By KEVIN PROFT/ 6.25.13 - During the RI Sierra Club’s August, 2012 Step Stone Falls outing in West Greenwich I was delighted by seven-year-old Annabelle who seemed excited by everything from catching frogs to reading the trail map. It was a pleasant reminder that the entertainment value of nature can compete with a smart phone or video game when given the chance. At this year’s Step Stone Falls outings, it seemed we wouldn’t get so lucky. “How long have we been hiking,” moaned one of two young boys only minutes into the hike.
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By KEVIN PROFT/ 5.15.2013 - The Outing Committee of the Rhode Island Sierra Club does its best to make its outings varied and diverse. During the spring of 2013, I am happy to report we upheld that mission. In March, we walked along Matunuck Beach to witness the erosion damaging Rhode Island’s southern coast, then headed to prime Woodcock habitat at dusk to observe the birds’ annual mating ritual. In April we cleaned up the Blackstone Valley Bikeway. Last weekend, we headed to the Great Swamp to look for hopping, slithering, and plodding wildlife.
By KEVIN PROFT/ 3.20.2013 - Many believe when Rachel Carson published Silent Spring in the 1960s to publicize the devastating effects of chemical insecticides and herbicides on Earth’s ecosystems, environmentalism as we’ve come to know it was born. Like Carson, I often find myself simultaneously in awe of Mother Nature’s creations, and greatly anxious about their future in a world increasingly impacted by humankind's decisions. Our March outing, first to see the erosion happening at Matunuck Beach and then to nearby American Woodcock mating habitat got me thinking, once again, about the often quirky and always interesting ways of nature, and the sensitivity of the balance in which it hangs.
By KEVIN PROFT/ 2.20.2013 - There is something bewildering about the ease with which I can leave behind my warm bed at 5 a.m. on occasions when I know I will soon be enveloped in the grandeur of nature. Last Saturday was just such a day. To be fair, it’s not as if I leapt from the covers at my alarm’s first cry, but considering I normally drag myself from bed at 7:30 a.m. and greet the world with a series of grunts, one snooze and a 5 a.m. rise was certainly an accomplishment.
My fellow Outings Committee members and I had been planning our annual winter excursion to the White Mountains since October. We’d reserved nine unheated bunks at Carter Notch Hut for the Presidents’ Day weekend. Five of us would head up the mountain on Saturday to freeze for two nights; the others would arrive Sunday and experience only one night of extreme discomfort.
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