BHC Announces 2018 Calendar Photo Contest Winners

2018 Calendar Cover - Blackstone Heritage Corridor

 Press Release              


Contact:  Megan DiPrete, Executive Director



BHC Announces 2018 Calendar Photo Contest Winners

Whitinsville, MA – (September 7, 2017) – Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. (BHC) has selected the images for its 2018 calendar, curated from submissions by local photographers in a photo contest focused on the Blackstone River and the watershed.

Wendy A. Henschel of Whitinsville, MA, submitted a stunning image of the Linwood Falls in Northbridge, MA, titled “Change of Seasons” which landed her the coveted cover shot for the 2018 Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Calendar.

The New Year begins with a scene of Lake Nipmuc in Mendon, MA, captured near sunset with a darkened sky and the sun’s fading light glistening off snow-studded trees and reflecting in the water below. This photo was captured by Carole Carnovale, a resident of Mendon.

“It was fascinating to see the geographical shift in submissions this year,” noted Megan DiPrete, BHC’s Executive Director. “Each year we choose a different theme, and this year’s focus on the Blackstone River and the watershed pulled in a larger percentage of photographs taken in the Massachusetts portion of the National Heritage Corridor. Just two locations, the dam at Linwood Mill, home to BHC, and the Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge, MA, accounted for more than two dozen of the photos received this year.”

That being said, it was difficult to overlook some of those and as a result, a winter shot of the Linwood Falls was selected for the February calendar image, taken by Wendy A. Henschel who also submitted the colorful Linwood Falls image which secured the cover.

It was the stunning contrast of blue paint on the gears of the Mumford River Flood Control that captured the attention of the judges looking at Carol Dandrade’s photo taken at Whitin Machine Works along the Mumford River in Northbridge, MA. An Uxbridge, MA, resident, Dandrade’s photos have appeared in BHC’s calendars the past few years, and this photo was selected to appear in March.

Mark J. Paine of Woonsocket, RI, was in the right place at the right time as a swan came in for a landing on the Blackstone River in Cumberland, RI. Paine snapped an incredible image of the swan’s descent upon the water, reflecting a mirror image below its wing-stretched body and casting a magnificent splash around itself. This powerful image was selected for April.

Suzanne Buchanan of Harrisville, RI, was riding her bicycle along the Blackstone River Bikeway in Blackstone, MA, and stopped to admire the railroad bridge crossing the Blackstone River and submitted her image titled “Keeping on Track” to the contest. This photo appears in May.

“It’s important to note that you don’t need to be a professional photographer or have expensive equipment to enter the photo contest,” DiPrete noted. “Many cell phones have cameras that can take high-resolution photos, like the one submitted by Buchanan. The beauty of it is that you can be enjoying the outdoors, whether biking, paddling or hiking, and not be encumbered by a lot of equipment to capture a stunning photo.”

The longest day of the year falls in June and the image selected to represent the mid-year was taken at the Manville Dam in Lincoln, RI. A dreamy raspberry-orange sky is reflected off the Blackstone River as the sun sets late in the day with a brilliant cascade of blue water coming off the dam and Subham Sett of Lincoln was there to witness it.

Flip the calendar to July and the lights are back on with a unique view of the Blackstone Canal and towpath at Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge, MA. Puffy white clouds are reflected in the canal below as sunlight dances off the rich foliage surrounding the canal and the adjacent field. This captivating photo was captured by James Hunt of North Grafton, MA.

The Blackstone Valley Paddle Club, one of BHC’s longest running volunteer activities, was on the Linwood Pond in Northbridge, MA, this past summer and Suzanne Buchanan, BHC’s Volunteer Coordinator, was once again on the scene with her cell phone and submitted a photo from that night’s excursion. The judges selected it to represent the month of August because it showcases not only the beauty of the scene but also celebrates the watershed’s impressive recreational resources. Buchanan captured the shot from the banks of the Mumford River Walk and the paddlers were across the pond, allowing the sun to reflect off the water in the foreground.

Carol Dandrade takes us back to Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park for the month of September with an almost mystical photo of a trail head leading to the mist-covered river below. An aptly-placed sign on a tree points “To River” with a blast of autumn sun shining on leaves just starting to turn color and falling to the ground below.

Turn the page to October and you’re met with fall’s brilliance, captured at the familiar railroad trestle that crosses the Mumford River alongside Route 122 in Uxbridge, MA. Robert Mielke of Uxbridge submitted the photo, capturing October in all of its glory.

