REWHC Attends Rhode Island Environmental Educational Association Fall Conference
Harry Mutter and Bill Saslow attended the RIEEA Fall conference this past weekend in support of the second goal in REWHC's Wildlife Management Plan: "Increase Environmental Awareness at Work and in the Community". The conference was a good place to meet educators from local schools and environmental organizations. Several links were forged which may yield future visits from local schools and collaboration with community environmental professionals. The conference was composed of three sections. Bill Attended Soil Science, Geology, and Mushroom sessions; Harry attended Seeds and Berries, Exploring the Forested Landscape and then joined Bill at the Mushroom session.
Soil Science: Interesting and Practical
Examples on how to teach soil science were given by Everett Stuart, one of our USDA REWHC team mates. Several hands-on activities targeted at different age groups were quite interesting and engaging. Discussed were soil components, soil coloration, the effect of glaciers and farming, and soil effects on building. There is a good tie between soil and farming on the property for future interpretive trail themes.
Geology and the Changing Landscape
We discussed different types of local rocks including those found at the Norman Bird Sanctuary was provided by Fred Orwiler, one of our Norman Bird Sanctuary REWHC team mates. It was quite interesting to find out that the Appalachian mountains were once over our heads and how the effects of volcanic activity, erosion, and glacial action have formed the landscape. We need to re-examine our property and weave a geological story into our interpretive themes.
Mushroom Walk and Slide Show
Mushrooms and Fungi are often under appreciated, but are common through our site. Dr. Roger Goos, piqued our interest in this topic through an interesting slide show and a walk. We found several specimens including a puff ball the size of a cantaloupe. Cutting the puff ball in half, we found out it was edible and sampled it (tasted like mushrooms). With such interesting specimens we have seen and photographed on our site, we should know more about them and be able to weave them into our interpretive themes.
Seeds and Berries
This session was led by Ann Wagner from the Rhode Island Wild Plant Society and focused on mechanisms of seed propagation. This is closely linked with the "emerging forest" theme we tell on the Raytheon interpretive trail. Most of the plants we discussed were invasive aliens, several of which are common to the waste water right-of-ways and would make an excellent topic for future walks or as filler at the beginning and end of Woodland Wander strolls. A stronger focus on invasive aliens would make us better stewards of the land.
Exploring the Forested Landscape
The forest is constantly in a state of change, both by the hand of man and forces of nature. This walk provided some insight on how to read the clues these changes leave behind. The evidence of an Indian village, the form a farm wall took, or the Hurricane of '38; all left signs, hints and clues. Do expect to hear a story about the Portuguese aristocracy on Harry's next trail walk.