Blackstone Heritage Corridor Brings Adaptive Kayaking Series to Wallum Lake

Whitinsville, MA (July 15, 2019) – Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor (BHC) is partnering with All Out Adventures to bring a series of four free, adaptive kayaking events to Wallum Lake at Douglas State Forest, Douglas, MA, on Tuesday, August 27, Tuesday, September 10, Saturday, September 14 and Tuesday, September 17.                                                                                           

Adaptive Kayaking Series

With funding provided by a grant BHC received from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region, this program expands BHC’s recreational programming to those with disabilities. Earlier this year, BHC and All Out Adventures presented a series of five adaptive cycling events in May along the Blackstone River Bikeway in Worcester, MA, and Blackstone, MA.


“We’re grateful to the National Network of Libraries of Medicine for providing funding to offer this amazing program,” noted Suzanne Buchanan, Volunteer Coordinator at BHC. “Imagine offering folks a chance to experie

nce kayaking and the freedom of paddling on Wallum Lake, and seeing this beautiful resource from the seat of a kayak! Volunteers of the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club will provide support throughout the program. Join in the fun to make memories, friends, and enjoy this unique recreational opportunity.”

            The adaptive kayaking program is open to people with disabilities with a guest. Through the use of tandem kayaks, paddle adaptations, and outriggers, All Out Adventures makes kayaking accessible to people of all levels of ability. Adventures are available at 11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m., by advance registration only. Space is limited. Directions and details will be sent upon registration. To register, visit or call 413-584-2052.

            To learn about volunteering with the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, contact Suzanne Buchanan at 508-234-4242 or

Blackstone Heritage Corridor Photography Ambassadors to Host First Ever Gallery Show

Whitinsville, MA (July 12, 2019) – Volunteer photographers with the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Photography Ambassadors will present their first ever gallery show at the Museum of Work & Culture (42 S. Main Street, Woonsocket, RI) throughout the month of September. A free, opening reception will be held on Thursday, August 29 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. where the public can come and meet the photographers and discuss their work.

              The Photography Ambassadors are a volunteer group with the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Volunteers-In-Parks program. For this show, the group traveled to 19 different locations throughout the National Heritage Corridor, capturing images of the many historical sites and mill villages between Worcester, MA, and Providence, RI. The gallery show is being led by BHC volunteer and photographer Carol Dandrade who reveals that there will be four photos from each of the 19 sites and a special “Photographer’s Choice” wall will feature about a dozen more.

            “Our group of photography enthusiasts has thoroughly enjoyed exploring history through our lenses,” Dandrade shared. “Winding our way through barns, attics and basements looking for treasure to photograph is as fulfilling as capturing the historic main floors of the sites. We like knowing that these non-profit locations receive all of our images for their use at no charge.”

Free Gallery Opening Reception August 29 at Museum of Work & Culture

           The 19 locations the BHC Photography Ambassadors selected to visit include Blackstone River State Park, Lincoln, RI; Blackstone Valley Historical Society, Lincoln, RI; Daniels Farmstead, Blackstone, MA; Dorr Rebellion Museum, Chepachet, RI; E.N. Jenckes Store, Douglas, MA; Hearthside House Museum, Lincoln, RI; Hopedale, MA; Hunts Mills, E. Providence, RI; Moffett Mill and Hannaway Blacksmith Shop, Lincoln, RI; Museum of Work & Culture, Woonsocket, RI; Riverdale Mill, Northbridge, MA; Salisbury Mansion, Worcester, MA Slater Mill, Pawtucket, RI; Slatersville (N. Smithfield), RI; Smith-Appleby House Museum, Smithfield, RI; Uxbridge Antique Fire Museum and John Farnum House, Uxbridge, MA; Valentine Whitman House, Lincoln, RI; Whitin Lasell Manor, Whitinsville, MA; Whitinsville, MA.

             Dandrade has had several of her photos featured in BHC’s calendar over the years and started volunteering with BHC in January of 2017 to share her photography skills.  She is a longtime member of the Stony Brook Camera Club of Franklin, MA, where many members decided to join her as Photography Ambassadors with BHC. Throughout the year, volunteers take photos at BHC’s events, including the annual GO! event in September, which is where many of the ambassadors were introduced to locations in the show for the first time.

              Suzanne Buchanan, volunteer coordinator at BHC, helped facilitate some of the photo shoots by reaching out to the various venues to get permission and arrange a time when there were no visitors. After the photos are taken and edited, the volunteers share them with the location to use on their website and marketing materials. “It’s incredible to open the digital photo albums after their visit and see these venues in a whole new light,” Buchanan remarked. “We are so excited to showcase their work and celebrate what makes the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor so special.”

              All photos in the gallery show will be available for sale. The photos will be displayed in 11” x 14” mats, ready for framing. A portion of the proceeds will benefit BHC. Additional sizes are available by contacting the individual photographers.

