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.

Current Volunteer Requests

  1. Help us fill wet spots in the existing trails at the Nickerson Preserve
  2. Volunteers needed to mark our boundaries and post trail signs
  3. Helpers with graphics and editing skills needed for publicity
  4. Bookkeeper/accounting

We are an ALL-Volunteer operation.  Please contact Roy Belcher (serenade_w4@yahoo.com) if interested in learning more about volunteering.