In Search of Ancient Trees Hidden in Rhode Island’s Canopy
August 19, 2022
WARWICK, R.I. — Last winter Nathan Cornell accidentally found himself “walking into a different world,” one that isn’t protected from human intervention. For the past two years, the University of Rhode Island graduate has been searching for old-growth forests in Rhode Island.
He found one not far from his Warwick home.
His hunt for old-growth forests led him and Rachel Briggs to found the Rhode Island Old Growth Tree Society, a nonprofit determined to locate, document, map, and advocate for the preservation of all remaining old-growth and emerging old-growth trees and forests in the state. This means trees and groups of trees that are 100 years old and older.
Cornell, with the help of licensed arborist Matthew Largess, owner of Largess Forestry in North Kingstown, has so far identified more than a dozen potential old-growth pockets, including on the University of Rhode Island campus in South Kingstown and in Cranston, North Kingstown, Portsmouth, Warwick, and West Greenwich.
In mid-July, the 24-year-old took this ecoRI News reporter on a walking tour of the hidden-in-plain-sight “5- to 10-acre” Warwick property owned by the Community College of Rhode Island and Kent Hospital. To listen to the audio story, click the bar at the top.
Anyone interested in joining the Rhode Island Old Growth Tree Society, can contact Cornell at [email protected]. To read an opinion piece written by Cornell and recently published on ecoRI News, click here.