Randa Steblez is impressed with the rich utilitarian history and folklore of common trees, weeds and wildflowers often overlooked by hikers as merely a blur of textured greenery. One may have a casual encounter along the Potomac with an Ash tree, but become better acquainted by discovering that the juice of its leaves was use by Native Americans as a snake bite remedy. Some other examples of close to home fame are the dandelion and the mullein plant, common and prevalent, but which figured so importantly in medieval pharmacology, that they were depicted in many well known tapestries.
These are just a couple of sketches, but there are many more "celebrities" along the path, some with fairly amazing histories. Her interpretive guidebook "Shoreline Plants of Lake Winnipesaukee" has been widely distributed in the New Hampshire Lake Region and she is currently working on a similar journal about the Potomac Canal.
The River Center is open Saturdays and Sundays from May 3 through October 18 from 10 am ‘til 2 pm for tours of the lockhouse and interactive exhibits. Inside the River Center, the Conservancy installed a new exhibit, “Backyard to the Bay,” that connects what happens on the land and the health of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. Visitors are guided by the Potomac Conservancy’s volunteer docents who lead tours, answer questions and discuss the historical and cultural significance of the C&O Canal and the Potomac River to the regional economy and the local quality of life.
For additional information about the River Center at Lockhouse 8, contact Bridget Chapin ([masked]) or visit http://www.potomac.or....
About Potomac Conservancy
Since 1993, the Potomac Conservancy has protected the health, beauty, and enjoyment of the Potomac River and its tributaries. Its conservation programs address the goals of improving water quality, protecting the river’s scenic integrity, enhancing recreational resources, and building an informed and engaged constituency, using a range of tools, including restoration, permanent protection, advocacy, and citizen education and engagement.