When November arrives, it’s as though time stops and holds you between the bright colors of fall and the eye-squinting brightness of winter’s fresh fallen snow. James Hunt of Uxbridge, MA, stood upon the rear of the dock that reaches out over the Blackstone Canal at the River Bend Farm Visitor Center in Uxbridge and snapped an image of the landscape which exudes the crispness in the air and the very last remnants of fall’s foliage. A cloud-filled sky reflects on the historic canal below, giving the feeling one could jump off the dock and into the clouds.

The “year of the river” ends while still at the River Bend Farm Visitor Center with Wendy A. Henschel’s December photo of the familiar red barn and surrounding property next to the canal covered in snow.

“We are always so impressed by the caliber of images curated from all areas of the National Heritage Corridor,” DiPrete noted. “The contest provides a poignant reminder of the beauty that surrounds us and also encourages us to explore areas we might not have visited before.”

The 2018 Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Calendar will be available for sale beginning November 1 at the BHC office at 670 Linwood Avenue, Whitinsville, MA and also available on the BHC website (

“Be on the lookout as you travel though the Blackstone River Valley,” DiPrete announced. “The 2019 calendar will celebrate ‘The Legacy of Transportation in the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor: Yesterday and Today.’” Photos selected for the 2019 calendar will celebrate any number of transportation activities such as turnpikes, the railroad, canal, trucking, horse/wagon, and more. “It’s a time to be creative,” DiPrete noted. “Explore the many transportation-related elements of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.”

About Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc.:

An energetic nonprofit, the Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. 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

BHC Celebrates National Sewing Month with Launch of New Volunteer Activity

Whitinsville, MA (August 15, 2017) – With a nod to the rich textile history of the Blackstone River Valley, Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. (BHC) celebrates National Sewing Month in September with the launch of a new volunteer activity focused on sewing and textiles. BHC is hosting an initial meeting of interested volunteers at RYCO Creative Sewing Center, 25 Carrington St. in Lincoln, RI, on Thursday, September 21 at 6: 30 p.m.

According to BHC’s Marketing Director, Bonnie Combs, there is great interest in sewing throughout the National Heritage Corridor. Combs often brings her own sewing machine to community events to demonstrate how to make reusable shopping bags out of t-shirts. “It’s a great way to repurpose unwanted textiles,” she explained.  “At the same time, it encourages the use of a reusable shopping bag, lessening our dependency on plastic bags.”  BHC also operates a Trash Responsibly™ program, which focuses on raising awareness about the impacts of trash on the region’s natural resources and which also promotes recycling as one means of reducing the trash. Just this year, BHC-sponsored projects collected more than 10 tons of residential waste, including 730 pounds of plastic bags and plastic film collected by Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational and Northbridge high schools.

Combining two of BHC’s key program areas, participants in this first activity will stitch together some fabric plastic bag collectors to help educate people about the recycling of plastic bags and plastic film. “There are still many people who are not aware that they can bring their plastic bags back to grocery stores and other large retailers for recycling,” Combs explained. With America Recycles Day coming up on November 15, this will be a great community service project to encourage more recycling of plastic bags and film. One other project idea is to make reusable shopping bags to help support communities that are passing plastic bag regulations. Grafton is the first community in the National Heritage Corridor to approve a ban of single use plastic bags. The initiative was passed at the May 2017 Town Meeting and will go into effect on July 1, 2018.

BHC Volunteers-in-Parks lead numerous activities throughout the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.  Some of those volunteer-led activities have so far included trail hikes, bird spotting, and supporting BHC’s annual GO! program.

The idea to create a volunteer sewing activity was also inspired by a volunteer research project underway in the historic town of Hopedale, MA, which is taking a look at records from the Hopedale Sewing Circle. According to Linda Hixon who is leading the project, women in Hopedale gathered together for more than 150 years and discussed love, death, abolition, equality, and much more, while working on textile projects in a group they called the Hopedale Sewing Circle. “Together, they forged a strong bond and left an overwhelming record of their deeds, accomplishments, and other happenings in town,” Hixon revealed.

While the first meeting of the volunteer sewing group is being held in Lincoln, RI, the group is likely to meet in different National Heritage Corridor communities throughout the year, including some historic sites such as the Little Red Shop Museum in Hopedale, MA, Slater Mill in Pawtucket, RI, and others. Owning a sewing machine is not a prerequisite as BHC’s Combs noted she and other volunteers have acquired a number of machines that will be made available, and will accept donations of more sewing equipment, fabric and supplies.

