ALT

You can #Resist in Portsmouth tonight -- support the ALT and AIPC

AIPC2017.pngThere are two items on the Portsmouth Town Council agenda this evening that could use the support of folks who want to promote a progressive agenda. Back to back items for consideration are a request by the Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT) to help conserve the Spruce Acres Farm, and a plea from the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission (AIPC) for the Town to pay up on their support.

The ALT proposal is $300K (to be split over two years) to enable purchase and conservation of 22.6 acres of farmland on the Portsmouth/Middletown line. This is not just good for environmental reasons (although it does help protect our watershed), it also makes good sense economically, since a subdivision at this location would add to town infrastructure costs.

For AIPC, the case is even simpler: the town has been withholding its promised annual payments to the island-wide planning group, demanding an audit. Voices on the right have objected to the AIPC on tin-foil-hat conspiracy grounds (basically, anything that smacks of "planning" triggers these folks). The AIPC has been responsible for bringing in over $2.5M in government and private funding for island planning efforts over the last two years, and yet the Republican-led Portsmouth town council has been stiffing them for $36,000.

You can read the briefs linked above, and if you can make it to the meeting to support these items, it will make a big difference for our town.

If you can't make it, you can always drop an e-mail to our Town Council. Here's a sample you could copy and paste to get you started.

To:
khamilton@portsmouthri.com, kaguiar@portsmouthri.com, dgleason@portsmouthri.com, pkesson@portsmouthri.com, epedro@portsmouthri.com, jryan@portsmouthri.com, lujifusa@portsmouthri.com

Subject:
Please support ALT and AIPC

Dear Town Council members:
As a resident and taxpayer in the Town of Portsmouth, I'm writing to urge you to support the requests by the Aquidneck Land Trust and Aquidneck Island Planning Commission scheduled to be heard on Monday, February 27.

The ALT proposal would be a valuable addition to the conserved properties in Portsmouth, and would help to maintain the character of our town.

The AIPC has done great work supporting all the communities on Aquidneck Island, and deserves our support. Now that they have provided audited financial statements, there is no reason not to release their funding.

Thanks very much for your support of these important efforts.

Best Regards,

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, AIPC, ALT, Town Council

Aquidneck Land Trust hosts annual "Race for Open Space"

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 3.03.14 PM.pngAquidneck Land Trust (ALT) will host its 9th annual Race for Open Space 5K on its unique course along the Sakonnet Greenway Trail on Sat. Nov. 5, 2016, according to a release sent to local media.

Runners and walkers of all ages are invited to participate as individuals, teams or families. Walkers are welcome to bring strollers and leashed dogs. Registration begins at $25, but discounts are available for children, families, and military personnel.

New this year, ALT and Lizzie Benestad, a certified Road Runners Club of America coach, are offering a six-week, 5K training program that will get participants ready for the Nov. 5 race. The $80 fee includes race registration and an individualized training plan. The program starts Wed. Sep. 28 at 5:30 pm at the Gaudet Middle School track.

The race will start and finish at The Glen on Linden Lane in Portsmouth. After the race, participants and spectators are invited for food and festivities.

Registration begins at 9 am and the race begins at 10:30 am. Proceeds of the race go toward the overall mission of ALT. To register today, go to www.ailt.org/5k.

Aquidneck Land Trust’s time-sensitive mission is to conserve Aquidneck Island’s open spaces and natural character for the lasting benefit of our community. The organization has conserved 2,552 acres on 76 properties across Aquidneck Island since its founding in 1990. ALT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and the first land trust in Rhode Island to have received national accreditation. For more information, visit www.ailt.org.

Editorial note: Written from a news release.

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, ALT

This weekend, "Race for Open Space" in Portsmouth

On Saturday, November 7th, the Aquidneck Land Trust will be holding a "Race for Open Space" 5K Run (or walk) along the scenic Sakonnet Greenway Trail. Individuals, families, and teams are welcome, and walkers can bring along strollers or canine companions (on a leash.) Registration details and more info available on the ALT web site.

