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.

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.

 

 

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

Seasonal Changes Bring Colorful Displays to the Richardson Preserve

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.

 

The Glen at the Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve, April 25, 2019    Image credit: C. Adler

 

Pink Azalea bordering The Glen at the Richardson Preserve    Image credit: C. Adler

 

Skeletal tracery is all that remains from a clump of grass that ornamented Deborah’s Garden last fall.    Image credit: C. Adler

 

Ornamental grass in foreground at Deborah’s Garden, with Umbrella Pine (Sciadopitys verticillata) in the background    Image credit: C. Adler

 

Daffodils at the Richardson Preserve    Image credit: C. Adler

Landscaping with Native Plants

Grow Native Massachusetts, based in Waltham, is a great resource for anyone interested in gardening and landscaping with native plants.  They hold an evening lecture series every year from February to May at the Cambridge Public Library.  Videos of past lectures are available online.  They also have a plant sale coming up in Waltham on June 1, 2019.

Annual Survey Monitors the Health of the Ten Mile River and Its Inhabitants

On September 22, volunteers from the Ten Mile River Watershed Council assisted ranger Jacob Gorke of the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council of Rhode Island in conducting a survey of fish species in the Ten Mile River at Larson Woodland.

The fish are stunned temporarily with an electric shock, netted and removed to be identified, then released back to the river.  The survey is conducted annually.

Fish survey volunteers receiving their instructions.    Image credit: Keith Gonsalves

This is just one of many activities conducted year round by the Ten Mile River Watershed Council to promote and protect the river.  For more information, contact Keith Gonsalves Keith@tenmileriver.net.