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Thirty canoeists attended Quetico Foundation’s Canoe Day. We canoed along the Big Creek valley through the Carolinian forest with its verdant trillium carpet and flowering trees, past rolling landscapes with streams and wetlands that feed the headwaters of the Big Creek National Wildlife Area.

Many genuine thanks to each canoeist and everyone for your support of the Quetico Foundation’s Student Summer Research Program on our paddle along Big Creek, Saturday May 7, 2016. As well as for good, wholesome and fun conversations and great canoeing among a great group.

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Some people saw a fisher, an animal known for eating porcupine and small mammals, others had the chance to see a northern map turtle, yellow warblers, orioles, a red-tailed hawk, great blue herons, swallows, terns and the great expanse and marshes of the world’s longest freshwater sandspit and wetland complex. We were serenaded by singing songbirds and distant choruses of frogs.

Big Creek is home and provides habitat for many diverse, rare and categorically at-risk species, aquatic wildlife as well as more than 360 species of birds.

We didn’t have the chance to visit Bird Studies Canada this time, as canoeing Big Creek began around 11:30 and though we had a delicious lunch, a rainy weather system was coming in, so we paddled through light rain and the beautiful and expansive wetlands after lunch. The weather forecast suggested lightning, so we bolted. Fellow canoeists and coordinators appreciated that some patience is required when travelling in group. Though, we enjoyed the warm weather in the morning and we paddled through a rain shower in the final stretch, this group of canoeists saw a diversity of species, quite a few birds and enjoyed paddling the calm and beautiful Big Creek.

All proceeds of this year’s Quetico Foundation Big Creek canoe day will benefit our Quetico Foundation Student Summer Research program – a team of students who spend the summer canoeing through Quetico Provincial Park collecting ecological field data under the research direction of the Park Biologist. This year is the 20th anniversary of the Student Summer Research Program. So thank you for enabling us to continue to broaden our understanding of the science of the Park while employing young people, including local Atikokan youth, with an active career interest in this work.