Tag Archives: Cat Point Creek

Rappahannock River National Wildlife Refuge’s Youth Conservation Corp at Menokin

Guest Blogger: Jarred Johnson | USFWS Summer Intern

 

Group in doorwayThe Rappahannock River National Wildlife Refuge’s Youth Conservation Corp had a chance to experience a great opportunity to engage and learn a crucial part to Virginia’s history.

The crew was able to receive extensive background knowledge about the Menokin site and how it came to be. The crew Hard Hatsexperienced a full tour of the house as we walked around the building, down into the cellar, and up on to the main floor!

Kayaking along Cat Point Creek was another highlight, as we paddled we saw Bald Eagles, Wood ducks, and much more wildlife.

KayakingAs for the afternoon, attentions were set on a professor from William Mary who discuses information about the stones that were used to build the house. Another successful Environmental Education Day for the YCC crew.

Thank you again to everyone at the Menokin site.

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The Menokin Foundation would like to thank USFWS, the Youth Conservation Corps, these summer interns, and most of all Jarred for sending us this post. He’s not in any of the pictures because he was taking them. Here’s one of him from Dr. Bailey’s geology lecture.

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Menokin Eco Tour

Guest Blogger: Alice French, Director of Education and Outreach

With the opening of our new road and kayak launch, Menokin has been partnering with regional schools and environmental institutions to bring attention to what a wonderful place Cat Point Creek is. One of the most recent programs here was developed by students from St. Margaret’s School in Tappahannock.

IMG_5943This Spring, Kevin Goff’s “Bay Studies” class used “project-based learning” (PBL) to tackle a problem for Menokin: “How can we design educational materials and an ecotour on Menokin Bay that will help Menokin visitors understand the ecology and natural history of Cat Point Creek, the Rappahannock River, and Chesapeake Bay, as well as environmental challenges facing the bay ecosystem in the 21st century?”

sms eco-tour2016This project was THE driving goal of the entire 10-week course, providing the occasion for the students to learn about the bay and its tributaries. PBL as an instructional approach gives students a great deal of voice, choice, and creative control over how the class progresses, how the project develops, and what the final product will look like. It’s rather different from typical class projects, which tend to be supplemental to traditional instruction, and either individual or small groups. Here it’s ONE project that the entire class tackles collaboratively, right out of the gate.

IMG_2655Upon completion of the class, their Final Exam was to present the Eco Tour to Menokin Staff and associates.  The tour reflects an understanding of the complex ecology and natural history of Rappahannock River Valley Watershed and its many different habitats: open water, wetlands, seagrass meadows, oyster reefs, seafloor and shorelines. It also notes how human activity is stressing this beautiful and valuable ecosystem and what we can do to preserve and protect it.

The girls did a wonderful job, and as Menokin’s chief educator, I am pleased to be able to use the material and props they developed for future programming.  I was even able to use some of the material immediately, when 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders from Aylett Country 2_CatPointCreekHabiatsDay School came to visit and walk the trail to Cat Point Creek on June 6th!

Partnerships like this, allow everyone to learn and grow while having a great time, too.  We look forward to future activities with St. Margaret’s and continued programs with all educational institutions within our community.

Menokin Launches A New Era In The Northern Neck

The Menokin Foundation celebrated the Grand Opening of the newly improved road and water access to Cat Point Creek at the end of November.

Several people were on hand to enjoy a reception with great food (can you say “freshly fried catfish?”), good memories and a trip down the trail to the water.

Only two and a half brave souls took to the water in kayaks on the sparkling cold day. But we look forward to welcoming more kayak and canoe enthusiasts in the years to come.

A special thanks to the National Park Service for their $99,000 grant through the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network to make this project a reality!

ACDS Visits Menokin for Fun and Fibonacci

Today Ms. Dillard’s 8th grade class from Aylett County Day School visited Menokin.
   The group learned about the relationship of the Fibonacci Sequence and the golden ratio as it related to the enlightened thinkers of 18th century Architecture and Design.
   
   
Afterwards they toured the Menokin Visitor Center and House, and hiked down to Cat Point Creek to get a view of the new kayak landing.  
This bright group of students was able to see how conservation at our site teaches about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) through architecture, history and science.
It was a great day! Enjoy your holiday break!  

