Audubon Society of Rhode Island
Land and Water Partnership
Rhode Island Land Trust Council Audubon Society of Rhode Island

Land and Water Conservation Summit

Sustaining and Conserving in Unprecedented Times

The 19th annual Summit will be Thursday, July 14 - Saturday, July 16, 2022 at the URI Memorial Union and sites in South County. You don’t want to miss it!

This year we are honored to welcome Loren Spears to give the Summit Keynote address.  Lorén M. Spears, Narragansett, Executive Director of Tomaquag Museum, has been an educator for 25 years, has served as an adjunct faculty at Brown University and at University of Rhode Island. She shares her cultural knowledge and traditional arts learned through her family with the public through museum programs. She has written curriculum, poetry, and narratives published in a variety of publications such as “Dawnland Voices, An Anthology of Indigenous Writing of New England;” “Through Our Eyes: An Indigenous View of Mashapaug Pond;” “The Pursuit of Happiness: An Indigenous View;” “From Slaves to Soldiers: The 1st Rhode Island Regiment in the American Revolution;” co-edited a new edition of  “A Key into the Language of America by Roger Williams;” and recently co-authored “As We Have Always Done: Decolonizing the Tomaquag Museum’s Collections Management Policy” published in the Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archive Professionals.

TEK and Environmental Justice:
Lorén Spears, Narragansett Citizen, will share about the Traditional Ecological Knowledge utilized throughout history to today and its use to advocate for environmental justice and Indigenous rights. She will discuss the relationship of Indigenous people with the land and waters and the strategies for climate resiliency from a first-person lens while weaving the Indigenous history of this place.


We are also pleased to include workshops and panel experts on some of the state’s most pressing conservation and environmental challenges:

Climate Change & Resiliency—the state’s vulnerability to the impacts of climate change continues to increase and cities and towns face everyday decisions on how to best adapt to a warming climate and invest in climate resiliency. How can the state meet its Act On Climate goals requiring the state to reduce carbon emission, while supporting municipalities in their climate resiliency needs? 

Solar Development & Forest Protection—the state’s solar incentives are at odds with our climate goals and the public’s investment of protecting our most critical open space for environmental benefits, wildlife habitat, and recreation. This has led to clearcutting large tracts of critical forestland as developers focus on inexpensive and privately owned open space. At the same time, municipalities across the state are pushing back and passing ordinances prohibiting solar. How can we change the status quo?

Environmental Justice—the state and nation continue to struggle to advance racial equity as environmental justice communities—who tend to be Black, Indigenous, people of color, and low-income communities—suffer from decades of disinvestment impacting every facet of life, including health, housing, heat and pollution exposure experience deep inequities heighten throughout the pandemic. How can we better support environmental communities and center their voices and lived experiences in conservation efforts? 

More about the 19th Annual Land and Water Conservation Summit

Developed to meet the needs of land trusts, watershed organizations and municipal conservation commissions, the RI Land and Water Summit offers dozens of hands-on workshops designed to enhance technical and organizational effectiveness. Workshops are taught by experts from throughout Rhode Island and cover topics essential for watershed management, land conservation and organizational development.

The 2022 Land and Water Conservation Summit is a little different this year. Due to complications from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the overwhelming response and feedback from the Summit Survey, event organizers decided it was best to postpone the event. After careful consideration, event organizers decided to make the Summit a multi-day event, full of networking and information sharing, on July 14-15-16. The main summit event is on July 15th!

Keeping Summit Accessible: In an effort to ensure that the Summit is accessible to everyone who would like to attend, we are offering a Pay What You Can option for those who would otherwise find this event cost prohibitive. No questions asked! If you would like to help make the event open to all, please consider a tax-deductible contribution to our scholarship fund with your registration!

Click on the links below for workshop descriptions and registration.


On-Campus Housing: Eddy Hall

Reserve Your Room Now!

Since we are offering a multi-day event in South County, we are also offering optional low-cost accommodations at Eddy Hall on the URI Campus! 

Eddy is a suite-style residence hall, so you will share an apartment with up to nine other guests.
Apartments in Eddy Hall:

  • 2-3 single-use bathrooms with shower, 2-3 sinks accessible outside of the bathrooms
  • Common living space
  • Each private bedroom is furnished with (1) twin XL sized bed (including linen, pillow, blanket, towel, washcloth, and basic toiletries, a desk, a chest of drawers, and an armoire
  • Air-conditioned
  • No kitchen

Day 1: Thursday, July 14, 2022

We will be hosting afternoon organizational meetings in South County, followed by a social hour at Tilted Barn Brewery, from 5-8 pm. This event features locally brewed beer and non-alcoholic options (cash bar). The social at Tilted Barn is rain or shine! We have reserved the 50-person Mezzanine in case of rain, but seating is limited. The Barn also hosts a food truck every evening, and we will also provide a few things to munch on.

