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Connecticut River Paddle a Learning Experience

The annual Jonah Center for Earth and Art canoe and kayak launch from Harbor Park in Middletown this year included some city fourth-graders, who were among some 56 folk who explored the freshwater tidal wetlands.

Early Saturday morning, 56 kayakers and canoeist launched their vessels in the Connecticut River at Harbor Park in Middletown, despite the rising heat and humidity — undeterred in their task to understand the ecology of the river.

The hosted a three-hour canoe and kayak paddle on the lower Mattabesset and Coginchaug rivers Saturday, which left from the boathouse ramp off 46 Harbor Drive and included eight fourth-grade students from Macdonough Elementary School.

Organizer John Hall spoke to paddlers about freshwater tidal wetlands, and helped them search for invasive and harmful water chestnut plants that have been found in other stretches of the river. This annual event also encourages paddlers to clean up litter they come upon along the way.

Middletown Patch reader and Wesleyan University photographer Olivia Drake caught them departing from Harbor Park at 9:45 a.m., just as they headed up the Connecticut River and into the Mattabasset.

John Hall July 02, 2012 at 03:00 PM
We had 56 individuals on this paddle, including about 8 fourth graders from Macdonough School. We found water chestnuts up in the "Floating Meadows" and removed them, under the guidance of Cynthia Boettner from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department. One student caught picked up a painted turtle right out of the water from the canoe. ( We released it, of course. )

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