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.

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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.

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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.

April 30th Temporary Playground Closure 

FoSG volunteers spreading wood fiber on swing area.

The circular play area at Salter Grove will be closed on Saturday, April 30, 2022, from 9 a.m.–12 p.m. so that wood fiber can be spread to provide a safe play surface. FoSG members and volunteers will do the deed.

The two swing areas have already been renewed and will remain open. For the safety of your children, please keep them out of the work and travel areas.