Linda Pease, Conservation Chair
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All members welcomed. Help us plan and lead events in RI and out of state, “hands on” or with naturalist, foresters, experts in energy, water, wild life, gardening, marine life, recycling and more. Learn about more about RI’s conservation diversity. Help make RI a clean energy star. Share your own “natural interests.We work at communicating new, interesting and useful information for improving the RI and national environments. Join us and help develop stimulating new programs for 2011. Contact Linda Pease, Conservation Chair for time and location of next meeting.
On Feb 18th the Conservation Committee held an informative presentation by Charlie Brown, US Fish & Wildlife biologist. The most important thing we learned was if you have bats in your house or anywhere on your property - KEEP YOUR BAT. Why? Because you don't really know whether you've come in contact with it or them, they leave very tiny bites and you don't know who else or what else they've been in contact with. Charlie told of an incident where someone at Kennedy Plaza had a bat and didn't know what to do with it. A URI student was taking the bus to Kingston and took the bat the school in a bag. He was a biology student and he exposed an entire class. The bat got loose, and escaped through a window. The Health Department considers anyone coming into any type of contact with a bat has been exposed even if they're sure they weren't touched. The class all got shots. It was a needless expense of your tax dollars. They would have liked to find out who at Kennedy Plaza was exposed. Bottom line, once you've got a bat, KEEP YOUR BAT until animal control or the Health Department arrives. They need to run tests on the bat to determine whether it has rabies and can't do that without the bat. How do I keep my bat? If it's in a room, shut the door and leave it there even if you have to sleep on the couch. They will usually hide behind curtains. If it's somewhere else, call the health department or your local animal control officer for instructions.
Another thing we learned was the bat population is being decimated by white nose disease, a fungus. Bats are important to agriculture since they eat so many bugs. They are important to the environment in many ways and we need to do what we can to protect their habitats. We learned a lot more about bats, but you had to be there.
Linda Pease, Conservation Chair
Flowers you know * Flowers you love * Flowers you can track! Have you ever noticed flowers on the trail when you are on a hike or bike ride? If so then you are qualified to help our scientists with a very important task – finding flowers then reporting when and where you saw them. Read more...
Working together for a greener plant. -- Fun outdoor event in Narragansett organized by EPA to renew focus on education, sustainable practices in every day life, and respect for the environment. Interactive displays and informal workshops. All welcome. More info in next Gazette.<
Being presented by the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, this day of events includes an excellent speaker and thirty interesting seminars relating to land, including gardens, and water issues, 200-300 attend. Meet everyone who is involved with land & water. Cost about $40 including very good breakfast and lunch. Held in March each year for the leaders of community-based conservation organizations and local governments. The 2011 Summit will be held on Saturday March 26, 2011 at the URI Memorial Union. Save the date! Visit the Materials from Past Summits page to download presentations and related materials from past summits. More information and contacts.
Become a Rhode Island Tree Steward
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From the start it was rainy off and on, but a few of us decided
to show up early to see how the tree council organized the event
and to help out if needed. In our announcement we advised that it would be canceled if it was raining. We did not expect other AMC people to attend. However, once the trees are set out, they need to be planted,
rain or shine. We were quite impressed; the holes were dug, the trees, ten footers in 5 gallon containers, were next to the holes, two bags of mulch were standing by, wheel barrows were available to bring loam to enrich the sandy holes, shovels and rakes were at hand. There were even plastic collars to protect the lower trunks from being nibbled by rodents.
We were organized into seven groups of four people. The other guys in our group were all burly landscape and tree removal professionals on their day off. We were off and running, those guys worked fast, it rained about 10 minutes every hour, no big deal. In two hours we planted about 16 trees. We looked around, there were no trees left to plant. The other groups were also finishing up. We were all damp in our rain coats, but it was warm, and we were moving and comfortable.
John Campanelli, former Chief Forester, Providence and President of the Tree Council, expressed the councils appreciation for the AMC effort. We congratulated him on leading a perfectly organized project. It was lots of fun and a pleasure to work hard, learn more about trees and complete the job in good time. We hope that many of you will be able to join the tree planting next year. It will give you a nice green feeling. (JS)
View photos of the crews.
Another seal watch at Rome Point, in Wickford. Compared to previous Spring Seal walks which have been cold with snow on the ground, this one was on an exceptional day with the temperature reaching the high 60's. Jack Schempp organized the walk and was accompanied by Bob Kenney from URI Department of Oceanography. This year only about 5 seals were seen. It appears that while during the week many more seals haul out on the rocks, on weekends the noise and people congregating on the beach make the seals much more cautious. It was reported that from 60 to 100 seals had been seen during some weekdays in the previous weeks. The distance from the rocks to the beach is only about 1500 ft. Bob talked about the seal habitat and Jack gave a short history of the Rome Point land. (Photos by Mike Krabach)
View photos of the walk.