To learn more about the volunteer sewing initiative, and to RSVP for the September 21 meeting, contact Bonnie Combs at 508-234-4242 or email at

BHC’s Birders Record a Robust Spring Migration

66 bird types found in volunteer-led bird walks throughout the National Heritage Corridor
Whitinsville, MA (June 30, 2017) – It was a spring like no other, thanks to a few passionate volunteers from Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. (BHC). Three avid birders came together to lead a series of nine bird walks between April and June during which 66 different varieties of birds were identified between Uxbridge, MA, and Pawtucket, RI. The weekend bird walks attracted over 80 participants on the adventures through lush bird habitats including Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge, West Hill Park in Northbridge, MA, the Blackstone River Greenway in Blackstone, MA, Blackstone River State Park in Lincoln, RI, and the Ten Mile River Greenway in Pawtucket, RI. To celebrate and recognize this new volunteer activity in a special way, BHC hosted a festive “Flock Party” at the end of June, inviting participants to hear presentations from the volunteer guides recapping the season’s findings.
The bird walks were led by BHC’s Volunteers-in-Parks program members Rosanne Sherry of N. Smithfield, RI, and Beth and Paul Milke of Uxbridge, MA. The three of them met during a bird walk program last fall and the trio continue to collaborate on birding activities throughout the year. Word flew out about their adventures and they were invited on Upton Cable Television’s “Be My Guest” show in April.
“I always thought it was about bird watching,” Ryan Whetsone, a bird walk participant shared. “But it’s really about bird listening. I could go for a walk by myself and maybe see a bird, or not. But on these walks you are with over 20 pairs of eyes and you see and hear things you’d miss if you were by yourself. These volunteer guides are experts at recognizing the bird calls.”
Beth Milke was charmed by Whetstone’s feedback on the program. “Paul and I remember how exciting it was to learn about birds–how many different kinds there are, what their songs are like, where to find them–from a terrific birder, Strickland Wheelock of Uxbridge,” she shared. “His enthusiasm rubbed off on us, and we’ve had so much fun sharing the experience with those who joined us for the bird walks.”
The types of birds identified on the walks include:

Canada Goose, Mallard, Great Blue Heron, Mute Swan, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Killdeer, American Woodcock, Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, Mourning Dove, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Chimney Swift, Downy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Great-crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Wood Pewee, Eastern Phoebe, Rough-winged Swallow, Tree Swallow, Blue Jay, American Crow, Common Raven, Tufted Titmouse, Black capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Gray Catbird, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Eastern Bluebird, Blue Gray Gnatcatcher, Cedar Waxwing, European Starling, Warbling Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, White-eyed Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue winged Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Pine Warbler, Prairie Warbler, American Redstart, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black and White Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Baltimore Oriole, Orchard Oriole, Common Grackle, Scarlet Tanager , Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Northern Cardinal, Indigo Bunting, American Goldfinch, Eastern Towhee, House Finch, Song Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, and House Sparrow.
“A special sighting for me was watching an Eastern Wood Pewee, a type of Flycatcher, literally going to the four corners of its territory and calling,” Sherry noted.  “Its territory may only have been about 200 feet by 100 feet, but the Pewee was vigorously declaring it.”
More bird walks are planned for BHC’s GO! program this September.  VIPs Beth and Paul Milke will lead walks at:  Blackstone River State Park in Lincoln, RI, on September 2; Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge, MA, on September 16; and at West Hill Park in Northbridge, MA, on September 30. Participants will be watching for birds preparing to migrate south, where they find food during winter.  All walks will be on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. with rain dates the following day.  Pre-register at


Blackstone Heritage Corridor Seeks Photos for 2018 Calendar Contest

The Blackstone Heritage Corridor is looking for photos for the 2018 Calendar Contest. The theme of the contest is The Blackstone River and Blackstone River Watershed.

“We are celebrating the hard-working Blackstone River in our 2018 Calendar. The historic river, which powered the birth of the American Industrial Revolution, is this region’s most popular feature and is enjoyed by many who live, work and visit here. The Blackstone River and Canal, and its many tributaries which make up the 640- square mile watershed, provide endless opportunities to view history and stunning scenery in addition to providing many different forms of recreation. We look forward to receiving photo submissions which capture the beauty of this most precious natural, historical and recreational resource,”  said Megan DiPrete, Executive Director at Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. (BHC).

The annual photo contest receives hundreds of entries each year, but only 13 images will be picked for the 2018 calendar.

The deadline to enter is Monday, August 14, 2017.  The contest entry form is located here.

Submitting Photos 

Photographers are asked to submit photos taken of the Blackstone River Watershed and focus on the Blackstone River, one of the tributaries, the Blackstone Canal or other water features.

