The first week of November is Natural History Week in Rhode Island. Natural history is the discipline we use to learn about the natural world, monitor biodiversity, and manage rare species and vanishing natural areas. Natural History Week encourages people to get outdoors and observe animals and plants, learn their names and habits, see what’s happening this season in our great natural areas, and share discoveries with others. Natural History Week also encourages the public to visit natural history institutions in our state—museums, zoos, aquariums, nature centers, and conservation groups.
For information on all RINHS’s Natural History Week activities, visit our Happenings Page.
Gubernatorial Proclamation image as a PDF:659K
Natural History Week is organized by the Rhode Island Natural History Survey with participation by other natural history institutions including:
- Roger Williams Park Zoo
- Museum of Natural History and Planetarium at Roger Williams Park
- Biomes Marine Biology Center
- Audubon Society of Rhode Island Environmental Education Center
Each institution has its own hours and some have special Natural History Week activities. Visit their websites or call ahead to confirm hours and for more information.
Natural history is a way of understanding the natural world using first hand observation of living organisms and comparison of preserved specimens in collections. Without natural history we would have no idea what species of animals and plants occur in the state, what their distribution is or whether they are trending up, down, or staying the same. Natural history gives us a vocabulary and data to describe the impact of climate change and pollution on our biological resources. Natural history tells us if a particular species has been here historically or is, in fact, a recently arrived and potentially destructive pest.
“If we’re going to manage our natural resources efficiently, we need to know what’s here and how it’s doing. That’s why natural history is important,” said David Gregg, Executive Director of RINHS. “We rely on the contributions of knowledgeable volunteers and resources available from institutions that don’t often get a lot of attention for this but should, such as museums, zoos, aquaria, observatories, nature centers, and academic departments…what I call our ‘natural history infrastructure’.”