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Awards &Conferences &News dgregg on 13 Mar 2012

2012 RI Distinguished Naturalist Award to Peter Lord

RINHS is pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has selected Peter Lord as recipient of the 2012 Rhode Island Distinguished Naturalist Award.

The Rhode Island Natural History Survey will award its 2012 Rhode Island Distinguished Naturalist Award to Providence Journal environmental reporter Peter Lord, who also serves as the journalism co-director of the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting at the University of Rhode Island. The award presentation will be part of the Natural History Survey’s 16th annual Ecology of Rhode Island conference, Trends in Human – Wildlife Interaction, on Thursday, March 29 at the Quonset O Club in North Kingstown.
The Rhode Island Distinguished Naturalist Award is presented annually to an individual who has made significant contributions to the advancement of the scientific knowledge of Rhode Island’s environment and organisms, is recognized as an outstanding teacher and educator about the natural world, and/or has significantly enhanced public awareness of the importance of understanding Rhode Island’s ecosystems. Previous recipients include Dave Emerson, Frank Golet, Grace Klein-MacPhee, Douglas Kraus, Prentice Stout, Irene Stuckey, Hugh Willoughby, Roger Goos, Richard Enser, Lisa Lofland Gould, Douglass H. Morse, and Al Hawkes, with posthumous awards going to Elizabeth Dickens, Harold Gibbs, Mark Gould, Harry Hathaway, C. Robert Shoop, Les Sirkin, Elmer Palmatier, William Drury.

A resident of South Kingstown, Lord will be recognized for his significant contributions to public education and outreach through his reporting on environmental issues and by preparing the next generation of environmental journalists through his teaching and leadership at the Metcalf Institute.

Lord has been a Providence Journal reporter since 1979 and the paper’s award-winning environmental reporter since 1981, when he began covering such topics as water pollution, hazardous waste, suburban sprawl and declining biodiversity. He has reported on every major environmental story in Rhode Island in recent decades, and he regularly reports on a wide range of natural history topics. With his experience and connections, Lord was a perfectly authoritative choice to write the Rhode Island chapter in Charles H.W. Foster’s book, “Twentieth-Century New England Land Conservation: A Heritage of Civic Engagement,” which was published in 2009.

Lord has traveled to northern Alaska to write about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to the Shetland Islands to cover an oil spill, and to Belize, Guatemala and Costa Rica to write about development pressures on forests. In 2002 the U.S. State Department invited Lord to take part in a two-week tour of Brazil, lecturing to journalists and journalism students about environmental journalism.

“Peter’s contributions to improving public understanding of environmental issues in Rhode Island cannot be overstated,” said Sunshine Menezes, executive director of Metcalf Institute. “He is very deserving of this recognition.”

The award will be presented during the opening of the Natural History Survey’s annual conference, which this year focuses on trends in human-wildlife interactions, a topic that Lord has reported on extensively. Pre-registration for the conference is required. The fee, which includes lunch, is $35 for RINHS members, $55 for non-members, $20 for students and seniors. To register, call the RINHS office (401) 874-5800 or visit www.rinhs.org/conference. Note – the deadline for registration is Friday, March 23.

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.

Exec's Blog &News dgregg on 10 Mar 2011

Roger Goos, URI Prof. of Botany, Emeritus—1924-2011

Roger Goos, a professor of botany at the University of Rhode Island from 1970 to 1995, passed away on Monday, March 7 at the age of 86. Roger grew up on a farm in Iowa, serving in the Infantry in WW II (European Theater) earning a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Dr. Goos received his B.Sc, MSc and Ph.D from the University of Iowa. He served as president of the Mycological Society of America, published many articles and papers on mycology, conducted mushroom walks for numerous community groups, and was well known in mycological circles. He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to the University of Lisbon and an Indo-American Fellowship to the University of Madras. In 2005 he received the Distinguished Naturalist Award from the Rhode Island Natural History Survey, which published his life’s work, The Mycota of Rhode Island, in 2010. His encyclopedic knowledge of fungi earned him invitations to collaborate around the globe, including in India, Japan, Iraq, Hawaii and the United Kingdom.

A memorial service for Dr. Goos will be held on Saturday, March 12 at 11 a.m. at the Apponaug Pentecostal Church, 75 Prospect St., Warwick. From 9:30 to 11 will be an informal gathering of friends and family. All are welcome. Dr. Goos will be buried in Iowa.

