Biology Field Trip to Iona Island
On September 23rd, Dr Carol Rietsma's graduate course, Wetlands Ecology, took a field trip down the Hudson about 39 miles south of New Paltz to Iona Island:
"Iona Island is one of the four National Estuarine Research Reserves on the Hudson River (including Piermont Marsh, Tivoli Bay, and Stockport Flats). This approximately 120-acre site is located at the southern gate of the Hudson Highlands. ... Iona Island and adjacent Salisbury Marsh encompass several distinct habitats, including deciduous forest, freshwater and brackish tidal wetlands and riverine habitats." (<--from the Rockland County Audubon Society website: http://www.rocklandaudubon.org/iona_island.htm)
Here at Iona Island, students inspect and attempt to identify a myriad of plants in Salisbury Marsh. In a recent (2000) BioBlitz survey, 405 plant species were recorded. Fifteen or so rare/endangered species are found here. For example, 2 to 5 bald eagles overwinter on the island each year and from 35 to 40 are seen nearby along the river.
All this, and only a 50 minute drive from campus .... we are truly in field biologist heaven!