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Rhode Island Natural History Survey » Events
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Animals &Events &Lectures &Natural History &News dgregg on 21 Sep 2011

Public Lecture Sept. 27: What’s the Deal with Seals?

RINHS will host a lecture “Seal Biology & Ecology in New England: Insights Through Strandings” by C.T. Harry, on Tuesday evening, September 27th, at 7:30 p.m. in Corless Auditorium on the URI – Graduate School of Oceanography, Bay Campus in Narragansett (URI-GSO).

The Natural History Survey’s 17th Annual Meeting will precede the September 27 lecture, beginning at 5:30 p.m. and be held in the Hazard Conference Room at the Coastal Institute, URI-GSO. Light dinner fare will be served, please RSVP to programadmin@rinhs.org if you plan to attend. Executive director David Gregg and president of the RINHS board Robert Kenney will discuss accomplishments, challenges, the role of the Survey in the course of environmental science and management in Rhode Island in the past year, and share plans for the future. The annual meeting is free and open to the public.

From 6:45 – 7:30 p.m. a Dessert Social will be held in the Corless Auditorium Lobby at URI-GSO.

At 7:30 p.m., CT Harry, Assistant Stranding Coordinator for the Marine Mammal Rescue & Research Division at the International Fund for Animal Welfare in Yarmouth Port, MA, will speak. From the Gulf of Maine to the Mid-Atlantic States, seal populations (gray, harbor, hooded & harp) are on the increase. Additionally, all species are being consistently observed outside of their historical distribution ranges. These changes, in concert with our rising human population, and more frequent excursions into seal habitats, have lead to increasing contact between humans and seals. At the same time as seal watching has emerged as an industry, conflict with fishermen and concerns about disease vectors has increased as well. Come explore with Harry, the natural history parameters that contribute to these recent changes, and then embark on discussion of what may lie ahead for seal populations? Changes to federal protection? The carrying capacity of the environment in which they live? And finally, some thoughts on future research that will assist scientists and managers in understanding and managing their increased presence among us.

CT Harry’s lecture is the first in the 2011-2012 Mark. D. Gould Memorial Lecture Series organized by the Natural History Survey. The series will focus on animal interactions with humans, or, as Executive Director David Gregg puts it “animals we didn’t used to have to deal with but now they’re living all around us”! And, will culminate in a conference in April 2012. Support for the lecture series is generously provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

The entire evening is free and open to the public. For more information and directions call 401-874-5800 or click here for a Google Map.

Events &Invasives &News dgregg on 06 Sep 2011

Water chestnut pull is on for Saturday, Sept. 10

RINHS and Westerly Land Trust are coordinating another water chestnut pull at Chapman Pond in Westerly to replace the one we had to cancel because of Hurricane Irene. On Saturday, September 10, from 8 am to 12 noon, please come out for a muddy morning on the water and help preserve our wonderful pond for recreation and wildlife.

Meet at the DEM boat ramp off Town Landfill Road off of Rt-91 (Westerly-Bradford Road). Everyone should bring sturdy gloves that can get wet, clothes that can get wet and muddy, sun screen, and insect repellant. Canoes, kayaks, or small skiffs are welcome, but you don’t have to have one to help. If you bring a boat please bring life vests/jackets for you and your passengers. Plastic buckets (5-6 gallon size) or sturdy plastic totes are helpful so bring some if you can. Instructions will be provided. Call the Rhode Island Natural History Survey (RINHS) at 874-5800 if you have questions, or the Westerly Land Trust at 315-2610.

Water chestnut (no relation to the common Chinese-food ingredient) is native to Eurasia but is an invasive species in North America. It can grow vigorously and densely in shallow, nutrient-rich waters, obliterating native pond habitat, clogging waters to most recreational uses, and presenting a significant physical hazard to swimmers and waders due to its barbed seed pods. The discovery of water chestnut in Rhode Island in four water bodies is a serious development and one that must be handled aggressively to prevent damage to some of Rhode Island’s most valuable natural resources.

Luckily, water chestnut is an annual, meaning that if removed before their seeds drop, the plants cannot grow back. They are also fairly easy to remove, as they are lightweight and root loosely in soft pond-bottom substrate. Their seeds can remain viable for up to 12 years, so close monitoring of managed populations is necessary for some time to make sure the entire population has been removed.

The Westerly Land Trust, the Rhode Island Natural History Survey, the town of Westerly, and Rhode Island DEM have banded together to take the initiative of removing water chestnut in Chapman Pond before the population grows into an even larger problem than it already is. It is hoped that by connecting different parts of the community, a successful rapid response to an invasive species can occur, simultaneously raising interest and awareness of invasive species in Rhode Island. Please join us if you can.