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, ALT

Aquidneck Land trust conserves 72-acre Portsmouth parcel

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 3.03.14 PM.pngOn Friday, January 30, 2015, the much anticipated closing occurred between Aquidneck Land Trust ("ALT") and St. Mary's Church on the conservation of 72.18 acres of land in Portsmouth, RI. The conservation of this property began in 2011 when ALT, St. Mary's and its related entity the Sarah Gibbs Trust entered into a binding, contractual agreement to conserve the land in perpetuity. ALT was able to raise the funds needed in the first year of the option term, but was substantially delayed in receiving its largest grant for the project from the United States Department of Agiculture/Natural Resources Conservation Services ("NRCS"). With all the details finally worked out, both parties were elated to close on this property, ALT said in a release today.

"This project has been one full of dedication from a truly amazing and committed group of individuals," Chuck Allott, ALT's Executive Director, said in remarks distributed to the press. "We would not have been able to accomplish this closing without our important financial stakeholders, as well as all those who dedicated their time to the conservation of this parcel. The Church and the Sarah Gibbs Trust were amazing partners as we fought our way through the bureaucratic red tape of the federal funding agency for over a year and a half. In addition RIDEM and local NRCS staff ultimately found the way through to get the deal done. Aquidneck Island received a wonderful gift today, and to all those who helped us make this possible, we are forever grateful".

Jennifer Pedrick, the rector of St. Mary's, said, "The experience of working with Chuck Allott and The Aquidneck Land Trust on this deal demonstrated to us the deep commitment and perseverance of this organization. We are delighted to begin a new chapter in partnership with the Aquidneck Land Trust, our closest neighbor. St. Mary's and I look forward to supporting the great mission and work of the ALT. Congratulations!”.

With the generous contributions ALT raised enough in grant awards and cash from 3 governmental entities, 6 foundations, and 40 individuals to cover the entire project costs of $3,068,569.63. A number of parties made significant leadership contributions including NRCS, the State of Rhode Island/Department of Environmental Management, the Town of Portsmouth, the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, the Prince Charitable Trusts, the Alletta Morris McBean Charitable Trust, The Nature Conservancy through a grant from The Champlin Foundations, and The Rhode Island Agriculture Lands Preservation Commission.

The 72-acre St. Mary's Church and Sarah Gibbs Trust conservation areas are strategic from a conservation perspective. Pursuant to the Town of Portsmouth's 2002 Local Recreation, Conservation and Open Space Plan, the subject land is located within a Town designated Open Space and Active Agriculture Area, Resource Protection Overlay District Area, and Greenways Plan Area. The St. Mary's Church land is located next to a number of previously conserved parcels within ALT's Center Island Greenway thereby building upon and enhancing this past conservation work. The land also falls within the St. Mary's Pond Watershed, directly abutting the St. Mary's Pond Reservoir area with over 1,000 feet of frontage on the reservoir property. The St. Mary's Church land therefore acts as a natural buffer to this important island water reservoir from stormwater and nutrient runoff. The 2000 study Critical Parcel Identification for Watershed Protection in Newport County, Rhode Island, done by the Aquidneck Island Partnership, recognized the subject St. Mary's land as critical to protect from a watershed protection perspective. ALT's 2011 mapping and prioritization study of all the remaining and threatened open space parcels within Aquidneck Island's seven primary watersheds also identified the St. Mary's Church land as a high priority for protection. The woods, fields, and wetlands of the land provide diverse wildlife habitats that support various endangered species such as the Glossy Ibis. This land, which has almost 1,000 feet of frontage on East Main Road, is also an iconic property that provides joy to numerous passersby everyday with its spectacular scenic vistas. Furthermore, the fields of the proposed conservation area consist of mostly Prime Farmland Soils as recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture making the property an important agricultural resource.

