See Something; Say Something

The number of visitors to Salter Grove has increased greatly after replacing the playground, repairing the causeway, and improving the nature trails. It is wonderful to see so many appreciating our unique park.

A few visitors mistakenly believe that they are entitled to do whatever they want in a public space. But use of public spaces, like parks, is indeed regulated for everyone’s safety and enjoyment.

Regulations applying to all Warwick parks are listed here.

Continue reading

Natural Learning

Billy in the lead, followed by Benjamin McGovern, Gwen St Laurent, Eva McGovern, and Gwen’s father, Kevin. 

Early on a brisk Saturday morning Billy McGovern led a small group of students through the winding trails of Salter Grove. Their mission was to identify and describe the major parts of a plant. 

During their walk Billy would stop periodically to play “Simon Says” with the students, challenging them to touch a specific part of a nearby plant. By the end, the students were able to identify many parts of the plant and describe their role in the plant’s life. 

This was the inaugural outing of a program being developed by the Friends of Salter Grove. This program aims to show that outdoor recreation and education with minimum technology is fun.

Like Scandinavian forest schools, the program aims to instill a sense of respect for the environment and the importance of having minimal impact while demonstrating how to use a shared space without impairing others’ enjoyment. 

Photos by Jason Major

The Pelican Brief

The visiting American White Pelican towers over a group of Double-crested Cormorants on the southern tip of Rock Island. (Photo by Jason Major)

An American White Pelican was sighted in the vicinity of Rock Island and Passeonkquis Cove on September 25, 2022 and remained through September 29, 2022.

According to available records for Rhode Island, there have been eighteen sightings of this large waterbird since 1946, including one for Warwick in 1996.

With a wingspan up to ten feet and a maximum body weight of 30 pounds—16 being average—this pelican normally breeds in large colonies on lakes in the interior of southern Canada and the northern plains of the western United States. It migrates in large gregarious flocks to winter along the Gulf of Mexico and in Florida.

So how and why did a solitary pelican that’s usually west of the Mississippi stray so far to the northeast? It could have been confused by the intense smoke from forest fires as it left the breeding grounds and was separated from its traveling companions as it flew to the wintering grounds.

Continue reading

Spring Cleaning with Save the Bay Volunteers

One sign of spring at Salter Grove is the flocking of volunteers to clean up the park and help make it more enjoyable for visitors and safer for wildlife.

For many consecutive years, Save the Bay in Providence has organized groups for two-hour shoreline cleanups on evenings and weekends.

On April 2, 28 enthusiastic volunteers braved a sunny but cold and windy day for the first cleanup of 2022. They gave the season a great start by hauling out 376 pounds of refuse. Items ranged from small plastics, such as water bottle tops and cigar tips, to large foam pieces of boating equipment that weighed more than 20 pounds.

The first cleanup of the year is typically a large haul because so many items accumulate during the winter months. Anything that wind and waves can move end up trapped in vegetation of the park or mired in the mud of the shoreline.

A second group came out on May 23, an event that was part of the Earth Day and Earth Week initiatives planned by Save the Bay at many locations around the state. On a chilly morning, 25 volunteers removed about 110 pounds of trash. The teams did painstaking work in the northwest corner of the park between Narragansett Parkway and the waterline. This area of the park was recently cleared of brush by a separate group of FoSG volunteers. This project revealed years’ worth of accumulation of small plastics — not heavy, but great in number.

This year, a number of new cleanup leaders are training at Salter Grove, a good sign that the efforts will be sustainable for years to come. Salter Grove is an important site for cleanups, both because of its rich ecological diversity and the number of anglers it attracts each year.

The next spring cleanup will take place on Sunday, May 22, at 9 a.m. Interested volunteers should register at volunteer.savebay.org before attending. 

Photos by Save the Bay

Playground Safened

A thick layer of Rec Mix (thrice-ground wood fiber) purchased from Thompson Native Lumber was applied to the playground on Saturday, April 30th to restore safe play conditions. 

A hard-working group of FoSG members and volunteers spread 40 cubic yards of fiber in three hours.

From left to right and front to back: Jason Major, Matt LaMountain, Mark Weiss; Matt Dickinson, Pat (Milo’s mother) Stark, Marina Wong, Billie McGovern, Andy Lohmeier, and Carolyn Hardie. 
OK, we took a few breaks!

Not pictured in the group photo, but still contributing mightily were FoSG member Rep. Joe McNamara, and a visiting family that volunteered on the spot: Sean, Ben, and Maggie Rogan. (Sean P. Rogan is a member of the local Salter’s Groove band.)

The Rogan family pitched in to help. It’s great when parents involve their children in community work from an early age!

When the playground was first constructed in 2019, too little wood fiber, especially in the swing area, and exuberant use led to exposure of the underlying geotextile and gravel.

This was both unsafe and unsustainable. 

Two City administrations failed to address these hazardous play conditions despite FoSG’s repeated requests, so we acted to fill the breach.

Rubber swing mats have also been ordered to prevent excessive wear under the swings and slide for a total cost of $4,061.

We thank the Vivian J. Palmieri Charitable Trust for a generous grant that enabled this project. 

The ADA swing is not meant for adults so the sticker should not be tampered with. 
Gravel left in the play area could hurt a child. 

The playground and its plantings have cost more than $134,000, which took three years and considerable effort to raise. We need to make this last!

As guardians, let’s be sure that equipment is used responsibly and children are kept safe. Dogs must be leashed and under their owner’s control. Children should be coached on how to behave in a shared space. 

Added May 20, 2022: Neighborly volunteers Jay (L) and Jared (R) Reminder and FoSG volunteer Matt Dickinson (not pictured) installed the new swing mats.