Events &Invasives &News &Plants dgregg on 26 Aug 2011

Water Chestnut Pull August 27 CANCELLED

The water chestnut pull scheduled for Chapman Pond, Westerly, on Saturday, August 27, is cancelled. With the approach of Hurricane Irene, many of our most reliable volunteers have informed us they will be busy with storm preparations and can’t make it.

We are rescheduling the Chapman Pond water chestnut pull for Saturday, September 10, from 8 am to 12 Noon.

Events &Invasives &News &Plants dgregg on 19 Jul 2011

Pull Water Chestnut for Fun and Profit…Well, Just for Fun

Volunteers are needed to help pull the invasive plant water chestnut (Trapa natans) from Chapman Pond, in Westerly, on Sunday, July 24, from 8 am to 12 noon. Meet at the DEM boat ramp off Town Landfill Road off of Rt-91 (Westerly-Bradford Road). Everyone should bring sturdy gloves that can get wet, clothes that can get wet and muddy, sun screen, and insect repellant. Canoes, kayaks, or small skiffs are welcome, but you don’t have to have one to help. If you bring a boat please bring life vests/jackets for you and your passengers. Plastic buckets (5-6 gallon size) or sturdy plastic totes are helpful so bring some if you can. Instructions will be provided. Call the Rhode Island Natural History Survey (RINHS) at 874-5800 if you have questions, or Larry at the Westerly Land Trust at 596-9796.

Water chestnut (no relation to the common Chinese-food ingredient) is native to Eurasia but is an invasive species in North America. It can grow vigorously and densely in shallow, nutrient-rich waters, obliterating native pond habitat, clogging waters to most recreational uses, and presenting a significant physical hazard to swimmers and waders due to its barbed seed pods. The discovery of water chestnut in Rhode Island in four water bodies is a serious development and one that must be handled aggressively to prevent damage to some of Rhode Island’s most valuable natural resources.

Luckily, water chestnut is an annual, meaning that if removed before their seeds drop, the plants cannot grow back. They are also fairly easy to remove, as they are lightweight and root loosely in soft pond-bottom substrate. Their seeds can remain viable for up to 12 years, so close monitoring of managed populations is necessary for some time to make sure the entire population has been removed.

The Westerly Land Trust, the Rhode Island Natural History Survey, the town of Westerly, and Rhode Island DEM have banded together to take the initiative of removing water chestnut in Chapman Pond before the population grows into an even larger problem than it already is. It is hoped that by connecting different parts of the community, a successful rapid response to an invasive species can occur, simultaneously raising interest and awareness of invasive species in Rhode Island. Please join us if you can.

Bioblitz &Events &News dgregg on 31 Mar 2011

2011 BioBlitz in Scituate June 10-11

We’re excited to announce that the 2011 BioBlitz will be held at the Joslin Farm site in Scituate from 3 p.m. Friday June 10 to 3 pm Saturday June 11. Providence Water is the land owner and local host and Roger Williams Park Zoo is the lead sponsor. Joslin Farm is approximately in the center of Rhode Island, located
south of the Scituate Reservoir, in the angle between Tunk Hill Road and Old Plainfield Pike. It was to this ridge-top land that one of Scituate’s founding families retreated after the construction of the reservoir. The land was unworked for many years and reforestation was well advanced when in 2009 Providence Water and USDA-NRCS undertook a major grassland and shrubland enhancement project at Joslin Farm. The dramatically scenic bioblitz site includes approximately 700 acres of mature hardwood forest, new and old warm season grassland, shrubland, and headwater streams. This bioblitz will be a unique opportunity to investigate the biodiversity on a long-abandoned farming landscape with large blocks of relatively undisturbed habitat, plus be a good chance to check out the effects of a modern habitat restoration. This is not an area frequented by biologists so anything could be discovered. A team orientation will be held Thursday, May 12, at Roger
Williams Park Zoo in Providence. The orientation is not required, but advanced registration for all participants is. More details will be forthcoming. Stay tuned!

Conferences &Events &News &Uncategorized dgregg on 31 Mar 2011

Conference Speakers Announced

The full program of presenters for RINHS’s 2011 Ecology of Rhode Island Conference, “Science and Management of Salt Ponds and Coastal Lagoons,” is now available. Please visit the conference page of this website. Registration for the conference is now open. Download a registration form.

Events &Exec's Blog &Invasives &News &Plants dgregg on 24 Jan 2011

Memorial Service for Les Mehrhoff Scheduled

RINHS received the email below this morning through the invasive species grapevine (or would that be bittersweet vine?). It is from the family of late invasive plant guru Les Mehrhoff and announces a date for a memorial service. Someone from RINHS will definitely be going so anyone from the RI area interested in attending the service, there may be an opportunity to car pool. Please contact Kira at the office if you’re interested.