ALT's time-sensitive mission is to conserve Aquidneck Island's open spaces and natural character for the lasting benefit of our community. With today’s closing, the organization has conserved 2519.49 acres on 73 properties across Aquidneck Island since its founding in 1990. ALT is a 501©(3) non-profit organization, and the first land trust in Rhode Island to have received national accreditation.
For more information, visit www.AquidneckLandTrust.org

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, ALT

ALT to host panel on local water resources

14oct16_ALT.jpgThe Aquidneck Land Trust will be hosting a panel on the challenges — and solutions — related to Aquidneck Island's water resources next week at Salve Regina University. The free, two-hour event will be held on Thursday, Oct. 23, at 6pm in the Young Building, 518 Bellevue Ave. Here's their description:

More than ever before our newspapers are filled with articles concerning beach closures, significant storm events, the impacts of climate change and sea level rise, and new water treatment facilities. What does all this mean to you and our children? Come hear the experts talk about various water resource issues, challenges and solutions on Aquidneck Island such as the state water quality regulations each city and town must follow, the efforts being taken to better understand water quality issues from the source - at our front doors - to the coastal waters, the new treatment facilities being brought online to address water quality issues, the green infrastructure projects being proposed, and coastal management issues as we being to address resiliency in the age of sea level rise.

Panelists:
Joe O’Conner, General Manager, Rhode Island Public Radio/RI’s NPR (Moderator)
Elizabeth Scott, Deputy Chief, RI Department of Environmental Management, Office of Water Resources
Julia Forgue, Director of Utilities, City of Newport
Topher Hamblett, Director of Advocacy and Policy, Save The Bay
David McLaughlin, Executive Director, Clean Ocean Access;
Arthur Gold, Professor and Chair of the Department of Natural Resource Sciences, University of Rhode Island
Charles B. Allott, Esq., Executive Director, Aquidneck Land Trust

You can RSVP with Jessica Pohl at jpohl@ailt.org or 401.849.2799 x 18

For more information, visit www.AquidneckLandTrust.org

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, ALT, environment

ALT's 7th Annual 5K "Race for Open Space"

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 8.31.13 AM.pngOn November 1, you can run or walk for 5K (3.1 miles) along the Aquidneck Land Trust scenic Sakonnet Greenway Trail — maybe win a cash prize — and support the work of the ALT.

The 7th annual "Race for Open Space" is Aquidneck Island's premier partial trail race, and features a 5K cross-country loop starting from the Brown House at Glen Farm in Portsmouth.

The $20 entry fee supports the operations of the ALT and maintenance of the nature trail, the largest on Aquidneck Island.

Everyone is welcome, whether you're a serious runner (based on last year's results, you'd better be clocking 19-minute times if you're after the $100 prize) or you just want to enjoy a family walk along this beautiful trail (leashed dogs and strollers can participate in the walking category).

Visit ALT for more info and registration link.

Full disclosure: Written from a press release.

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, ALT

Aquidneck Land Trust plans Portsmouth herb walk

14apr23_ailt_forest.jpgThe Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT) will be hosting an "Herb Walk" through Portsmouth's Oakland Forest and Meadow Preserve on May 3, led by herbalist Jessyloo Rodrigues of Parcel Apothecary and ALT Stewardship Committee member Daryl Gardella, according to a release from the organization. Oakland Forest is located off Carriage Drive in Portsmouth. 

ALT said that participants can expect to discover "many edible and medicinal herbs that grow there. Herb walks are a new way to connect with forests and trails and to discover the hidden gems that grow in our own backyards!"

The walk is scheduled to kick off at 10am on Saturday, May 3 from Carriage Drive. ALT advises that carpooling is recommended, as parking is limited, and that participants should come prepared for a 1-2 hour tour. Sturdy shoes and appropriate outdoor clothing are strongly recommended. 

RSVP to Sophia Demaio by emailing her at sdemaio@ailt.org or contacting her at 401-849-2799 x14

Land Matters Walk and Talk Property Tours is an educational program which gives the public the opportunity to get out on the land ALT oi conserving, and connect with nature and ALT’s work.

