It was a snow-covered, yet warm December morning. Mallard ducks gathered en masse, waiting for the human tender who fed them. The soft rustle of leaves revealed a mourning dove searching for seeds. People will gloves and cameras searched the woods and water for birds.
Like a showgirl reluctant to leave the stage, autumn in Providence must be noticed: apricot, scarlet, deep purple and yellow to golden to orange to bronze, some edged with green. We can hold on to the memory of the astonishing trees in our parks, yards, and streets through the long winter nights.
November was the last best opportunity for Blackstone Parks Conservancy (BPC) volunteers to work outside in 2019, and to begin toting up all projects this year and see what they had come to.
Some projects were more visible than others. The six trees planted in Blackstone Field on River Road, for example, resulted from considerable planning to accommodate the different needs of both the BPC Education Committee for their events and the Narragansett Boat Club for their regattas. The red maples and the hackberry are thriving, but two of those trees, Prairie Fire crabapples, bear watching next spring given signs of stress.
The Education Committee led by Rick Richards is seeing if an extra river ride could be combined with a winter duck walk, both popular events. This small committee perfected the art of doing a lot with few volunteers but could accomplish more with more help.
Carrie Drake’s Park Committee held one last Park-Keeping session before the onset of mud season. Following on the heels of volunteer trail work in October, Moses Brown freshmen spread wood chips to keep the heavily used trails from compacting too much and allowing runoff. Visitors now enjoy the ease and safety brought to the York Pond steps by a new railing.
With encouragement by neighbors and the BPC, the northernmost section of Blackstone Park Conservation District, on Loring Avenue, received a long awaited pruning in October. City Forester Doug Still reports that pruning city trees with a newly organized team of climbers will continue into April, including much needed attention to the Boulevard.
On the Boulevard – Heartened by the public reaction to the new path section, the BPC board now turns to figuring out how to fund more of the worst segments. Deming Sherman reported that eight trees funded by BPC donors had been successfully planted by Groundwork Providence.
Thank you to all who are responding generously to our fall appeal. We depend on you.