Walking Our Watershed

On August 10 Ben Cote of Friends of the Ten Mile led a walk along a portion of the Ten Mile River in Attleboro, beginning at Larson Woodland.  Ben explained the pivotal role the river played in the Industrial Revolution two centuries ago, when factories were built alongside the river and dams were created with water wheels providing a source of mechanical power.  In the 20th century, the river also became a convenient place to dump industrial waste, until environmental awareness eventually took hold.  Today it is illegal to dump waste into the river, but stormwater running off lawns carries fertilizers into the river, leading to algae blooms which rob fish of oxygen.

As the group moved up the watershed towards the Water Street bridge, it was joined by longtime watershed advocate Don Doucette, who shared some of his knowledge of the river and its history.

Watershed advocate Don Doucette points out the confluence of the Bungay and Ten Mile Rivers from the Water Street bridge.    Image credit: C. Adler

View a Pristine Marsh on Saturday, August 24

Local naturalist Gary Krofta will lead a guided walk at the Anthony Lawrence Wildlife Preserve on Saturday, August 24.  The preserve features a pristine freshwater marsh, on the Seven Mile River, that provides habitat for a variety of wildlife.  Deer and wild turkeys frequently visit the preserve and red-winged blackbirds roost in the few trees dotting the marsh. Many colorful wildflowers and a variety of pollinating insects can be observed at this time of year.  Krofta will also point out some invasive species, such as the purple loosestrife that could replace native cattails if left unchecked.  The walk will begin at 9:00 am and last about an hour and a half.

The Anthony Lawrence Wildlife Preserve is located at the end of Hope Avenue off Newport Avenue. Directions: Coming from downtown Attleboro on Route 123 west, you will pass the South Attleboro American Legion on your right. Take the next left onto Hope Avenue. Park on the right side and walk to the end of the street. Please try to avoid blocking any of the neighbors’ mailboxes.

This walk has been added to the Attleboro Land Trust’s summer event schedule in addition to the series of three guided walks previously announced.

Work Party on August 17 at Anthony Lawrence Wildlife Preserve

Volunteers are needed on Saturday, August 17, from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon to help clear brush along trails at the Anthony Lawrence Wildlife Preserve, located at the end of Hope Avenue off Newport Avenue. This gem of a preserve includes a pristine marsh along the Seven Mile River. Bring loppers and other brush cutting tools if you have them. Work gloves are recommended, along with long sleeve shirts, long pants, and socks for protection from poison ivy and insects. If you can bring a lawn mower or weed wacker, please let us know. Feel free to attend for just an hour or two as your schedule allows.

Proceeding on Route 123 west you will pass the South Attleboro American Legion on your right. Hope Avenue is the next left. Park on the right side of the street as you approach the end of Hope Avenue. Please try to avoid blocking any of the neighbors’ mailboxes. Rain date: Saturday, August 24.

A Summer Day at the Anthony Lawrence Wildlife Preserve

The photos in this post were all taken on July 8, 2019.  Some photos were taken along the trails, others, such as the photo of the deer, were taken in the marsh.  The marsh is a vast expanse of marsh grass and cattails.  The Seven Mile River and Tannery Brook enter the marsh separately, then join together.  It is possible to walk in the marsh when the water level is low, as it was on this day.  However, one must be sure-footed as the terrain is very lumpy and your foot may suddenly sink in a wet spot, especially as you near the river.

Marsh at Anthony Lawrence Wildlife Preserve    Image credit: C. Adler

 

Seven Mile River at Lawrence Preserve    Image credit: C. Adler

 

Cattails    Image credit: C. Adler

 

Mulberry tree    Image credit: C. Adler

 

Black raspberries    Image credit: C. Adler

 

Wild grapes    Image credit: C. Adler

 

Wild strawberries    Image credit: C. Adler

The Photographic Legacy of Martha Nickerson

Martha L. Nickerson was not only the donor of the 48 acres of land that is now the Nickerson Walking Woods Preserve.  Her life was filled with accomplishments.  She held a doctorate in education and served as a school librarian and teacher, not only in Attleboro, but at U.S. military installations around the globe.  On her travels she excelled at photography, capturing what she saw in color slides.  Those images are now in the care of artist Kalliope Amorphous, who has been posting them on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/marthanickersonarchive/

 

Get to Know Your Watershed on August 10

Guided Walk:  Getting to Know Your Watershed

Location:  Larson Woodland, corner of Watson Avenue and Riverbank Road (across from Willett School), Attleboro

Time:  9:00 – 10:30 am, Saturday, August 10 (Rain date: August 11)

Chances are that a drop of rain falling in Attleboro will eventually find its way to the Ten Mile River, which runs through the center of the city, then flows into the Seekonk River, which eventually flows into Narragansett Bay. Ben Cote, of Friends of the Ten Mile, will host this introduction to the river.  He will explain the importance of the river and its watershed to past, present, and future generations, as well as to the plants and animals that thrive in its habitat.

