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Monday, April 3, 2023

URI to host Rhode Island Land and Water Conservation Mini-Summit on April 8

Saturday event held in URI’s Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences

Kristen Curry 

David Vissoe, URI Master Gardener and liaison to the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Kettle Pond Nature Center Native
Plant Gardens, talks to a visitor during an open house.
David will share the story of the gardens during a breakout
session at the 2023 Mini-Summit on April 8.
(Photo courtesy URI Cooperative Extension)
The University of Rhode Island’s Cooperative Extension, with the Rhode Island Land Trust Council and Audubon Society of Rhode Island, are joining forces to offer a half-day Land and Water (and Gardens) Mini-Summit at URI this year.

On Saturday, April 8, the University will host the Rhode Island Land and Water Conservation Mini-Summit, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in URI’s Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences, 120 Flagg Road, Kingston Campus.

The University is welcoming the Audubon Society of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Land Trust Council, which have partnered since 2004 to foster connections between these dedicated grassroots organizations at the annual statewide conservation summit. 

The Ocean State is fortunate to have over 45 land trusts, a dozen watershed organizations, numerous conservation commissions and multiple education and outreach programs based at URI that rely on volunteers. 

This year, the mini-summit will honor those volunteers, and highlight many land and water conservation-related initiatives that are community-based and impactful.

The half-day mini-summit will feature a vibrant panel discussion, breakout sessions, a marketplace, and opportunities to network with other volunteers and individuals interested in land and water conservation, with a focus on land stewardship, water conservation, gardening and more. 

Ian McSweeney of the Agrarian Commons, an innovative land-ownership model that challenges corporate and large-scale agriculture models, and offers a new, sustainable approach for the small farmer, will deliver the keynote address. 

Sessions will also be offered on funding strategies for land conservation, water quality protection from an indigenous perspective, and community-based native plant gardening with opportunities to meet and network with others in the environmental community. 

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse will join the day’s program, signaling the importance of these matters in Rhode Island.

The public is invited to attend the Rhode Island Land and Water Conservation Mini-Summit; $55/general admission includes breakfast and coffee. Tickets may be purchased online or at the door and a pay-what-you-can option is also available. For details and to register, please visit

Sponsors and exhibitors coming to URI are: URI Master Gardener Program, Agrarian Trust, Audubon Society of Rhode Island, Caldwell & Johnson, Conservation Stewardship Collaborative, Connecticut Gardener, ecoRI, Food Recovery for Rhode Island, Fuerza Laboral, Hidden Brook Farm – Garden Art & Whimsy Land Trust Alliance, NEARI, Revolution Wind, Rhode Island AFL-CIO, Rhode Island Association of Conservation Districts, Rhode Island Food Policy Council, Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, Rhode Island Land Trust Council, Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation, Save the Bay, Securing Northeast Forest Carbon Program, the Nature Conservancy, USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service, Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council, and Young Farmer Network.

For more information about URI Cooperative Extension’s programs and services, please visit