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.

Each individual photo for the contest must be submitted with a signed entry form.

Winners will be notified in early September.

New Summer Hours for Saturday!



In addition to being open Monday through Friday, 8:00 – 4:00, Blackstone Heritage Corridor (BHC) will now open Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon during the summer.

Looking for information?  Need a map?

Want to stamp your NPS passport?  Need a new hat?

If you’re looking for ideas on how to Get Lost in the Blackstone Valley, or planning on where to GO!, drop in for assistance or ideas.

Saturday morning is a great time for travellers and trekkers, as well as vacationers and valleyites to stop by and get all the maps and guides for exploring the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor!


Located at 670 Linwood Ave, Unit #10, Whitinsville, MA.

Saturday hours are 9:00 – 12:00 noon.


Blackstone River Bikeway Blasts, May 9

The ride started out gray , overcast and dreary – wasn’t looking too great for a bike ride . However, as the afternoon went on the sun eventually came out just in time to warm us a bit on our bikes and provide a spectacular pink and gold sunset after the bike ride.  Wildlife abounded, muskrats, mallards and a blue heron – Oh My!  We also learned many interesting things from Mark Dennen , especially about the rock formations along the way.

Woonsocket is the start of next week’s Bikeway Patrol ride. As you pull in to the driveway for the bikeway, notice the veteran’s monument and the old smokestack from the Glendale Mill. The land once owned by them has been repurposed into soccer fields and a mini golf course. We will be riding to Manville where you can find a kayak/canoe launch to the Blackstone River at Sycamore landing. Friends of the Blackstone claim this as their landing spot and will be having a monthly meeting at the environmental center there.  Come join us as we explore the history and current events happening in this vibrant wooded corridor!

BHC Gears Up to Celebrate National Bike Month in May

Press Release
Contact: Megan DiPrete,

Executive Director
BHC Gears Up to Celebrate National Bike Month in May
Festivities Include Bike Rack and Repair Station Installations and Launch of Bikeway Patrol Rides

Whitinsville, MA (May 12, 2017) – Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. (BHC) is celebrating National Bike Month in May with a series of bike rack and repair station installations and the launch of its Blackstone River Bikeway Patrol, which offers group rides with the public as well as information and assistance along the Bikeway.
Beginning this month, a total of 58 bicycle racks will be installed in the Massachusetts communities of Auburn, Blackstone, Douglas, Grafton, Hopedale, Leicester, Millville, Upton and Uxbridge. In addition, Fix It bicycle repair stations will be installed in Auburn, Grafton and Leicester. These racks and repair stations were made available through a state grant. Douglas is the first community to report having them installed in downtown areas, near the Library, near the town offices and at local recreation fields.

A special cycling repair station and exhibit in Worcester will be unveiled at a public event on Tuesday, May 30 at 11:00 a.m. along the Blackstone River Bikeway in Worcester in the parking lot across from 1265 Millbury Street. This location is near the future site of the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Visitor Center @ Worcester (scheduled to open late summer, 2018).
According to Devon Kurtz, Director of Audience Engagement at BHC, the cycling repair station provides basic tools, a tire pump and advice on prepping your bike for a safe ride. This special exhibit and repair station is supported in part by the Greater Worcester Community Foundation and the National Park Service.
“The colorful exhibit is created from 2-inch COR-TEN steel and uses evocative images to explore the history of biking in the Worcester area since the late 1800s,” Kurtz noted. “The coolest feature is a life-size silhouette of a cyclist on a high wheel bike who may spring to life during the unveiling!”
Meanwhile, BHC’s Blackstone River Bikeway Patrol kicked off its riding season earlier this month riding the new Blackstone River Greenway, a 3.7 mile paved trail from Blackstone to S. Uxbridge, MA. The volunteer group will host weekly public rides on Wednesday evenings on bike trails throughout the National Heritage Corridor, departing at 6:30 p.m. from each location. Upcoming rides include May 17 at the Blackstone River Bikeway, riding from Woonsocket, RI, to Manville (Lincoln), RI; May 24 at the Burrillville Bike Path in Burrillville, RI, and May 31 at the Blackstone River Bikeway, riding from Millbury, MA, to Worcester, MA. In June, the Wednesday rides are scheduled for June 7 at the Blackstone River Bikeway, riding from Lonsdale (Lincoln), RI, to Slater Mill in Pawtucket, RI; June 14 riding from Slater Mill to Blackstone Boulevard, Providence, RI. On June 21, the group ride will be along the Ten Mile River Greenway from Pawtucket, RI, to East Providence, RI, and on June 28 the ride will be along the Blackstone River Greenway from S. Uxbridge, MA, to Blackstone, MA. All rides are round-trip and helmets are required. For specific details and future dates, visit BHC’s website at or contact Suzanne Buchanan, BHC’s Volunteer Coordinator, at
About Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc.:
An energetic nonprofit, the Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. 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 Its Volunteers

