[July 31st, 2015] – Touring the Thousand Islands, Ravensview and Queen’s University
[2015年7月31天] 千岛湖, 污水处理厂, 女王大学之旅
Blog Entry Written by Black-shouldered Spinyleg (Dromogomphus spinosus)
Team Members: Huck Nelson (Queen’s), Yutong Liu (BNU), Junshu Li (SWU) and Xuewei Wang (York)
Weather: 15–27°C, Sunny
This morning we left the Queen’s University Biological Station for the first time since we arrived 5 days ago on Sunday July 26th. After breakfast we all got aboard our convoy of vehicles, and made our way to the waterfront town of Gananoque to embark upon a guided ferry tour of the Thousand Islands National Park (18 T 407406 4908477). The ferry was quite large, and accommodated far more people than were present from our field course. The 1 hour route wove us through many of the 1864 islands present in the designated area of the St. Lawrence river, exposing us to a diverse array of lacustrine wetlands found in the bays and sheltered areas of the islands. Some of the bird species spotted amongst these wetlands include the wood duck (Aix sponsa), common tern (Sterna hirundo), osprey (Pandion haliaetus) and double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus). The dominant vegetation in these wetland areas was emergent, and belonged to the genus Typha.
Following our tour, we spent some time viewing exhibits in the Arthur Child Heritage Museum of the 1000 Islands, located on the shoreline from which the ferries launched. This museum outlined the development of the area throughout its settlement history, and had many displays depicting natural ecosystems found within the national park. One of the most interesting sights at the entrance to the museum was a political map of the world, showing the cities of origin for most of the eco-tourists that came to see the beautiful landscapes and learn about their significance.
We stopped along the road at Grass Creek Park (18 T 395505 4905213) to eat our packed lunch as a group, which is a municipal park belonging to the City of Kingston. Even though both the 1000 Islands National Park and Grass Creek Park were part of a common ecozone, their levels of biological diversity differed greatly. The water of the St. Lawrence River moved much slower in and around Grass Creek than in the Islands, and allowed for higher densities of emergent vegetation to form in the marsh regions. The most frequently spotted bird species in this area was the red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus).
Our next destination was Ravensview (18 T 386556 4899739), one of the two wastewater treatment facilities processing sewage produced within Kingston, the largest city in this portion of Ontario. At Ravensview, we were given another tour, however this time it was conducted on foot. One of the facility managers showed us how the wastewater was broken down, decontaminated, and made safe for its return into a natural environment by taking us into each building involved in the process. We learned that the three outputs of Ravensview were gas, sludge and water, which were converted into electricity, exported to farmers, and released into the St. Lawrence River respectively. The sludge output of the treatment process was the most remarkable to behold, and was kept in a sheltered warehouse where it awaited pick up by farmers intending to use it for fertilizer. The guide of our tour informed us that since the sludge product came directly from humans, it could only be used in carefully selected fields to minimize runoff, and to grow crops not intended for immediate human consumption.
The final destination of our day’s travels was the City of Kingston itself (18 T 380933 4898113). We started on the campus of Queen’s University, where we were shown what buildings were associated with each of the faculties. In particular, we got to go inside the biosciences complex, and saw Dr. Lougheed’s lab on genomics and conservation ecology as well as the phytotron facility on the top floor. The phytotron hosted many plant species including Arabidopsis thaliana and Lactuca sativa, which intended for use in phytoremediation and hydroponics respectively. For dinner we explored the downtown area of Kingston, including such areas as City Park, Market Square and the city’s St. Lawrence waterfront as we walked along King’s Street to each group’s destination. After the evening was over, we all re-boarded our vehicles, and made our way back to QUBS for the night.
今天早上九点我们从QUBS出发去了大约有5000人口的Gananoque 小镇，坐落在圣劳伦斯河边上， 上午10:30 到达并登上了参观千岛湖国家公园的游船，登船前我们观察到了一只银鸥（Larus argentatus)在岸上休息。加拿大和美国共有圣劳伦斯河，加拿大部分面积更大，游船用了一小时顺着圣劳伦斯河行进，途径Thwartway Island，在加美边境路过然后返回。全程我们看到了很多物种，其中有飞行中的双冠鸬鹚（Phalacrocorax auritus），全身黑色而喙和脚为红色；一些盘旋的鹗（Pandion haliaetus），还有一些在窝上方停驻，它们对于生态环境十分重要；观察到了几只漂浮在水中的黑嘴环海鸥（Larus delawarensis），它们和银鸥外观很像，但喙上有黑色环样的花纹；还有成群的绿头鸭（Anas platyphynchos）与某种鸥类一起游在水面上，距离远无法分辨是哪种鸥类。圣劳伦斯河的河岸大多是十分柔软的湿地，可以避免了水土流失并且改善水质，而且一些悬崖上有十分坚硬的突出的花岗岩，避免了悬崖型河岸的垮塌和泥石流。沿岸我们观察到了一些北美脂松（Pinus rigida），是一种珍稀物种，需要依靠燃烧来散播种子。
结束了千岛湖文化博物馆的参观，已经是正午。我们驱车来到了湖边的Grass Creek Park进行野餐。Mingzhi从野餐箱中拿出了事先准备好的丰盛午餐—有蛋卷、肉卷可供选择，还有水果橙子。大家纷纷坐在一起分享美食，同时欣赏着周围美丽的风景。由于时间的缘故，我们饭后稍作休息便离开前往污水处理厂和女王大学进行下午的参观。
从实验室出来，王教授给了大家两个半小时的时间自行参观Kingston并进行晚餐。我们沿着King Street走到了Market Square，广场上正在进行音乐表演。然后我们解散，以小组为单位自行解决晚饭。我们组选择了一家日本寿司自助，很好吃。饭后下了些小雨，我们在City Park等待车接我们回QUBS。经过两个小时的车程，我们安全到达QUBS，结束了一天美好的旅程。