            Photography Ambassadors featured in the show include Debra Boucher, Woonsocket, RI; Carol Dandrade, Uxbridge, MA; Silvana Della Camera, Norfolk, MA; Rob DeRobertis, Franklin, MA; Denise Duhamel, Fall River, MA; Bob Evans, Northbridge, MA; Ellen Kawadler, Sharon, MA; Sarah Keates, Sharon, MA; Dennis Smith, Uxbridge, MA; Cynthia Vogan, Wrentham, MA.

For more information about the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Photography Ambassadors and the gallery show, contact Suzanne Buchanan at 508-234-4242 or

Blackstone Heritage Corridor Presents 5th Annual GO!

Blackstone Heritage Corridor volunteer Betty Mencucci (center) is shown here giving a walking tour of Harrisville, RI. On Wednesday, September 4 at 6:00 p.m., Betty and Carlo Mencucci will offer a Harrisville History Tour, departing from the First Universalist Church at 134 Main Street.

Whitinsville, MA (July 11, 2019)  – Go explore historic mill villages, go paddle under the full moon, go to an apple festival, and go explore the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor! With more than 100 events to choose from, Blackstone Heritage Corridor proudly presents its 5th annual GO! program this September, highlighting the Blackstone River Valley as a destination for family fun and exploration. This year’s GO! offers guided walks and paddles, bike and museum tours, festivals and many more family-friendly events. GO! 2019 is generously sponsored by UniBank and Navigant Credit Union.

          “I love the Blackstone Heritage Corridor’s GO! program,” noted Diane Prete of N. Smithfield, RI. “The summer was always my favorite time of year and I felt a little sad when it was over. But since I discovered BHC’s month-long GO! in September, I really look forward to the fall and discovering a whole world of wonderful attractions and activities right in my own backyard.  I’m exploring places that I didn’t even know existed, learning about the history of Blackstone Valley and meeting some wonderful people along the way.”

            A special GO! kickoff event takes place Thursday, August 29 at the Museum of Work & Culture (42 S. Main St., Woonsocket, RI) unveiling a gallery show featuring the stunning work  of 10 volunteers from the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Photography Ambassadors. A free reception is being held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. where the museum’s gallery will debut 80 extraordinary photos highlighting the historic, natural, cultural and recreational resources within the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. The show will remain on display through September 30th, with free admission to the gallery during museum hours. Photos will be available for sale with proceeds benefiting the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.

            New this year to the GO! program is a series of adaptive kayaking events being offered at Wallum Lake at Douglas State Forest, Douglas, MA. In partnership with All Out Adventures, Blackstone Heritage Corridor is offering four adaptive kayaking events, made possible with funding provided by National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region. Dates include: Tuesday, August 27; Tuesday, September 10; Saturday, September 14; and Tuesday, September 17. This 1.5 hour program is free and open to people with disabilities accompanied by a guest. Space is limited and pre-registration is required at or 413-584-2052.

Experience the Blackstone River Valley with Special Tours, Walks, Paddles & Festivals
Special kickoff event August 29 at Museum of Work & Culture, Woonsocket, RI

            Celebration is in the air this fall with a handful of festivals planned throughout the valley including the 20th annual Dragon Boat Races & Taiwan Day Festival, Pawtucket, RI (September 7), the French Heritage Festival in Woonsocket, RI (September 7), the 21st annual Pet Rock Fest, Grafton, MA (September 8), an Apple Festival at Douglas Orchard & Farm, Douglas, MA (September 14), a Green Living Expo, Whitinsville, MA (September 14), PawSox Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival, Pawtucket, RI (September 14), stART on the Street Arts Festival, Worcester, MA (September 15), 13th annual North Smithfield Great Pumpkin Festival, North Smithfield, RI (September 21), and Daniels Farmstead’s Apple Fest, Blackstone, MA (September 22). Still feeling festive? A special “High Tea and Hats” event will celebrate Margo Bik’s famous hat collection on Sunday, September 8 at the GB & Lexi Singh Performance Center, Whitinsville, MA. Guests are encouraged to wear fancy hats and bring a favorite tea cup, though not required. RSVP at

            Interested in geology? A number of special events will explore this topic including Glacial Geology Hikes at Purgatory Chasm, Sutton, MA (September 4, 11 and 18); a hike at Blackstone Gorge, Blackstone, MA (September 5), a Native American Ceremonial Landscape Tour, Upton, MA (September 7), a Geologic History of the Blackstone tour, Lincoln, RI (September 17), Purgatory Chasm Hikes, Sutton, MA (September 7, 14 and 21), and Stone Walls of New England – a talk by author Robert Thorson, Worcester, MA (September 28).