Contact: Megan DiPrete, Executive Director
Blackstone Heritage Corridor Celebrates Its Volunteers
Southwick’s Zoo Hosts Behind-the-Scenes Experience for BHC’s Volunteers-in-Parks


Whitinsville, MA (May 10, 2017)- Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. (BHC) celebrated National Volunteer Week with its volunteers at Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon, MA, with a behind-the-scenes tour led by Betsey Brewer Bethel, executive director of Earth Limited at the zoo.
BHC manages the Volunteers-in-Parks (VIP) program for the National Park Service and currently has 197 active volunteers. Over the past year, a total of 1,274 volunteers participated in the program, including single-day service events. In fiscal year 2016, volunteers served a total of 13,431 hours contributing a value of $316,440 in volunteer services to the organization. Since moving its office to Whitinsville, MA, from Woonsocket, RI, one year ago, BHC’s Volunteers-in-
Parks program has grown considerably, both in number of volunteers and new programs led by those volunteers.
One of the new volunteer-led programs is the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Trail Ambassadors. According to BHC’s Volunteer Coordinator, Suzanne Buchanan, this new program complements the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club, now in its 17th season, and the Blackstone River Bikeway Patrol, now in its sixth season. “We have had the good fortune of providing volunteer programs offering recreation on our rivers and our bikeways, and now we have one for our beautiful trails,” explained Buchanan. More than a dozen people responded to Buchanan’s call for interested VIP’s. A schedule of more than a dozen hikes, walks and events through the end of 2017 is still growing and is posted on the events page of BHC’s website.
Meanwhile, BHC’s Birding on the Blackstone series has expanded this year. First introduced by VIP Rosanne Sherry in 2016, the program grew once she met Beth and Paul Milke on one of her walks. Now the trio have worked out a schedule offering bird walks throughout the Corridor through June 4. Other new volunteers have come forward offering their skills in photography, graphic design, assisting with BHC’s Trash Responsibly™ program, and much more.
“Volunteers are the backbone of stewardship throughout the National Heritage Corridor and it’s a pleasure to watch BHC’s volunteer program grow and flourish,” noted Megan DiPrete, BHC’s new Executive Director. “There is certainly a range of new energy being directed in many exciting directions.”
The volunteer appreciation event also served as a time to recognize the VIPs for some milestones for their years of service in the program. Recognized for five years: Mark Dennen of Lincoln, RI, who volunteers with the Blackstone River Bikeway Patrol and is also certified to teach CPR and First Aid to BHC’s volunteers. Recognized for serving 15 years: Julie Riendeau of Harrisville, RI, who volunteers with the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club and also brings the Junior Ranger program to area schools. Also serving 15 years, and with the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club are Steve Riendeau of Harrisville, RI, Ben Thompson and Cheryl Thompson, both of N. Scituate, RI; Lee Parham of Norton, MA, and Robert Martin of Cumberland, RI. Keith Hainley of
Woonsocket, RI, and Judy Hadley of Lincoln, RI, have both served 15 years as members of the Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone. Hainley serves as its environmental coordinator, leading cleanups along the Blackstone and the Rhode Island section of the Blackstone River watershed and Hadley serves on its board and creates public programming for the organization. Nancy Weigmont of Woonsocket, RI, and Robert Taylor, of N. Attleboro, MA, both reached their 15 year milestone and both volunteer at the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket, RI. Kent Cameron of Warwick, RI, was also recognized for his 15 year volunteer milestone.
During BHC’s National Volunteer Week celebration, those recognized for volunteering for 20 years including Ethel Halsey of Harrisville, RI, Irene Blais of Woonsocket, RI, and Robert Charpentier of Harrisville, RI. Blais volunteers regularly at the Museum of Work and Culture and is president of the Woonsocket Historical Society and Charpentier has been a fixture with the Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone and serves on its board.
To learn more about BHC’s volunteer program, attend the next Volunteer Open House on Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. at the Museum of Work and Culture, 42 S. Main Street, Woonsocket, RI, or call Suzanne Buchanan at (508) 234-4242. To learn more about BHC visit
About Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc.:
An energetic nonprofit, the Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. 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