Friday, May 04, 2007

North Bass Island

Yesterday, I traveled to North Bass Island in Lake Erie, only miles from Canadian border. I was there to scope the island out for an upcoming vegetation survey that I'll be heading up for the state of Ohio. I'm off today because of my marathon work session yesterday (I left Columbus at 5:35 a.m. and got back at 8:15 p.m.!), so I thought I would share a few pictures from yesterday's trip.

North Bass Island is a fascinating place...For over 150 years, it was used primarily to grow grapes to make into wine. Now, the State of Ohio owns about 80 percent of the land there, and it will be slowly developed into a low impact park and wildlife area.

The beach at Manilla Bay, which is entirely made up of bleached out zebra mussel shells. Walking in these windrows of shells is like walking in really thick dry sand. You definitely get quite a workout.


Bluebells, Mertensia virginica, were common in the woodlands of the Island. In some places, this spectacular plant dominated the understory and seemed to go on for acres and acres. It was awesome.


Finally, I thought I would share a photo of Jack-in-the pulpit. This species is in the Arum family, related to skunk cabbage and the peace lily that is a common house plant. We only found it in one area of the island, but it was locally common in the wet woods within which it was growing. This guy is named after "Jack," which is the rounded, slender pointed up part of the flower. It looks like "Jack" is surrounded by a preacher's pulpit. Notice how the pulpit has a hood that covers the plant. Megan thought this looked like a pitcher plant, but there is no water in this pulpit! Look for these plants in a moist high quality woodland near you.

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