For those intrigued by local history, there are numerous chances to explore, including a new Canal Walk Series presented by Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park (September 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29). The weekly tour will depart from various locations to highlight different parts of the canal’s history and the impact it had in different communities. Other new events that the highlight history of the Blackstone Valley include a Waters Farm interpretive tour, Sutton, MA (September 8), Quinsigamond Village Walking Tour, Worcester, MA (September 15), Precious Blood Cemetery Walk, Woonsocket, RI (September 15) and Explore the Mammoth Mill Ruins, Blackstone, MA/N. Smithfield, RI (September 21). Also new this year, a discussion on King Philip’s War will be held in Worcester, MA (September 20) and a Whitin Village Walking Tour in Whitinsville, MA (September 21). Returning this year is the signature Great Road Day, Lincoln, RI (September 21).

For nature lovers, enjoy new guided hikes at Metacomet Land Trust’s Hop Brook Conservation Area, Blackstone, MA (September 7); Cormier Woods, Uxbridge, MA (September 12), and Cumberland Land Trust’s Mercy Woods, Cumberland, RI (September 15).  Also new this year is an Adaptive Hiking event at River Bend Farm, Uxbridge, MA (September 26). For bird lovers, volunteer-led bird walks will be held at Chase Farm, Lincoln, RI (September 21) and Hopedale Parklands, Hopedale, MA (September 28). Night owls might enjoy star gazing Uxbridge, MA (September 13) or a Full Moon Paddle with the Blackstone River Watershed Association in Blackstone, MA (September 14).

Explore the Blackstone Heritage Corridor on your bicycle with the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Bikeway Ambassadors for guided rides on the Ten Mile River Greenway, E. Providence, RI, (September 19) and the Blackstone River Bikeway, Worcester, MA (September 26). Celebrate National Bike Your Park Day on September 28 with ranger-led rides in Lincoln, RI, and Uxbridge, MA.

GO! 2019 offers a number of family-friendly activities including Geocaching 101, Worcester, MA (September 1), Massachusetts BOGO Weekend at Southwick’s Zoo, Mendon, MA, (September 7 and 8), Whittier Farms Free Tour Friday & Apple Crisp Night in Sutton, MA, (September 13– advance ticket purchase required); Rhode Island and Connecticut BOGO Days at Southwick’s Zoo, Mendon, MA, (September 14 and 15), and Nature Walks with a National Park Service Ranger (September 8, 15 and 22), to name just a few.

Download a full digital copy of Blackstone Heritage Corridor’s GO! 2019 program by clicking here.  Printed 48-page guide books will be available at any of the BHC’s visitor centers (for a list click here), at one of the many visitor information kiosks throughout the National Heritage Corridor or at BHC’s office at 670 Linwood Avenue, Whitinsville, MA. Follow Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. on Facebook for news and updates on GO! and more.


About Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor:

An energetic nonprofit, the Blackstone River Valley  National Heritage Corridor partners with organizations, local communities, businesses and residents to ensure the long term vitality of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. Learn more at

Blackstone Heritage Corridor Seeks Photos for 2020 Calendar Contest

2020 Calendar Contest Theme: Weather in the Blackstone River Valley
Chris Bilodeau, Douglas, MA
Chris Bilodeau of Douglas, MA, captured a striking image of an ice disk that formed at the Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge, MA, this past winter.

Whitinsville, MA (June 14, 2019) – Between the stunning, varied landscape of the Blackstone River Valley and the four seasons that come to paint it, , one could easily find a winning image in their photo archives.  From rainbows to sunsets and ice storms to fog, each day the weather paints a different picture.

               BHC’s annual calendar photo contest receives hundreds of entries, but only thirteen images will be selected for the 2020 calendar to illustrate the cover and each of the twelve months.  Submitted images not selected for the calendar are used throughout the year for BHC’s various promotional materials, including its website, annual report, rack cards and much more.

               To be considered for the 2020 Calendar Contest, photos must focus on weather in the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor and must be original digital photography.  Photos must be submitted in high resolution (300 dpi minimum), horizontal JPG format, 10 inches wide and 8 inches high.  No black and white or altered images, please.

               The deadline to enter is Wednesday, August 15, 2019.  Entry forms can be downloaded from BHC’s website at, or requested by calling the BHC office at (508) 234-4242, or by emailing  There is no limit on the number of entries.  Each individual photo for the contest must be submitted with a signed entry form.  Winners will be notified in early September.

About Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor:

An energetic nonprofit, the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor partners with organizations, local communities, businesses and residents to ensure the long term vitality of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. Learn more at

Blackstone Heritage Corridor Celebrates Pollinator Week with New Pollinator Resolution and Events

Ken Warchol, known to many as the “Bee Whisperer,” checks on some of his hives in Uxbridge, MA. He will help kick off Pollinator Week at Herbs Make Scents in Whitinsville, MA, on Monday, June 17 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Whitinsville, MA (June 7, 2019) – Have you heard the buzz? Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor (BHC) is celebrating Pollinator Week (June 17 to 23) with several events designed to educate the Corridor communities about the role pollinators play in our ecosystem and encourage partners to take BHC’s Pollinator Pledge.

