News About Your Land Trust and More

Click below to read our monthly electronic newsletter, intended for distribution over social media, that includes news of what is happening at our conservation properties, as well as general conservation topics. There are also articles on Attleboro history, with a focus on the Barrows Farm (now the Richardson Preserve) and what seasonal tasks the Barrows family might have been working on as they derived their living from this land 300 years ago. News of the Attleboro Community Garden is also a regular feature.
This publication is being produced by the Education and Outreach Committee of the Attleboro Land Trust, local volunteers, and some of the classes at Attleboro High School.

Newsletters

Contact us if you would like to subscribe to the email version of this newsletter.

Boughs of holly festoon the Richardson Preserve

After 24 hours of rain, sleet, and snow, the Richardson Nature Preserve glistened on the morning of December 18, 2019.  An American holly tree is in the foreground.  The red berries, found only on female trees, provide food for many birds.

Many help launch an invasive plant removal project at Larson Woodland

Invasive species are organisms that are not native to an area, that tend to spread and displace native species, and that have harmful consequences for the environment.  Invasive species include animals, plants, and even fungi.  In the twentieth century, diseases caused by non-native fungi–accidentally introduced in North America–devastated elm and chestnut trees.  Invasive gypsy moths have damaged many other local tree species.

Invasive trees and shrubs are common in our area and threaten to crowd out native plants–wreaking havoc with native ecosystems.  The Attleboro Land Trust has launched an invasive removal project focusing on Larson Woodland.  At four acres, this is one of our smaller nature preserves.  This will serve as a demonstration project, and we hope to apply lessons learned to our other preserves.

A survey of the preserve was conducted by Gary Krofta and Phil Boucher, resulting in a map identifying the invasive species to be targeted and their locations.  Longtime watershed protection advocate Don Doucette has been a key advisor.  The project was kicked off on Saturday, November 23.  Among the volunteers who pitched in was a contingent of Scouts from Attleboro Troop 15.

A good turnout of volunteers helped to remove invasive plant species at Larson Woodland on November 23, 2019.    Image credit: C. Adler

Oriental bittersweet was removed from the banks of the Ten Mile River near the spillway.  The bright red berries (once prized for their decorative value during the winter holidays) were bagged and will be burned to prevent propagation of new plants.

Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) is an invasive vine that originated in China.    Image credit: C. Adler

Some large non-native honeysuckle bushes along Riverbank Road were also removed.

Scouts from Troop 15 removing an invasive honeysuckle bush at Larson Woodland.    Image credit: C. Adler

Project work parties will continue in the spring.  Some of the other species to be targeted are buckthorn, purple loosestrife, and Norway maple.  We welcome more volunteers to help with the work.

Annual meeting focuses on “Hike Attleboro”

Trail advocate Don Burn brought his vision to a full house at the Attleboro Land Trust’s annual meeting on October 22.  Burn was the driving force behind a network of trails in Westborough, Massachusetts, known as the “Charm Bracelet.”  His words helped to energize a similar effort underway locally dubbed “Hike Attleboro.”  The Attleboro Land Trust, Mass Audubon, and the City of Attleboro each own and manage conservation lands with walking trails in the city.  Hike Attleboro will use a common logo and roadside signs to direct residents to these trails.

The Westborough Charm Bracelet was driven by Burn’s vision to “Connect with trails every public open space parcel and recreation area in Westborough to every neighborhood and to the adjoining towns.”  This neatly coincides with a similar vision in Attleboro’s 2011 Comprehensive Plan of walkable neighborhoods with public parks within a 10-minute walk.

 

Don Burn points out one of the benefits of walking in the woods.    Image credit: Ken Salome

Burn touted the many benefits of walking trails, including research that indicates a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced levels of stress and anxiety.  He emphasized the importance of partnerships in attempting a project of the scale of the Charm Bracelet, which included participation by civic organizations, youth groups, businesses, landowners, developers, and many municipal boards and departments.