After a much delayed schedule due to winter condtions earlier in the season, a beautiful Spring day developed for a hike and tour of the Scituate Reservoir lead by Roger Blodgett of the Providence Water Supply Board. About 50 people turned out for the hike and tour, the largest attendance for a local hikes that we can recall. A forester by training, Roger gave a most interesting presentation with photos and maps of the history and changes that has occurred in the reservoir region. Normally the reservoir area is off bounds for hikers, but this opportunity allowed us to access the land while and observe many details that we would not normally have access to. The reservoir supplies about 60% of the State's population with water. One of the major personalities in the area was the Joslin Family that owned many of the mills in the State at the time the reservoir was obtained by eminate domain. During the hike we went to the site of the recent Joslin Farm, now the site of land reclaimation, which in the interviening years has been overgrown with brush and trees. A federal grant is allowing the land to be cleaned and replanted with native fauna to encourage wildlife to return. It is hoped that many of the birds that have been pushed out by development (too many green lawns) and returning trees, will return and multiply. (Photos by John Feather)
View photos of the hike.
A weekend for the 2008 Annual RI Sustainable Living Festival & Clean Energy Expo. (www.livingfest.org). After parking at a local elementary school, the biodiesel school bus (on twisty one lane backwoods roads no less) shuttled people to and from the Apeiron property. Vendors, displays, and workshops provided information on all thing related. There were workshops on renewable energy, gardening, bicycle commuting, fuel cells, wind power and countless other topics. Over 70 vendors, from Adler's Hardware to Xango were on hand on answer questions and give out information. Music was provided by 12 musical groups including both folk and rock. Below are a few photos showing some of the activities. (MK)
View photos of the festival
The Chapter Earth Day Clean Up at Colt State Park achieved sparkling results. Vice Chair Tom Eagan directed five enthusiastic local high school girls in clearing the tidal river area while Tom Freeman, Bob Sumner-Mack, Jean McCormack and a few residents picked up the shore front and the picnic areas. The peninsula clean up, about 30 bags, was completed in record time. Regretably, we did not have people to work on the larger landside picnic areas. It was a perfect sunny and breezy day.
We hope to have enough workers to clean up the entire park next year. With the lastest layoffs by the DEM, this giant park now has a staff of only 3 people. (JS)
View Photos of the Cleanup
Conservation Events 2007
Roger Williams Park Botanical Garden Complex Guided Tour, Nov. 10, 2007
The new Botanical Garden Complex recently opened at Roger Williams Park. The new 12,000 ft greenhouse is the largest in New England. The tour introduced the group to a variety of exotic plants, beautiful flowers and even a collection of carniverous plants. The photos show some of the unusual and beautiful plants. A wonderful place to spend a warm afternoon on a chilly day.
View Photos of the Gardens
Ken Weber, Providence Journal Nature Columnist, took us on a walk to his favorite beaver colony in Coventry. The trip was organized by Barbara Flagg and Patty D'Ambra. Ken discussed the beavers natural ability to construct dams which transforms streams into ponds and swamps. Three dams were examined. The first pond dam had been abandoned by beavers and reverted to a semi-permanant dam. The second pond was behind a two foot dam that has flooded a coventry town road. This large pond, a tributary to the Moosup River, has backed up so that a third upstream beaver dam is less than a foot higher. A most interesting object was the huge beaver lodge in the main pond.
View photos of the Beaver Ponds.
AMC Members and friends spruced up three parks and collected obsolete computers for recycling during the Earth Day period. Chris Shafer and Henry Cruciani lead an AMC-REI team of 30 in building board walks and removing debris in Barrington Memorial Park. Barbara Flagg, Jack Schempp headed a productive group, a mix of AMC and Roger Williams U. international members, who restored the appearance of a section of Colt State Park. Their work commended by the Providence Journal in a story featuring Barbara's comments. On Earth Day, 10 AMC members, a squad from Bryant University and a neighborhood group installed earthen stairs and water bars at Neutaconkanut Park under the tutelage of Chris Shafer. The work will reduce erosion of a scenic trail, a step in the restoration of a park offering great views. Meanwhile, Leader Linda Pease created an AMC obsolete computer recycling station-trailhead at the Johnston landfill and followed up with a hike though the mysterious Snake Den Park. Participants enjoyed good weather, interesting work, new friendships and the satisfaction of improving recreational open space. JS LP
For many years a working dairy, Phillips Wheeler's Birchwold Farm now provides 129 acres of conservation and passive recreation opportunities. Located in Sheldonville, Massachusetts, its features include the large open field visible from the road, as well as a pond, wetlands, hardwood groves, climbable rock ledges , a scenic overlook (Joe's Rock) and an abundance of flora and flauna. The 80 acre property was purchased by the Town of Wrentham in 1985, and an additional 49 acres has been added since. It also provides wildlife habitat as well as protection for the watershed for the Pawtucket Cumberland Reservoir.
