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.
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.
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.
Guided Walk: Beholding the Beauty of Trees
Location: Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve, 577B Wilmarth Street, Attleboro
Time: 9:00 – 10:30 am, Saturday, September 14 (Rain date: 1:00 pm, Sunday, September 15)
We sometimes take trees for granted, but they are part of the intricate web of life upon which we depend for our survival. Trees, in their infinite diversity and beauty also have the power to inspire. Join horticulturalist Phil Boucher on a walk through the Richardson Preserve, as he points out tree species that are native to the area, some invasive alien species, and some unique non-invasive species planted years ago by former resident Deborah Richardson.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.