Author Confronts History in the Wilds of Attleboro

There is no end to the variety of fascinating requests the land trust has received over the years for activities to be conducted on our preserves.  Last spring, writer Jane Breakell set out to retrace the steps of banished Puritan dissenter Anne Hutchinson, who walked from Quincy, Massachusetts, to what was to become Portsmouth, Rhode Island, in April, 1638.

 On April 10, 2018, Jane, midway through her journey, spent the night in a tent on the Leach Sanctuary. Two days later, she crossed Narragansett Bay by boat to reach her destination, Aquidneck Island, as did Anne Hutchinson before her.  Below are some brief excerpts from an essay that Jane wrote about her experience for a recent issue of the New England Review (Vol. 39, No. 3).

Write Like a Puritan by Jane Breakell

“A woodcut shows a woman in a long black dress with a square white collar and a black hood, one hand at her side, one fist held to her chest, speaking, it appears, to a group of old men who are seated at a table, pulling at their beards, peering at her. If anyone can talk to God, then anyone can justify her own choices, words, actions, with or without the approval of the elders. From this kind of magical thinking, it is no great distance to amoral anarchy. When she would not recant, they kicked her right out. She had been a voluntary exile from England, braving the wilderness of the New World. She was now also an exile from Massachusetts, but she considered neither home. The bounds of my habitation are cast in heaven, she said, and walked out of Boston, into the real wilderness. She resettled herself on an island to the south, in what became the state of Rhode Island, not far from where I grew up. What takes ninety minutes by car today took her, on foot in 1638, six days. Eventually she left Rhode Island for New York. There, after refusing to evacuate during a Siwanoy raid (against the advice of her more experienced neighbors), she was killed.

“I’ve come to understand that Anne Hutchinson’s story, the struggle between doubt and assurance, the voices of elders and the voice in her own head, must be part of mine.

“…Specifically, I must retrace Anne Hutchinson’s long journey from Boston to Rhode Island in an attempt to reconsider New England—home of self-satisfied tradition—as wilderness, frontier. By reenacting this long-past drama of belonging, I want to learn about those questions we still ask ourselves: what is the right way to live? On whom can we rely to tell us? What do I need to do, where do I need to go, to be the right kind of person?

“…Instead of woolen clothes and wooden overshoes, I wear yoga pants and hiking boots with Gore-tex. Instead of carrying or gathering food, I stop for lunch at Ruby Tuesday’s; instead of sleeping out, I book Airbnbs for all but one night. And while Hutchinson sent a scout ahead to plot a route through forests, I follow a route chosen by Google Maps. She walked through forests, dunes, and swamps that have since been replaced by paved roads, village squares, college campuses, and Dunkin Donuts. When I read the names of the towns we will pass through, they evoke not wilderness but radio commercials for discount shoes and tires.

The point is to walk where she walked, which I do. It’s just different now.”

While reenacting the journey of Anne Hutchinson, Jane Breakell pitched her tent in the Phil and Ginny Leach Wildlife Sanctuary, in a spot near this lean-to, which Jane described as “a fortuitous illustration of the kind of structure the Hutchinson party probably slept in.” The exact route taken by Hutchinson is not known, but Jane said “I passed through Attleboro because it was the only place I was able to camp out that was even close to where I thought she walked–most of the way was really lacking in anything like wilderness.”    Image credit: Jane Breakell

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Annual Survey Monitors the Health of the Ten Mile River and Its Inhabitants

On September 22, volunteers from the Ten Mile River Watershed Council assisted ranger Jacob Gorke of the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council of Rhode Island in conducting a survey of fish species in the Ten Mile River at Larson Woodland.

The fish are stunned temporarily with an electric shock, netted and removed to be identified, then released back to the river.  The survey is conducted annually.

Fish survey volunteers receiving their instructions.    Image credit: Keith Gonsalves

This is just one of many activities conducted year round by the Ten Mile River Watershed Council to promote and protect the river.  For more information, contact Keith Gonsalves Keith@tenmileriver.net.

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Community Garden Registration Sessions Scheduled

Dates have been set for the Attleboro Community Garden 2019 Season Registration Sessions.

If interested, please join us for one of our sessions which will take place at the Attleboro Library.

  • Saturday, February 9, 10:30 to noon
  • Wednesday, February 13, 6 to 8
  • Saturday, February 16, 10 to noon
  • Monday, March 11, 6:30 pm – includes a Seed Starting Workshop

Please note:

  •  All new and returning gardeners must attend one of the registration and orientation sessions in person.
  • There will be a 20 minute Orientation at each of the session
  • The plot fee for 2019 is $25
  • New gardeners will be placed on a wait list on a first come basis
  •  If inclement weather causes library to be closed, registration session will be cancelled.
  • March 2nd Session including a workshop on seed starting rescheduled to March 11

For more information, contact Juliet Teixeira, texjade@yahoo.com, 508-222-2569 or visit the Attleboro Community Garden’s Facebook page.

 

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Mother Nature Reminds Us Who Is In Charge!

