Society features

Bristol Audubon Society welcomes endangered seahorses and turtles to summer exhibit

The Audubon Society’s location in Bristol is truly a hidden wonder. Cyclists along the East Bay Bike Path can race through the nature reserve, but watchers be sure to pause and explore the quarter-mile boardwalk along the bay to see s They can spot ospreys, green herons, red-tailed hawks, painted turtles and a variety of other local wildlife. Besides stunning views of nature and wildlife along their nature trails, the Rhode Island Audubon Society has a lot to offer for the exhibits presented at their Nature Center and Aquarium this summer.

Explore native wildlife

Seahorse or Sea Dragon, Lined Seahorse-Hippocampus Erectus. Courtesy of the Audubon Society of Rhode Island

Did you know seahorses can camouflage themselves with their surroundings? You can examine it for yourself and learn more about them at the organization’s current exhibition. Seahorses aren’t as exotic as they might seem. Instead of visiting a tropical reef to spot these unique sea creatures, you just need to travel to Bristol. Striped seahorses, from Fogland Beach to Tiverton, were found in seines by Roger Williams University students and brought to the Audubon Society for the public to learn about them.

Audubon Darwin The Diamondback Terrapin

Darwin The Diamondback Terrapin. Photo by Camilla Ledezma

Two types of turtles, the diamondback turtle and the eastern painted turtle, also call the Audubon society their home and are paired for comparison. The diamondback terrapin is endangered and is currently protected by the state of Rhode Island. They live in the brackish waters of estuaries, which are a mixture of salt and fresh water, making Narragansett Bay a perfect home. The Eastern Painted Turtle is more common, and unlike its aquarium neighbor, it prefers fresh water and can be found in Rhode Island ponds and lakes.

Narragansett Bay Natural History

Audubon display of whale skulls

Large whale skulls on display at the Audubon. Courtesy of the Audubon Society of Rhode Island

The nature center and aquarium house a large collection of marine fossils as well as unique shells, bones and skulls. Although you can get a closer look at these relics with the introduction of the digital microscope, whale skulls may be too large to examine. Check out the natural history exhibit that features giant skulls of humpback whales and minke whales stranded on the shores of Rhode Island. Believe it or not, the state’s waters are home to many different types of whales. In addition to the humpback whale and minke, North Atlantic right whales are common in Rhode Island and, unfortunately, they are one of the most endangered types of whales. The Audubon Society can help you learn more about these marine mammals and how we can protect them.

Other notable things to explore

David M. Birdphotographer and toy designer from South Kingstown, was recently featured in the February 2022 feature of people magazine for its unique visual art. Bird uses natural materials, such as acorns and sticks, to make creatures, which he calls “becorns”. Bird poses his creations in nature to be photographed with real animals. His work is on display at the aquarium until July 2 to showcase his unique work and immersion in nature.

Bristol Audubon Go 17

Audubon Palmieri Pollinator Garden. Photo by Glenn Osmundson

The Palmieri pollinator garden blooms with the glorious summer weather. With native flowering plants and trees, a small pond and herb garden, the space provides food, shelter, water and habitat for a diverse population of pollinators and wildlife. . The garden is so welcoming to the local wildlife that they have created an insect hotel, called Buggingham Palace, full of holes, cavities and tunnels that bees and other pollinators and insects can use to nest and shelter throughout the year. year round for protection during the colder months. .

In addition to nature exhibits, the Audubon Society offers summer nature programs that allow people to have an even more immersive and hands-on experience in the natural refuge. These programs explore a variety of topics, such as edible plants, mushroom identification, bird watching, and more.

The Audubon Nature Center and Aquarium have summer hours Monday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

1401 Hope Street, Bristol, 949-5454,