Meet Land Trust volunteers who steward these natural places
Hundreds of acres of wild open space have been preserved by the Barrington Land Conservation Trust and the Town of Barrington. This summer, you can discover five of these protected areas and meet the volunteers who help to care for them.
Guided walks in June and July will introduce you to Andreozzi Nature Preserve, Lombardi Park, PIC-WIL Nature Preserve, Johannis Farm Wildlife Preserve and St. Andrews Farm. The walks are free and open to the public, and all ages are welcome. Advance registration is required as parking is limited.
All walks last about an hour and take place in the morning to avoid mosquitoes and heat. The terrain is gentle but may be wet or uneven in places. You may wish to bring a walking stick. Dress for the weather and wear sturdy footwear.
Andreozzi Nature Preserve and Lombardi Park – Thursday, June 22, 9 am
Andreozzi Nature Preserve and Lombardi Park are small conservation areas owned and managed by the Barrington and Conservation Trust, located within 100 yards of each other off the East Bay Bike Path. They are open to the public year-round, dawn to dusk. This walk will be led by Jerry and Ginny Gonville, who are avid bird watchers and Land Trust volunteers.
Andreozzi Nature Preserve was donated by Annie J. Andreozzi in memory of her husband, Emilio L. Andreozzi, to establish a natural area where plants, birds and other forms of animal life could be protected. She wished to have the property used to further public knowledge and appreciation of plants, animals and natural resources.
Lombardi Park was donated by Salvatore Lombardi, Jr., Anthony Lombardi and Joseph Lombardi in 2004. The site includes Little Echo Lake, where many members of the Lombardi family swam in their youth. Salvatore Lombardi, Sr. and his wife Josephine emigrated from Italy to Barrington in 1924. He worked at the Barrington Brickyard and became a skilled stone mason. Together with their family, they grew a construction and real estate development business.
PIC-WIL Nature Preserve – Saturday, June 24, 9 am
PIC-WIL Nature Preserve is a 17-acre expanse of forest, field, salt marsh and coastal dunes on the east shore of the Providence River in Barrington. The walk will be led by Peter Burke, property steward and former President of the Barrington Land Conservation Trust.
Once home to a bottling facility owned by Deep Water Rock Company, the property was donated to the Nature Conservancy by Catherine Picerelli in December of 1986 and deeded to the Barrington Land Conservation Trust in 1987. The donation was made in memory of the families of Peter J. Picerelli and Clifford M. Wilson: thus the name, “PIC-WIL.” Although the property is generally closed to the public due to its status as a nature preserve, the Land Trust opens PIC-WIL periodically for guided walks.
The forest includes a wide variety of deciduous trees. The property is home to deer, coyote, fox, weasels, squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits. Purple Martins nest here in late spring and summer. Common birds of the marsh and tidal creeks include Mallards, American Black Ducks, Snowy and Great Egrets, Green-backed Herons, Great Blue Herons, and Osprey. Sharp-tailed Sparrows, Belted Kingfishers and various shorebirds are other likely visitors of the wetland. Nesting birds of the forest and its shrub border include Song Sparrow, Carolina Wren, Blue Jay, Flicker, Cardinal, Goldfinch, Robin, Red-eyed Vireo, Mockingbird, Catbird, Brown Thrasher and others.
Johannis Farm Wildlife Preserve – Sunday, June 25, 8 am
Early risers, this walk’s for you! Johannis Farm Wildlife Preserve covers 32 acres of field, forest, and salt marshes on the border of the Palmer River, off Sowams Road in Barrington. The property was acquired by the Land Trust in 1991 through a combination of Rhode Island and Barrington Open Space bonds and charitable donations to the Barrington Land Conservation Trust. Due to the sensitive native plants and animals on the property, it is generally not open to the public.
Property steward Bill Kirkpatrick will guide you through the forest trail and take you down to the salt marshes, where you can see the effects of sea level rise in real time. The bridge which allowed circumnavigation of the site washed out during the floods of December 2022. It will be rebuilt this fall by a team of students from Roger Williams University’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders.
You’ll also see the first stage of a three-year planting program at Johannis Farm Wildlife Preserve, funded in part by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). Land Trust volunteers and the Audubon Youth Conservation League Team planted 38 native trees and shrubs in September 2022, with more planting to come in 2023 and 2024.
St. Andrews Farm – Saturday, July 8, 9 am
St. Andrews Farm includes 28 acres of open fields, forest and athletic fields off Middle Highway in Barrington. The property is owned by the Town and managed by the St. Andrews Farm Management Committee, which is composed of Land Trust members, abutters, and several Town officials. The property is open to the public year round, dawn to dusk.
The walk will be led by Charlie and Ginger Brown, Land Trust stewards for the property. Charlie, Land Trust volunteer and board member, served for 24 years with the RI Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, where he was the expert on mammals, including coyotes, bats, fishers, bears, foxes, bobcats, and even pumas. Ginger is a former president of the Land Trust and author of Dragonflies and Damselflies of Rhode Island.
The property was operated by St. Andrews School as a working farm from the 1890s until the 1960s. In 2000, the McAdams Charitable Foundation, through the generosity of Norman (“Sandy”) and Dorothy (“Dotty”) McCulloch, purchased the property from St. Andrews School and donated it to the Town of Barrington.
This generous gift ensured that the property would be preserved and maintained as open recreational space for the benefit of the public. Part of the property was set aside for the construction of an athletic field. The remaining acres of rolling grassland and trees bounded by upland and wetland forests are preserved as conservation land.
Consistent with the McCullochs’ goals for the property, the Town and the Land Trust have worked together to restore the property to its original condition and encourage greater public use for walking, birding and educational purposes.
The Barrington Land Conservation Trust has preserved nearly 300 acres of open space in perpetuity for the benefit of the public. For more information on the Land Trust and its properties, visit www.blct.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.