Grand Opening: Public Access to Cat Point Creek

This Saturday, November 14th, is the Grand Opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of the new access road to Cat Point Creek! We are so excited to provide this new recreational opportunity here in Richmond County.

Join the Menokin Foundation for the grand opening of the road from 11AM to 1PM on Saturday. RSVP to the Menokin Foundation: 804-333-1776 or menokin@menokin.org. Let us know if you plan to bring your kayak or canoe and join in the inaugural launch from the Menokin shore!

Here is a sneak peak of what to expect along the new trail…

The new access road and canoe launch at Menokin has been made possible thanks to a generous grant from the National Park Service – Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network. The Menokin launch site now includes parking and a turnaround, as well as an improved soft landing for canoes and kayaks into the creek. New interpretive signage for the trail and will help to raise visibility for this important natural resource along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.

Thank you to the National Park Service and to our local community partners who have helped fund this project: Wood Preservers, the Beirne Carter Foundation, Chesapeake Conservancy, Patrick F. Noonan, the National Trust for Historic Places, the Campbell Foundation, and others. We are still looking for donations to help complete our match for this grant. Contact Christina Markish for more information and to pledge your support: 804-333-1776 or cmarkish@menokin.org.

A Whole New World – St. Margaret’s Paddle Club Explores Cat Point Creek

By Alice French

Kevin Goff, the new Director of the River Program at St. Margaret’s School in Tappahannock, VA, has created this co-curricular activity group called SSOAK: Science, Service, and Outdoor Adventure Krew.

This particular group goes out with SMS faculty Cupper Dickinson and Kevin on weekday afternoons, and will soon be launching larger scale SSOAK activities on weekends for other students who want to participate.

October 12th was the second time they have visited Menokin since our new road was completed. One of the girls said that “Menokin was her favorite of all the places we’ve been kayaking the past 5 weeks”.

Kevin added, “Mine too.”

St. Margaret student members of SSOAK paddle Cat Point Creek at Menokin.
St. Margaret student members of SSOAK paddle Cat Point Creek at Menokin.

 

 

 

 

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A Kayak Trip Along Cat Point Creek

By Christina Markish

Menokin’s newly improved road to Cat Point Creek featuring a kayak and canoe launch and turn-around is complete! The new trail features a turn-around and parking for at least four vehicles down on the waterfront.

The official ribbon cutting ceremony opening the road will be Saturday, November 14th at Menokin. A special thanks to the National Park Service for their $99,000 grant through the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network to make this project a reality!

The Kayak Divas take to the water at Menokin's new access point to Cat Point Creek.
The Kayak Divas take to the water at Menokin’s new access point to Cat Point Creek.

While the road was not yet complete, a group of ladies known as the “Kayak Divas” took a trip down the trail and launched their kayaks from the Menokin shore for a little early exploration. The Divas included past President of the Menokin Foundation, Helen Murphy, and former board member, Penelope Saffer, amongst other leaders involved with Menokin. The reviews are in: the ladies said the kayak trip was as good as Dragon Run!

Heading up Cat Point Creek. (All images courtesy of Paddle Master, Lois Spencer.)
Heading up Cat Point Creek. (All images courtesy of Paddle Master, Lois Spencer.)

Launching from the Menokin shoreline, the ladies turned theirkayaks towards the right and headed out. Early wildlife encounters included a bald eagle siting – what a beauty! As the ladies continued towards the Westmoreland County border, past duck blinds and fishing holes, the creek narrowed. It began to wind through beautiful wildflowers, bushes and trees. Yellow flowers were in bloom everywhere… it really was beautiful!

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Former Menokin trustee, Helen Murphy, proves her statement that there is just as much laughing as there is paddling when the Kayak Divas get together.

After winding through the narrow creek for nearly two hours, the ladies hit a stopping point where a tree blocked them from proceeding much further (without having to do the limbo) so they turned around to head back to Menokin. On their return, they raved about the beauty they encountered between the wildflowers and eagles. It is a trip they plan to repeat again once the new trail is complete!

Interested in launching your kayak or canoe from the Menokin shore? The trail is open to the public and launching is free! Just contact the Menokin Foundation to make a reservation: 804-333-1776 or menokin@menokin.org.

