Start in your own neighborhood and become more familiar with the nature surrounding your school or home. Urban sidewalks are home to a wide variety of interesting weeds and bugs. Make a point of noticing which urban yards have the most colorful gardens. Who is growing vegetables? Which tree-lined streets provide the most shade on a hot sunny day?
Beyond the neighorhood, Rhode Island offers an extensive system of bike trails, state park paths, and waterways that wind through breathtakingly beautiful areas rich in natural resources and wildlife. These same paths lead you through some incredible sites of cultural, industrial, and military history, providing fun destinations to share with family and friends on your day off.
A motivated hiker could walk across the state in a single day along the North South Trail. If you are a local, you can walk, run, or go biking on an amazing new adventure every weekend, without leaving the state.
Tim Mooney, Preserves Manager for The Nature Conservancy
leads nature walks on the two largest preserves
The Nature Conservancy offers Rhode Islanders some of the best hands-on opportunities for environmental education field trips. The Rhode Island Chapter protects 16 properties throughout
The Clay Head Preserve trail on
The Quicksand Pond/Goosewing Beach Preserve in Little Compton is a magnificent system of pristine coastal pond, barrier beach, and dune environments.
The Fogland Marsh in Tiverton is a beautiful tidal estuary, where the ocean water mixes with fresh water, creating a habitat for a great wealth of ecology ranging from algae to marsh birds.
The Tillinghast Pond Management Area in West Greenwich is The Nature Conservancy's largest land holding in
The Francis C. Carter Memorial Preserve in
Fascination is found not only in the vast landscape, but also in the small things.
Here Tim Mooney shows me wood frog egg clusters and owl pellets. 3/15/11
To learn more about vernal ponds and the wood frog life cycle, click here.
Tiverton has five miles of walking trails in Weetamoo Woods, the site of Tiverton's first settlement, named for the last sachem of the Pocasset Tribe of Wampanoag Indians. Weetamoo was a female sachem. This area includes part of the original Pocasset Purchase roadway, circa 1685.
In the West Bay, East Greenwich offers scenic historic walks around the Historic Hill District and down by the Greenwich Cove in Scalloptown Park, or along the trails at Boesch Farm. Further south beyond Wickford, lies the John H. Chafee Nature Preserve, historically known as Rome Point, easy-going hike over several interlocking trails or straight through the woods to a pebble beach and popular seal watching location.
Walkers and runners alike enjoy Rhode Island's extensive bikeway system. Walkers, be sure you travel on the left hand side of the paths, facing oncoming bikers. The East Bay Bike Path in Providence begins at India Point, where our state founder and religious revolutionary, Roger Williams, brought us the concept of “Soul Liberty” and befriended our state’s original natives. The path continues down through
The Washington Bike Path follows the route that Rochambeau and his troops marched as they marched into the American Revolution.
The Blackstone River Bikeway runs north from
The City of Providence offers Neutaconkanut Park, the highest elevation in the city, 88 acres with woodland trails along the historic Northwest boundary of the property negotiation established between Roger Williams and the Native Americans.
Rhode Island also boasts miles of walkable beaches. From the white sands of Block Island across to the quaint harbor town of Watch Hill on up to the Narragansett surf and over to secluded Third Beach at the mouth of the Sakonnet River, each shoreline setting offers its own unique experience.
For a completely breathtaking oceanside experience, Rhode Island offers the rocky shores of Beaver Tail, with it's lighthouse and many tide pools. There are also many delightful paths and roadways through Goddard Park, around Roger Williams Park, and in Colt State Park, to name but a few more options. And, for the more rustic, there are hiking trails and camping areas all over Rhode Island.
Far away from the water... Are you familiar with the Buck Hill Management Area? It consists of over 2,000 acres of forest in the northwest corner of Rhode Island. The trails are mostly old wagon roads, relatively rocky, but wide and inviting for conversation and enjoying the wildlife that flourishes in the area. This is a six mile hike that leads past ponds, grain fields, and eventually to the Tri-State Marker where Rhode Island, Massachesetts and Connecticut meet. And, Smithfield has seven scenic walks.
The Audubon Society of Rhode Island offers free public access to miles of beautiful nature trails rated for difficulty and length of time required to complete the trail. Trail maps can be downloaded at www.asri.org. Adubon refuges offer you a quiet place to escape, reflect, renew, and revitalize. Here's a list of Audubon and National Fish and Wildlife Service refuges...