Blacktone Parks Conservancy

The Blackstone Parks

Doubling Down on the Future

The Blackstone Parks Conservancy (BPC) kicked into gear in May with two new beginnings, one for Hockey Pond, another for Boulevard trees. Both involved creating baselines for evaluating ecological health. It’s an exciting step because building reliable scientific records that are easy to access and update will help the Conservancy, which is short on volunteers, to better protect the two parks entrusted to its care.

 

Spreading Mulch and Gathering Data

Volunteer coordinators Carrie Drake and Elena Riverstone harnessed youth power from East Providence Day School, Wheeler and Moses Brown to shovels and wheelbarrows this spring to fix water bars and spread large piles of woodchips to slow stormwater runoff. Without them, the ground would be bare.

Carrie and Urban … April Alix also worked with teachers and students at the French American School in Rhode Island (FASRI) to take and record water samples from Hockey Pond. As a result, students next year can refer to this baseline and add to it.

 

Followup on the Boathouse Trail

A key part of any major Conservancy project is following up to see what worked and what didn’t. BPC volunteer Margaret Brookner, who helped manage the extensive planting beside the Boathouse Trail last year, and Steve Ricci, the new field director of Groundwork Providence, examined the shrubs to figure out which ones needed to be replaced.

They found a number of viburnum and blueberry bushes that had been devoured by winter moth caterpillars. Some bushes had been damaged beyond recognition, and a few had vanished altogether. Fortunately, however, the great majority of plants had survived and flourished.

The next step will be to pick replacement plants and figure out how to pay for them. For the past two years, Groundwork’s careful watering during dry spells has been key to the survival of new plantings in the woods, and may be in 2016 as well. All of this work is funded by your donations and managed by the BPC.

 

Going after Winter Moth Caterpillars on the Boulevard

 Also in May the BPC began its first experiment to discover if winter moths on the Boulevard can be controlled. Volunteers blocked off the path between Upton and Mount avenues so that professionals could spray a bacterium, BTk, on the trees. BTk is considered harmless to all but its intended target, the prolific winter moth caterpillar.

New volunteer Amy Zinnser earned her stripes at five o’clock one morning along with Park Committee Chair Carrie Drake by showing up at opposite ends of the blocked off section to intercept runners and ask them to detour around the spraying. While one or two asked, “Why?” and another worried about getting lost, many seemed to be in some sort of trance. If they hadn’t been rerouted they might well have passed right by the warning signs and run through the 40-foot-high spray.

What a difference a few volunteers can make! In addition to Amy, an executive at CVS who has taken over as recording secretary from long-serving Carrie Drake, the Conservancy recently welcomed local entrepreneur Erik Wernevi to its board. And geologist Peter Saccocia has signed on to help with outdoor projects. Peter says he thought the BPC must be a huge organization and had no idea how few volunteers it relies on.

 

Jane Peterson

Bring a lawn chair, a blanket and a picnic and come enjoy three terrific concerts in July, Sundays 5-7pm, on the lawn in front of the Rose Maze at the Botanical Center. Come early (gate opens at 4 pm) and wander through the garden pathways to enjoy the summer gardens during their long bloom season and venture inside the greenhouses to see how the tropical plants thrive in our Rhode Island summers. July 10-Atwater-Donnelly, July 17, Magnolia Cajun Band, July 24, Black and White Band.

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For the past several years we have been able to fund our mailing expenses and other costs through Eastside Marketplace’s Friendship Fund program.  In a happy development, Eastside Marketplace recently announced that they are doubling their rebate to local non-profits for all receipts submitted in the month of July.

We are grateful to you for generously donating your Eastside Marketplace receipts to us in the past. If you can donate them again we would greatly appreciate receiving them by June 30th so that we can benefit from this opportunity.

The Blackstone Parks

Doubling Down on the Future

The Blackstone Parks Conservancy (BPC) kicked into gear in May with two new beginnings, one for Hockey Pond, another for Boulevard trees. Both involved creating baselines for evaluating ecological health. It’s an exciting step because building reliable scientific records that are easy to access and update will help the Conservancy, which is short on volunteers, to better protect the two parks entrusted to its care.

 

Spreading Mulch and Gathering Data

Volunteer coordinators Carrie Drake and Elena Riverstone harnessed youth power from East Providence Day School, Wheeler and Moses Brown to shovels and wheelbarrows this spring to fix water bars and spread large piles of woodchips to slow stormwater runoff. Without them, the ground would be bare.

Carrie and Urban … April Alix also worked with teachers and students at the French American School in Rhode Island (FASRI) to take and record water samples from Hockey Pond. As a result, students next year can refer to this baseline and add to it.

 

Followup on the Boathouse Trail

A key part of any major Conservancy project is following up to see what worked and what didn’t. BPC volunteer Margaret Brookner, who helped manage the extensive planting beside the Boathouse Trail last year, and Steve Ricci, the new field director of Groundwork Providence, examined the shrubs to figure out which ones needed to be replaced.

They found a number of viburnum and blueberry bushes that had been devoured by winter moth caterpillars. Some bushes had been damaged beyond recognition, and a few had vanished altogether. Fortunately, however, the great majority of plants had survived and flourished.

The next step will be to pick replacement plants and figure out how to pay for them. For the past two years, Groundwork’s careful watering during dry spells has been key to the survival of new plantings in the woods, and may be in 2016 as well. All of this work is funded by your donations and managed by the BPC.

 

Going after Winter Moth Caterpillars on the Boulevard

Also in May the BPC began its first experiment to discover if winter moths on the Boulevard can be controlled. Volunteers blocked off the path between Upton and Mount avenues so that professionals could spray a bacterium, BTk, on the trees. BTk is considered harmless to all but its intended target, the prolific winter moth caterpillar.

New volunteer Amy Zinnser earned her stripes at five o’clock one morning along with Park Committee Chair Carrie Drake by showing up at opposite ends of the blocked off section to intercept runners and ask them to detour around the spraying. While one or two asked, “Why?” and another worried about getting lost, many seemed to be in some sort of trance. If they hadn’t been rerouted they might well have passed right by the warning signs and run through the 40-foot-high spray.

What a difference a few volunteers can make! In addition to Amy, an executive at CVS who has taken over as recording secretary from long-serving Carrie Drake, the Conservancy recently welcomed local entrepreneur Erik Wernevi to its board. And geologist Peter Saccocia has signed on to help with outdoor projects. Peter says he thought the BPC must be a huge organization and had no idea how few volunteers it relies on.

Jane Peterson

Calling all fans of Blackstone Park!

Thursday June 9   Join us as we spruce up the trails in Blackstone Park this Thursday, 6pm – 7:30.  Bring your work gloves, enjoy what’s predicted to be lovely weather, come for a few minutes or the whole time.

Meet near the kiosk on Parkside – we will focus on the center section.

 

ParkKeepingFlyer June 9