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.

 

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.

Work Party on August 17 at Anthony Lawrence Wildlife Preserve

Volunteers are needed on Saturday, August 17, from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon to help clear brush along trails at the Anthony Lawrence Wildlife Preserve, located at the end of Hope Avenue off Newport Avenue. This gem of a preserve includes a pristine marsh along the Seven Mile River. Bring loppers and other brush cutting tools if you have them. Work gloves are recommended, along with long sleeve shirts, long pants, and socks for protection from poison ivy and insects. If you can bring a lawn mower or weed wacker, please let us know. Feel free to attend for just an hour or two as your schedule allows.

Proceeding on Route 123 west you will pass the South Attleboro American Legion on your right. Hope Avenue is the next left. Park on the right side of the street as you approach the end of Hope Avenue. Please try to avoid blocking any of the neighbors’ mailboxes. Rain date: Saturday, August 24.

Get to Know Your Watershed on August 10

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.

Guided Walk on July 13: The History of Barrows Farm

Guided Walk:  The History of Barrows Farm
Location:  Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve, 577B Wilmarth Street, Attleboro
Time:  9:00 – 10:30 am, Saturday, July 13 (Rain date: July 20)
The Attleboro Land Trust is sponsoring a series of guided walks at its nature preserves in Attleboro.  The first, at the Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve, will be a journey back to colonial times, when the Barrows family lived off the land through farming and the manufacture of wood products.  Leading the walk will be Bill Lewis, who will point out evidence of the various activities which once took place on the land.
The Barrows House, built in 1708, still stands on the Richardson Preserve.  Note:  The guided walk will not include the interior of the house.
See 2019 ALT Guided Walks – Flyer for information on the complete series of guided walks.

Sensata Team Makes a Difference at Richardson Preserve

A team of Sensata employees returned to the Richardson Preserve on May 23 to install 270 linear feet of split-rail fencing.  This completes a boundary fencing project begun by the same team last year.

The Attleboro Land Trust appreciates the hard work of Sensata employees Tom Simbron, Tyler Hanna, and Harshad Tadas in completing our fencing project and the commitment of
the Sensata Corporation in making projects like this possible.    Image credit: C. Adler

Sensata employees completed the final phase of a boundary fencing project on May 23.    Image credit: C. Adler

The Attleboro Conservation Commission provided funds to purchase the materials for this project.  Generous support was also received from National Fence of Attleboro and Liston Portables.

Thoreau’s Journals Provide a Wealth of Data for Climate Scientists

Spring is coming earlier than it did in the  nineteenth century, a scientific study has found.  One of the indicators of spring is the blossoming of trees and flowers.  Author, naturalist, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau was deeply interested in the unfolding of the seasons.  On his daily walks in Concord,  Massachusetts, he took notes whenever he observed such seasonal changes.  He wrote in his journal “I often visited a particular plant four or five miles distant, half a dozen times within a fortnight [2 weeks], that I might  know exactly when it opened.”  An entry on May 5, 1855, notes “High blueberry beg[in] to leaf in some places yesterday.”

Highbush blueberry in bloom at the Colman Reservation    Image credit: C Adler

Biologist Richard Primack has mined Thoreau’s journals for these observations and compared them with current data.  In 2010, for example, highbush blueberry first flowered in Concord on April 7.  Comparing 32 plants from Thoreau’s time to today, Primack found the first flowering dates were now occurring an average of 11 days earlier.  According to a United Nations panel, human activity has caused average global temperatures to increase 1.0 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.  In Concord, a suburb of Boston, the increase has been at least 2.0 degrees Celsius because of the “heat island” effect of dense development, pavement, and energy use compared to rural areas.  Plants are responding to this warming by blooming earlier.

A page from Thoreau’s Journal, May 5, 1855

 

Birds that migrate long distances, such as this Great Crested Flycatcher, have not adjusted their schedules to stay in sync with the earlier arrival of spring in Massachusetts.    Image credit: C Adler

In recent studies, Primack has found evidence that insect populations shift their schedules in sync with the plants they feed on, which is not surprising.  However, the arrival of birds who winter in the tropics has not, on average, shown much of a shift.  As a result, one of the consequences of climate change may be a mismatch between bird populations and the availability of the insects they feed on.  In 1852, Thoreau voiced a similar awareness of the importance of climate in the circle of life, noting that an unusually long winter could have deadly consequences for returning birds.  But he did not foresee the steady retreat of winter that we now face.

Volunteers Needed for Ten Mile River Clean-Up

The city’s 13th annual Ten Mile River Clean-Up will be held from 8 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 4, rain or shine.

Volunteers are needed to help clean up along the river banks and walking trails.

Sign-up will be at the Community Garden on Riverbank Road, just off Hayward Street. Trash bags will be available.

Free refreshments will be supplied by Dunkin Donuts.

Sponsors include Mayor Paul Heroux, the Attleboro Land Trust, the Conservation Commission, Friends of the Ten Mile River, and Dunkin Donuts.

Volunteers and groups can sign up on the day of the clean-up.

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

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