Rhode Island Land & Water Conservation Summit

March 9th, 2024 • URI Memorial Union

About the Summit

Join the Rhode Island Land Trust Council as we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Rhode Island Land & Water Conservation Summit at the University of Rhode Island Memorial Union in Kingston on March 9th, 2024! This year, we are focusing on critical strategies to conserve our important landscapes and waterways, and will be grounding our program in contemporary environmental challenges and opportunities for collaboration. Learn about past summits here.

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The Rhode Island Land Trust Council is committed to ensuring that this event is open and accessible to all that would like to participate. We will be offering a “pay what you can” option to attendees. Individual RI Land Trust Council Members receive an additional discount.

The Summit will feature 31 engaging workshop sessions, including a workshop series from our lead facilitating partner, the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG). NESAWG unites Black, Brown, Indigenous, Aboriginal Earthworkers and frontline communities in the Northeast region to cultivate a just, regenerative, thriving food system for all. Their purpose is to grow global collective power that uproots systems of oppression in order to co-create a culture of care and sacredness of all living beings.

Keynote Speaker

We are honored to welcome Tarshire Battle, Executive Director of Roots 2Empower, as this year’s keynote speaker to present on the theme, “Rooted in Resilience: Centering Community in Land & Water Conservation.” Through her keynote address, Tarshire will share a wealth of insights and experiences, highlighting the important role that economic empowerment and social justice play in the future of the land and water conservation in Rhode Island. Roots 2Empower was founded in 2019, to support people of color as they break the cycle of mass incarceration through economic empowerment and connection to the earth. The keynote presentation will explore how Roots 2Empower connects individuals to green spaces and green jobs, provides tools for financial empowerment, and advances environmental justice in Rhode Island and beyond. It will focus on envisioning a Rhode Island where families can thrive without the systemic barriers of poverty, food insecurity, unemployment, and incarceration. In addition to founding Roots 2Empower, Tarshire is the Director of Special Projects for the Southside Community Land Trust. Learn more about Tarshire and her work here.

Tarshire Battle is a native Bostonian, and has resided in Pawtucket since 2002. She is a self-taught artist, using this medium as a catalyst for change for the homeless, battered women, youths, and returning veterans who have experienced trauma. Over the years, Tarshire has collaborated with nonprofit organizations using art as a vehicle for social change to address pressing issues like homelessness, mental health, and addiction. As a former Mental Health Discharge Planner at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections, Tarshire saw her clients return to prison due to systemic barriers preventing formerly incarcerated folks from gaining employment, dignified housing, and access to basic needs like healthy food and sanitation. She currently works as the Director of Special Projects for the Southside Community Land Trust and is the founder and Executive Director of Roots 2Empower (formerly Restoration Urban Farm of New England), a social enterprise that provides business and agriculture training for formerly incarcerated individuals. Tarshire holds a Masters in Public Administration from Northeastern University, a M.A. in Mental Health Counseling from Boston University. She is also an accomplished herbalist and Master Gardener.

Schedule

Summit workshop topics include (but are not limited to) farmland protection, land use planning, climate change solutions, community-centered conservation, fundraising and organizational development, wetland permitting, land trust 101 and more! Schedule is subject to change.

Time
Description
8:00 am – 9:00 am Registration & Continental Breakfast
9:00 am – 9:30 am Welcome
Land Acknowledgement
Introduction
9:30 am – 10:15 am Keynote Presentation: Tarshire Battle, Founder & Executive Director of Roots 2Empower
“Rooted in Resilience: Centering Community in Land & Water Conservation”
10:15 am – 10:35 am Network & Visit Conservation Commons Exhibitor Hall
10:35 am – 11:45 am Session A Workshops – Your Choice from 10 offered
11:45 am – 1:15 pm Lunch & Presentations:
Director Terry Gray, RI Department of Environmental Management
2024 RI Advocacy Updates
1:15 pm – 2:25 pm Session B Workshops – Your Choice from 10 offered
2:25 pm – 2:45 pm Break
2:45 pm – 3:55 pm Session C Workshops – Your Choice from 11 offered
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Awards Presentation:
Peter Merritt Conservation Award & Blueways Stewardship Award

Closing Ceremony
Story by Raffini, RI Black Storytellers and Southside Community Land Trust
5:30 pm Afterparty at Shaidzon Beer Co!

Throughout the day, you will have the opportunity to be inspired and connect with a network of over 30 vendors, businesses, and non-profits in the Conservation Commons, our exhibitor hall. Immerse yourself in a dynamic space where organizations showcase their impactful initiatives, and explore innovative solutions that drive positive change. Event attendees that visit all of the exhibitors will be entered for a fabulous prize in a drawing at our first Closing Ceremony at the end of the event, which will include a 50/50 raffle and other surprises. There will be plenty of dedicated time for networking and connecting with your friends and colleagues! Are you interested in sponsoring the event or tabling at the Summit? Learn more about the benefits here.

You will leave the Land & Water Summit inspired and engaged, with a commitment to building a more equitable and resilient future. Don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of this transformative event, as we envision a Rhode Island where land, water, and people can thrive together.

Tickets are on sale now. Discount code for individual RI Land Trust Council Members and Speakers available. Pay What You Can option available for attendees who need it.

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