NATURE-INSPIRED “CREATURES” HIDDEN ON LAND TRUST TRAILS THROUGHOUT THE STATE
RIWalks Challenge Launched to Entice Rhode Islanders to Go for Walks in Nature Providence, RI
The RIWalks Challenge, coordinated by the Rhode Island Land Trust Council, has officially begun! The Challenge is designed to entice people to get outside and explore nature while enjoying land trust trails, the perfect way to reduce stress and anxiety and improve health. The Land Trust Council, along with land trust partners, have installed 30 different woodland “creatures” on trails around the state. The creatures are inspired by the plant life found in nature. From the Sweetgum seed pod to the Chanterelle mushroom, each has a QR code to snap to get more information about the creature, the trail, and the land trust.
“The idea came from a desire to attract people to take walks outdoors and help them connect with nature,” said Rupert Friday, Executive Director. “Now that summer is here, it’s a great time to explore new trails with your family and friends and – when you find one of the creatures – share a photo on social media to inspire others.”
The Challenge is part of the Council’s RIWalks program that encourages people to set walking goals and challenge themselves. A newly designed web page for RIWalks riwalks.org/challenge.php – will help walkers track the creatures they find. Walkers can find a list of trails with creatures and download a checklist with pictures to track when and where they find each creature.
“Our goal in the design was to elicit a sense of wonder, surprise, and mystery,” said Greg Rebis, who designed the creatures. “The resulting designs are whimsical characters – an anthropomorphization that dances between fantasy and reality – to appeal to the imagination and let people relate to our native flora while out in nature.”
The Council partnered with The Steel Yard, a non-profit industrial art center in Providence, to bring the whimsical creatures to life. RIWalks Challenge was made possible by a generous grant from van Beuren Charitable Foundation.
Rob Bower, Chair of the Scituate Land Trust, is looking forward to exploring all the different Land Trust properties in the state.
“We’ve worked hard to get people outdoors during the pandemic, ” Bower said. “It’s wonderful to have people discover nature and this is a great way to do it in a game-like approach. They did a great job with the leaf designs it’s fun to discover the characters out in the woods.”
Alex Chuman, stewardship director for Aquidneck Land Trust, is looking forward to hearing about people exploring trails they normally wouldn’t have, because of the added features or because they have a child excited about finding all thirty of them.
“This is a really fun, family-friendly way to attract new folks to our trails,” Chuman said. “I’m also conscious of not having too many man-made things on our trails and these are perfect because they blend right in and they’re well-made. I also really like the QR code, which will help us share information about our trails and our organization.”
About Land Trusts and the RI Land Trust Council
Land trusts are community-based non-profit organizations that work with landowners to
permanently conserve the special places, open and natural lands, wildlife habitat and
farmlands in their community. Rhode Island Land Trust Council is a statewide coalition of
over 45 land trusts. The Council promotes land conservation in the state by supporting the
missions and operations of land trust, fostering collaboration, and advocating for sound land conservation policy. More information can be found on www.rilandtrusts.org