“Hello everyone,
Jessie and I have finally settled on a date and time for the memorial service. It will be held at the Storrs Congregational Church at UConn. The date is Saturday, March 12th at 11:00 AM.

We also want to thank all of you for your beautiful cards, endearing notes and well wishes. We received such an outpouring of love that it really meant a lot to us and truly gave us the strength to move forward. We were also overwhelmed by the stories of how many lives Les really did touch or impact in some way…it just completely filled our hearts with so much pride. We always knew we had a really special guy in our lives.

Thank you all again and we hope to see you at the memorial service.
Sincerely, Olga and Jessie”

Conferences &Events &Natural History &News dgregg on 14 Jan 2011

2011 RINHS Conference April 28, on Salt Ponds

This year, RINHS’s annual ecology conference focuses on southern New
England’s salt ponds and coastal lagoons. These special landscapes
help characterize coastal Rhode Island and other parts of southern New
England. They form a complex boundary between sea and land and are
loci of dynamic natural processes, diverse habitats, and intense
pressure from human activity.

In southern New England, salt ponds and coastal lagoons serve valuable
and unique functions for a variety of stakeholders in tourism and
recreation, environmental sustainability, and resource-extractive
industries such as fisheries. Yet many elements of these systems are
undergoing historic changes due to climate and sea-level change, land
conversion, surface water and groundwater contamination, invasive
species, restoration projects, and new aquaculture practices. The
difference between good and bad management could have a dramatic
effect on the future viability of salt ponds and coastal lagoons,
therefore the need for sound scientific understanding of the processes
and functions of these valuable yet fragile ecosystems has never been
greater.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Judith S. Weis, Professor of Biological Sciences, Rutgers University, an environmental toxicologist, and author of the 2009 book, Salt Marshes: A Natural and Unnatural History. Other confirmed speakers include Dr. Jennifer Bowen, Assistant Professor of Biology, UMass. Boston, speaking on microbial biodiversity and Dr. Kevin Kroeger, US Geological Survey, Woods Hole, speaking on groundwater inflow and nitrogen. Other speakers will be announced. In addition to the keynote, the program will feature topical sessions, a panel discussion, and presentation of annual RINHS awards, and be concluded with a social hour.

The 2011 conference is sponsored by the Rhode Island Natural
History Survey and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Rhode Island
Refuge Complex. Display space and additional sponsorship opportunities
are available, contact RINHS for more information.

RINHS conferences are widely regarded for convening a broad spectrum
of people sharing a curiosity about southern New England’s animals,
plants, geology, and ecosystems. They are excellent venues for
researchers and organizations to showcase what they do in a collegial
environment. For more information on RINHS conferences, visit
www.rinhs.org/what-we-do/conference.

RINHS is seeking contributed papers for the program from anyone working on a subject relevant to the science and management of salt ponds/coastal lagoons. See the conference page for complete information on submitting an abstract.

A preliminary program with abstracts of accepted papers and posters and the 2011 REGISTRATION FORM will be available around March 15.

Events &Invasives &Plants dgregg on 14 Jul 2010

Water Chestnut Pull, July 17, 2010

Volunteers are needed to pull water chestnut from Chapman Pond, Westerly, this Saturday, July 17, from 9 to Noon. Westerly Land Trust and RINHS are organizing a morning sortie to combat the invasive pond weed water chestnut in Chapman Pond. The infestation in Westerly, the third detected in Rhode Island, was found in 2009. It is growing extensively around the northeast corner of the pond. In fall 2009 a similar effort removed over 1,600 pounds of weed. Volunteers with canoes or boats suitable to the shallow, weed choked waters are welcome, but boat-less volunteers are also very welcome. They can sign on as a deck hand in someone else’s boat or help land the catch and put it into the roll-off. Bring life jackets, sun screen and sun hats, drinking water, and gloves that can get wet. Meet at the boat ramp at the north west corner of the pond, off of Rt 91 on the road to the Westerly town dump/transfer station.


View Chapman Pond, Westerly in a larger map

Bioblitz &Events &Exec's Blog &News dgregg on 17 Jun 2010

Remembering Doug Greene

Thanks to all who’ve been contacting the Survey to remember Doug Greene, who passed away suddenly on Sunday on his way home from BioBlitz. There will be a service for Doug in his home town of Reading, Mass., on Friday, June 18–visiting hours from 6-8 pm, memorial service at 8 pm. This link has more information:
LINK

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