The Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT) Campaign to Save the St. Mary’s Church Land received a major boost this week.
The van Beuren Charitable Foundation awarded a $300,000 grant to this time-sensitive conservation project.
“The van Beuren Charitable Foundation has done so much to help us permanently protect Aquidneck Island’s remaining farms, forests, water resource areas, parks, scenic vistas and wildlife habitat. Their focused support of land conservation on the island has helped us build and protect a large, and interconnected, foundation of natural resources which will help sustain our island for generations to come. We cannot thank them enough,” said Ted Clement, ALT executive director.
On May 25, the ALT, St. Mary’s Church in Portsmouth and the Trustees of the Sarah Gibbs Trust signed an Option Agreement that gives ALT until May 24, 2013, to raise more than $3 million to conserve about 70 acres of the St. Mary’s Church land.
With the van Beuren Charitable Foundation grant award, the ALT has raised $2,908,520 in grant awards and cash against the budget of $3,073,894 for the proposed conservation project, leaving ALT with only $165,374 left to raise.
The proposed approximate 70-acre St. Mary’s Church conservation area is strategic from a conservation perspective, according to the ALT.
Pursuant to the town of Portsmouth’s 2002 Local Recreation, Conservation and Open Space Plan, the subject land is located within a Town of Portsmouth designated Open Space and Active Agriculture Area, Resource Protection Overlay District Area and Greenways Plan Area.
The St. Mary’s Church land is located next to a number of previously conserved parcels within ALT’s Center Island Greenway, thereby building upon and enhancing this past conservation work.