Announcing Hike Attleboro Day

The City of Attleboro, Attleboro Land Trust and Mass Audubon invite you to celebrate the City’s green spaces, public trails and special places on Saturday, July 17th at the first annual Hike Attleboro Day celebration. This fun and free community event is open to all, and encourages residents of all ages and abilities to get outdoors to explore and enjoy Attleboro’s miles of available trails. The Deborah and Roger Richardson Preserve, located at 577B Wilmarth Street, will serve as the event’s home base from 9am to 3pm and will offer a variety of Hike Attleboro community, wellness and conservation partner displays and activities for all to enjoy.

Event details can be found online at www.hikeattleboro.org and include a fun Selfie Scavenger Hunt, with points of interest that encourage participants to walk a variety of trails and post their selfies on social media using the #hikeattleboroday hashtag. Rain date for the event is Sunday, July 18th.

Selfie Scavenger Hunt Locations Revealed!

Visit: Hike Attleboro Day Selfie Scavenger Hunt – HIKE ATTLEBORO

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.”

In Memoriam: Don Ouellette

Don Ouellette, a longtime advocate for the environment in Attleboro, passed away on January 26 after a long illness. Don served on the 2002 Open Space and Recreation Plan Committee, Ducks Unlimited, the board of the Attleboro Land Trust, and the Conservation Commission.

While Don and his wife Laura had been members and supporters of the land trust going back to at least 1997, Don was first elected to the Board of Directors in 2010. He became Chair of Land Acquisition later that year, serving in that position until 2017. He also served as Vice President from 2011 to 2016. Under Don’s leadership as acquisition chair, the land trust had a long string of successes in protecting additional land in the city. Nine properties totalling 197 acres were acquired and another 80 acres were put under a conservation restriction.

Don was perhaps proudest of the acquisition of the 63-acre Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve. This was by far the most complicated project in ALT history, requiring teams from the City, Mass Audubon, the ALT, and the Richardson family all working together to cross the finish line.

Charlie Wyman, Ted Leach, Don Ouellette, and Lauren Gordon on a 2014 site visit to what was to become the Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve.    Image credit: C. Adler

Don also left his mark on the partnership that has formed to promote Attleboro as an attractive place to live, work, play, and go hiking. Past ALT president Ted Leach, who launched the partnership, credits Don with coming up its slogan: “Hike Attleboro.” As Ted recalls, “Don suggested it during a meeting at City Hall with Mayor Kevin Dumas. It was an immediate hit with all present.”

We will remember Don, not only for his dedicated service to the land trust, but also for the personal warmth and enthusiasm he brought to his every endeavor.

A Winter Choir – Blog Post #1

A Winter Choir

Japanese Umbrella Pine.    Image credit: Evan Foster

The heavy snowflakes gracefully fell from the sky but quickly dissipated into liquid the moment they touched my bright, orange jacket. The individual snowflakes that found their home on me were no match against the heat emanating from my body, but the ground beneath my feet was a different story. Most snowflakes swirled past my jacket full of energy almost as if they were squealing with glee as they rode the air towards the ground. They nestled and nuzzled with the other sparkles of light until they formed a blank, white sheet of snow, an almost perfect white. My brown, ragged pair of boots looked odd against the white of the snow, and yet my boot was accepted by the snow with each step that it took. The snow sank and creaked as I walked past the Japanese Umbrella Pine and into Deborah’s Garden. I wondered to myself what those creaks meant. Were the snowflakes all talking… were they trying to talk to me?

A fairy house next to the boardwalk covered in snow.    Image credit: Evan Foster

This thought was quick and fleeting as a loud groan came from a nearby tree. The wind whistled as it blew through the branches and rocked the large tree trunks. The trees complimented each other as the groans echoed throughout the forest. I soon found myself traversing on the snowy boardwalk that snaked through the wetlands. With snowflakes still falling all around me, I pushed forward along the path but something new was emerging: a flap and a chirp. It was an effortless note caught and replicated from one bird to another. My ears perked up with every chirp that came from the remaining few birds that stayed for the winter.

A snowy tree in the woods of Richardson Preserve.    Image credit: Evan Foster

I emerged from the forest past the final trees and into the lower hayfield where I saw the full display of the winter flurries. There was a white sheet in front of me that made it difficult to see to the other side. My head remained down to avoid the snow hitting my eyes and to keep my vulnerable face from getting too cold. I wondered to myself; how do the birds fly in this? I wondered if their instincts take over and guide them to where they feel they should be or if it was something else. I wished to myself that I could find the answers by simply asking the birds.

The field echoed and amplified the sounds around me, and I soon found myself caught in a chorus of a song. There was a choir out there: the chirps from the birds, the groans from the trees, the creaks from the snow and the squeals from the snowflakes. This song filled my head and carried me home with the answers that I had longed for.

Construction underway at the Richardson Preserve

Construction of a gravel parking lot near the street at the Richardson Nature Preserve has been in the planning stages for several years, and has now begun. Cryan Landscape Contractors are doing the work.  The plans have been approved by the Attleboro Conservation Commission and the lot will be similar to gravel lots at the Colman Reservation and the Nickerson Preserve.  This will solve the issue of cars getting stuck in the mud, as typically happens in early spring.

The main entrance to the preserve may be closed during construction.  Pedestrian access will still be available on Wilmarth Street about 200 yards east of the main entrance where the Vernal Pool trail enters the preserve.

We estimate the work will be completed by October 17.

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.

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.

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/.)

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.

 

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.