Today I finish my first week of field work on Long Island. We went to Udalls Cove, Queens;
Hunter Island, Bronx;
and Caumsett State Park, Lloyd Harbor.
Even in the little time I have spent in these marshes, I have already started to come to some interesting realizations them. Thinking back to before I ever walked into a salt marsh, to me, salt marshes were a piece of land that I seemed to actively never notice. I must have walked by a decent number of salt marshes and if I ever thought of them, the only thought was “There’s grass and I shouldn’t go there.” I didn’t explicitly know why I shouldn’t go in, but I now see the unconscious message was right. Now I understand that if you don’t have the right gear (being just tall boots at least) and know that salt marsh sediment can sort of be like quicksand, you can get yourself in a lot of trouble by getting stuck in a salt marsh at low tide (today I stepped between two tufts of vegetation and immediately sank a good 2 feet into the marsh. If I wasn’t semi-expecting it, I could have gotten really freaked out and made it worse.) It’s interesting recognizing the anonymity of salt marshes in our lives despite their importance in our ecosystems. What’s even stranger is the validity behind it in some ways, while recognizing how it’s a terrible shame that so many people will never understand the beauty of such a dynamic environment, if you get one message about salt marshes, not walking across them isn’t a bad one.