BHC is one of 33 National Heritage Areas to create a Pollinator Resolution as part of “Operation Pollination” conceived by Chris Stein, who was the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor’s first Chief Ranger from 1991 to 1994. Today, Stein is Chief of Heritage Areas and Partnerships with the National Park Service in the Midwest Region. His goal, he says, was to create small scale pollinator habitats to inspire more large scale projects. In its first year, three National Heritage Areas of the 55 across the country signed on. Today, he shares that number is now 33.

BHC announced the creation of its Pollinator Resolution in April and to date has signed pledges from 12 partners including Rhode Island College, Mass Audubon at Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, Metacomet Land Trust, Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy, Upton Conservation Commission, Hi-on-a-Hill Herb Farm, North Smithfield Land Trust, Blackstone Conservation Commission, Uxbridge Conservation Commission, Roots in Nature, Southwick-Daniels Farm/The Daniels Farmstead Foundation, Inc., and The Ecotarium. Pledge forms can be found on BHC’s website at

“Pledges range from maintaining pesticide-free gardens to planting pollinator-friendly plants in gardens and from maintaining apiaries on campus to providing pollinator education classes,” explains Bonnie Combs, BHC’s marketing director. “We are inspired by the awareness that Chris Stein has created and we look forward to inspiring more pollinator-friendly habits and habitats throughout the Corridor with this initiative.”

To kick off Pollinator Week, local beekeeper Ken Warchol of Northbridge, MA, will be at Herbs Make Scents (76 Church St.), Whitinsville, MA, for a special Pollinator Tea Party on Monday, June 17 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Warchol has been keeping bees for 70 years and is the apiary inspector for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Many call him the area’s “bee whisperer.” He was part of the Harvard University team studying Colony Collapse Disorder and maintains 125 hives all over Central Massachusetts. Warchol will be setting up a demonstration hive and offering samples of many different kinds of honey. He encourages area youth to come visit after school to learn about honeybees and different pollinators. Terri Michaelson, owner of Herbs Make Scents, will be featuring a special tea menu and highlighting food items in her shop that have been pollinated by honeybees. The shop is normally closed on Monday and is opening at 2:00 p.m. for this special event.

Rhode Island College was the first to sign BHC’s Pollinator Pledge and will be hosting a “Beekeeping for Veterans” workshop on Wednesday, June 19 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 at the college’s bee education center (600 Mt. Pleasant Ave., behind buildings 7 and 8) in Providence, RI. The event recognizes both Pollinator Week and PTSD Awareness Month. Jim Murphy, sustainability coordinator at RIC who oversees the beehives at the college’s bee education center, will provide an overview of beekeeping and offer a hands-on experience at the hives. There will also be a tour of the greenhouse and campus garden to learn about the role pollinators play in our food supply. The event is a collaboration between Rhode Island College, Dare to Dream Ranch, and BHC. RSVP to Jim Murphy at or 401-456-8799. To learn more about the Rhode Island College Bee Education Center, visit

On Thursday, June 20, cross pollination is happening at Sprout CoWorking as Providence Green Drinks and Gallery Night Providence come together for Gallery Night at the Sprout Gallery at the Rising Sun Mills (166 Valley St., Building 6M, Suite 103), Providence, RI, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The two groups each host their monthly events on the third Thursday and on June 20 they will gather at the same hive to learn about each other, and pollinators. Meg Kerr, Senior Director of Policy, at Audubon Society of Rhode Island, will speak about her policy work for pollinators and Bonnie Combs from BHC will talk about the Pollinator Resolution and efforts to engage partners in protecting pollinators throughout the Blackstone River Valley. Other guests include Normand Peloquin, of Blackstone Valley Apiaries, who will have local honey and encaustic paintings; popup artist Michele Fremont of Jacqueline Dyer Studio; and ecoRI News who will have information on the Bee Vigilant campaign created with Convergence RI. The event is free and open to the public.

Pollinator Week closes out at Mass Audubon Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center and Wildlife Sanctuary (414 Massasoit Rd.), Worcester, MA, on Saturday, June 22 from 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. with a Pollinator Open House.Drop in between for pollinator scavenger hunts, games, and activities, view the butterfly gardens and bee hotel, and take home free pollinator-friendly wildflower seeds. While you’re there, explore the trails and nature play area and see how many ways to help pollinators you can find.