Hike Attleboro is now in the design stage.  Volunteers with the following skills are needed:  WordPress site development, computer graphics, GIS mapping, real estate, and civil engineering.  Later stages will involve more on-site work involving evaluation of natural features and trail design.  Contact us if you would like to get involved.

BIG READ, little houses

by Sharon Tenglin

This year, Attleboro residents read In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick for Attleboro’s 1ABC (One Adventure, One Book, One Community), part of the national Big Read program.

As a 1ABC event, ALT hosted a Whaling Ports of Call Fairy House Exhibit at the Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve on Wilmarth Street where people could create their own fairy houses inspired by the places sailors visited in the book In the Heart of the Sea.

On Saturday, October 5, there were 45 creative and unique fairy houses, hand-made by local residents of all ages, exhibited at the Preserve.  In keeping with the nautical theme, many houses were decorated with shells or driftwood or were made to be ocean-side homes or lighthouses.  One even had shell furniture inside.

Approximately 75 adults and children attended this fun event.  They enjoyed checking out the houses, meeting people, and going for walks.  The kids especially liked making fairy gardens that they could take home, having refreshments, and running around in the sunshine.

Also at this event, the Attleboro Public Library gave away Big Read books, whale activities and information about the library.  (For information, visit http://attleboros1abc.org/.)

Introduction to Geocaching on Nov 2nd

There will be an “Introduction to Geocaching” walk on Saturday, November 2, 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM Rain or Shine at the Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve on Wilmarth Street in Attleboro. Attendees will find real geocaches along with some SWAG (Stuff We All Get) that they can keep. Snacks provided by the Attleboro Land Trust will be available after the event.

 

Sign up at the Attleboro Public Library to attend.

Hike Attleboro Kickoff Event on October 22nd

We invite you to join us on Tuesday, October 22nd, at Murray Unitarian Universalist Church, 505 N Main Street, for the kick-off of a new initiative of the Attleboro Land Trust, the City of Attleboro and Mass Audubon.

Hike Attleboro is a program to link all the open spaces in Attleboro through a network of walking trails connecting city parks with rolling meadows and peaceful woodland paths.

Don Burn, founder of the highly successful “Charm Bracelet” trail system in Westborough Massachusetts will deliver the keynote. A featured speaker for MassTrails, Don will share his experience of building a trail network suited for all types of hikers that today extends 28 miles, connecting every neighborhood in Westborough.

He will share his insights on the significant community impact of urban walkable trails and the best ways to preserve them.

The evening will start with a Welcome Social from 7 - 7:30 pm.

The formal presentations will start at 7:30.

 

 

Would you like to help steward one of our sites?

A site steward is a volunteer who “adopts” one of the Attleboro Land Trust nature preserves, individually or with a group, such as a group of neighbors, church group, youth group, or fraternal organization.

Duties of a site steward:

  • Walk the property on a regular basis
  • Pick up litter
  • Report vandalism and violations of ALT regulations
  • Help with routine trail maintenance
  • Assist with special projects

If you would like to find out more please contact us at attleborolandtrust@gmail.com or by using our Contact page.

Fairy House Exhibit During Big Read Event on October 5

 Make a Port side Fairy House For the Attleboro Land Trust Big Read Fairy House Exhibit

Saturday, October 5

Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve

577B Wilmarth Street

 

In keeping with this year’s Big Read selection, In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick, you are invited to create and exhibit a “portside” fairy house. The whalers visited many island ports on their whaling expeditions out of New Bedford and Nantucket, Massachusetts. They found colorful houses with flat grass and bamboo roofs. Your fairy house may need a fishing dock with bright flags and of course shells! Whatever you can you gather at the beach will be great materials for your house. It’s up to you to add an island flair!

Create a fairy house on your own and bring it to the Preserve for set up and display at 9:00 am. Or come and enjoy the one day exhibit from 10:00 am through 12:00 noon. Either way you will have a chance to make and take a fairy garden at the event.

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.

Register at attleborolibrary.org

You may want to make and bring a stand for your house so it isn’t sitting on the ground and hard for viewers to see.