Tag Archives: Chesapeake Bay Gateway Site

SOAK(ing) Up the Fun

We’d like to thank SMS Instructor, Kevin Goff, for sharing Menokin’s treasures with his students, and for sharing these great pictures with us. Enjoy!
The girls participating in SOAK have been enjoying their afternoons! They took a trip to Francis Lightfoot Lee’s Menokin to do some kayaking. Here is a full gallery from the trip!

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!

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!

Kayak Divas1
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!

“Intern”pretations – Episode 1: Emily

emily lyth has been an intern at menokin since april 2014. she lives in richmond county with her family and is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree from drexel university’s online degree program.

“I started visiting the trails at Menokin back in April. As a new intern, I felt it was important to educate myself about The Menokin Foundation. To me, that meant going beyond simply learning about Francis Lightfoot Lee and the history of the Menokin house; I wanted to explore the land and the property that are such an intrinsic part of Menokin’s story.

So when the weather got a little warmer, I laced up my hiking shoes, charged my iPod, and spent most of my Saturday traveling the beautiful paths through the woods and along Cat Point Creek. Though I hadn’t anticipated it, that was the beginning of a new weekend tradition for me ─ one that has become a great source of relaxation in my life.

The following weekend, I added my camera, some homework, and a book to my backpack and spent the afternoon taking pictures of nature and the wildlife, catching up on homework, and reading.

Whether it’s just to walk and mess around with my camera while I listen to music or to sit at the picnic table by the creek and do homework and read, spending time at Menokin is now something I look forward to after a long or stressful week; the whole property offers a peaceful solitude that can’t be found anywhere else.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve learned that visiting Menokin with friends is a fun way to spend the day enjoying nature, and visiting alone is a great way to relax, de-stress, and clear my mind. Menokin has become like my own little sanctuary ─­­ the place I escape to when I need time alone or need to unwind.

Since I started interning at Menokin, I have felt that I’m part of an organization and experience that is truly special, and I think the property and trails are a great reflection of that feeling.”

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 ofa menokin experience. the only instructions are “write about your experience here.” we hope to feature an internpretation each week.

PHOTOS © EMILY LYTH, 2014

Three Northern Neck Organizations Receive $10,000 Environmental Grants From The Dominion Foundation

The Menokin Foundation, the Northern Neck Land Conservancy and Stratford Hall, all located in Northern Neck, have each received a $10,000 grant from The Dominion Foundation to support their environmental projects. The Foundation is the charitable arm of Dominion Resources and the parent company of Dominion Virginia Power.

The Menokin Foundation and the Northern Neck Land Conservancy’s programs focus primarily on the Cat Point Creek watershed—one of the most pristine examples of tidal freshwater systems remaining in the Chesapeake Bay region and the entire East Coast, according to the Nature Conservancy—while Stratford Hall’s project enhances the nature trail experience on its 1,900 acre property in Westmoreland County.

“Providing grants for environmental projects is one of the mainstays of our corporate giving program,” said Paul D. Koonce, chief executive officer of Dominion Virginia Power. “We know supplying electric power affects our world, so we focus on obeying environmental laws and regulations, operating our units efficiently, and giving back to our communities.” Grants are funded from corporate profits, not customer bills.

The Menokin Foundation will apply the Dominion grant funding to develop and implement its Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences Program.  The program is centered at Menokin’s 500-acre site in Richmond County along Cat Point Creek.  Targeted to students in grades 6-8 in the region, the program meets the need for off-campus trips and field investigation offered at no charge to the schools.

“The Menokin Foundation is so pleased to receive this generous grant,” explained Executive Director, Sarah D. Pope. “The objective of our program is to connect students to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed through their shared sense of responsibility and action.”

The Northern Neck Land Conservancy’s grant goes towards their outreach efforts to the community about land conservation needs, particularly in the Cat Point Creek watershed.

Jamie Tucker, Executive Director of the Northern Neck Land Conservancy (NNLC) stated, “Funds from the Dominion Foundation allows the NNLC to provide educational activities and public presentations to our local community such as a guided canoe trip on Cat Point Creek by a local botanist, planned for June 29.  The upcoming Boots & BBQ public event at Naylor’s Beach on September 15 will feature information about protecting the land and wildlife around Cat Point Creek.”

Stratford Hall plans to use this funding towards providing a new nature trail experience for its visitors.

“We are pleased that The Dominion Foundation has recognized the importance of Stratford’s nature trails through awarding of this grant,” said Paul Reber, Executive Director. “As we seek to upgrade our nature trails, provide our visitors with new maps and signage, this grant is a significant step toward accomplishing our goal.”