To learn more about BHC’s Pollinator Resolution and the Pollinator Pledge, contact Bonnie Combs at 508-234-4242 or

BHC’s Bikeway Ambassadors and Blackstone Valley Paddle Club Lead Experiences Throughout the National Heritage Corridor This Summer

Public Invited to Explore Places to Cycle and Paddle on Guided Events

Whitinsville, MA (May 15, 2019) – Volunteers of the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Bikeway Ambassadors and the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club launch their summer season of guided bike rides and paddles throughout the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. Group paddles are hosted on Tuesday evenings at 6:00 p.m. and group bicycle rides are hosted on Wednesday evenings, departing at 6:30 p.m.

The first volunteer-led “Ride of Discovery” with the BHC Bikeway Ambassadors is on Wednesday, May 29 in Burrillville, RI, along the Burrillville Bike Path. Special guests as interpretive guides are Betty and Carlo Mencucci with the Burrillville Historical and Preservation Society. Riders will meet at the Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library (100 Tinkham Lane, Harrisville, RI). A special ride for National Trails Day, Saturday, June 1, will honor a BHC volunteer, Dave Barber, who leaves behind a legacy of trail advocacy. The ride along the Blackstone River Greenway from Blackstone, MA, to Uxbridge, MA, will include an interpretive talk at the Millville Lock by canal enthusiast Val Stegemoen. Riders will meet at 12:00 p.m. at the Blackstone River Greenway parking area at 93 Canal Street, Blackstone, MA. Walkers can meet at the Millville parking lot (44 Hope St.) at 1:00 p.m. for the walking tour of the Millville Lock).

The “Rides of Discovery” continue through the summer on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. as follows: June 5, Worcester, MA, to Millbury, MA, (meet at BHC Visitor Center at Worcester, 3 Paul Clancy Way, Worcester, MA; June 12, Blackstone River Greenway, Uxbridge, MA to Blackstone, MA, (meet at 1 Adams St., Uxbridge, MA); June 19, Ride with Landry’s Bicycle Shop (meet at Landry’s Bicycle Shop, 20 Jolma Rd., Worcester, MA); June 26, Woonsocket, RI, to Manville, RI, with a tour of the newly expanded Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone Environmental Center (meet at Rivers Edge parking area, 20 Davison Ave., Woonsocket, RI); July 10, Manville, RI, to the Capt. Wilbur Kelly House Museum, Lincoln, RI (meet at the Manville parking area, 100 New River Road, Lincoln, RI). Enjoy a Full Moon bike ride on July 17, departing from the Route 295 Visitor Center (1-295 North), Lincoln, RI, and riding to the Lonsdale Marsh, Lincoln, RI. On July 24, bike from the Lonsdale Marsh to the Slater Mill Historic Site, Pawtucket, RI (meet at the John St. Parking area, 121 John St, Lincoln, RI). On July 31, meet at the historic Looff Carousel in Slater Park, (825 Armistice Blvd., Pawtucket, RI) to meet up with the Ten Mile River Watershed Council for a guided ride along the Ten Mile River Greenway. Blackstone Heritage Corridor is also hosting a Corridor Chats networking event there starting at 4:30 p.m. and the public is invited to attend. To RSVP for Corridor Chats, email

On August 7, ride along the Blackstone River Greenway from Blackstone, MA, to Uxbridge, MA, and enjoy interpretation along the way (meet at the Blackstone River Greenway parking area, 93 Canal Street, Blackstone, MA). On August 14, bike from the Slater Mill Historic Site (67 Roosevelt Ave., Pawtucket, RI) to Blackstone Boulevard in Providence, RI, and enjoy a tour through Swan Point Cemetery. A special Saturday ride has been added on August 17 to bike along the East Bay Bike Path along the coast of Rhode Island. Meet at the Max Read Athletic Field (Pleasant St., Pawtucket, RI) at 9:30 a.m. The Wednesday evening rides continue on August 21 for a bike ride along the Woonasquatucket River Greenway from Providence, RI, to Johnston, RI. Meet at Riverside Park (50 Aleppo St., Providence, RI) for a 6:30 p.m. departure.

Helmets are required for all bicycle rides (bring your own bike and helmet) and rides are weather dependent. Check BHC’s website and Facebook page for updates. For full details on each ride, visit BHC’s events calendar at For more info on BHC’s Bikeway Ambassadors, contact Suzanne Buchanan at or call 508-234-4242.

