Lecture Series

Since 1995, RINHS has offered a free lecture series on Rhode Island’s Fauna, Flora, Geology, and Ecosystems. The lectures are aimed at providing science education to both professionals and the general public.


The RINHS annual conference provides the state’s environmental and life scientists a forum to discuss key issues related to the state’s biota and habitats. Click here to learn more about upcoming conferences, and find resources from previous events.


A BioBlitz is an attempt by scientists and volunteer naturalists to tally as many species of organism as they can in 24 hours on a particular parcel of land. The RINHS has held Bioblitz’s since 2000 in a variety of locations throughout the state. Click here to learn more about the Bioblitz.

Biodiversity Data Management

Bioblitz 2007

Shortly after its founding, in 1994, RINHS began building a database with the goal of listing every species of organism known to occur in Rhode Island. Entries came from RINHS’s Biota of Rhode Island publication series, its members and partners, and its field projects. In 2002, RINHS combined its data with data on rare species from the RI Natural Heritage Program (an RI DEM office created in 1978 through a collaboration with The Nature Conservancy). RINHS also began data mining in publications, museums, and other datasets and through data exchanges with other organizations. The result is an entirely new database, the Biota of Rhode Island Information System (BORIIS), to document through time the distribution and viability of animals, plants, and natural communities in Rhode Island. Its development has been supported by the RI office of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the University of RI College of the Environment and Life Sciences (URI-CELS), the RI Foundation, and the Champlin Foundations, among others. Learn more information about our database program.

Publications / Book Sales

The RINHS publication program includes the Biota of Rhode Island series, the Rhode Island Naturalist newsletter, a host of web-based publications, as well other natural history related literature from other sources.

Distinguished Naturalist Award

  • Include both posthumous and current together
  • Information on how to nominate a distinguished naturalist

LLG Native Plant Program

The Lisa Lofland Gould Native Plant Program was created to honor Lisa Gould, Senior Scientist and first Executive Director of the RINHS. The program, created jointly with the RI Wild Plant Society, URI College of Environmental and Life Sciences, and RINHS, will be an annual event focusing on native plants, their biology and conservation.

Speakers Bureau

The RINHS Speakers Bureau provides speakers for a wide variety of themes related to plants, animals, and natural history in Rhode Island.


RI Invasive Species Portal

In 2006, the RINHS unveiled the RI Invasive Species Portal, a one stop place for information on invasive species in Rhode Island. Included in the portal is information on the Rhode Island Invasive Species Council (RIISC), an application that enable user’s to submit invasive species information, and a list of invasive species found in Rhode Island.

Grant Making

In cooperation with The Nature Conservancy of Rhode Island, RINHS operates the John Wald Science Grant program. The objective of this program is to provide small grants in aid of research for projects addressing priorities of The Nature Conservancy of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Natural History Survey.

Special Events

Stewarding RI’s Natural History Collections

Part of Rhode Island’s heritage includes its historical collections of natural history specimens. Natural history collections are an important record of the state’s ecological past and provide DNA for future study. One mission of the RI Natural History Survey is to find and preserve those collections that are neglected and in need of curatorial care.

The RINHS Collections Committee is documenting the location and status of natural history collections in or pertinent to Rhode Island, and offers curatorial advice. Thanks to a grant from the Champlin Foundations, RINHS has also provided state-of-the-art collection storage cabinets to house a number of Rhode Island natural history collections in institutions across the state. The RINHS itself houses Richard Enser’s collection of Coleoptera (beetles) and Lepidoptera (moths & butterflies), the voucher specimens from Don Fleniken’s Foliose and Fruticose Lichens of Rhode Island, and several other small collections. A Rhode Island natural history collection is featured in each issue of Rhode Island Naturalist (see online newsletter archives for previous articles featuring natural history collections). RINHS’s collections, as well as other collections of species from Rhode Island, can be found on he .