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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.

Middletown, RI. – March 14, 2018 – Aquidneck Land Trust (“ALT”) is accepting applications for grants from the Merritt Neighborhood Fund, which supports the preservation of small parks, community gardens, and other natural spaces on Aquidneck Island. 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. Grants typically range from $250 to $2500.
“The Merritt Fund has enabled Islanders to improve and beautify their public spaces for the past 19 years.” said Chuck Allott, Executive Director of ALT. “Last year, we awarded 15 grants totaling over $14,000 to local community and neighborhood groups. It is wonderful to see the creativity and effort poured into these projects, which benefit so many residents and visitors on Aquidneck Island.”
Some of the projects funded last year were the creation of garden beds at Emmanuel Church, new plantings for the Rochambeau Wall Garden, bench installations at Paradise Park, improvements to Legion Park and the Portsmouth Dog Park, the creation of a vegetable garden at Portsmouth Middle School, improvements to the vegetable garden at Rogers High School, and signage in Miantonomi Park.
A full list of 2017 awards and applications for 2018 Merritt Neighborhood Fund grants may be found on the ALT website (https://ailt.org/our-work/merritt-fund/). Applications must be submitted by Friday, April 6, 2018. Award decisions will be announced in early June.

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Middletown, RI. – March 5, 2018 – Aquidneck Land Trust (“ALT”) recently announced the launch of Farmlink Aquidneck, an online resource for Rhode Island farmers. Created to address concerns specific to local farmers, Farmlink Aquidneck provides information on topics such as farm support organizations, workshops, succession and business planning, and professional references.

“ALT has always been committed to preserving farmland and supporting agriculture on Aquidneck Island. Farmlink Aquidneck furthers those efforts and provides a new way for ALT to share information and resources to the farming community,” said Alex Chuman, ALT’s Stewardship Director. One of Farmlink’s primary features, Land-Link, connects those with farmland available for sale or lease to those seeking it. “Access to farmland – both for purchase and for lease – is a problem for many on our island and in the state. We frequently receive calls from folks looking for land to farm, both for small plots and large. The Land-Link site will make it easier to connect landowners with farmers looking for land,” said Chuman.

Since its unveiling in late December, Land-Link has listed two properties with available farmland. One is Spruce Acres Farm, a former tree farm now owned and conserved by ALT on the Middletown/Portsmouth border. It features plots under one acre in size, available for the 2019 growing season. A second property, Highfield Farm, is located on Peckham Avenue in Middletown and offers nine acres of farmland for short- or long-term lease.

Farmlink Aquidneck was created to address the findings from ALT’s Farmland Conservation Plan, completed in 2016. The plan focused on ways to protect farmland and increase the viability of farming on Aquidneck Island, using a combination of literature research, farmer surveys, farmer interviews, on-the-ground knowledge, and spatial data to inform its findings. It was underwritten by the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, as was the creation of the Farmlink Aquidneck resource. Both may be seen at https://ailt.org/farmlink-aquidneck/.

 

Cattle

Middletown, RI. – January 15, 2018 – ALT has received a $151,500 grant from The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management for the purchase of Little Creek Preserve in Portsmouth. The grant will bring the total raised to $364,500 of the $368,000 needed to conserve the property. Over 300 individuals, foundations and corporations have made gifts to the campaign, supporting ALT’s quest to purchase Little Creek and make it a publicly-accessible open space. The grant was given as part of the 2016 Green Economy Bond, which was passed by Rhode Island voters and resulted in $3.75 million in grants to protect green space in the Ocean State.

We thank you, our loyal supporters, for your incredible generosity and commitment to Little Creek. Together, we are doing GREAT things!

Middletown, RI. – September 5, 2017 – Aquidneck Land Trust (“ALT”) has opened registration for the 10th Annual 5K Race for Open Space, to be held on November 4, 2017. 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 15, 2017, and discounts for family groups and military participants are also available. Support for the race was generously provided by the YMCA of Newport County, Rockland Trust, and Newport Restaurant Group. Register online at the ALT website, www.ailt.org/5k or by calling 401-849-2799.

About the Aquidneck Land Trust: Aquidneck Land Trust’s time-sensitive mission is to preserve and steward Aquidneck Island’s open spaces for the lasting benefit of the community while connecting people with the land that defines the Island’s natural character. 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.

Middletown, RI. – July 24, 2017 – Aquidneck Land Trust (“ALT”) has awarded 15 grants totaling over $14,000 to local community and neighborhood groups through its annual grant program, the Merritt Neighborhood Fund. Grant awards ranged from $250 to $2,000.

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 $50,000 to the Merritt Neighborhood Fund from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation allowed ALT to offer more grants than in previous years. “We are delighted to announce the recipients of this year’s awards and are excited to see the completed projects,” said Chuck Allott, ALT Executive Director. “A generous gift from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation allowed us to increase the number of awards given this year, and we will be able to sustain this higher level for several years. It is really a pleasure to support these projects as they will have a tremendous positive impact on thousands of Aquidneck Island residents and visitors.”

