286 Miles South

Although it kills me to leave Burlington, it was nice to come home for Thanksgiving break. I saw my family and friends from my hometown of Sharon, MA. Since I recently moved to North Kingstown, RI, I’ve explored many of the natural areas surrounding my new home. One location sits right in my backyard. Academy Cove in North Kingstown, RI offers a beautiful view of a body of water filled with wildlife.

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The magic of this cove exists in its stillness. I observed Mallard Ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) and Atlantic Puffins during my visit to the site, which happens to be in my backyard!

These are the birds that I observed:

Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos

Atlantic puffin, Fratercula arctica

I took some photos of the waterfowl in action:

I snapped some more photos of the wetland:

The soil has a sandy texture, which supports the riparian flora that grow along the shores of the cove.

I also decided to investigate the trees near the cove. The closest tress to the cove I could identify were White Oak (Quercus Alba). Almost every tree has lost their leaves with the start of winter.

A description of my new place in the style of Aldo Leopold:

Academy Cove preserves the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community that is my backyard. Because of this fact, Academy Cove is right. Academy Cove would be wrong if it did otherwise. As I walked down the steps of my newly-built backyard deck, I felt a sense of harmony between myself and the land in front of me. Living harmoniously with Academy Cove means cherishing every part of it: its stillness, its waterfowl, and its beauty. This is conservation. I do not think of this place as a commodity, for that would entail abuse of the land. Instead, I imagine this place as a piece of a community I belong to, with many processes that occur across the cove. I love and respect this place. When I stare at the ripple of the water and listen to each wave brush the shore line, I remember that this is my backyard. I am blessed. Proximity to this cove makes me a happier person.  Every time I step outside I am hit with the cool of air of late November and reminded of what day it is. It is a day to appreciate and revel at the feeling of the outdoors. Merely looking at Academy Cove leads to this feeling, which seals its place in my list of special locations.

A comparison of Academy Cove in North Kingstown, RI to Salmon Hole in Burlington, VT, written in the style of Mabel Osgood Wright:

Approach the undulating waves of Academy Cove and notice the sandy banks that line the body of water. Back in Burlington, Salmon Hole embodies the same aquatic spirit, with the Winooski River harboring different wildlife than Academy Cove. While my backyard offers gorgeous views of Mallard Duck and Atlantic Puffin, Salmon Hole has less waterfowl and more fish. Nevertheless, both locations are quite wild. The vegetation of both places also differs in composition and abundance. Burlington is filled with seemingly endless forest cover, deciduous forests galore. North Kingstown, RI has less forest cover. Academy Cove boasts far fewer trees then the forested area surrounding the Winooski river. While these landscapes differ in many ways, they both provide me with tranquility and a space to think. I feel renewal when I place myself in these natural settings and it benefits emotionally and spiritually. Salmon Hole offers a connection to a terrestrial ecosystem that borders an aquatic ecosystem teeming with fish. Academy Cove gives me access to an aquatic ecosystem filled with wildlife of different kinds. No matter where I observe phenological changes, Burlington or North Kingstown, I enjoy immersing myself in nature and studying the apparent seasonal changes.

I can’t wait to make my final visit to Salmon Hole back in Burlington next week!

Cheers,

Gzero

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