Hit the water at River and Creek Fest
Published 11:07 pm Wednesday, May 7, 2014
At Bennett’s Creek Park on Saturday, the third annual River and Creek Fest will teach about the natural environment, while an unveiling ceremony is planned for the Captain John Smith National Historic Trail.
Starting at 9:30 a.m., the festival is designed to be interactive and fun, according to Elizabeth Taraski, executive director of the Nansemond River Preservation Alliance.
“People become more aware of the environment and ways that they can preserve it,” Taraski said.
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Among a selection of the planned activities, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will present a wildlife display, she said.
A plankton net will be deployed to pull in samples of the critters living in the city’s waterways. “Folks can see and touch them,” Taraski said.
The alliance will show how it tests for water quality, she said, and the Suffolk Master Gardeners’ Association will be talking about rain gardens and giving away trees.
“Suffolk Parks and Recreation will have a display talking about their plan for outdoor recreational activities that involve the water,” Taraski said.
The Butterfly Society of Virginia will also have a display, she said, and the alliance will show live crabs and oysters.
Other groups with displays will include Suffolk River Heritage, the Nansemond River Power Squadron, the Izaak Walton League, Nansemond River Garden Club and the Virginia Living Museum.
At 11:30 a.m., Suffolk River Heritage will unveil the first of three planned Suffolk kiosks for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, according to the group’s chairman, Karla Smith.
America’s first national water trail covers more than 3,000 miles across five states and the District of Columbia, following the route mapped by Smith and his small crew of adventurers between 1607 and 1609.
“We collaborated with the National Park Service,” Smith said. “It’s a triangular kiosk with three panels.”
As will be the case with the other two kiosks — destined for Constant’s Wharf and Sleepy Hole Park — Suffolk River Heritage designed one panel to feature local subject matter, Smith said.
The local panel at Bennett’s Creek Park talks about wetlands and the intertidal zone, she said, while the one at Constant’s Wharf will cover Native Americans, and at Sleepy Hole Park – which he sailed by – it will be John Smith.
“It’s to give people that environmental and historic background on the Suffolk waters,” Smith said.
“By meeting the requirements of the National Park Service for public access, the city is improving each of those sites so there is good kayak and canoe dockage.”