Guided Walk on July 13: The History of Barrows Farm

Guided Walk:  The History of Barrows Farm
Location:  Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve, 577B Wilmarth Street, Attleboro
Time:  9:00 – 10:30 am, Saturday, July 13 (Rain date: July 20)
The Attleboro Land Trust is sponsoring a series of guided walks at its nature preserves in Attleboro.  The first, at the Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve, will be a journey back to colonial times, when the Barrows family lived off the land through farming and the manufacture of wood products.  Leading the walk will be Bill Lewis, who will point out evidence of the various activities which once took place on the land.
The Barrows House, built in 1708, still stands on the Richardson Preserve.  Note:  The guided walk will not include the interior of the house.
See 2019 ALT Guided Walks – Flyer for information on the complete series of guided walks.

Sensata Team Makes a Difference at Richardson Preserve

A team of Sensata employees returned to the Richardson Preserve on May 23 to install 270 linear feet of split-rail fencing.  This completes a boundary fencing project begun by the same team last year.

The Attleboro Land Trust appreciates the hard work of Sensata employees Tom Simbron, Tyler Hanna, and Harshad Tadas in completing our fencing project and the commitment of
the Sensata Corporation in making projects like this possible.    Image credit: C. Adler

Sensata employees completed the final phase of a boundary fencing project on May 23.    Image credit: C. Adler

The Attleboro Conservation Commission provided funds to purchase the materials for this project.  Generous support was also received from National Fence of Attleboro and Liston Portables.

Seasonal Changes Bring Colorful Displays to the Richardson Preserve

Each week brings changes to the Richardson Preserve, some from native plants that are flowering, others from plants cultivated by Deborah Richardson when she lived and practiced her horticultural skills here.

 

The Glen at the Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve, April 25, 2019    Image credit: C. Adler

 

Pink Azalea bordering The Glen at the Richardson Preserve    Image credit: C. Adler

 

Skeletal tracery is all that remains from a clump of grass that ornamented Deborah’s Garden last fall.    Image credit: C. Adler

 

Ornamental grass in foreground at Deborah’s Garden, with Umbrella Pine (Sciadopitys verticillata) in the background    Image credit: C. Adler

 

Daffodils at the Richardson Preserve    Image credit: C. Adler

Thoreau’s Journals Provide a Wealth of Data for Climate Scientists

Spring is coming earlier than it did in the  nineteenth century, a scientific study has found.  One of the indicators of spring is the blossoming of trees and flowers.  Author, naturalist, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau was deeply interested in the unfolding of the seasons.  On his daily walks in Concord,  Massachusetts, he took notes whenever he observed such seasonal changes.  He wrote in his journal “I often visited a particular plant four or five miles distant, half a dozen times within a fortnight [2 weeks], that I might  know exactly when it opened.”  An entry on May 5, 1855, notes “High blueberry beg[in] to leaf in some places yesterday.”

Highbush blueberry in bloom at the Colman Reservation    Image credit: C Adler

Biologist Richard Primack has mined Thoreau’s journals for these observations and compared them with current data.  In 2010, for example, highbush blueberry first flowered in Concord on April 7.  Comparing 32 plants from Thoreau’s time to today, Primack found the first flowering dates were now occurring an average of 11 days earlier.  According to a United Nations panel, human activity has caused average global temperatures to increase 1.0 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.  In Concord, a suburb of Boston, the increase has been at least 2.0 degrees Celsius because of the “heat island” effect of dense development, pavement, and energy use compared to rural areas.  Plants are responding to this warming by blooming earlier.

A page from Thoreau’s Journal, May 5, 1855

 

Birds that migrate long distances, such as this Great Crested Flycatcher, have not adjusted their schedules to stay in sync with the earlier arrival of spring in Massachusetts.    Image credit: C Adler

In recent studies, Primack has found evidence that insect populations shift their schedules in sync with the plants they feed on, which is not surprising.  However, the arrival of birds who winter in the tropics has not, on average, shown much of a shift.  As a result, one of the consequences of climate change may be a mismatch between bird populations and the availability of the insects they feed on.  In 1852, Thoreau voiced a similar awareness of the importance of climate in the circle of life, noting that an unusually long winter could have deadly consequences for returning birds.  But he did not foresee the steady retreat of winter that we now face.