ALT Receives a $10,000 Grant from the Woodard & Curran Foundation

The Attleboro Land Trust is pleased to announce that we have received a $10,000 Giving While Living Grant from the Woodard & Curran Foundation, whose mission is to support nonprofit organizations that work locally to protect our environment, with a special focus on water resources.  We are one of 10 non-profits receiving grants out of 35 organizations nominated.  There is no application process, and we did not know we were one of the nominees.

The ALT will use the funds to study and protect the Anthony Lawrence Wildlife Preserve in South Attleboro.  The 59-acre Preserve, most of which was donated by Anthony Lawrence in 1994, includes a stretch of the Seven Mile River which winds through a pristine open marsh.  Grant money will be used initially to support a scientific study of the Preserve’s ecosystem, and then to address any needs identified.

The study, “A Year in the Life of the Lawrence Preserve,” has just been launched and will continue for one year.  Jessie Knowlton, Associate Professor of Biology at Wheaton College, is leading the study and a group of Wheaton students are working under her direction.  We have also invited members of the public to participate in the study as Volunteer Observers.  This will be a direct educational benefit to those children and adults who participate, as well as providing additional observational data for inclusion in the study.

The ALT was nominated for this grant by Sherri Peak-Palermo, an Attleboro resident who works at the Providence office of Woodard & Curran, an environmental consulting firm.  The Woodard & Curran Foundation is supported by donations from the firm and its employees.

We are honored to have been chosen as a grant recipient, and grateful to be able to devote funds toward enhancing the preservation of one of our most pristine properties.

Guided Walk Postponed to Sunday July 7 at 1:00 pm

The Attleboro Land Trust invites you to participate in “A Year in the Life of the Lawrence Preserve”, a one-year scientific study of the Anthony Lawrence Wildlife Preserve.  Jessie Knowlton, Associate Professor of Biology at Wheaton College, will lead the study and provide guidance to participants.

Volunteer Observers will be asked to visit the Preserve on their own at least once in each of the four seasons and to report what plants and animals they observe.  These reports may include notes, sketches, photographs, and audio or video recordings.  The volunteer reports will be collected every three months and combined with the observations of Professor Knowlton and her students.  The data will then be reviewed, summarized, and made available to the public.

At the conclusion of the study, a final report will include recommendations for maintaining and protecting the Preserve’s ecosystem, and for engaging the public in stewardship of the property.

If you or your child would like to be a Volunteer Observer, you may sign up by email to, or by using the online sign-up form on this website.  If you are under 18, you must have an adult partner to accompany you on your site visits and to co-sign your application.  A guided walk for Volunteer Observers will be led by Professor Knowlton at the Lawrence Preserve on Sunday, July 7 at 1:00 pm.  Any schedule changes will be posted on this website.  

If you are undecided about becoming a Volunteer Observer, you may attend the guided walk to find out more before deciding whether to sign up.  Just let us know that you will be attending by emailing

This project is made possible by a Giving While Living Grant from the Woodard & Curran Foundation.

Meet Woody the Beech Tree

For those of you who did not attend the Family Tree Day and meet Woody the Talking Beech Tree, you can still see Woody by walking to the end of the Beech Point trail at the O’Donnell Nature Preserve on Bishop Street.  Parking is available at Finberg Field.

Here is a recording of what Woody said on Family Tree Day.


“My name is Woodrow, but you can call me Woody.  That’s what my friends call me.  We trees don’t normally talk like humans.  Sometimes you can hear us whisper, with a little help from the wind.”


“You may have noticed that we Beech trees love to show off.  When you walk through the woods in the middle of winter you’ll notice that all of the other trees have dropped their leaves on the ground–well, except for a few oaks.  But it’s us well-dressed Beech trees that stand out in the forests of New England, our leaves tinted beige as the winter light passes through them.”


“When I reach old age, my bark becomes brittle, and my branches are bare, I may remain standing for years, providing shelter for a woodpecker looking for a place to carve out a home and raise a family.”

Pileated Woodpecker

This photo was taken at the Vaughan Memorial Forest on April 21, 2023, by ALT board member and devoted birder Bob McKetchnie.

For much more about this amazing bird, check out this YouTube video:

A spot of mid-winter color

Even in the middle of winter, an observant hiker can be rewarded with a spot of color while walking on one of the Attleboro Land Trust’s nature preserves.  This is British Soldier lichen, Cladonia cristatella, photographed in February, 2007, at the Nickerson Walking Woods Preserve.  The species gets its name because of the red caps that are a reminder of the red coats worn by British soldiers at the time of the American Revolution.

Like many lichen, this lichen is actually a combination of fungus and algae living in a symbiotic relationship.  The fungus provides structure for the algae, while the algae turns sunlight into food which is shared with the fungus.  The red caps contain reproductive spores.

Timing Is Everything: A Talk by Climate Scientist Tara K. Miller

Climate science tells us that spring is arriving earlier than it used to. Wild plants and animals follow nature’s clock as they move through annual cycles of migration and reproduction. Climate change is changing the timing of some of these cycles, and disrupting the interdependent web of nature.

Tara K. Miller

Our guest speaker at this year’s annual meeting, climate scientist Tara K. Miller, will share some of the latest research on this topic, describing how some of the plants and animals that populate our bioregion are no longer in sync with each other, and what that means for our future.

The 2021 Annual Meeting of the Attleboro Land Trust will be on Tuesday, November 16th, at 7:00 pm via Zoom and is open to the public. The Zoom link is:

Meeting ID: 853 2241 7648 Passcode: 572462
Audio Only +16465588656,,85322417648#,,,,*572462#

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.”

Earth Week Activities for Families

Earth Day is normally celebrated on April 22nd.  The Attleboro Land Trust will be stretching its observance into an “Earth Week” with free activities for families from April 19th to 23rd.  The activities will be geared to children aged 6 to 13, but all ages are welcome. All children must be accompanied by an adult for the entire duration of the event.

Three time slots will be available on each day of Earth Week. The time slots are 11am-12:15pm, 12:30pm-1:45pm and 2pm-3:15pm. Click on one of the links below to sign up for an activity at your chosen time.

Monday, April 19: “Slow Down and Look Around #1” Discover the natural features that exist right in your backyard with this nature scavenger hunt. (Nickerson Walking Woods Preserve) SIGN_UP

Tuesday, April 20: “How Curious Are You?”  Learn to see nature through the eyes of a curious naturalist while gathering nature items. (Larson Woodland) SIGN_UP

Wednesday, April 21: “Letting Nature Inspire Your Art” Focus on the beauty around you and create your own artwork with materials obtained from nature along with provided materials. (Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve) SIGN_UP

Thursday, April 22: “Slow Down and Look Around #2” Discover the natural features that exist right in your backyard with this nature scavenger hunt. (Nickerson Walking Woods Preserve) SIGN_UP

Friday, April 23: “Can you Identify these Trees/Plants?” Practice and learn how to identify certain types of trees and plants found in these areas. (Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve) SIGN_UP

For more information or questions, contact Evan Foster at

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.