If you’ve ever enjoyed wandering along a babbling brook, spotting migratory birds on their stop-over in the Ocean State, or bringing a picnic lunch to a nature preserve, it’s likely you have a local land trust to thank for protecting the piece of wilderness you’ve made a connection with. For such a tiny state, we have over 45 land trusts working to conserve areas for public use, and every fall, their usually behind-the-scenes efforts are on display for Rhode Island Land Trust Days.
“RI Land Trust Days began in 2012 as a way to highlight the beautiful open spaces that land trusts are protecting,” says Land Trust Days coordinator Virginia Streeter. “Every guided hike or walk is an opportunity to learn about conservation and land stewardship from the people doing that work.” From educational Scientific Strolls with the Watch Hill Conservancy to guided walks identifying nature along statewide trails, most programming is led by land trust staff and experts.
“There are also numerous health benefits, both physical and mental, to spending time outdoors,” shares Streeter. “In 2020 and 2021, our land trusts saw a significant increase in trail use, as more people sought out ‘COVID-safe’ activities. I know that for myself, spending time outdoors was crucial for dealing with the stress of that time.”
Rhode Island Land Trust Days kicked off August 25 and runs through the end of October. While new events will continue to be added to their calendar as details are confirmed, here’s what’s slated for this month at press time. Always dress for the weather and BYO bottle of water; registration information for each event can be found online at RILandTrusts.org.
Wednesday Walks at Norman Bird Sanctuary: Free guided hikes at 3:30pm offer opportunities to ID native plants and wildlife in Middletown, no
Casey Farm Market: Shop locally grown and produced goods at the Saunderstown farm every Saturday from 8:30am-12:30pm.
Watercolor Workshop at Casey Farm: Bring your own materials for a plein air watercolor demonstration capturing the seaside landscapes in Jamestown.
Environmental Festival and Artist Talk with Daniel Byers of Skyship Films: The Barrington Land Conservation Trust screens environmental films and documentaries.
Guided Hike at the DuVal Trail System with South Kingstown Land Trust: Fall foliage backdrops diverse habitats and historical stonewalls at this kid-friendly walk.
Fungal Foray with Westerly Land Trust: Join the fungal freaks of the RI Mycological Society exploring Wahaneeta Preserve and learning about mushrooms.
Hunts Mills Hike with the East Providence Conservation Commission: Coinciding with the monthly John Hunt House open house, this easy walk fascinates with history insights.
PIC-WIL Nature Preserve Walk with Barrington Land Conservation Trust: From forest and field to salt marsh and dunes, this all-ages hike has something for everyone.
Scientific Stroll – Bird Migration on Napatree: The Watch Hill Conservancy hosts a guided tour of this Globally Important Bird Area, led by a Napatree science advisor.
Guided Hike at Whipple Conservation Area with Coventry Land Trust: Refreshments and a raffle are part of the fun at this dog-friendly outing.
Johannis Farm Wildlife Preserve Walk with Barrington Land Conservation Trust: See sea level rise first hand trekking from woods to salt marshes.
Sowams Woods Walk with Barrington Land Conservation Trust: Autumnal hues reflect in the glistening water of Echo Lake, located on ancestral homelands of the Pokanokets.
Scientific Stroll – The Geology of Napatree: A Napatree science advisor tells the fascinating tale of the area’s geology and decade of stewardship.
Happy Owl-ween Celebration with Audubon Society of RI: With tricks and treats along the trail and owl presentations, bring the family to make a new spooky season tradition in Bristol.
Tillinghast Pond Conservation Area with The Nature Conservancy: Queer Hikes co-hosts a guided walk, with details still in the works at press time.
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