fascinating area in its diversity. Within the confines of the park there are 2 creeks, swampland, tidal marsh, and even a vernal pool. As Spring slowly evolves, so does the landscape at Government Island. Almost daily new plants are growing and new animals are becoming active. Each day brings a new surprise.

Government Island contains the site of the old sandstone quarry that was in operation during colonial times. Blocks of Aquia freestone were used to build many of the symbols of freedom that we see in Washington, D.C., including the White House and Capitol Building. The stone was taken by barge down Aquia Creek and up the Potomac. The quarry site is now accessible to the public.
Walks will continue throughout the summer and fall, on the 3rd Saturday of the month,at varying times, starting on a regular basis in June or July, as park access permits. Groups may request the nature walk, or a modified/customized version by contacting our chapter.

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