Home River CLOSE FOCUS: Local residents honored for dedication to the river | Narragansett Times

CLOSE FOCUS: Local residents honored for dedication to the river | Narragansett Times

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NARRAGANSETT – Four local residents who volunteer to protect and preserve the Narrow River and its watershed were recently honored for their work at the annual meeting of the Narrow River Preservation Association (NRPA). Sally Sutherland, Rosemary and David Smith and Barry Devine all received recognition from the nonprofit at the virtual event, awarded to those who go above and beyond to help NRPA’s efforts to protect the plan. of water.

Les Smith and Devine both received the NRPA’s Environmental Appreciation Award, while Sutherland received the organization’s 2021 WER La Farge Memorial Friend of the River award.

“I feel very humble and honored to be recognized,” said Sutherland, who lives in Narragansett. “There are a lot of dedicated and hard-working people who volunteer for NRPA. “

Sutherland, an ocean engineer, served on the NRPA board of directors for 16 years and was involved in many of the organization’s efforts. His most visible work for NRPA has been the Lesa Meng College Scholarship Program since 2009, which has provided local high school students with funds to continue their studies at higher education institutions. Since 1993, the program has awarded more than $ 50,000 to students who live in the Narrow River watershed.

For his hard work and dedication over many years to NRPA’s community outreach efforts, including its scholarship program, Sutherland received the honor. She has also been a dedicated volunteer with the Narrow River Turnaround Swim, the What Lives in the River family exploration event, the Narrow River Road Race, and the installation of the Osprey Nesting Platform overlooking the Narrow River.

“Sally has quietly made long-term efforts to help NRPA and the Narrow River, especially in our approach to local communities, and our area is much better because of her efforts,” said Alison Kates, member of the advisory board of the NRPA.

Sutherland thanked her husband, Ken, and son, Jake, a 10th grade student at Narragansett High School, saying volunteering efforts with NRPA are a family affair. She expressed her gratitude to NRPA members Veronica Berounsky and Ken McShane for being nominated for the Friend of the River Award this year. Finally, for Sutherland, who attends and helps organize and manage many NRPA events, the beauty of the river motivates his volunteer efforts with the organization that does watershed protection and preservation. his mission.

“I actually love crossing Lacy Bridge (between Narragansett and South Kingstown), looking north and taking in the beautiful and unexpected view of the Narrow River,” she said.

Rosemary and David Smith were celebrated for their efforts in creating and hosting ten years of the informative speaker series, About Pettaquamscutt: Presentations on the Environment and History of the Narrow River Watershed.

In 2012, David and Rosemary, a married couple from Narragansett, created the About Pettaquamscutt winter speaker series. In doing so, they developed a partnership with Friends of Canonchet Farm, Narrow River Preservation Association, South County Museum and the Maury Loontjens Memorial Library. They secured sponsorship from Restaurant Trio, which generously supported the series. The Smiths facilitated and hosted the lecture series for ten years, withdrawing it in March 2021.

“Working together, we’ve been telling the stories of this beautiful South County place for ten years,” said Rosemary.

“It gives us a sense of pride to know that our efforts have been recognized by a very dedicated group of NRPA volunteers who are celebrating 51 years of protecting the watershed,” added David.

Free and open to the public, the presentations took place during the winter months (January, February and March), so the forums provided a new opportunity for educational programming during a time of year when programs on the land in the watershed usually end. The lectures focused on the environmental and local history of the Narrow River watershed and covered a range of topics over the years including: historic farms in the watershed, restoration of salt marsh habitat , amphibians and reptiles common in the Narrow River, impacts of rising sea levels, and this year a virtual tour of coastal defenses in Narragansett presented by David Smith himself.

“We had so much fun learning about the history and environmental significance of this beautiful region,” Rosemary said of reflecting the speaker series. “More than 30 speakers from various fields shared their expertise and experiences with the large audience we were able to attract. ”

“I was amazed at the connections that have been made within the community,” said David. “One audience member would have a memory of Casey Farm and share it, another would volunteer to plant salt marsh grasses along the river, a speaker would have insight into their own area of ​​expertise from a public comment. ”

When asked about their appreciation of the Narrow River itself, the Smiths mentioned their recreational kayaking on the Narrow River early in the morning.

“NRPA attracts great people who are willing to give of their time and energy to preserve the river,” David concluded. “It’s all about collaboration. ”

Guess was celebrated for his editing, writing and publishing efforts Pettaquamscutt estuary: the Narrow river yesterday, today and tomorrow, which is not only a literary and educational resource, but also generated significant funds for NRPA in the first year of publication, as Devine dedicated all profits from the sale of the book to the organization. Pettaquamscutt estuary: the Narrow river yesterday, today and tomorrow focuses on the critical link between landscapes and seascapes, emphasizing the importance of the ecosystem, the impact of humans and our responsibility as global stewards of the Earth.

In addition to a wealth of historical documents and articles, the book includes fifteen detailed maps of the watershed, each highlighting different environmental and natural history aspects of the watershed. Through the development of these maps, Devine also compiled a comprehensive GIS database of the Narrow River watershed.

“For an organization like NRPA, volunteers are critical to the success of our community programs and events,” Kates said. “The NRPA Environmental Appreciation Awards recognize individuals whose volunteer efforts have exceeded expectations. ”

The Narrow River Preservation Association (NRPA) presents the WER La Farge Memorial Friend of the River Award to an individual or organization whose work in protecting the Narrow River (Pettaquamscutt Estuary) reflects the spirit of WER La Farge, founding member organisation.

More information on the WER La Farge Memorial Friend of the River Award, including a list of past recipients, is available at narrowriver.org / friend-of-the-river-award /.

Although the Smith’s speaker series is now retired, the About Pettaquamscutt website, onpettaquamscutt.org, remains available and features video recordings of recent presentations as well as resources from many informative and interesting programs throughout the ten-year series.

Pettaquamscutt estuary: the Narrow river yesterday, today and tomorrow is available for sale on narrowriver.org / nrbook.

The awards were presented to NRPA 51st Annual meeting. Held online via Zoom on Tuesday October 5th, the meeting was recorded and can be viewed at narrowriver.org / annual-meeting.


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