Great Trails: Audubon Kimball Wildlife Refuge in Rhode Island

Audubon Kimball Wildlife Refuge, Rhode Island© 2009 Barbara Money/Audubon SocietyWatchaug Pond is one of the stops on the nature trails of the sanctuary, which is set on a glacial moraine.

180 Sanctuary Rd., Charlestown, Rhode Island

The land for this 29-acre woodland sanctuary was bequeathed by William Hammond Kimball, a summer resident of the area, to the Audubon Society of Rhode Island in 1924. Two years later Everett and Mary Southwick became caretakers. Today’s well-tended trails and the garden memorializing past benefactors reflect this naturalist couple’s lifelong devotion to the development of the refuge.

Situated on a glacial moraine deposited some 12,000 years ago, the sanctuary invites contemplation of a glacier’s irresistible force. One trail leads past several bowl-shaped kettle holes carved as the giant ice sheets receded. Indeed, Toupoyesett Pond here is really a large kettle hole deep enough to reveal the water table. In May and June starflowers, Canada mayflowers, and pink lady’s slippers are in bloom along the quiet trails, and the memorial garden is occasionally visited by ruby-throated hummingbirds. Adjacent to Burlingame State Park, the refuge hosts migrating warblers and a variety of resident songbirds. The refuge offers a number of nature programs throughout the year.

Open year-round.

(401) 949-5454

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