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.
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/.)
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.
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.
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 Conservation Commission provided funds to purchase the materials for this project. Generous support was also received from National Fence of Attleboro and Liston Portables.
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.
Bill Lewis got involved with the Deborah and Roger Richardson Preserve through serving as a site steward along with other members of the Attleboro Geocachers Alliance. After helping to repair the exterior of the Barrows House, his passion for history led him to dig deep into historical records for the property and the family that lived there for more than two centuries. Drawing on these records, as well as a general knowledge of how colonists were able to survive and prosper using the technology of the times, Bill has developed a detailed history of the Barrows House and farm.
He shared this story at a meeting of the Attleboro Historic Preservation Society on March 21. For a short interview with Bill, check out this YouTube clip by our local cable company, DoubleACS:
Although we thought we had completed the boardwalks at the Richardson Nature Preserve a year ago, last winter’s storms told a different story. You may remember that one storm took out the Wilmarth Street bridge over Chartley Brook. Freezing, thawing, and flooding all took their toll on one of our boardwalks. Repairs were made in the spring. On December 1, a volunteer crew completed additional work to raise the boardwalk by six inches. The crew consisted of (from left to right) Charlie Adler, Phil Boucher, Bruce Ingram, Bill Lewis, Dick Cheyne, and (not pictured) Russ Pray and Jim Keiper. Since then, further structural support has been added. We have our fingers crossed that we will get through this winter without any further difficulties. Mother Nature, of course, will have the last word!
Create a fairy house on your own and bring it to the Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve Preserve for set up and display at 9:00 am on Sunday, October 14. Or come later that day to enjoy the exhibit from 10:00 am through 12:00 noon. Either way you will have a chance to make and take a fairy garden at this event.
What are Fairy Houses? According to the Fairy House official website: “Fairy Houses are small structures for the fairies and woodland creatures. Ranging from simple to intricate ‘Fairy Mansions’, these whimsical habitats are built by children, families, gardeners and nature lovers reflecting their creativity, joy and pride.” Google “fairy houses” for images, ideas and instructions.
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.
To register, go to the event listing page. Click on the register link or call: 508-222-0157.
Attleboro Land Trust sponsored Big Read Event
9:00 am – 12:00 noon
Fairy House Exhibit
In the Glen and Deborah’s Garden
At Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve
577B Wilmarth Street, Attleboro