BioBlitz 2021: Cumberland

Ants were the big attraction at Providence College’s insect table.

Date: October 1-2, 2021

Location: Mercy Woods Preserve

Rhode Island BioBlitz 2021 took place October 1 and 2, between 2 p.m. and 2 p.m. At the close of the event, about 723 species had been documented. As of 10/13, the total had risen to 780 as team captains reported final IDs.

The BioBlitz in Mercy Woods in Cumberland was originally planned for June 2020. Unfortunately, due to the increase in viral biodiversity, it had to be postponed and for 2020 we instead organized a socially distanced “Backyard BioBlitz,” held June 27 and 28, 2020. For information on the Backyard BioBlitz see this page.

The Cumberland Land Trust was the local host. The Cumberland Land Trust and town of Cumberland, with RIDEM, The Nature Conservancy, Pawtucket Water, partner organizations, and private donors, purchased the Preserve in 2019, one of the most significant conservation commitments in recent town history. Taking on such an important new parcel, the Cumberland Land Trust has new stewardship responsibilities including baseline documentation and monitoring, and we’re happy that they invited us to bring BioBlitz there so we can help them document the biological resources.

The herp team makes a find, Mercy Woods Preserve, Cumberland, RI

The preserve is draped over a north-south running ridge. The eastern facing slope is predominantly mixed hardwood and hardwood/pine forest while the western slope has some mixed forest plus large areas of rough lawn and various edge habitats. The top of the ridge and some knobs have drier-loving scrub and forest plant communities. The terrain is steep in places and several seeps and small wetland areas can be found both in the forest and in the open but there is not a lot of open water, just one large pool in a fold in the top of the ridge south of Sumner Brown Road. The BioBlitz area is bounded by the Mass. line in the north, Wrentham Road to the west, and the Pawtucket Water Supply Board’s watershed preserve to the east.

The preserve was purchased from the Sisters of Mercy. The Sisters purchased the first tract of land there in 1913 and since then made the property a place of prayer, education and service to those in need, in addition to a sanctuary for plant and animal life. The Sisters retain an administration building and other facilities within and adjacent to the preserve, including Mercymount Country Day School.

The plant team puzzles out tough IDs, Mercy Woods Preserve, Cumberland, RI

Thank you to these generous sponsors for supporting community-based environmental science:
Roger Williams Park Zoo (Program Partner)
Cumberland Land Trust (Local Host)
Town of Cumberland
Navigant Credit Union
Dean Warehouses
Cumberland Well & Pump
Grants Mills Farm
J & D Real Estate
Phantom Farms
Largess Forestry
Peter Warny
Robert Dimuccio
Helen Lusi

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