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Good Dirt

Monday, August 16, 2010


ALT's Trolley Tour
Thursday, August 19, 2010




Hop aboard an old-fashioned trolley and discover the past, present and future of conservation on Aquidneck Island. Led by Executive Director Ted Clement, the tours visit protected working farms, wildlife habitats, outdoor recreation areas and scenic vistas on the Island. Discover first-hand the magnitude of ALT's work, see our conservation projects up close and learn what's at risk.

These tours are free and open to the public, but
be sure to RSVP as space is limited (seating is a first come first serve basis). Tours leave from the ALT offices promptly at 5pm and return about 7pm. Light refreshments are provided. For more information or to reserve your place please call Courtney Huth at 401-849-2799 ext. 19 or email her at




has another great upcoming environmental event!  See below for more details on newportFILM's latest outdoor movie offering! 



Wednesday, August 25th 
FREE Outdoor Screening of
Waste Land
at the Norman Bird Sanctuary.
Film at Dusk (around 7:30PM)

REGISTER for tickets at

Filmed over nearly three years, WASTE LAND follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home base in Brooklyn to his native Brazil and the world's largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. There he photographs an eclectic band of "catadores" -- or self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz's initial objective was to "paint" the catadores with garbage. However, his collaboration with these inspiring characters as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both dignity and despair as the catadores begin to re-imagine their lives. Walker (Devil's Playground, Blindsight) has great access to the entire process and, in the end, offers stirring evidence of the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit.

"Especially mesmerizing are the wordless sequences of the garbage pickers at work -- Moby-scored montages that hauntingly convey the otherworldly feel of the place." 


Norman Bird Sanctuary
583 Third Beach Road
Middlewtown, RI 02842







































 "The Green Economics of Land Conservation on Aquidneck Island"
By: Ted Clement, Executive Director, Aquidneck Land Trust

Aquidneck Island is a truly special place - with its beaches, working farms and stunning scenic vistas - and the beautiful open spaces that help make it so give us a unique economic advantage as a desirable place to live, work and visit. The Aquidneck Land Trust's ("ALT") mission is to preserve the Island's open spaces and natural character for the lasting benefit of the community. ALT, the only nationally accredited non-profit land trust in Rhode Island, provides lasting green returns to its investors by permanently protecting important open space lands that keep Aquidneck Island a desirable place to live, work and visit.

As noted by Rand Wentworth, President of the national Land Trust Alliance, "Communities that conserve land make an investment in future economic development. Companies frequently relocate where their top talent wants to live, and that is most often in places of natural beauty. When land is protected, the adjacent land often increases in value, with homes selling for 10-20 percent more than comparable homes without access to parks. Frederick Law Olmsted first demonstrated this principle in the late 1800's when he documented that Central Park caused $5.4 million in additional annual tax revenues, quickly repaying the $14 million cost of the park. American consumers seem to have grasped this simple economic principle: A survey by the National Association of Homebuilders concluded that new homebuyers value trails and natural areas above any other amenity. Saving land from development is often the best way to reduce government spending and avoid increases in property taxes. Many jurisdictions believe that they will make money from the property taxes on new subdivisions, ignoring the true cost of schools, roads, police, water, and storm water management. Studies show that it costs between $1.04 and $2 for every dollar of tax revenue to provide services to a typical subdivision, so current taxpayers end up subsidizing outsiders who bring increased traffic, crowded schools, and the loss of the community's individual culture. It is also cheaper to protect clean water at its source than to build expensive water treatment facilities. New York City, for example, saved $5 billion in construction costs by purchasing conservation lands around its reservoirs in the Catskill Mountains."

As an example of the above, last year ALT partnered with an enlightened Town of Portsmouth and Green Valley Country Club to purchase a perpetual Conservation Easement, for $2.56 million, on about 125 acres of Green Valley Country Club. This large property provides public recreational opportunities, scenic vistas and wildlife habitat while also acting as an open space buffer for Lawton Valley Reservoir and St. Mary's Pond, two of Aquidneck Island's public drinking water supplies. An engineer's subdivision plan had demonstrated that the subject 125 +/- acres of Green Valley, which was zoned for 30,000 sq. ft. residential lots, could have supported 127 house lots. Based on the projected costs of municipal services for a 127-lot subdivision, Portsmouth's Town Planner showed that the net present value saved by Portsmouth, over a 30-year period, by keeping Green Valley undeveloped would be over $5.7 million. Another benefit of this conservation transaction was keeping a rein on traffic output. Based on the Trip Generation Handbook, 7th Edition, published by the Institute of Transportation Engineers, a 127-lot residential subdivision on Green Valley would generate over 1,200 additional vehicle trips per day on the already busy and dangerous roadways of Aquidneck Island. Think also of the immense carbon footprint that would result from a 127-lot subdivision.

Recognizing the lasting green economics of land conservation, ALT has launched a new Corporate Membership Program for local businesses that want to help us with our time-sensitive mission of protecting our unique economic advantage, Aquidneck Island's beautiful natural resources and open spaces. Businesses that become ALT Corporate Members share a common vision: preserving the health and beauty of Aquidneck Island for their employees and customers, their families and their community. To join, please contact ALT's Assistant Development Director, Courtney Huth, at 401-849-2799 ext. 19 or Together, we can create a lasting green legacy that will sustain and benefit our Island for years and years to come.


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 a total of 2,290.57 +/- acres on Aquidneck Island.  ALT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  For more information, visit


As always, thank you for your continued support
for conservation on our Island.


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