Although we thought we had completed the boardwalks at the Richardson Nature Preserve a year ago, last winter’s storms told a different story.  You may remember that one storm took out the Wilmarth Street bridge over Chartley Brook.  Freezing, thawing, and flooding all took their toll on one of our boardwalks.  Repairs were made in the spring.  On December 1, a volunteer crew completed additional work to raise the boardwalk by six inches.  The crew consisted of (from left to right) Charlie Adler, Phil Boucher, Bruce Ingram, Bill Lewis, Dick Cheyne, and (not pictured) Russ Pray and Jim Keiper.  Since then, further structural support has been added.  We have our fingers crossed that we will get through this winter without any further difficulties.  Mother Nature, of course, will have the last word!

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Thanks to our donors

We are grateful to the following organizations and individuals for their financial support of our mission through donations and in-kind contributions.

Corporate Sponsors and Institutional Partners, 2017-18

American Legion Auxiliary Unit # 312
Attleboro Arts Museum
Attleboro Conservation Commission
Attleboro Historical Commission
Attleboro Foundation/Bank of America, N.A.
Attleboro Rotary Club
Briggs Garden and Home
Case Snow Management, Inc.
Casey Law Offices, P.C.
Checon Corporation
County Square Pharmacy
Crossman Engineering
Cryan Landscape Contractors, Inc.
Faulkner Family Foundation
Fred M. Roddy Foundation, Inc.
Greenwood Emergency Vehicles
Fredric J. Hammerle Charitable Trust
Johnson & Johnson
Lewis & Sullivan, P.C.
Liston Portables
M S Company
Mass Audubon
Russell Morin Fine Catering
National Fence & Supply Co.
New England Grassroots Environment Fund
Norton Equipment Rental
PEP Industries
Plymouth Rock Foundation
Providence Picture Frame
Reeves Company
SeedMoney
Sensata Foundation
Sensata Technologies, Inc.

Individual Major Donors, 2017-18

Sustainer

Tom Richardson

Sponsors

Ted and Debby Leach

Caretakers

Ray Larson
Don and Laura Ouellette

Trail Blazers

Tom and Anne Marie Enderby
Lucia & Bruce Field
Geoff and Sarah Gaunt
Richard Harris
Tim and Gloria McGinn

Protectors of Flora and Fauna

Denise Antaya & Clif Ennis
Roy Belcher and Bertha Young
Maureen and Ed Canner
Laurel & Leigh Carlson
Rev David Hill
Richard & Dawn Lunn
Anne and Mike Newquist
Mike & Lynne O’Brien
Christopher Smith
Frank Wojciechowski

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Don’t Miss Our Annual Meeting on October 23

Our annual meetings are typically a time for socializing with other nature lovers, learning something new from a guest speaker, and celebrating the year’s accomplishments, and this year is no exception.

The Attleboro Land Trust is working to preserve properties containing both wetland and upland habitats, a strategy that benefits many wildlife species, especially amphibians.  Our guest at the Annual Meeting will be Carol Entin, who will speak about the variety of common and uncommon amphibian species that inhabit our region.

Attleboro hosts approximately 20% of all known pure blue-spotted salamanders in the northeastern United States! The marbled salamander is also an Attleboro resident. Neighboring Rehoboth hosts 2 of only 8 known inland populations of the Eastern spadefoot toad. Carol, a volunteer amphibian monitor for the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, will give a photo presentation about N.E. Amphibians, then focus on how monitors do their work and how you can contribute sightings to the Massachusetts database. A retired Moses Brown science teacher (32 years), and former Caratunk Wildlife Refuge assistant director, Carol is a passionate advocate for amphibians!

Eastern spadefoot toad    Image credit: Carol Entin

Attleboro Land Trust Annual Meeting
Open to the Public
Tuesday, October 23, 2018 6:00PM
Attleboro Arts Museum
86 Park Street, Attleboro, MA

Light Refreshments
Bring Your ID for Wine

ANNUAL MEETING AGENDA
October 23, 2018

6:00 – 6:30 Social half-hour with wine, cheese and fruit
6:30 – 6:40 Welcome and State of the ALT – Roy Belcher, President
6:40 – 6:45 Election of Directors (per handout with slate of nominations)
By Mike O’Brien
6:45 – 7:00 Recognition of volunteers and helpers
7:00 – 7:45 Guest Speaker, Carol Entin, Amphibians in our backyard

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Fairy Houses Bring Imagination and Creativity to the Richardson Preserve on October 14

Create a fairy house on your own and bring it to the Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve Preserve for set up and display at 9:00 am on Sunday, October 14.  Or come later that day to enjoy the exhibit from 10:00 am through 12:00 noon. Either way you will have a chance to make and take a fairy garden at this event.

What are Fairy Houses? According to the Fairy House official website: “Fairy Houses are small structures for the fairies and woodland creatures. Ranging from simple to intricate ‘Fairy Mansions’, these whimsical habitats are built by children, families, gardeners and nature lovers reflecting their creativity, joy and pride.” Google “fairy houses” for images, ideas and instructions.

Fairy houses will be exhibited at the creator’s own risk and be removed at the end of the 1-day, 2-hour exhibit, or left in the woods for the fairies and removed when needed by the land trust.