                The Blackstone Valley Paddle Club, a volunteer program of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, is launching its 19th season with paddles throughout the Blackstone River Valley. Participants must bring their own canoe or kayak, paddles and life jackets. Arrive by 6:00 p.m. for 6:15 p.m. launch. The Tuesday night guided paddle trips begin May 21 with a paddle trip along the West River in Uxbridge, MA, (meet at gravel lot on West River Road). Here, you’ll have a chance to see a lot of wildlife as you paddle upstream through this stretch of clean, clear flatwater. On May 28, travel along the Upton section of the West River (parking for access to the river is at the bridge just south of the DPW garage at 100 Pleasant St.). On June 4, explore the Nipmuc River in Burrillville, RI (meet at 50 Sherman Farm Rd.). This river, above the pond and above where the Clear River ends, is listed by the state as pristine water, the state’s highest rating for water quality. On June 11, meet at the boat launch at the Rivers Edge Recreation Complex (20 Davison Ave., Woonsocket, RI) for a trip along the Blackstone River to the Manville Quarry. On June 18, paddle along the historic Blackstone Canal to the Goat Hill Lock in Uxbridge, MA. Meet at the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park (287 Oak St., Uxbridge, MA). On June 25, paddle along the Mumford River from the Lackey Dam (meet at Lackey Dam Road across from Oakhurst Rd., Sutton, MA). Enjoy a nice flatwater section of the upper Slatersville Reservoir and Branch River on July 2 in Slatersville, RI, (meet at 2980 Broncos Highway). On July 9, paddlers will meet at the Blackstone Gorge for a paddle to the Millville rapids. Meet at the Blackstone Gorge parking area at the end of County Street, Blackstone, MA. On July 16, enjoy a paddle at the scenic Valley Falls Marsh including a trip up the Blackstone River to Pratt Dam (meet at the Central Falls Landing, 30 Madeira Ave., Central Falls, RI). On July 23, explore the tranquil Bowdish Lake at the George Washington State Campground and Management Area (2185 Putnam Pike, Chepachet, RI). On July 30, travel to Bold Point Park (Waterfront Dr., East Providence, RI) for an urban paddle along the Providence River where you’ll pass the Waterfire braziers into Water Place Park to the confluence of the Woonasquatucket and Moshassuk Rivers. On August 6, explore Manchaug Pond in Sutton, MA. Meet at the State Boat Ramp on Torrey Road. This paddle is suitable for all and a great place for a swim. On August 20, paddle at Spring Lake in Burrillville. Meet at the Black Hut boat access on Black Hut Road, Burrillville, RI. The paddle club season ends on Tuesday, August 27 with a paddle at Stump Pond (307 Farnum Pike, Smithfield, RI). The club is offering a Saturday paddle on September 7 for Blackstone Heritage Corridor’s 5th annual GO! program. This paddle meets at 12:30 p.m. for 1:00 p.m. launch for a trip from the Blackstone Gorge to within sight of the Millville rapids. Meet at the end of County Street, Blackstone, MA. For complete details on each paddle, visit Blackstone Heritage Corridor’s events page ( or

Before leaving for any paddle, check the Paddle Club’s message board for changes and cancellations to trips at If paddles are cancelled due to weather, the Paddle Club will try to offer it the following day, Wednesday. To participate in the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club’s events, a Rhode Island Canoe and Kayak Association (RICKA) membership fee of $15.00 is required, as is a $10.00 membership fee for the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club.  These fees provide a family membership and are good for the entire season.  For questions about the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club and membership, contact Cheryl at or 401-497-5887.

Bee Aware! Take the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Pollinator Pledge

Blackstone Heritage Corridor is pleased join the National Heritage Areas Program’s pollinator campaign by creating a Pollinator Resolution for the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.

Area businesses, schools, and organizations can show their support by signing a pledge form and having their name added to BHC’s resolution.

To learn more, contact Bonnie Combs, Marketing Director at Blackstone Heritage Corridor, by calling 508-234-4242 or email

To read the Pollinator Pledge, click here.  To read the Pollinator Resolution, click here.

Save the Date: Pollinator Week is June 17 to 23. Watch for pollinator events happening that week!


BHC Announces 2019 “Birding the Blackstone” Program

Blackstone Heritage Corridor Volunteer Birding Ambassadors Lead Spring Bird Walks
Birding the Blackstone

Whitinsville, MA (April 15, 2019) – Volunteers of Blackstone Heritage Corridor’s Birding Ambassadors program are leading a series of free, guided bird walks at some of their favorite birding spots this spring. The “Birding the Blackstone” spring series is being led by volunteer interpretive birders Beth and Paul Milke who have been leading walks for BHC for the past few years and have developed quite a following of avid birders.

                The Saturday morning bird walks will each last about two hours, and in the event of inclement weather, the walks will take place the following day, Sunday, at the same start time. Pre-registration is required ( and notice will be given as to any change in schedule.

The Birding the Blackstone series will take flight for the season on Saturday, May 11 at River Bend Farm (Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park, 287 Oak Street, Uxbridge, MA) at 8:00 a.m. and is one of the Milke’s favorite birding spots. “After crossing the Blackstone Canal on the wooden bridge, we’ll look for singing birds in the thickets and trees around the mowed field: bluebirds, swallows, blackbirds including Baltimore Orioles, plus a variety of sparrows, warblers, and flycatchers,” Beth explained. “There’s a good chance we’ll see Red-breasted Grosbeaks, an Indigo Bunting and possibly a secretive Black-billed Cuckoo.”

