Blacktone Parks Conservancy

Dedicated to the Preservation and Stewardship of Historic
Blackstone Park Conservation District and Boulevard.

At Last Spring!


Yellow Cornus Mas

Look quickly on the Boulevard so as not to miss the blue Scylla and the yellow cornus mas. You can catch more Scylla at the edge of the Blackstone Park Conservation District at Loring and Irving. Swan Point is another good spot for Scylla.

Blue Scylla

Blue Scylla

Dear Blackstone Park Conservancy Supporters,

Earthday_2014_Flyer_FINAL_4.10.14We invite you to attend the “Clean-up and Celebration of Earth Day”. This event is in partnership with the City of Providence and other community partners.  

There will be activities for children of all ages including:

  • Trash Hunt
  • Building a Trash Timeline

Everyone can contribute to the clean-up effort of River Road. Help preserve our neighborhood waterfront. Supplies will be provided.

Join us on Saturday April 26 at Paterson Park (corner of Paterson and Angell Street).   Rain or Shine. Activities will run from 10am until noon.

Everyone is welcome!


Eurasian-Wigeon-on-waterThe Eurasian Wigeon and other more typical, but equally wonderful, waterfowl have been spotted from the shores of the Seekonk north of the Henderson Bridge.  The ospreys are back as well – look for them wheeling over the water or perching high in the trees.  Stay tuned as migrating birds of all sorts move through the area in the coming weeks.  Blackstone Park is part of a migratory corridor that continues north along the Blackstone River and into wilder areas. Bring your binoculars and check it out!

The other interesting waterbirds recorded on the Seekonk near Blackstone Park on March 31, and reported on Rachel Farrell’s reputable daily compilation of RI bird-sightings, were the following: Gadwall,  American Wigeon, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Double-crested Cormorants.

Come view and discuss the proposed changes to the Zoning Map for College Hill, Fox Point, Wayland, Mount Hope, Hope, and Blackstone at the neighborhood public meeting on Tuesday, May 6, 5:30-7:30 PM at Brown-RISD Hillel House, 80 Brown Street.  More information here.

Providence City Forester Doug Still reports that a large number of trees along the Seekonk River and in Blackstone Park and Swan Point Cemetery have been affected by winter moths. The Boulevard, however, is not doing badly. Intrigued and encouraged by a new treatment of the pest by RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM), Still prefers to wait and see. So far so good.

The dun-colored little moth you may see flying around outdoor lights in November and December looks harmless enough. But the inch-long pale green caterpillar with white stripes running along its sides from which it metamorphosed can chomp through leaf and flower buds at an alarming rate just before or after they open in spring. Many deciduous trees and bushes appeal, and orchards and blueberry bushes are a favorite target.

In a 2013 study of Providence’s urban forest, Still found that 63 percent are potential hosts. Fortunately, most of them are not infested with winter moths—yet. The potential dollar loss if these trees in Providence were to be attacked and defoliated is estimated at approximately $183 million. The pest is active in Rhode Island and rampant in Massachusetts, with some in Maine and southern New Hampshire as well.

Like the invasive plants from Europe and Asis that the Blackstone Parks Conservancy’s Invasive Control subcommittee is attempting to beat back in the Blackstone parks, the winter moth thrives here because it has left behind the predators and diseases of its native area—Europe, in this case. To counter the invasion, two years ago Bruce Payton, Deputy Chief of DEM’s Division of Forest Environment, introduced a fly called cyzenis albicans that prefers to dine on the winter moth. Much as the caterpillar works inside buds, the fly pupae eat the deadly caterpillars from inside in what might be seen as an instance of poetic justice. 

Unlike some other predators that were imported to counteract particular pests, the fly dies off once its prey is gone. In Nova Scotia, which first began encountering the moth in the 1950s, the strategy has worked well for the last ten years without complications. The flies are costly, however. Rhode Island received a $500,000 grant to bring the cyzenis albicans into a limited area, and more will be needed to continue.

Spraying individual trees is feasible, but “we couldn’t possibly spray all of our trees nor would we want to,” says Still. Some toxic sprays can kill bees as well as moths.

“I think that it’s pretty much here to stay,” Still says of  the winter moth. He cites the gypsy moth, which was conquered by disease, as an example of a pest that eventually reached “an equilibrium with the forests.”

Equilibrium is what the Blackstone Parks Conservancy aims for, always keeping in mind our vision: Healthy Urban Green Space for All.


Jane Peterson 

“Aw, Do We Have to Go?”

Groans often accompany the thought of attending an annual meeting—we all know what a yawn they can be. But the annual meetings of the Blackstone Parks Conservancy are different. Here are five reasons to find an hour and a half for the upcoming BPC get-together March 11:

What Are We Doing Here?

This is the question on everyone’s lips one freezing morning in the wooded Blackstone Park Conservation District. “Why can’t we meet indoors?” We’re joking, of course, because we are here for a reason. And here–with the last leaves clinging to the trees near the end of the one of the brightest autumns in memory—is not such a bad place to be.

Anyone who is interested in obtaining training and certification for removal of invasive plant species can do so at the website listed below. The course will be held March 12-13 at URI. Next Certification Training.

Spooky Trail Walk

At the end of the Spooky Trail Walk in Blackstone Park sponsored by the Education Committee in October, the “Good Witch,” BPC volunteer Elisa Vele-Tabaddor, explained to a rapt audience what good witches do. Delighted children took home apples donated by Whole Foods and flashlights given by Salk Hardware in Warwick.



DSC07697_2Visitors to Blackstone Park Conservation District ponder a tiny mushroom with guide Elena Riverstone in September. Fall is a good time to look for mushrooms, but please be sure not to disturb.

Thanks to all attended. If you gave your email in order to share more mushroom finds, please send it again to Look for the next trail walk posting here on the BPC website.