Middletown, RI. – August 7, 2018 – Aquidneck Land Trust (“ALT”) has opened registration for the 11th Annual 5K Race for Open Space, to be held on November 3, 2018. The 5K Run/Walk is a loop course along the scenic Sakonnet Greenway Trail. Participants are welcome to run or walk, and strollers and leashed dogs are welcome. Proceeds from the race are used to support ALT’s land conservation and watershed protection efforts on the island.

The event starts and finishes at The Glen, Linden Lane, in Portsmouth, next to the Newport Polo grounds. Check-in begins at 9:00 a.m. and the race begins at 10:30 a.m. There are prizes for each age group and a registration gift for each participant. A discounted registration fee is available to all who sign up by October 1, 2018, and discounts for family groups and military participants are also available. Major support for the race is generously provided by the YMCA of Newport County, Rockland Trust, Charles Schwab & Co. and Newport Restaurant Group. Register online at the ALT website, www.ailt.org/5K or by calling 401-849-2799, ext. 10.

Middletown, RI. – May 22, 2018 – Aquidneck Land Trust (“ALT”) has awarded 12 grants totaling $16,000 to local community and neighborhood groups through its annual grant program, the Merritt Neighborhood Fund. Grant awards ranged from $500 to $2,500.
Established in 1999 to honor the late Peter M. Merritt, the organization’s president emeritus, the Fund supports projects that strengthen community identity and character, and which model the ethic of land conservation and stewardship through community volunteerism. A recent donation of $4,621 to the Merritt Neighborhood Fund from the Newport County Board of Realtors and a $50,000 grant in 2017 from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation have allowed ALT to disperse more grants than in previous years.
“We were very pleased with the grant submissions this year,” said Chuck Allott, ALT Executive Director. “It is exciting to see how creative and thoughtful our local schools, clubs, neighborhood associations and small non-profit organizations are. We all benefit from their commitment and from the many ways they encourage our community to enjoy and treasure the outdoors.”
Awards were given to the following applicants:
• Aquidneck Community Table: raised garden beds at Pell Elementary School
• Bike Newport: bike path from Big Blue Bike Shed to Miantonomi Park
• Friends of Ballard Park: electrical panel for outdoor events at the park
• God’s Community Garden: straw bale gardens
• Lucy’s Hearth: raised garden beds
• Melville Elementary School: gardens for Outdoor Learning Center
• Middletown Tree Association: trees for Valley Park
• Museum of Newport Irish History: removal of dead tree at cemetery
• Norman Bird Sanctuary: improvements to hoop house
• Portsmouth Garden Club: trees for Portsmouth Historical Society building
• Sea Rose Montessori Co-op School: tools and storage for school vegetable garden
• St. John the Evangelist: expand and refurbish public prayer garden

Information on the 2019 Merritt Neighborhood Awards will be announced in February, 2019.

Middletown, RI. – May 17, 2018 – Aquidneck Land Trust (“ALT”) announces the purchase of a 2010 Toyota Tacoma truck and new field and brush mower with a grant awarded by the Champlin Foundation. The truck will be used for work related to the monitoring and maintenance of ALT’s 78 conserved properties, five of which are owned by the land trust. The field and brush mower will be used to maintain ALT’s extensive walking trails, including the 10-mile Sakonnet Greenway Trail (“SGT”), the Oakland Forest Trail, and new trails at recently-conserved Spruce Acres Farm. The land trust will close on Little Creek Preserve in Portsmouth in early June and will extend the SGT into the new property.
“ALT is committed to creating public outdoor trails and open spaces for the enjoyment and health of our community. The truck and brush mower will make a tremendous difference in our operations,” said Chuck Allott, Executive Director. “We were using staff vehicles to transport large, dirty machinery and tools around the island because we had no other option. We are thrilled with our ‘new used truck’ and are very grateful to the Champlin Foundation for providing the funds for it and the brush mower.” The grant was awarded in November, 2017. ALT spent several months researching available used trucks and determining the most suitable brush mower before making the purchases.
The land trust’s newest property, Spruce Acres Farm, has an existing trail system from its former days as a Christmas tree farm, but the trails require new cuts, extensive grooming, and new signage, said Stewardship Director Alex Chuman. With the help of the new machinery,
ALT expects the Spruce Acres Farm trails to be open to the public later this year. A new environmentally-friendly parking lot for twenty cars will be installed pending completion of a new curb cut at the entrance of the East Main Road property.