View Photos of the Birchwold Conservation Area
The game was relaxation and we were no match for the 97 dozing seals stacked like cement bags in the sun on a chain of rocks off Rome point. Our naturalist Bob Kenney from URI Oceanography kept us wide awake as he turned questions into discussions. Our knowledge of seal migration habits, gulls, ducks, snail sex rituals, demolition of the old Jamestown Bridge and whales was greatly expanded. We all enjoyed being on the beach again. Seals should be available for viewing until the end of April. Bring a pair of 10 – 12 times magnification binoculars or you will not see them. They are almost the same color as the rocks. JS
View Photos of the Seal Walk
(telephoto images included)
The Apeiron house was designed by a team of experts in sustainable design and technologies, the house showcases more than fifty environmentally friendly systems, technologies, and products, including: passive and active solar energy systems, natural, recycled and non-toxic building materials and construction, straw-bale walls, radiant flooring, permaculture landscaping, and so forth. The Center's exhibits explain all the housing model's features, including how they differ from traditional systems, their cost-effectiveness, and their payback periods. The Center is open to the public.
View Photos of the Apeiron Tour
A fascinating documentation of a
major world threat, Al Gore’s widely acclaimed presentation,
“An Inconvenient Truth” was shown on Feb. 14
at Save the Bay, Providence. Paul Beaudette, Dir., National Wildlife
Federation, was on hand to answer questions at the close. Sponsored
by NWF, the Environment Council of RI, SavetheBay, AMC, the Sierra
Club, and the Audubon Society.
Save The Bay Advocacy Links
A presentation on Feb. 24
at the North Kingston (Wickford) Library. By Prof. John King, URI
Graduate School of Oceanography, discussed his research and noted
trends, and possible effects on our shores and our environment and
long term challenges.
Sea Level Rise Maps
Climate Change in the Northeast United States
The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change
On April 15, 2006, ten volunteers responding to a call by the Conservation Committee, helped clean up Colt State Park in Bristol. They received warm praise from Park Manager Walter Rocha for bagging an amazing volume of trash in 3 short hours. CL Barbara Flagg’s group demonstrated special talent in capturing old tires, while the second group became proficient in collecting beverage containers.
The Earth Day event, April 22, 2006, sponsored by Trails & Conservation Committees addressed enduring improvement of the Francis Carter Reservation in Charlestown, managed by The Nature Conservancy. A 70 ft boardwalk was constructed to span seasonal mud area and allow children, the elderly, and the handicapped to enjoy a scenic walking loop near the parking area. Thanks to the highly efficient planning of material/tools and step by step instruction from Leader Henry Cruciani, the group, mostly inexperienced volunteers, was able to complete this task in about three hours.
The accomplishments of the 26 AMC volunteers were notable. As an organization of 3000 members in Rhode Island, it is clear that AMC has much greater potential to improve RI Parks on future Earth Days.
Organized by Roseanne Evans and Linda Pease, the AMC was privy to a short lecture, May 13, 2006, on the new wind machine just installed at the Portsmouth Abby in Portsmouth, RI. Although it was a very rainy day, the wind was blowing about 15 mph which gave a very good impression of the slow speed of the blades and what little noise actually is heard. This is Rhode Islands largest windmill and is a good example of the potential for wind power in the Ocean State. The economics of windmills this large have come down to beable to compete with other non-renewable methods of power generation. Dr. Lefteri Pavlides of Roger Williams Univerity, gave a short talk on the system and the potential for an impact on the power in Rhode Island and the area. The possibility of more windmills for the area is being studied. There appears to be more support for windmills than had been expected. A good article on the Portsmouth windmill appeared in the Block Island Times on December 3, 2005. Hull Wind 2, has just been installed with three times the output at 1.8Mw.
View photos of the Portsmouth Abby tour.
"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children." -- Native American Proverb
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