Awards were given to the following applicants:

  • Emmanuel Church and School: creation of raised garden beds ($500)
  • Daffodillian: purchase of daffodil bulbs ($1,000)
  • Friends of King Park: plantings for Rochambeau Wall Garden ($965)
  • God’s Garden: vegetable garden improvements ($1,837)
  • Norman Bird Sanctuary: installation/purchase of deer-proof fencing ($1,200)
  • Newport Tree Society: signage for Miantonomi Park ($2,000)
  • The Pennfield School: creation of pollinator garden ($700)
  • Portsmouth Middle School: creation of vegetable garden ($1,000), plus rain barrel
  • Portsmouth Dog Park: park improvements ($1,000)
  • Portsmouth Garden Club: improvements to Legion Park ($250)
  • Prudence Conservancy/Farnham Farm: improvements to community garden ($1,000)
  • Rogers High School/improvements to vegetable garden ($612)
  • Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation/purchase and installation of tree and plant tags ($500)
  • Town of Middletown/bench installation at Paradise Park ($1,200)
  • Town of Newport/Plug Park planting ($500)

Information on the 2018 Merritt Neighborhood Awards will be announced in February, 2018.

About the Aquidneck Land Trust: Aquidneck Land Trust’s time-sensitive mission is to preserve and steward Aquidneck Island’s open spaces for the lasting benefit of the community while connecting people with the land that defines the Island’s natural character. 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

Middletown, RI. – June 28, 2017 – Aquidneck Land Trust (“ALT”) and the Newport County YMCA announce plans for a free exercise program, Fitness in the Park, scheduled to take place every Sunday in August at Miantonomi Park in Newport. The classes will meet from 10:00 am – 10:45 am, beginning August 6 and ending August 27, and be taught by a certified fitness professional. All ages and abilities are welcome.

Fitness in the Park will provide a great opportunity for friends and neighbors across the island to come together in a beautiful location to enjoy a healthy activity,” said Chuck Allott, ALT’s Executive Director. “Residents and visitors of all ages and abilities are invited to participate.” The city park was permanently conserved as open space by ALT in 2005 and is the largest park in Newport.

Miantonomi Park is located on Hillside Avenue in Newport. Visitors may enter the park on the Hillside Avenue side and should look for the “Fitness in the Park” signs. Notices will be posted on the ALT and Newport County YMCA Facebook pages, should a session need to be cancelled due to weather.

The program is part of the Annual Miantonomi Exploration Days, an effort by the Newport Open Space Partnership (“NOSP”) to increase outdoor community activities. A collaboration of local non-profits and the City make up the NOSP, which has been developing an Open Space Master Plan for Newport’s parks and open spaces. Miantonomi Tower is open to the public every Sunday through August 27. Visitors are invited to climb to the top of the tower to enjoy the superb view.

Fitness in the Park is made possible by a grant from the Frederick Henry Prince Memorial Fund at Newport Hospital. The fund encourages local non-profits to develop programs promoting active lifestyles, which are identified as being “Powered by Prince!”

About the Aquidneck Land Trust: Aquidneck Land Trust’s time-sensitive mission is to preserve and steward Aquidneck Island’s open spaces for the lasting benefit of the community while connecting people with the land that defines the Island’s natural character. 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.

Middletown, RI. – June 20, 2017 – Aquidneck Land Trust (“ALT”) has selected two local high school seniors to receive the fourth annual Environmental Leadership Award (“ELA”) for the 2016-2017 school year. The scholarship supports youth leaders on Aquidneck Island who inspire our community by promoting land conservation and environmentalism through their continued efforts. From this year’s competitive applicant group, ALT has selected Matthew Carlone of Middletown High School and Tyler Blake of Rogers High School to receive awards.

“The impact that young students can have on a community is incredible,” said Chuck Allott, Executive Director of ALT. “The ELA is a great way to both inspire and reward high school seniors who show a life-long commitment to preserving our environment for future generations.” Allott personally awarded $500 scholarships to both winners at their respective high school awards ceremonies.

Matthew Carlone demonstrated a passion to protect Aquidneck Island’s ecology through his involvement in the Boy Scouts of America and an internship with Clean City Newport. Matthew plans to further his education next year by pursuing a degree in environmental engineering at The George Washington University.

Tyler Blake showed a great interest in ecology through his involvement in horticulture and fishing. His efforts to preserve Aquidneck Island’s natural landscapes are exemplified by his senior project, in which he organized students to pick up trash around Rogers High School, Morton Park, and other local areas.
The students were nominated for the awards by their high school teachers and guidance counselors. Details about the 2018 award will be posted to the ALT website next spring.

About the Aquidneck Land Trust: Aquidneck Land Trust’s time-sensitive mission is to preserve and steward Aquidneck Island’s open spaces for the lasting benefit of the community while connecting people with the land that defines the Island’s natural character. 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.