If you have an organizational meeting or event that you’d like to host at the Summit on Thursday afternoon, please email Kate Sayles at ksayles@rilandtrusts.org or call 401-212-0832.

Conservation Commission Registration - REGISTRATION REQUIRED

Day 2: Friday, July 15, 2022 - The Main Event

Registration Required - Register Now!


Tentative Schedule for July 15

7:45 – 8:30 Registration & Continental Breakfast
8:30 – 9:40

Welcome - Emcee: Jen West, Coastal Training Program Coordinator, Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Land Acknowledgement

Introduction: Kate Sayles - RI Land Trust Council & Priscilla De La Cruz - Audubon Society of RI

Keynote: Lorén Spears, Executive Director of the Tomaquag Museum

TEK and Environmental Justice

9:40 – 10:00 Break: Network and Visit Exhibits
10:00 – 11:10

Workshop Session 1 - Your choice from 6 offered

11:10 – 11:20 Break: Network and Visit Exhibits
11:20 – 12:30 Workshop Session 2 -Your choice from 7 offered
12:30 – 2:00

Lunch & Awards:

Director Terry Gray - RI Department of Environmental Management

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse - An Environmental View from Washington

Peter Merritt Conservation Award & Blueways Stewardship Award

2:00 – 2:30 Network & Visit Exhibits
2:30 – 3:40 Workshop Session 3 -Your choice from 7 offered
5:00 Join us for a social hour at Whaler’s Brewery in Peace Dale, featuring culinary delights from Butterhead Food Truck. We will have snacks and non-alcoholic beverages for you to enjoy. Cash bar, cash food truck.

July 16: Day 3 - Field Trips in South County

We’ve been organizing a lovely day of exciting things to do in South County in the summer! Stay tuned for a list of events, including the 18th Annual Environmental Awareness Day at Narragansett Beach, an event put on by our friends the RI Rivers Council and the Town of Narragansett!

Early Morning Paddle to Identify Invasive Plants at Belleville Pond 9-11
Belleville Pond is a 16 minute drive from URI, and was the first location in the state where invasive water chestnut was found in 2007. Join RIDEM to learn the basics of aquatic plant ID, locate lingering invasive water chestnut, as well as learn to identify invasive fanwort and variable milfoil. Participants must pre-register by July 1. Participants bringing their own canoe or kayak must bring and wear their own life jacket. Limited spaces available for those without a canoe/kakak, so pre-register early to request a space in a canoe. The boat launch is located in Ryan Park, North Kingstown.

Paddle at Belleville Registration - REGISTRATION REQUIRED

18th Annual Environmental Awareness Day Saturday Jule 16, 2022 10am to 1pm. The Town of Narragansett is partnering with the Rhode Island Rivers Council to host the18th Annual Environmental Awareness Day at the Narragansett Town Beach. Environmental organizations from all over the State set up information displays and talk to beach-goers about RI's natural resources and offer fun and educational activities for kids.

Visit the only water powered mill still currently operating in Rhode Island during a Grinding Day! - 10AM

You’ll witness the water rushing down the sluice channel from Mill Pond before taking a tour of the quaint little mill originally built by Samuel E. Perry in 1703. You’ll see how the millers add the flint corn and adjust the grindstone’s speed and pressure to produce the best possible cornmeal for johnnycakes, clam cakes, and more.

Free, registration is required as space is limited. Register Now!



Sponsor the Summit, Have a Display Table, and/or Advertise.

The Summit presents an unsurpassed opportunity to connect with over 300 Rhode Islanders who are outstanding community and state leaders and passionate about the state's natural resources. Your support helps us to keep registration costs low for these community volunteers.

Program Ads/Displays
Sponsor the Summit

Thank you to our 2022 lead sponsors, they help us keep registration costs low.

Click on the sponsor’s logo for their website.

Lead Sponsor: $5,000 and above

Revolution Wind: Orsted

Champion: $3,000 and above

Conservation Stewardship Collaborative

Caldwell & Johnson

Collaborators: $1,500 - 2,999

USDA NRCS
Marcum LLP

Meet the Summit Organizers:

Kate Sayles, Executive Director
RI Land Trust Council

Priscilla De La Cruz
Sr. Director, Government Affairs
Audubon Society of RI

PS. We realize that some of you might not know who we are, so please read our bios.

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