Fiddleheads in the riverbed.

I was treasurer of the student council at my college this year, and it was both a rewarding and disappointing experience. I am a fan of accounting-type work (my “day job” in the summer is a hotel night auditor), so that part is fun. However it was awfully hard to get people to participate in our events, what with how much homework we all have. I think the thing I’m most proud of happened at the end of the year, through the hard work of the photography studio head and the student council president.

Our school has partnered with Nature Trust NB, who look after a collection of Nature Preserves all around New Brunswick. These preserves are donated to the Trust, and they do their utmost to insure they are left untouched by man. In cases where the land has already been touched, they endeavour to return it to its natural state.

The idea is to increase awareness about these beautiful places, and instigate public discussion about the need for such refuges. From now until the end of October, the student council will be paying travel expenses for our students to travel to these sites. We are to be inspired by them, and create art that reflects our experience. We will then submit our best pieces to potentially be exhibited at a big gallery in Saint John, under the renowned curatorship of Terry Graff.

The boy and I set out on our first of many trips this past Sunday. We went to James C. Yerxa, which runs right along the Keswick River. We had quite a time finding it as it was unmarked, but our excellent powers of deduction got us there. Even the lady at the pharmacy right down the street had no idea what we were talking about.

We had a lovely time. First stop was a dead beaver. Never seen a beaver up close before. Needless to say this one didn’t try to run away. I’ll spare you the pictures. Later we found about a thousand beaver-chomped tree trunks.

The river was especially sandy on its banks, and there was even a little beach protruding on the far side. We walked over the bridge and found our way to it, then wrote sappy things in the sand.

On the way we encountered what seemed like a wasteland, complete with palettes up trees and rotting lean-tos.

We even found this massive multi-trunk mutant tree.

And this other tree made out of leaves.

But the most inspiring sight for me was the forest of identically watermarked trees. All of last year’s grass had been beaten down in the same direction. The river rose and covered the trees a few feet up, dragging the grass along with the current.

Seemingly in a perfect grid were hundreds of fiddleheads. They sprouted up through the dead grass, looking very much the courageous underdogs.

Another more amusing find was the little cluster of signs near the back of the forest. “Stay on the trail” when there was no trail at all. “Caution” beside a grassy field. And most absurd of all was this one below, with no explanation in sight.

This weekend coming up we will be going to either Sugar Island:

or Pickerel Pond:

I am a little torn. Pickerel Pond is much larger and seems more interesting, but on that note it might be better to visit it later in the year once all the foliage is out in full growth. Both are a little bigger and a little farther away than Yerxa, so we will be making a day of it either way. Any thoughts?

Very exciting. I love to play outside! No definite ideas on the art project outcome yet. Just collecting lots of pictures and ideas.

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11 comments

    • Allison Green

      Thanks! Where do you live that they don’t? I think of them as being everywhere but then again I haven’t been very far…

        • Allison Green

          Wow, I was just googling San Diego and it seems like a very interesting place to live! We certainly don’t have any “hot and dry” around here, haha. Do you have lots of lizards and cacti?

            • Allison Green

              Lucky duck! Well maybe not the part about having them in your bed. I’m reminded of a funny/horrifying story. I used to have ferrets, and the previous owner told me that they had once escaped from their cage and snuck into the apartment next door. One of them crawled into bed with their blind neighbour! How terrifying that would be! It always made me cringe to think about it. I loved my ferrets but I couldn’t imagine something so warm and wriggley creeping into bed with me!

  1. Stephen Steeves

    Fiddleheads are standard fair at Warren’s Grammie’s christmas dinner. Can’t believe you missed them. Great with butter and salt and pepper. Some folks like vinegar on them too. I do. Of course her’s would have been frozen. Fresh ones are the best. If you get some, make sure they are well cleaned and cooked well. Ask LL as she is the cook in this family.

    • Allison Green

      Hmm, maybe I did eat some then… I always make an effort to try everything on the table. I’m sure I would like them with vinegar, I am a big fan of vinegar on everything. We were tempted to pick some while we were there but being a preserve and all we figured we shouldn’t be messing with the flora. Hopefully we’ll see some around elsewhere.

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