Blackstone Parks Conservancy

News of the death of Shirley J. Kezirian, a former board member of the Blackstone Parks Conservancy, came as a shock to everyone. She always asked, “What can I do to help?” and without fuss volunteered for any job that needed doing. She took her membership on the board seriously, giving careful consideration to all the matters brought to her. Shirley was a good friend, and she will be missed.

Calling Hours will be at Nardolillo Funeral Home, 1278 Park Avenue, Cranston, Rhode Island on Tuesday, March 27th from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. A funeral service will be held at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, 50 Orchard Avenue, Providence, Rhode Island at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28th. Burial will follow at the Kezirian family plot at Swan Point Cemetery. Memorial services will be held at later dates in Sarasota, Florida and London, Ontario.
Visit for online condolences.


Bee Rally at the State House: Tuesday, June 19, 2018; 2:00 – 4:00 pm

State House lit in Bumblebee Black and Yellow: June 18 – 24, 2018

Please respond by March 30, 2018.

Contact: Meg Kerr, Audubon Society of Rhode Island Senior Director of Policy,

Somewhere between 75% and 95% of all flowering plants on the earth need pollinators. Over 180,000 different plant species and more than 1200 crops depend on their services. That means that one out of every three bites of food you eat is on your plate because of pollinators! Many pollinator populations are in decline due to the loss of feeding and nesting habitats, pollution, misuse of chemicals, disease, and changes in climatic patterns.

Join the Rally and Help get Rhode Island Buzzing!

Consider hosting a table, presenting information or providing entertainment. It’s FREE!

For further information please click here.

What a great time do some shopping during this storm while supporting the BPC! Amazon is tripling the donation amount to 1.5% when customers make their first eligible purchase from March 12 – 31. This is a great opportunity to increase Blackstone Parks Conservancy’s AmazonSmile donations by shopping at

3x your impact! Go to
and Amazon donates to Blackstone Parks Conservancy.

York Pond is just 1.75 acres, and thus easy to manage, or so one might think. But no. The little freshwater haven is silting up again less than two decades after a nearly half-million dollar rescue effort cleaned it out. What happened?

The solution devised to rescue the smelly morass at first seemed straightforward. City agencies, RIDEM, the EPA, and what would become the Blackstone Parks Conservancy planned to dredge the pond and to prevent the salt and sand spread on city streets every winter from washing into it from its 380-acre watershed. The trash carried down year-round by water would also be trapped.

At the pond end of the ravine which starts at Butler Avenue (where underground streams and stormwater feed into the pond’s mouth), federal funds would be used to build a concrete barrier–a dissipator–with two compartments, one to trap sand and the other to catch “floatables,” or trash. The Department of Public Works (DPW) would clean it out every month.

How the Solution Became a Problem

Unfortunately, the contractor failed to fulfill his contract as designed, though later he did partially fix the problem. But shortly after the barrier’s completion, surging stormwater carved a channel beside it, allowing some sand and trash to course straight through. Over time, the DPW rarely picked up what sand and trash the dissipator did trap. And soon the silt and floatables began spilling over into the pond—slowly, so that it was barely noticeable for several years.

The Beauty That Remains

Despite all the hitches, until a few years ago the rescue attempt appeared to be fairly successful. By 2005, with dozens of native plants installed at its edge by BPC volunteers, York Pond had become a lovely spot–and to some extent, it still is, despite the silt. People come seeking inspiration or simply to relax. Visitors paint or photograph or look for herons, ducks, turtles, osprey and red-tailed hawks, not to mention turtles and butterflies. This is a perfect spot to watch migratory birds.

York Pond is a valuable place to learn about stormwater, swamps, and Providence history, among other things. Schoolchildren still come to study the water and, if they’re lucky, they get to pull on waders and charge straight into the shallow water to capture samples.

Next month see Part Two: What Can Be Done?

Jane Peterson

According to amphibian expert Lou Perrotti, director of conservation at Roger Williams Park Zoo, frogs and salamanders don’t typically migrate to their breeding ponds until mid-March in most areas of the state. During the cold winter of 2015, when many ponds were still frozen until April, amphibian migration was delayed by almost a month. But it’s not unusual for rain showers during an especially warm period in late February to trigger an early migration.

More here.