The Rhode Island Natural History Survey undertakes a wide range of research and capacity-building projects that use our in-house expertise, network of naturalists, or administrative capability. Below are links to discrete projects that are either running now or have wrapped up with results, including publications.
Bulletin: The Rhode Island Naturalist
The Natural History Survey has published a bulletin since its founding in 1994. At first it was called RINHewS and later Rhode Island Naturalist. To help make information on the state’s natural history more widely available, the Rhode Island Naturalist provides an outlet for the work of scientists, naturalists, students, and artists.
Since its inception, publishing has been one important way the Survey pursues its mission. Here are books published by the Survey. All are still available for purchase, albeit some in limited quantities, by contacting the main office.
In the Rhody NativeTM initiative, staff and volunteers propagate plants from local, sustainably harvested wild seeds for use in habitat restorations. The goal is to preserve the biodiversity of Rhode Island’s plant communities and wildlife, including pollinators, by facilitating access to native plants. The At-Risk Plant Propagation Project is a Rhody NativeTM activity: selected rare plants are propagated to reinforce existing populations or establish ones at new sites.
Rhode Island Youth Conservation League
The YCL engages young people in conservation and brings attention to the stewardship responsibilities that go with land conservation. A paid crew of high-school aged youth work through the summer on invasive plant management, trail building, and habitat enhancement with partners including Audubon Society of Rhode Island, The Nature Conservancy, the state, and local land trusts.
Rhode Island Invasive Species Council
The Council’s mission is to protect native biodiversity in Rhode Island. The Council is an ad hoc group that gathers and conveys information on the presence, distribution, ecological and economic impacts, and management of invasive species; promotes uses of native species and non-invasive alternatives throughout Rhode Island; and works cooperatively with researchers, conservation organizations, government agencies, the green industries, and the general public to identify and manage invasive species pro-actively and effectively. The Rhode Island Invasive Species Council is chaired by the Rhode Island Natural History Survey.
Rhode Island Diamondback Terrapin Working Group
Diamondback terrapins are unique coastal dwellers with a difficult history. People from many different organizations are interested in terrapin conservation in Rhode Island, and the Diamondback Terrapin Working Group helps them exchange information and collaborate on projects.
Rhode Island Wetlands Monitoring and Assessment Program
A wetland scientist, botanists, and field technicians, working closely with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Office of Water Resources and other partners, develop techniques to rapidly assess the ecological condition of wetlands—freshwater and saltwater—in Rhode Island.
Narragansett Bay Coyote Study
Since 2007, the Survey has collaborated with The Conservation Agency and other partners to understand the ecology of coyotes in Rhode Island. Early work focused on Aquidneck Island and Jamestown but a five year grant beginning in 2017 allowed expansion of the research across the state. For more information visit the Narragansett Bay Coyote Study website and the CoyoteSmarts website.
Rhode Island Odonata Atlas
The Rhode Island Odonata Atlas was a state-wide inventory begun by the Rhode Island chapter of The Nature Conservancy in 1998 and completed in 2004 under the direction of the Natural History Survey. Over 13,000 records document 137 species of dragonfly and damselfly across Rhode Island.
Forest Health Works Project (FHWP)
The Forest Health Works Project was focused on job training and job creation in the landscaping, arborist, nursery, and related industries. From fall 2009 through December 2011, the FHWP mapped invasive plants impacting priority forests in Rhode Island and contracted for invasive management on selected sites. It was a partnership with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and funded with a competitive grant from the US Forest Service. Both Rhody NativeTM and Youth Conservation League began as part of the FHWP.