Rhode Island Land & Water Conservation Summit

March 9th, 2024 • URI Memorial Union

Peter Merritt Award for Land Conservation

The Peter Merritt Award for Land Conservation is given to recognize a volunteer – a dedicated “in the trenches” individual – who has made an outstanding contribution to land conservation in their Rhode Island community. The award is given in honor of the late Peter Merritt, a founding member and second president of the Aquidneck Land Trust. Peter worked tirelessly for land conservation on Aquidneck Island, yet was always the first to give credit and praise to others for the land trusts’ accomplishments that he so often led.

The Peter Merritt Award for Land Conservation is given for Outstanding Achievement in Conservation in the Land Trust Community by an Individual.

Criteria for selection:
  • Must be an individual volunteer with major land conservation accomplishments
  • Must be conservation minded, valuing their community and those that live within it
  • Has the respect of their peers and others for their efforts
  • Must have a long tenure with land protection

Note: The Board has considered the applicant’s length of involvement in land conservation when making difficult choices between nominations. Members of RI Land Trust Council Board are not eligible.

Past recipients of the Peter Merritt Award for Land Conservation are:
  • Paul Roselli (Burrillville Land Trust, 2022)
  • Clarkson Collins (South Kingstown Land Trust, 2020)
  • Joe Pailthorpe (Cumberland Land Trust, 2019)
  • Marilyn Grant (Hopkinton Land Trust, 2018)
  • Sheila Mackintosh (Sakonnet Preservation Association, 2017)
  • Ann Marie Aubrey (Smithfield Land Trust, 2016)
  • Helen Tjader (Barrington Land Conservation Trust and Neutaconkanut Hill Conservancy, 2015)
  • Garry Plunkett (Tiverton Land Trust, 2014)
  • Sophie Page Lewis (South Kingstown Land Trust, 2013)
  • Heather Steers (Sakonnet Preservation Association, 2012)
  • Bob Marshall (Prudence Conservancy, 2011)
  • Julie Sharpe (Narrow River Land Trust and other land trusts, 2010)
  • Linda Steere (Narrow River Land Trust, 2009)
  • Karen Saucier (Cumberland Land Trust, 2008)
  • Larry Anderson (Sakonnet Preservation Association, 2007)
  • Charlotte Sornborger (Barrington Land Conservation Trust, 2006)
  • Harvey Perry (The Westerly Land Trust, 2005)
  • Bob Kimarx (Barrington Land Conservation Trust, 2004)
  • Kate Smith (West Bay Land Trust, 2003)
  • Bob Hawksley (Glocester Land Trust, 2002)
Nomination requirements:

Please send a one-page letter of nomination to Virginia Streeter at VStreeter@rilandtrusts.org by January 26, 2024.

Blueways Stewardship Award​

The RI Rivers Council seeks nominations for the “Blueways Stewardship Award.” This award was traditionally given by the Rhode Island Blueways Alliance, and is for an individual who exemplifies dedication to the stewardship and conservation of Rhode Island’s rivers, lakes and coastal waters. The Blueways Alliance dissolved in January 2022, and the nomination and selection process of the award will be undertaken by the RI Rivers Council.

We are looking for people who meet the following criteria:
  • Must be an individual
  • Must have the respect of their peers
  • Must have notable accomplishment(s) in watershed management such as:
    • Water quality monitoring and protection
    • Development of trails on water   
    • Promoting land use that protects waterways
    • Working to make connections between watershed conservation and their community
Selection Process:

Nominations must be received by January 26, 2024. A letter of nomination can be submitted to alicia@joinsaltponds.com with the heading, “Blueways Award.” If you have questions, please call Kate Sayles at (401) 212-0832.

The nomination letter should include the name of the individual being nominated and the name and contact information for the individual making the nomination. Please also include a short (1-page maximum) description of how the individual meets the criteria listed above. We do not accept self-nominations.

Nominations will be reviewed by an award committee comprised of RI Rivers Council board members. The recipient will be announced at a brief award ceremony at the 2024 Land & Water Conservation Summit.

Note: RI Rivers Council appointed members are not eligible for this award. We also do not re-recognize past recipients.

Past recipients of the Blueways Stewardship Award are:
  • Walter Galloway (Wood Pawcatuck Watershed Association, 2022)
  • Richard Grant (Narrow River Preservation Association, 2020)
  • Keith Gonsalves (Ten Mile River, 2019)
  • Ted Callender (Salt Ponds Coalition, 2018)
  • Art Ganz (Salt Ponds Coalition, 2017)
  • Lisa Aurecchia (Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council, 2016)
  • Denise Poyer (Wood Pawcatuck Watershed Association, 2015)
  • Judy Colaluca (Save the Lakes, 2014)
  • Caroline Wells (Town of Warren, 2013)
  • Paul Earnshaw (Buckeye Brook Coalition, 2012)
  • Eugenia Marks (Audubon Society of RI, 2011)
  • Frank Matta (Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone, 2010)