Stratford’s six nature trails on the 1,900-acre property span from the historic area around the Great House down to the beach on the Potomac River. They include the Spring House, Vault, Little Meadow, Silver Beech, Mill Overlook and Mill Pond Trails. The trails serve as a natural resource for leisure and education and are used by a growing number of visitors.

Dozens of environmental groups in Virginia will share $500,000 in grants this year from the Foundation to preserve wetlands, plant trees, monitor water quality and more. The first wave of grants – $275,000 –was awarded in April 2013 to 17 organizations.

A complete listing of recipients is available at https://www/dom.com/about/community/pdf/spring-2013-env-grants-awarded.pdf.

Dominion (NYSE: D) is one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 27,000 megawatts of generation 11,000 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline and 6,400 miles of electric transmission lines.  Dominion operates one of the nation’s largest natural gas storage systems with 947 billion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves retail energy customers in 15 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company’s website at http://www.dom.com.

For more information about each of the three grant recipient organizations, visit:

www.menokin.org
www.nnlc.org
www.stratfordhall.org

The Give and Take of Indian Pipe

Yesterday, a visitor spent long hours in the morning hiking the trails of Menokin. She shared this photograph of Indian Pipe that she found growing along the trail.

Indian Pipe (photo by Beth Sanders)

I did a little research and found out some interesting facts about Indian Pipe.

  • Indian Pipe doesn’t have chlorophyll, the stuff that makes plants green. It is a waxy, whitish color (though this plant is a lovely shade of pink). It turns black when it gets old.
  • Indian Pipe is usually seen from June to September. It grows in shady woods with rich soil and decaying plant matter. This plant is often found near dead stumps.
  • Since Indian Pipe has no chlorophyl, it can’t make its own food like most plants. Therefore, it has to “borrow” nutrients, either from decaying plant matter, or from another organism, such as a fungus.
  • Meanwhile, the fungus itself has another relationship going on with a tree. The fungus’s mycelia also tap into the tree’s roots. Many fungi and trees have this type of relationship — it’s called a “mycorrhizal relationship.” The fungus gives nutrients to the tree and the tree gives nutrients to the fungus. Both organisms help each other out.
  • Even though Indian Pipe gives nothing back to the fungus or the tree, it is a food source for small bumble bees, which visit flowers for nectar. The bees return the favor by pollinating the Indian Pipe. 

You are probably already humming the “Circle of Life” Lion King theme song in your head or out loud by now. Hope you have enjoyed this little nature lesson. Share your own photos of Indian Pipe if you have them.

Menokin Receives Grant From National Park Service

The Menokin Foundation is pleased to announce that it has received $70,000 in grant money from the NPS to initiate planning and design for two public access points on Cat Point Creek at Menokin.

“We are excited to be able to begin the process of making Cat Point Creek more accessible to the public,” says Sarah Pope, Executive Director at Menokin, “And hope that the research performed during this planning phase will also help us to better understand the intricate story of the Menokin landscape.”

Looking up Cat Point Creek toward Menokin Bay.

The National Park Service (NPS) Chesapeake Bay Office announced on September 5, 2012 that the NPS is providing financial assistance to 21 partners and 24 projects with a combined financial commitment of $1,363,039. These projects with 21 partners in fiscal year 2012 address education, youth employment and stewardship programs, and public access and trail development in the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network and along the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Each project is leveraged through additional means such as matching funds, in-kind services, and volunteer hours.

In collaboration with many partners, the National Park Service works to expand public access to the Chesapeake Bay and tributary rivers, build visitor experiences along two national historic trails, develop teacher resources in line with state standards, and expand service and employment opportunities for youth. “Through partner engagement and participation, each of these projects has a positive impact in local communities,” said NPS Superintendent John Maounis. “Whether teaching the history of these places, introducing young people to possible career paths, or providing a new place to get to the water, these are investments in quality of life.”

The Chesapeake Bay Office of the National Park Service administers the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network of partner sites, and also manages two of the nation’s nineteen national historic trails. Both trails are comprised of land and water routes accessible through partner sites, are in active stages of development, and offer opportunities for educators and students that are both virtual and place-based. Educational programming, training in stewardship and outdoor recreation skills, and youth employment opportunities all contribute to trail development.

Trail development and youth engagement projects also advance public access goals set through the Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the federal response to President Obama’s Executive Order 13508. The strategy and subsequent draft public access plan call for the addition of 300 new sites where citizens can have a waterside experience, whether hiking, paddling, enjoying a picnic, or fishing.

Project summaries can be accessed through http://www.baygateways.net/viewrelease.cfm?press_release_id=297