A spot of mid-winter color

Even in the middle of winter, an observant hiker can be rewarded with a spot of color while walking on one of the Attleboro Land Trust’s nature preserves.  This is British Soldier lichen, Cladonia cristatella, photographed in February, 2007, at the Nickerson Walking Woods Preserve.  The species gets its name because of the red caps that are a reminder of the red coats worn by British soldiers at the time of the American Revolution.

Like many lichen, this lichen is actually a combination of fungus and algae living in a symbiotic relationship.  The fungus provides structure for the algae, while the algae turns sunlight into food which is shared with the fungus.  The red caps contain reproductive spores.

A most agreeable feathered favourite

Visitors to the Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve will notice something new:  six birdhouses designed specifically for Eastern Bluebirds.  This beautiful bird migrates south for the winter and returns in the spring.  The birdhouses were made by Scout Eric Carey in 2014 as part of an Eagle project and placed in the meadow at the Nickerson Walking Woods Preserve.  However, not many bluebirds took residence in them.

This year we decided to move the birdhouses to the Upper and Lower Hayfields at the Richardson Preserve, where bluebirds are more common.  (Thanks to the volunteers who made this happen!).


Male Eastern Bluebird – Photo by Lee R. DeHaan

John J. Audubon wrote admiringly of the bluebird as follows:  “It adds to the delight imparted by spring, and enlivens the dull days of winter. Full of innocent vivacity, warbling its ever pleasing notes, and familiar as any bird can be in its natural freedom, it is one of the most agreeable of our feathered favourites.”

Earth Week Activities for Families

Earth Day is normally celebrated on April 22nd.  The Attleboro Land Trust will be stretching its observance into an “Earth Week” with free activities for families from April 19th to 23rd.  The activities will be geared to children aged 6 to 13, but all ages are welcome. All children must be accompanied by an adult for the entire duration of the event.

Three time slots will be available on each day of Earth Week. The time slots are 11am-12:15pm, 12:30pm-1:45pm and 2pm-3:15pm. Click on one of the links below to sign up for an activity at your chosen time.

Monday, April 19: “Slow Down and Look Around #1” Discover the natural features that exist right in your backyard with this nature scavenger hunt. (Nickerson Walking Woods Preserve) SIGN_UP

Tuesday, April 20: “How Curious Are You?”  Learn to see nature through the eyes of a curious naturalist while gathering nature items. (Larson Woodland) SIGN_UP

Wednesday, April 21: “Letting Nature Inspire Your Art” Focus on the beauty around you and create your own artwork with materials obtained from nature along with provided materials. (Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve) SIGN_UP

Thursday, April 22: “Slow Down and Look Around #2” Discover the natural features that exist right in your backyard with this nature scavenger hunt. (Nickerson Walking Woods Preserve) SIGN_UP

Friday, April 23: “Can you Identify these Trees/Plants?” Practice and learn how to identify certain types of trees and plants found in these areas. (Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve) SIGN_UP

For more information or questions, contact Evan Foster at evanfosterALT@gmail.com.

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