RINHS undertakes a wide range of research and capacity building projects that make good use of our in-house expertise, network of naturalists, or administrative capability. Below are links to discrete programs and projects that are either running now or have recently wrapped up with interesting and informative results/products:
Rhody Native™ aims to create a market for locally sourced, locally grown native plants for use
in landscape design + ecological restoration. Attention is paid to selecting climate change-ready
species, identifying them using the latest botanical science. Seeds from local populations
are harvested sustainably + the collection methods maximize genetic diversity. Propagation + distribution involve local “green” businesses at all stages. Buying Rhody Native™ plants at your local retailer supports the green industry in Rhode Island. A small amount of each sale of a Rhody Native™ plant is reinvested in the Rhody Native mission. Thanks.
Rhode Island Youth Conservation League
The Youth Conservation League ran in summer 2011 and grew out of the summer 2010 Forest Health Works Project student crew (see FHWP below). The goal was to continue experimenting with a student crew with an eye to developing a model that could be run annually to provide environmental education, job training, and conservation land stewardship to Rhode Island. We continue to seek ways to institute the YCL in upcoming years.
Narragansett Bay Coyote Study
RINHS partners with Narragansett Bay Coyote Study (NBCS) to understand coyote ecology in suburban Rhode Island, develop the widest range of scientifically informed coyote management practices, and assist authorities to implement them. RINHS and NBCS, along with Potter League for Animals, Norman Bird Sanctuary, and Aquidneck Land Trust, have created the CoyoteSmarts.org website where you can find best practices for living safely with coyotes in our suburbanized landscape.
Rhode Island Diamondback Terrapin Project
RINHS helps research and conserve one of the state’s most interesting animals, the diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin). Terrapins are terrific turtles that, like true Rhode Islanders, are adapted to life on the edge of the sea, specifically in coves, bays, salt marshes, dunes, and other coastal features. Once hunted for meat and continuously under pressure from habitat loss, Rhode Island’s terrapins have been in a precarious state for many years. Lately they are showing up in new places but sea-level rise and other effects of climate change could mean more changes are coming, and not necessarily for the good. What’s up with our charismatic neighbors in the marshes? We’ll post reports, photos, and other information about diamondback terrapins and the work of researchers and conservationists as it develops.
Wetlands Condition Assessment Protocol
A wetland scientist, botanists, and field technicians at RINHS have been working closely with Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Office of Water Resources, since 2007 to develop techniques for rapidly assessing the condition of wetlands in Rhode Island. The innovative Rhode Island Rapid Assessment Method (RIRAM) is based loosely on systems used in Ohio, Delaware, and elsewhere, but has been extended to fit our local circumstances and to produce more precise information on our wetlands and their surroundings. This work has been funded by competitive grants from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For more information, follow the link above to the RI DEM page on the project.