29 May First Week – Brianna Stevens
First week at blackstone river valley national historical park
After a fun week filled with fishing and birding training in Colorado, it was time to head to Rhode Island. I can’t lie; I was a little nervous about moving to a place I had never been and 14 hours away from home. All the anxious feelings faded away once I met my amazing supervisor and the team at the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park.
The first week was full of excitement and taking time to soak in the history of my site. I enjoyed getting to hear several tours of Slater Mill and learning the history behind it. Slater Mill was built in 1793 to produce thread from cotton fiber. The machines in Slater Mill were powered by water while sunshine from the windows lit up the mill. One of my favorite parts about touring the mill was seeing a Lego model of the mill. The model moves and acts out what the mill would have looked like in action.
I got the opportunity to go out and explore several times this week to look for any potential areas to host birding and fishing events. Throughout my exploration, I stumbled upon several dams and reservoirs. It really highlighted how important water was to keep the mills running, whether it was powering machines or acting as a form of transportation. Something else I was excited to find was my favorite tree! During my schooling, I took Dendrology, the study of woody plants. This class made me fall in love with the Yellow Poplar or Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera). I am fascinated with the unique tulip-shaped leaves. Seeing the tree made me feel more at home. I have also seen animals here that I have never seen at home. For example, I have seen several muskrats and chipmunks.
I am excited to continue learning about my site and to share the history with others!