VIU Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity

Westwood Farm Stream Adventure

On Tuesday, June 11th, Alanna, Colby, and I visited the beautiful Westwood Farm and Cathers Lake to continue water monitoring and plant identification. Westwood Farm is 48 gorgeous acres of meadow bisected by the Millstone River and Sabiston Creek. We plan to do minnow trapping and water monitoring in the Millstone, but we have had difficulties accessing the water due to a 2-3 meters barrier of Himalayan blackberry preventing our entry. In our previous visit we were able to locate an access point, so today we went exploring. Equipped with chest waiters, GPS, sonde, and data sheets, we trekked through the blackberry thorns into the river. The river was lovely and despite a few mis-steps into unseen holes that almost dunked us, the monitoring went smoothly. Unfortunately, we were unable to walk the full length of the river due to its depth. We took pictures of the plants in both the riparian area and the meadow for identification at the office and headed to our next destination: Cathers Lake. As we were leaving, Alanna, Colby, and I were checking to make sure we had grabbed all of the equipment when a large buck jumped out of the barn and ran to the field. It was so close that we could see the velvet on its antler. It was amazing way to end out visit at Westwood Farm.

When we arrived at the dam at Cathers Lake, it looked completely different. The area had been groomed. Thankfully, Alanna and I had already done the majority of the plant identification. We took some more detailed pictures of the trees we were unable to identify and completed another water monitoring test. The lake was full of frogs jumping out of the water trying to feast on the dragon flies that flew above. We were also lucky enough to see a Yellow-bellied slider turtle bathing in the sun. Altogether, it was a beautiful day and I am thankful to have enjoyed it.

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