Jobs &News jbarnes on 11 Feb 2011

Youth Crew Leader Wanted

Job Description

The Rhode Island Natural History Survey (RINHS) seeks to hire a seasonal Youth Crew Leader for the 2011 field season.  60% of this position will be to lead the development and implementation of a non-residential high school youth crew. In coordination with RINHS leadership and an Assistant Crew Leader, the Leader will supervise paid students in invasive plant control, trail-building, and other environmental restoration projects. This follows a successful RI youth corps pilot in 2010.  Efforts will focus on early detection of invasive plants, particularly mile-a-minute vine (Persicaria perfoliata).  Project partners include The Nature Conservancy, DEM, municipalities, and others.

In addition, this position will help coordinate the broader outreach effort on mile-a-minute vine among the diverse stakeholders including public utilities, watersheds groups, high schools, and others.  The position will also participate in rapid surveys for invasive plants in Rhode Island.   Finally, the crew leader will provide support to other RINHS programs and tasks from time to time

Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated youth group leadership experience in an outdoor setting;
  • A degree and/or background in natural sciences/environmental education;
  • Familiarity with the plant species and forest communities of New England;
  • Relevant field experience, including familiarity with the conditions and requirements for safe, effective work in rugged outdoor conditions;
  • Demonstrated ability to work systematically towards goals using independent initiative as well as by working collaboratively with partners and peers;
  • Strong organizational skills, strong writing & speaking skills, and strong problems solving skills;
  • Experience supervising field assistants, student interns, contractors or equivalent a plus;
  • A valid driver’s license with a clean-driving record; Reliable transportation is needed. 
  • First aid certifications a plus;

This is a fieldwork position. Substantial physical exertion and/or physical strain, sometimes in remote locations, difficult terrain, and inclement weather will be required. Work environment involves exposure to job hazards where there is a possibility of injury and/or arthropod-borne disease.

The position will be based in the RINHS offices in Kingston, RI, but will travel extensively throughout the state in the course of work. Mileage will be compensated.  One week – including overnights, will be spent on Block Island. Pay is $14-18hr based on experience. This is a full-time temporary position (35 hrs/ week) for 12 weeks during summer 2011. It is not eligible for fringe benefits.

This position is funded by a grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.  This position reports to the Forest Health Works Project Coordinator. RINHS is a private non-profit environmental science membership organization (see www.rinhs.org). RINHS is an equal opportunity employer, women & minorities are encouraged to apply.

Review of applications will begin March 11th, and continue until the position is filled. To apply, email a cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information, including email and phone number, of three persons whom RINHS may contact regarding your experience and qualifications to programadmin@rinhs.org

Jobs &News jbarnes on 11 Feb 2011

Administrative Assistant Wanted

The Rhode Island Natural History Survey (RINHS) seeks a part-time, temporary, Administrative Assistant. This is an approximately 15 hour/week position and pays $13 – $15.50/hour. The schedule can be flexible within regular business hours. The Administrative Assistant works closely with the Program Administrator to perform a range of office tasks: correspondence, purchasing, filing, mail, answering phones, and errands, among others. The Administrative Assistant will be expected to participate in RINHS programs and other tasks that include occasional evening and weekend hours.

The successful applicant will demonstrate writing ability and be proficient with MS Word and Excel. Other office productivity software experience is a plus. Because RINHS is a small organization, working on diverse tasks is necessary. The successful applicant will demonstrate an ability to work flexibly, creatively, and independently while contributing to a productive team environment. Because the Administrative Assistant is one of RINHS’s points of contact with members, clients, donors, and the public, the successful applicant will present evidence that they can be courteous, thorough, and reliable. Experience with non-profit administration, accounting, or environmental science or management is a plus.

The position is in the RINHS office in Kingston, RI. This position is for approximately 5 months. It is not eligible for fringe benefits and does not include health insurance. The Administrative Assistant reports to the Program Assistant. RINHS is a private non-profit environmental science membership organization (see www.rinhs.org). RINHS is an equal opportunity employer, women and minorities are encouraged to apply. This position is funded by a grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 through the U.S. Forest Service.

Review of applications will begin February 21, 2011, and continue until the position is filled. To apply, email a cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information, including email and phone number, of three persons whom RINHS may contact regarding your experience and qualifications to Kira Stillwell programadmin@rinhs.org.

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