To register, go to the event listing page. Click on the register link or call: 508-222-0157.

This fairy house by Sarah Mott will be one of the creations on display at the Richardson Preserve on October 14.

Attleboro Land Trust sponsored Big Read Event
9:00 am – 12:00 noon
Fairy House Exhibit
In the Glen and Deborah’s Garden
At Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve
577B Wilmarth Street, Attleboro

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Garden To Celebrate 20 Years on Sept. 8

The Attleboro Area Community Garden’s 20th Anniversary Celebration will be held on September 8, 2018 from 1 pm to 4 pm at the Garden on Hayward and Mechanic Streets in Attleboro, with a rain location at Murray UU Church, 505 North Main Street, Attleboro.

The afternoon program will include:

  • A workshop presented by Master Gardener Kathi Gariepy on “Preparing for Next Year’s Garden – Tips and Tools.” The workshop will explore how to put the garden to bed, looking at what went right this season, and how to improve the garden for next year.  In addition, a few tools will be shown that will help make next year a great and productive year in the garden.  The workshop is scheduled to begin at 1:00 pm.
  • Bloom Gardening for Good will host a garden-themed rock painting activity for children from 1:00 to 2:15.
  • At 2:30 a program honoring the Garden’s achievements and volunteers will take place.  Light refreshments and a cake will be served.
  • Donations of fresh produce and non-perishable food will be accepted during the afternoon and will be donated to the Murray UU Church Food Pantry.

For more information, contact Juliet Teixeira, texjade@yahoo.com, 508-222-2569 or visit the Attleboro Community Garden’s Facebook page.

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Thanks, everyone!

We have called on our pool of volunteers many times over the past year and they have come through every time, whether it involves stuffing envelopes, pruning trails, or doing some pretty heavy lifting.  We can always use more volunteers, so if you are not already in our volunteer pool, please send us your email address and we will add you to the list.

Roy Belcher, Russ Pray, Bob Martin, Ken Drucker, Jeff Lundgren, and Phil Boucher    Image credit: C Adler

Dick Cheyne, Jeff Lundgren, Bill Lewis, Ken Drucker, and Russ Pray installing a signpost at the Richardson Preserve, December 2, 2017.    Image credit: C Adler

ALT board member Hans Schaefer mowing the Upper Hayfield at the Richardson Preserve, June 2, 2018.    Image credit: C Adler

Bob Martin, Cecilia Walsh, Larry Woodbury, and David Hill clearing a trail at the Anthony Lawrence Wildlife Preserve on October 14, 2017    Image credit: C Adler

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A Day of Celebration

June 9th at the Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve was a day for education, recreation, and celebration as more than 200 visitors participated in walks, talks, games, geocaching, and expressing appreciation to those who made it all possible.

Following acquisition of the property in June, 2016, the event was two years in the making.  New trails have been marked and boardwalks have been installed.  Signage has been put up to recognize and thank the major donors.  Interpretive panels describe the site’s history, flora, and fauna.  A new split rail fence marks the west edge of the property.  The 18th century Barrows House has a new coat of paint and is enhanced with historically-appropriate plantings.  Years of untamed growth have been removed to reveal an expansive lawn dubbed The Glen.  More overgrowth has been removed to reveal hardy perennials not tended for decades in Deborah’s Garden.

Visitors participated in various guided walks–viewing vernal pools, wetlands, fields, forests, gardens, and foundations of farm outbuildings.  Children petted a visiting herd of alpacas and went on a nature scavenger hunt.  Local residents interested in the history of the site could hear a historical narrative by Bill Lewis and then view the evidence with their own eyes.  Geocachers sought their own treasures.  And those with energy to burn could circle the trails in either low or high gear.

The weather could not have been better–showing the preserve in a perfect light.

Opening ceremony in the Glen at the Richardson Preserve.    Image credit: C Adler

A sign recognizing the many significant donations and grants that made acquisition of the preserve possible.    Image credit: C Adler

Land trust president Roy Belcher with Richardson family friend Robin Pantuosco, dedicating a tree in memory of Deborah and Roger Richardson.    Image credit: C Adler

Ted Leach thanks Charlie Wyman, Mass Audubon Land Protection Specialist, for his key role in preserving green spaces in Attleboro.    Image credit: C Adler

Opening Celebration attendees took an inaugural walk of the Charlie Wyman Trail.    Image credit: C Adler

Peonies in Deborah’s Garden.    Image credit: C Adler

Deborah’s Garden is one of the last stops on the Charlie Wyman Trail.    Image credit: C Adler

A side trail passes by this vernal pool.    Image credit: C Adler

This eighteenth century tableau prepared by local historian Bill Lewis could be viewed by any visitors curious enough to peek into one of the front windows of the Barrows House on June 9th.    Image credit: C Adler

The owners of Happy Snowman Alpaca Farm in Attleboro kindly brought their alpacas and demonstrated wool spinning techniques to the delight of all.    Image credit: C Adler

Read more about this event in an article published in The Sun Chronicle.

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