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.

Volunteers Rake While the Sun Shines at Larson Woodland

It is impossible for the edge of Larson Woodland on Riverbank Road to absorb the huge amount of leaves that fall each year.  It takes a crew of volunteers to rake and remove the leaves in order to keep the edge of the woodland walkable.  Fortunately, a great group of volunteers answered the call on Friday, December 11, and the job was done.  The leaves were used to help control erosion on a slope facing the Ten Mile River.

Thanks to everyone who helped in this annual effort.

Announcing an opportunity to serve with Americorps in Attleboro

TerraCorps, an AmeriCorps-affiliated environmental nonprofit, has selected the Attleboro Land Trust as a partner for the 2020-21 TerraCorps program year. This partnership will allow the Attleboro Land Trust to host one “Land Stewardship/Community Engagement Coordinator” in a full-time 8-month service position from December 2020 to July 2021.

TerraCorps members serve communities by developing local partnerships, leading activities, and engaging with volunteers. Members have the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience and receive professional development training and mentorship. As part of AmeriCorps, members also receive a living allowance, and are eligible for healthcare coverage, childcare coverage, loan forbearance, and an education award.

The Attleboro Land Trust’s member will focus on (1) activities to enhance and protect the 492 acres of conservation land under its care and (2) engagement with the public to increase awareness of and involvement with the land trust’s mission across all sectors of the community.

To apply for this position, visit terracorps.org.  For questions about serving with TerraCorps, contact Lianna Lee (admin@terracorps.org). For more about the TerraCorps position in Attleboro, contact Charlie Adler (attleborolandtrust@gmail.com).

31st Annual Meeting on November 17

Save the date–the public is invited

November 17th 7:00 pm via Zoom

This year’s guests promise an expert’s look at the past 30 years of land conservation, contrasted with an exploration of what the future holds for the local environment.

Our guests are uniquely qualified to guide us on this quest.  They are:

  • Charlie Wyman, former land preservation specialist with the Massachusetts Audubon Society,
  • the Honorable Mayor of the City of Attleboro, Paul Heroux, and
  • moderating their online discussion about our environmental future will be renowned educator and talk show host, Ron Struminski.

We’ll also be recognizing some of our dedicated volunteers who have kept the Land Trust moving forward in spite of the pandemic and letting our members in on some hot news about upcoming activities and projects.

Please plan to zoom in.  The Zoom invitation is posted below:

###############################

Topic: ALT 31st Annual Meeting
Time: Nov 17, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

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Meeting ID: 890 2994 3713
Passcode: 719575
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Fishing for Answers at Larson Woodland

Staff and volunteers from the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council in Rhode Island paid a visit to the Attleboro Land Trust’s Larson Woodland on September 17 to take a census of fish species in the Ten Mile River.  They came at the invitation of Keith Gonsalves of the Ten Mile River Watershed Council.  Keith has long been concerned about the health of the river and its inhabitants and has been arranging these scientific surveys annually for a number of years to monitor the river’s condition.

Volunteers helped collect the fish, using a device which temporarily stuns the fish with a slight electric shock.  The fish are counted and measured, then returned unharmed to the river.

 

In this video clip, ranger Jacob Gorke measures a baby largemouth bass.

 

This is a Yellow Bullhead Catfish.

 

Other species found in the river were Golden shiner, Tesselated darter, Pumpkin seed, Bluegill, Redfin pickerel, Crawfish, and Chain pickerel.

Be like Sisyphus

As noted in a previous post, the Attleboro Land Trust is participating in the annual Big Read program of the Attleboro Public Library.  This year, the entire community is reading the book Circe, a story about Greek gods and goddesses by Madeline Miller.

If you are visiting the Phil and Ginny Leach Wildlife Sanctuary to do the Virtual Mythology Scavenger Hunt, be sure to visit Big Rock before you leave.  This glacial boulder serves as a reminder of Sisyphus, a character from Greek mythology not mentioned in the book.  Sisyphus was a dishonest and greedy king who was punished by being forced to roll a huge boulder up a hill, over and over again for eternity.  Whenever Sisyphus got to the top of the hill, the boulder would roll down again.

We invite you to take a selfie with Big Rock and post it on our Facebook page or send it to us.

Virtual Mythology “G-Odyssey” Scavenger Hunt

The Attleboro Land Trust is again hosting an activity for families as part of the annual Big Read program of the Attleboro Public Library.  This year, the entire community is reading the book Circe by Madeline Miller.  The activity is a Scavenger Hunt to find hidden gods and goddesses from the book using the free GooseChase EDU smartphone app.  You may participate in this activity on your own schedule from dawn to dusk today through October 18 at the Phil and Ginny Leach Wildlife Sanctuary.

On your smartphone, go to your app store and search for GooseChase. Download and open the app.  You can “Play as Guest” without needing to open a new account.  Search for “Circe” and you will find the Circe Mythology G-Odyssey Scavenger Hunt.

You will be asked to name your team, but it is OK if you are just one.  Follow the directions and enjoy the game.

Here is a map if you need it:  Leach Sanctuary Trail Map

(This event was originally going to be at the Richardson Nature Preserve, but that site is not available due to a construction project.)

 

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.