                On Saturday, May 25, the program flies south to Cumberland, RI, for an 8:00 a.m. walk at the Cumberland Monastery (1464 Diamond Hill Road; meet at the Cumberland Senior Center lot). “This is our first time birding here in spring,” Beth noted. “Who knows how many different species could be present along the edges of extensive marshland and fields!”

                Celebrate National Trails Day on Saturday, June 1 exploring the trails at Chase Farm (667 Great Road) in Lincoln, RI, while looking for migrating birds. Beth and Paul will lead an 8:00 a.m. bird walk exploring this beautiful, historic property located next to the Hearthside House Museum, a blacksmith shop and a one-room schoolhouse. “The air over the fields will be full of Tree and Barn Swallows,” Beth predicted. “We should see a good number of blackbirds, including Baltimore Orioles, and a variety of warblers and sparrows.  A Green Heron might be fishing at the pond.”

                On Saturday, June 8, a participant of the Birding Ambassadors program is opening up her farm along Cold Spring Brook, in Uxbridge, MA.  According to Beth, the habitat includes a marsh, several fields, and a section of woods.  “Bluebirds, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Wrens, and Wood Ducks often nest on the property,” she noted. The walk begins at 8:00 a.m. and like the other walks, pre-registration is required ( and directions will be sent to those who register.

                The spring birding series will conclude on Saturday, June 15 at the new Blackstone Gateway Park in Worcester, MA, which is located adjacent to the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Visitor Center (3 Paul Clancy Way). Participants will meet at 8:00 a.m. at the Visitor Center and walk over to the park. “We’ll be among the first to list what bird species are making their home here along the Middle River, at the northern edge of the Blackstone River Heritage Corridor,” Beth explained. “The River Walk includes observation platforms projecting over the water that give a bird’s-eye view of their habit.”

                The Saturday morning bird walks will each last about two hours, and in the event of inclement weather, the walks will take place the following day, Sunday, at the same start time. Pre-registration is required ( and notice will be given as to any change in schedule.

Binoculars are suggested, but a few extra pairs are available.  Walks are generally about a mile and suitable for adults and children ages 10 and up with a parent. For more information about the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Birding Ambassadors and other volunteer programs, contact Suzanne Buchanan, BHC’s volunteer coordinator, at or call (508)234-4242.

May is Declared Storm Drain Awareness Month in MA and RI

Blackstone Heritage Corridor Expands Its Trash Responsibly Program to Protect Storm Drains
Storm Drain

Whitinsville, MA (April 15, 2019)  – The month of May has a little more meaning this year in the Blackstone River Valley. By way of Gubernatorial Proclamations issued in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the month of May has been declared Storm Drain Awareness Month.

          In the middle of planning for spring cleanup season, Bonnie Combs, marketing director at the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor (BHC), sought out to file Gubernatorial Proclamation requests both states to declare the month of May as Storm Drain Awareness Month. By mid-April she learned in the same week that both were reviewed and approved, fulfilling a long-term goal to create awareness about the role storm drains play in carrying litter and harmful pollutants to the waterways of the bi-state Blackstone River Watershed, and eventually to the bay and ocean.

          “In 2015, BHC launched ‘Trash Responsibly,’ a program to create awareness about the impact litter has on our natural resources here in the Blackstone River Valley,” Combs explained. She is the organization’s marketing director and also manages the Trash Responsibly program. Combs works with the 25 communities of the National Heritage Corridor to plan and coordinate cleanup and recycling events, and over the years she has brought awareness to  fishing line and Styrofoam recycling programs. This year she decided was the year for storm drains.

          When planning the Blackstone River Watershed-Wide Cleanup with the Blackstone River Watershed Association and Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone this year, Combs suggested they offer an “Adopt-a-Storm Drain” option so that volunteers could pick their level of commitment. “It was a way to introduce the concept and the photos of dirty storm drains on the flyer sure got people’s attention.”

          For the first year of the Storm Drain Awareness Month campaign, Combs hopes that people will choose to adopt a storm drain on their street, in their neighborhood, in their town, or even where they work or go to school. “I’d love to see people choose a storm drain that they see often and pledge to keep it clean of litter and debris and be mindful of harmful pollutants that find their way to the drains,” Combs shared. “I’m hoping once people make the connection between what lands on the grates of the storm drains and how it and other pollutants wash down and end up in our rivers, streams and oceans, that they’ll want to help prevent that from happening. It will help protect local wildlife, improve water quality and eventually help prevent the spread of what is known as Plastic Ocean.”

          For anyone looking to actively engage in the storm drain awareness campaign, Combs suggests selecting a storm drain and using the Google Maps feature to determine the GPS coordinates. “I’d love to receive photos and map info to track participation and support. I’d really like to see how far this campaign spreads and how much of an impact it can make.”

