Introducing our New Executive Director

We are delighted to announce that Paul Miller has accepted our offer to become Executive Director for WLCT. Paul has a long career as a biologist working on various research and conservation projects in Florida, California, Louisiana, New Jersey, and New England. He worked extensively to monitor and protect the endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrow at the Kissimmee Prairie Preserve in Okeechobee, Florida. He also was Executive Director of The Island Heritage Trust in Deer Isle, Maine for over two years. He most recently worked with the Seekonk Land Trust as their Stewardship Coordinator. Paul brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to WLCT, which will help us as we strive to be responsible stewards of the properties in our care.

Paul is a native Rhode Islander and lived in Warren until his high school years. We are glad he found his way home again. He received his bachelor’s and Master’s in Environmental Science and Sustainable Natural Resource Management from Unity College in Maine. He lives in North Kingstown, RI with his wife Sue, a physician.

Join WLCT for our 2nd Annual Moonlight Bay Cruise

Mark your calendars!

Last summer’s Moonlight Cruise on Narragansett Bay was

a magical evening.

This year’s cruise – again on the Prudence Island Ferry – will be on

Wed, Aug 10, 2022

(rain date Thu, Aug 11).

Last year’s cruise was great fun and enjoyed by all including

Music! Dancing!
Beautiful sunset! & Exquisite Moonrise!

as we savored our picnics on the Prudence Island Ferry.

This year’s event is
the place to be!

Get your tickets now!

Spring Comes to Jacob’s Point and Haile Farm

WLCT members were busy this past weekend welcoming the spring season. We held a “Say Goodbye to Winter” walk at Jacob’s Point and successfully dodged the rain showers on Saturday. On Sunday, the Purple Martin Array was reinstalled at Jacob’s Point, and the volunteers who maintain the array and catalog the successful hatchings are looking forward to another good year. Out at Haile Farm Preserve, a volunteer team installed 6 new sections of boardwalk on the trail across the marsh to bridge some very muddy sections that have developed over the winter. More work will be done on additional boardwalk sections in the coming weeks to make the trails easier for people to use and enjoy. So things are getting spruced up and we are all looking forward to the return of the Ospreys in the near future. It is a good time to get out and see what is springing up. Thanks to all the volunteers who did such great work!!

Rising Seas: Envisioning the Future Ocean State

Imago Foundation for the Arts (IFA) is issuing a juried Call for Art to Rhode Island artists called “Rising Seas: Envisioning the Future Ocean State.” The work will be on view at Imago Gallery from April 21 – May 29 with an artist reception scheduled for Saturday, April 23 from 5 to 8 p.m. Deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m. PST Sunday, March 20.  More details, including instructions for submitting art can be found here.

In conjunction with the exhibit, several related events are planned:

A public gathering at the Audubon Touisset Marsh Wildlife Refuge in Warren from 10 am – noon on Saturday, April 30.  Leonard Yui, Associate Professor of Architecture on the Sustainability Faculty at Roger Williams University (RWU) and Audubon Senior Director of Conservation Scott Ruhren will lead a walk through an ecological art installation depicting future sea level rise.

A public walk into Jacob’s Point from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 14 (rain date on Sunday, May 15) led by Jenny Flanagan of the Warren Land Conservation Trust and Deirdre Robinson of the Saltmarsh Sparrow Research Initiative.

A talk at Imago Gallery in Warren at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18 by Elizabeth Rush, author of RISING – Dispatches from the New American Shore (published by Milkweed Press in 2018) and Professor of the Practice, Department of English, Brown University, and Affiliated Fellow at the Institute at Brown for the Environment and Society. The book begins with a chapter called “The Password” about Jacob’s Point in Warren, RI and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in non-fiction.

RIWalks Challenge Creature Hosted at Haile Farm

The RIWalks Challenge, coordinated by the Rhode Island Land Trust Council, has officially begun – go search for the 30 different nature-inspired “creatures” hidden on land trust trails throughout the state!

The Warren Land Conservation Trust is hosting one of the creatures at Haile Farm Preserve on the Dick Hallberg Trail. Take a walk and try to find it!

Hope is the Thing with Feathers

The WLCT is pleased to partner with the Salt Marsh Sparrow research project (a multi year effort based at Jacob’s Point).

This story is by Salt Marsh Sparrow research project volunteer Deirdre Robinson:

Rare events in the natural world can inspire awe and offer hope. Such is the case with one particular Saltmarsh Sparrow (Ammospiza caudacutus) who hatched on July 7, 2019 at Jacob’s Point in Warren RI. Her story is representative of the struggle of her species, which has survived as an obligate saltmarsh specialist for millennia. With rising tides due to climate change however, coastal marshes are flooding and sparrow nests are being inundated with greater frequency. This specific sparrow offers a rare glimmer of hope for members of the Saltmarsh Sparrow Research Initiative, who are bearing witness to the extinction of an extraordinary species.

Why is this species extraordinary? It demonstrates a polygamous breeding strategy, nests on the ground and escapes from predators by running rather than flying, has only a rudimentary “song”, does not defend territories, and breeds nowhere else in the world except in healthy coastal marshes from VA to ME. The female sparrow is among the hardest working of birds. She alone constructs the nests, incubates the eggs, and feeds and defends the chicks while they are nestlings– and even after they fledge. Her perseverance is rewarded only when the nesting cycle is not in synchrony with the flooding cycle.

Read the full story (PDF)

For more about the Salt Marsh Sparrows at Jacob’s Point see the avian activities page.

Grant Supports Conservation Work in the Forest Portions of Haile Farm Preserve

Last year, the WLCT applied for and received funding under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for conservation work in the forest portions of the Haile Farm Preserve.  Based on the Forest Stewardship Plan completed in November 2019, the 4 year EQIP grant will help us pay for work removing invasive species and improving habitat conditions for wildlife and the health of the woodlands. We just completed the first step of the 4 year plan by mowing and clearing brush in a section of meadow on the edge of the forest just north of the pond.  This meadow has a great mix of native grasses and wildflowers that provides excellent habitat for pollinators as well as for grand nesting birds and small animals. The meadow faced an invasion of multiflora rose and bittersweet and autumn olive, so we mowed the area to knock back the invasive plants and give the good native plants a better chance to thrive. It was a a tough job and we are thankful for the hard work of the crew from Staton’s Landscaping who braved the 10 foot high stands of briars and brambles to clear the area. It looks barren now, but come spring it will come back to its natural glory for us all to enjoy.

A report by the leader of our Trail Team Rock Singewald on the status of Haile Farm Preserve and plans for future development

Read this report to learn more about what’s been done at Haile Farm and what’s being planned for 2021. We completed the Jade Trail on the north side of the property and add a bike rack at the new Toweset Landing site at the end of Maple Road. Work parties are being planned for February and March to handle various maintenance tasks.

We are looking for volunteer to become Stewards of our properties that are not open to the public. We have a Stewardship Program with a goal of visiting each of our properties at least once every 2-3 years and documenting the conditions by taking photos at the property borders and noting the presence of invasive plants, any incursions from neighboring properties, whether there is litter or other debris present, and whether there is a need for us to take any action to address any issues.  Also any suggestions for potential uses of the property and potential for public access are welcome.   If anyone is interested in signing up to be a Steward for a parcel, please let me know and we’ll get you access to a fillable Stewardship Form that you can complete on your phone and send in for our records along with any photos you take.  You don’t have to visit often, just once every year or so, just to keep tabs on conditions. See the stewardship report for more details.

Read the stewardship report