ALT's time-sensitive mission is to conserve Aquidneck Island's open spaces and natural character for the lasting benefit of our community. The organization has conserved 2,450.66 acres on 71 properties across Aquidneck Island since its founding in 1990. ALT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and the first land trust in Rhode Island to have received national accreditation. For more information, visit AquidneckLandTrust.org

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, ALT

Aquidneck Land trust conserves Portsmouth farmland [update]

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 3.03.14 PM.pngThe Aquidneck Land Trust and the Faria family of Portsmouth announced the conservation of ten acres of farmland in a release this afternoon.

The Faria property, which is located on the easterly side of Jepson Lane, comprises two lots with a combined acreage of approximately 14.6 acres. The conserved portion of the property is actively farmed and directly adjacent to Sisson Pond, within the Sisson Pond watershed. Sisson Pond is one of Aquidneck Island's seven public drinking water reservoirs. The Faria property slopes east to Sisson Pond; if it were developed into the 7 house lots a hypothetical subdivision plan shows, polluted runoff from the houses and pavement would drain directly into Sisson Pond.

The Faria property also has significant agricultural, wildlife habitat, watershed protection and scenic values. Strategically located within ALT's Center Island Greenway, the property is contiguous with approximately 294 acres of land previously conserved by ALT, including farmland to the north and Sisson and St. Mary's ponds to the east.

"Development in our watersheds has increased over the years, adding more houses and roads where forests and fields once were. Maintaining this property as open space, and others like it, is critical to protecting the quality of our drinking water supplies on Aquidneck Island. This conservation easement also protects prime farmland, so much of which we have lost on Aquidneck Island. ALT is all about protecting farming as a way of life and protecting local sources of food production. It's safe to say the current drought in California has made it apparent that we need to be conscious and vigilant about local sources for our food." said Chuck Allott, Executive Director of the Aquidneck Land Trust.

A representative of the Faria family stated. "We are certain that our parents would be proud to know that we have worked with ALT to preserve the land they loved so much. We all worked together as a family on this land, and the decision to keep it as farmland was the right choice for all of us."

ALT wishes to thank our partners in this project: the van Beuren Charitable Foundation and the Town of Portsmouth, both of whom have made a lasting difference by supporting the conservation of this important watershed parcel.

The conservation easement on the Faria's land is a perpetual legal agreement that will ensure the property is not further subdivided or developed, while allowing sustainable, productive agricultural use of the land. ALT will be responsible for ensuring that the terms of the conservation easement are upheld with current and future owners of the property.

ALT's time-sensitive mission is to conserve Aquidneck Island's open spaces and natural character for the lasting benefit of our community. The organization has conserved 2,450.66 acres on 71 properties across Aquidneck Island since its founding in 1990. ALT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and the first land trust in Rhode Island to have received national accreditation.

For more information, visit AquidneckLandTrust.org

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

Editorial note 3/24/14: Corrected an error in this press release to read "Jepson Lane" rather than "Hedly Street," per email from ALT press contact Jessica Pohl

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, ALT

Aquidneck Land Trust launches high school environmental award

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 3.03.14 PM.pngAquidneck Island high school seniors involved in conservation and environmental issues will now have a chance to be recognized by The Aquidneck Land Trust and take home $1,000 with the newly created "Environmental Leadership Award," the ALT said in an e-mail today.

Each Aquidneck Island high school may nominate one senior for the award, which will go to the student who best demonstrates "leadership and/or commitment to any or all of the following: land conservation, open space, clean water, or environmentalism."

Requirements for the application are outlined in the nomination form, which can be downloaded from the ALT website www.aquidnecklandtrust.org. Deadline for nominations is March 7, 2014. For any questions, contact Jessica Pohl, Development Director, at (401) 849-2799 x18 or jpohl@ailt.org.

The award will be presented at the recipient’s school during the end-of-year awards ceremony by ALT’s Executive Director and recognized in a press release and e-newsletter announcement to ALT supporters.