With the help of volunteers from BHC’s Volunteers-In-Parks program, educational programs are planned for Storm Drain Awareness Month utilizing the Enviroscape table-top watershed model, a hands-on, interactive activity that demonstrates the sources and effects of water pollution. “We have volunteers who are trained to present this program to school and community groups,” Combs explained. For anyone looking to learn more about the Enviroscape and receive training, a Volunteer Skills Workshop has been scheduled for Monday, May 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Blackstone Heritage Corridor office, 670 Linwood Avenue, Whitinsville, MA. RSVP to Additional water-quality education programs are being planned for Wednesday, May 15 at the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Visitor Center at Worcester, 3 Paul Clancy Way, Worcester, MA, at 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. To register and learn more, contact Bonnie Combs at

          This storm drain awareness initiative was inspired by a particular storm drain she recalls walking by on the way to a meeting a few years ago to discuss plans for a recycling event. “It was a double-wide storm drain and it was covered with litter,” she remarked. “It was at a busy crosswalk and it was also stenciled in English and Spanish with the message ‘Keep It Clean – Protect Your Water.’ I snapped a photo and that image has stuck with me all these years.”

          One year later, at an Earth Day cleanup, the Blackstone River Watershed Association was giving away “Dwayne the Storm Drain” coloring books produced by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) and Combs brought a copy back to the office to add her to research. She later connected with MWRA’s School Program Coordinator and received shipments of the book for her own environmental programming. Earlier this spring, “Dwayne the Storm Drain” books were brought to the Green Team students at Taft Elementary School in Uxbridge, MA, for a reading and discussion about pollutants that impact water quality and how the students could help by adopting a storm drain in their neighborhood.

          A couple of years ago, Combs also worked with the Blackstone River Watershed Association to borrow storm drain stencils for a volunteer project with a local church group looking to do community service. “I had contacted the Uxbridge Department of Public Works about stenciling a storm drain near my office that fed right into the Mumford River and they were very supportive,” Combs recalls. “The project was very eye-opening for many after we did the stenciling, we cleaned up the area where litter had washed into the river.”

After volunteering one year with Save the Bay on a storm drain marking project in Woonsocket, RI, which involved the application of round discs above the storm drain with epoxy glue, Combs received a box of the same discs from the Blackstone River Coalition and used them for a “Kids Trash Responsibly” program in Blackstone, MA, and Millville, MA.

          This year, Combs requested that the organization’s annual application for the Narragansett Bay Commission’s Earth Day Grant be focused on storm drain marking supplies to help bring the program to more communities. In early April, BHC received word the grant was approved.

          When seeking the proclamation request in Massachusetts, Combs reached out to State Representative David Muradian, who once helped her acquire one for Save the Frogs Day which is April 30 every year. In 2016, Combs had participated in Roger Williams Park Zoo’s citizen science project for monitoring frogs and worked with Rep. Muradian that spring on acquiring the Gubernatorial Proclamation. “I am happy to partner with Bonnie to bring awareness and education about this important issue,” stated Rep. David Muradian. “Storm Drain Awareness Month will serve as a reminder about the importance of reducing liter and pollution within our communities.”

In Rhode Island, she reached out to Senator Joshua Miller on the matter, who introduced a Senate Resolution declaring May as Storm Drain Awareness Month. Combs also worked with the Rhode Island Governor’s office on a Gubernatorial Proclamation.

          For more information on the storm drain campaign, volunteer opportunities to assist with storm drain marking, and other Trash Responsibly initiatives, contact Bonnie Combs at or call 508-234-4242.




Blackstone River Watershed-Wide Cleanup Set for April 13

A bi-state effort is planned for a watershed-wide cleanup of the Blackstone River Watershed on Saturday, April 13 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The Blackstone River Watershed Association (BRWA) and the Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone (BRWC/FOB) are partners with the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor (BHC) which is helping to organize the cleanup. Both watershed groups are bringing volunteers together in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island to clean and help protect the rivers, streams, ponds and lakes.

There will be some dedicated sites chosen for cleanups, but volunteers are encouraged to adopt a site and/or adopt a storm drain in their community. All three organizations are partnering on an effort to raise awareness about storm drains and how they impact water quality. Volunteers will be supplied with safety equipment and once registered, site permission and plans for removal of collected litter will be obtained.

For Massachusetts communities of the watershed, volunteers will work with the Blackstone River Watershed Association. Meet at Blackstone Heritage Corridor offices at 670 Linwood Avenue, Whitinsville, MA, for supplies and volunteer check-in. Register at For more information, on the Massachusetts portion of the cleanup, contact Bonnie Combs at

For Rhode Island communities of the watershed, volunteers will work with Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone. Volunteers will meet at either the Blackstone River Watershed Council Education Center at 100 New River Road, Manville, RI, or at Scott Pond, 19 Lower Road, Lincoln, RI. Register at For more information, contact Keith Hainley at