Cleaning up after a storm

Severe winds have taken their toll on land trust properties in recent years, and we are surveying our lands now for any damage that might have been caused by Tropical Storm Isaias. Thanks to site steward Alan Henry, we already have one report of a downed tree blocking the Charlie Wyman Loop Trail on the Richardson Nature Preserve.  Volunteers will be clearing the trail in the next few days.

If you would like to help keep our conservation lands well managed, there are plenty of opportunities for volunteersContact us to find out more.

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.

A Grant with Fond Memories Attached

Applying for a grant is usually a laborious process, requiring pages of applications, documents, and financial statements.  Usually!  The Attleboro Land Trust recently received a $2000 grant that came to us through a different set of circumstances.

Enter Sherri Peak-Palermo, who works for Woodard & Curran, an environmental consulting firm with an office in Providence. The firm, together with its employees, has set up a foundation to support non-profit groups across the country in their efforts to protect the environment.

Sherri is the daughter-in-law of the late Paul Palermo, Sr., who passed away in 2019.  Palermo was widely-respected as the City of Attleboro’s electrical inspector, serving in that capacity for 30 years.  Sherri nominated the Attleboro Land Trust for the grant in memory of her father-in-law and in recognition of his love for the city.

Our thanks to the Woodard & Curran Foundation for this grant, and to Sherri for nominating us.  Stay tuned for more about the specific project on which these funds will be spent.

Attleboro Land Trust – Coronavirus Contingency Plans

If you were planning to attend or volunteer at one of our events, we understand that your plans might change, based on concerns about the coronavirus. By the same token, we may cancel some of our planned events and activities, out of an abundance of caution, or use various communication tools, rather than face-to-face meetings, to carry out our work. Any cancellations or updates to our scheduled activities will be announced on our website.

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!

Many help launch an invasive plant removal project at Larson Woodland

Invasive species are organisms that are not native to an area, that tend to spread and displace native species, and that have harmful consequences for the environment.  Invasive species include animals, plants, and even fungi.  In the twentieth century, diseases caused by non-native fungi–accidentally introduced in North America–devastated elm and chestnut trees.  Invasive gypsy moths have damaged many other local tree species.

Invasive trees and shrubs are common in our area and threaten to crowd out native plants–wreaking havoc with native ecosystems.  The Attleboro Land Trust has launched an invasive removal project focusing on Larson Woodland.  At four acres, this is one of our smaller nature preserves.  This will serve as a demonstration project, and we hope to apply lessons learned to our other preserves.

A survey of the preserve was conducted by Gary Krofta and Phil Boucher, resulting in a map identifying the invasive species to be targeted and their locations.  Longtime watershed protection advocate Don Doucette has been a key advisor.  The project was kicked off on Saturday, November 23.  Among the volunteers who pitched in was a contingent of Scouts from Attleboro Troop 15.

A good turnout of volunteers helped to remove invasive plant species at Larson Woodland on November 23, 2019.    Image credit: C. Adler

Oriental bittersweet was removed from the banks of the Ten Mile River near the spillway.  The bright red berries (once prized for their decorative value during the winter holidays) were bagged and will be burned to prevent propagation of new plants.

Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) is an invasive vine that originated in China.    Image credit: C. Adler

Some large non-native honeysuckle bushes along Riverbank Road were also removed.

Scouts from Troop 15 removing an invasive honeysuckle bush at Larson Woodland.    Image credit: C. Adler

Project work parties will continue in the spring.  Some of the other species to be targeted are buckthorn, purple loosestrife, and Norway maple.  We welcome more volunteers to help with the work.

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/.)