On Tuesday August 9, 2016, Margaret Pickles led a group students on a hike through Niagara Glen. Upon arrival we were pleasantly surprised to see a full grown Turkey Vulture cooling down on the branches of a dead tree, pictured above. The Vulture didn’t seem bothered by the amount of people trafficking the paths and rested for at least 10 minutes before eventually flying away. We began by following the Terrace Path North to the River Path and returned to the top via the Cobblestone path. Throughout the hike we discussed the geological history of the area, learning about the different layers of rock and how they were formed. We began with a brief overview to put the Glen into perspective, where Margaret noted that where we stood used to be where what we think of as Niagara Falls stood thousands of years ago. As we made our way through the trails of boulders that stand taller than us and massive trees, Margaret pointed out various fossils dating back millenniums, including salt water fossils from when the Glen was a part of a tropical sea. She also pointed out striation patterns, due to the glaciers and boulders rubbing against the plates of rock. We learned about how pot holes are formed and how to tell if they were created in situ or while the rock was in a different arrangement. Throughout the hike we identified different flora and fauna, noting which species were dominant in the forest and how the dominant species changed as we entered different areas. For example, along the upper portion of the trail Maple species were dominant, however along the waters’ edge Hemlocks were more abundant. At the waters’ edge we rested and stared at the beauty that history has allowed us to enjoy. The Niagara Glen is a wonderful way to learn geological history as well as enjoy the beauty that mother nature brings to us every day.
Christine, Stacey, and Katie are all Environmental Field and Lab Technician Students at Niagara College completing their co-op requirements with the Office of Sustainability.