And please join us November 14th from 11:00am – 1:00pm for the grand opening of the new trail at Menokin. The event will feature food, refreshments, a nature hike, ribbon cutting ceremony, and – of course – the opportunity to be one of the first to launch your kayak or canoe from the Menokin shore using the new trail!

Jr. Duck Stamp Camp 2015 A Huge Success!

Jr. Duck Stamp returned this summer, bigger and better than ever. Twelve campers had kayaking experiences in three Northern Neck water venues – the pond at Wilna Wildlife Refuge, Cat Point Creek at Menokin and the Potomac River at Westmoreland State Park.

In spite of the brutal heat of the week, the experiences were rich, the knowledge gained was deep and the artwork was beautiful! And there was cake at the end of the week. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Keep in touch for news about Jr. Duck Stamp Camp 2016.

 

Menokin is Included in the 2015 Essential Paddling Guide

Menokin was visited last May by Kurt Repanshek of the National Parks Traveler, Suzanne Copping of the National Park Service and Richard Moncure of Friends of the Rappahannock.

Their mission – paddle along Cat Point Creek and Menokin Bay from Menokin Landing and hopefully find the experience worthy of including in the 2015 Essential Guide to Paddling The Parks.

Click the image for a link to the Paddling Through History article.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accompanied by Alice French, Menokin’s Intrepid Education and Outreach Coordinator and Bri Basile, summer intern, they determined that it is worthy and they have included a beautiful article about our site and our project in this year’s publication.

Improvements on Menokin’s road, thanks to a generous grant from the National Parks Service Chesapeake Gateways Program, to Cat Point Creek will begin in March and hopefully will be ready in time for prime paddling.

 

“Intern”pretations – Episode 2: Bri

bri basile interned at menokin for six weeks this summer. today is her last day! she was raised in the suburbs of philadelphia, and is a rising sophomore at PENN STATE, pursuing a degree in architectural engineering. 

 

Reflection No. 1

Bri“It is the middle of June and I am in the middle of my travel back in time for the summer. Well not really, but life has definitely been a little different for the past couple of weeks. I am what you could call a true Yankee. I was born and raised in the suburbs of Allentown, Pennsylvania and now study at Penn State. Yes, I have traveled to many different places, but I have never lived outside of Pennsylvania and am now in Warsaw, Virginia.

Warsaw is a small town surrounded by countless beautiful farms and old, 18th century houses, which is exactly what brought me here. For the summer I am interning at the wonderful Menokin Foundation, which brings my interests of history, architecture, and engineering all together. Their plan is to build a glass house around the colonial house, to help stabilize and showcase what the house originally looked like. I find it fascinating how they plan to combine the modern glass structure with the old brick house. I know from looking at the models and plans that it will be truly and piece of artwork once it is completed.

If there is anything I learned from my first few days was that I will have to come back during and after construction of the final project. ”

Reflection No. 2

“When Alice asked me if I wanted to go kayaking with couple of people from the National Park Service I expected to kayak for a half hour to forty-five minutes not for four and a half hours. Even though it was a really long time and I had sore arms for about a week, it was completely worth it!

Cat Point Creek is really a place that has not been touched by humans and you can truly become one with nature. Even on the slightly cloudy day I watched eagles and other birds fly across the sky and fish jumping out of the water. Not only did the animals fascinate me, but also the bright flowering plants all along the sides.

I could definitely spend weeks just paddling along and taking pictures of everything I saw and would encourage you to do the same as long as you promised not to destroy the true treasure it is.”

Bri has been learning how to use and edit footage from a Go Pro camera. This little video was shot on her marathon kayaking excursion on Cat Point Creek.

 

INTERNPRETATIONS ARE BLOG POSTS AUTHORED BY OUR INTERNS. THIS GLIMPSE OF MENOKIN AND ITS PLACE IN THE LIVES OF THESE COLLEGE STUDENTS IS OUR ATTEMPT TO REPRESENT AN ALTERNATIVE POINT OF VIEW Of A MENOKIN EXPERIENCE. THE ONLY INSTRUCTIONS ARE “WRITE ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE HERE.” WE HOPE TO FEATURE AN INTERNPRETATION EACH WEEK.