ALT's time-sensitive mission is to conserve Aquidneck Island's open spaces and natural character for the lasting benefit of our community. The organization has conserved 2,429.60 acres on 69 properties across Aquidneck Island since its founding in 1990. ALT is a 501©(3) non-profit organization, and the first land trust in Rhode Island to have received national accreditation. For more information, visit www.AquidneckLandTrust.org

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, AILT, ALT

Ted Clement to leave Aquidneck Land Trust

In an e-mail sent to supporters this morning, Ted Clement, long-serving executive director of the Aquidneck Island Land Trust (ALT) announced that he will be leaving in December to take a position in Hawaii.

Dear Supporters,

I have bittersweet news to deliver. On December 21, 2012, I will end my service to the Aquidneck Land Trust as its Executive Director.

All of the success enjoyed by ALT these past years, especially during the recession, has naturally attracted the attention of others. I have consistently turned down employment opportunities presented by others these last few years as my family and I very much love the community here, ALT and Aquidneck Island itself. However, I was recently presented a unique employment offer that was right for my family and I: becoming the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust's Executive Director in January.

There are a few primary reasons why this is good for my family and I. It is a great opportunity for me to grow professionally, protect the magnificent Hawaiian landscapes, and do good for people and our environment on an even larger scale. This is also an opportunity for my family and I to grow individually and together while on the adventure of a lifetime. Further, Hawaii has a major Asian influence and allows one to still live in the United States while being geographically almost in between Thailand and mainland USA. That fits my family which is a great mix of Thai and American.

My sadness about leaving ALT, our community and Aquidneck Island itself is assuaged by the fact that I know during my time here (ALT Land Protection Director from August 2000 to February 2005, and ALT Executive Director from February 2005 to Present) I have worked very hard and have successfully delivered lasting good to this wonderful community and place. For example, with the terrific people here, I have been able to do the following:

  • Lead and manage what has become one of Rhode Island's leading non-profits and the first nationally accredited land trust amongst the over 40 land trusts in Rhode Island;
  • Fundraise as ALT's chief fundraiser, which has included raising millions and millions of dollars for land acquisition projects (since its founding in 1990, ALT has completed fundraising for 8 multi-million dollar acquisition projects, with 6 of those 8 projects since 2005), completing ALT's overall $20 million Campaign for Living Land in 2008, and helping grow ALT's Marcella Clark McCormack Stewardship Endowment Fund from about $10,000 in 2000, when I pushed to have this fund created, to over $3.5 million today;
  • Serve as ALT's chief negotiator on land conservation transactions by creating, overseeing and completing strategic land acquisition projects which includes taking care of legal complexities and other sensitive issues such as landowner relations (have taken ALT's land holdings from about 500 acres on 12 properties when initially hired in 2000 to over 2,415 acres on 67 properties to date);
  • Lead ALT through negotiations and fundraising to complete its 2 public nature trails: the Sakonnet Greenway Trail, Aquidneck Island's largest public nature trail; and the Oakland Forest and Meadow Preserve Trail; and
  • Educate and connect our community to the environment through our Conservation Speaker Series, Land Matters Walk & Talk Series, protected parks and trails, Conservation Collaboration Agreements with local schools and other initiatives that I helped champion.

It has truly been an honor working alongside of you, and this outstanding community, to protect, and better connect people to, Aquidneck Island's natural resources and landscapes which sustain us. I cannot thank you enough for your friendship and support over the years. Just as I have worked very hard for ALT for over 12 years because of my love for this place and its people, so will I work over the next month to help assure the best transition possible. Thereafter, you will have a friend to visit in Hawaii. Mahalo!!!

Best Wishes,
Edward Sortwell Clement, Jr., Executive Director

I'm sure I speak for many residents of Portsmouth when I offer Mr. Clement sincere thanks for all the work he and his organization have done here on Aquidneck Island.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

Tags: 
Localblogging, 02871, ALT

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