When hiking our trails, don’t forget to bring insect repellent

In Massachusetts, mosquitoes can give you eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus or West Nile virus (WNV).  Today’s Sun Chronicle reports that West Nile Virus has been detected in mosquitoes in Attleboro.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, there are simple steps that you can take to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites, and the illnesses they can cause.

Protect yourself from illness by doing simple things:

  • Use insect repellents any time you are outdoors
  • Wear long-sleeved clothing
  • Schedule outdoor activities to avoid the hours from dusk to dawn during peak mosquito season
  • Repair damaged window and door screens
  • Remove standing water from the areas around your home

More information is available here.

Walking the boundaries at the Nickerson Walking Woods Preserve

On Saturday, March 7, 2020, a group of volunteers walked the boundaries of the Nickerson Walking Woods Preserve.  The purpose of the walk was to inspect the condition of the preserve, check for any encroachment of the boundaries, and find existing boundary markers.  From the parking area on Richardson Avenue, we headed for the far corners of the property.

   
A snowfall the previous night had added a sparkle to the landscape.

 

After crossing the power line easement, we found a steel pipe marking the SE corner of Nickerson Walking Woods Preserve.  This point is on the town line between Attleboro and Norton.

 

We placed a witness post near the pipe to make it easier to find next time.

 

The pipe is at the end of this stone wall.

 

We added a sign with our visitor regulations.

 

We walked the entire length of the power line easement from south to north.

 

We put up another regulation sign at the edge of the power line along our northern boundary.

 

Thanks to all who attended the walk!

Boundary Walks on March 14 and 21 are cancelled

A series of boundary walks was planned for the first three Saturdays in March, weather permitting.  The purpose of boundary walks is to maintain signs and markers along the boundaries and to check for encroachment.

The first boundary walk was held at the Nickerson Walking Woods Preserve, 221 Richardson Avenue, on Saturday, March 7.

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.

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.

Behold the Beauty of Trees on September 14

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.

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.

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