Strategic Compass


The Rhode Island Natural History Survey seeks to:

· Facilitate and coordinate the gathering and dissemination of information on Rhode Island’s biota, ecological communities, and geological systems;

· Enhance communication among Rhode Island’s natural scientists, educators, and decision makers;

· Provide sound scientific data that can be used to help make informed management decisions;

· Foster the preservation of Rhode Island’s natural history collections; and

· Provide educational outreach.


The Rhode Island Natural History Survey is a non-profit organization founded in 1994 to improve communication and coordination among the diverse people, agencies, and organizations interested in the ecology of Rhode Island and to gather and disseminate information on Rhode Island’s animals and plants, geology, and ecosystems. RINHS manages BORIIS, the most comprehensive and up-to-date information source on Rhode Island’s biota and hosts events to highlight biodiversity and the work of researchers and naturalists. It assists partners such as the Rhode Island chapter of The Nature Conservancy and local land trusts to undertake ecological research, inventory, and stewardship projects. RINHS encourages the activities and contributions of avocational naturalists including students. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in Rhode Island’s plants and animals. For more information, visit

Priority Projects

The Board of Directors reaffirmed networking, and the programs that support it, as the top organizational priority. They also reaffirmed the importance of biodiversity data management to RINHS’s mission. RINHS will focus on program activities serving these priorities—networking and biodiversity data management—with special attention to activities that serve both.

Networking–communication, information exchange, project facilitation (sub-contracting/fiscal agent/staff support).

  • Membership program
  • Website and web resources, email list serves
  • Newsletter
  • Public events–conference, lecture series
  • Cooperative extension response, general outreach
  • RI Invasive Species Council
  • Fiscal Agency

Biodiversity data management–”tracking animals, plants, and natural communities in space and time,” with particular attention on rare species and invasive species.

  • Natural Heritage Program Support
  • Biota Database
  • Data Mining
  • Book Publishing
  • Natural History Collections Orphan/Support Program

Both–several of RINHS’s largest program areas contribute to both priorities:

  • BORIIS collaborative data management strategy
  • Collaborative Stewardship working group
  • Invasive species planning and outreach
  • BioBlitz biodiversity field day
  • Working relationships with regional and national organizations and data projects including IPANE, NatureServe, NEANS, NEWFS, etc.

The Board of Directors reaffirmed the long-term importance of field science capability to RINHS.