At this time of thanksgiving, I am filled with gratitude for the abundance of Rhode Island’s natural capital:
• 400 miles of beautiful coastline
• verdant forests along the state’s western border
• 100+ miles of trails for hiking, birding and photography crisscrossing the state
• sandy beaches bordering coastal ponds teeming with abundant life
• sparkling Narragansett Bay, our showpiece
But I am most thankful for our supporters; because the protection and restoration of our natural resources could not happen without you. Every day, with your support, we protect and restore wonderful places, and introduce them to thousands of Rhode Islanders and visitors.
Thanks to your support, 2012 has been filled with many wonderful achievements:
♦ With strong support from Governor Chafee and the General Assembly, Rhode Island voters—by the time you receive this message—will have had a chance to vote in favor of $40 million in land and water bonds, essential funding to restore Narragansett Bay, clean our coastal waters and rivers, and provide safe, clean drinking water to our communities. These bonds are matched with federal funds to bring in more than $200M to local projects in our cities and towns. In Rhode Island, our environment is our economy. This newsletter is being written and completed just before Election Day, so I am waiting with great hope to see what the voters decide!
♦ The Conservancy now has 60 miles of trails open to the public for hiking, birding and photography. We have maps and trail highlights on everytrail.com for access by computer or smartphone. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to visit the newly opened Dundery Brook Trail in Little Compton—a 3,000 ft. boardwalk that joins a 1½ mile grass trail through woodlands and wetland. The trail is used every day by people of all ages and from all walks of life, by local folks and visitors to town. Most satisfying to me, the trail is enjoyed by mothers and fathers with baby strollers and by people with disabilities who find the smooth, wide boardwalk easy to navigate!
♦ We built the first ever, man-made oyster reef in Rhode Island this summer in Ninigret Pond with oyster shells recycled from local restaurants. Juvenile fin fish, crustaceans and shellfish are already calling it home. These reefs are not for harvesting. They are habitat; nurseries for juvenile fish, oysters, and mussels.
Thank you for supporting all this great work. Together, we are securing and restoring critical lands and waters in Rhode Island for the benefit of all of our state’s people, plants and wildlife.
Terry Sullivan, State Director
Photo credit: (c) www.richardbenjamin.com