Residents gathered yesterday at the for the for an update on the ogranization's successful year.
The Treasurer’s Report stated that in 2010 Save the Bay was able to make several capital investments. Additionally, many projects were completed, such as restoring a significant part of Fort Adams, completing one of the largest salt marsh properties in Warren, and implementing a successful scallop restoration in Point Judith.
“We have a lot to celebrate this year," Jonathan Stone, Executive Director, said. “Additionally, the has been delayed and is about 18 months behind schedule. We’ve had many partners in rallying for public support and we know we’ve been successful. It’s not over until it’s over.”
Stone also announced that the annual meeting was the official kick-off for a new campaign for Save the Bay. Called the KEYS program (Keep Educating Young Scientists), Stone explained the fundraising initiative will help continue Explore the Bay, a project that is facing a major funding crisis due to earmarks in the federal government legislation.
“Explore the Bay accounts for one-third of our overall budget, and two-thirds of the education budget,” Stone said. “This year, Save the Bay will serve over 17,000 students, 95% of them being public school students.”
Stone said one of the positive aspects of the Explore the Bay program is that the results are measurable. Not only is there greater student interest in science classes and better attendance, but it also provides hands-on environmental education and allows students to come away with greater awareness of Narragansett Bay.
"Save the Bay has already made tough decisions and we’ve taken very difficult actions, such as reducing our overall staff and cutting operating expenses," he said.
Over the next two to three years, Save the Bay is looking to raise $200,000 per year through the KEYS campaign. Stone described the initiative as a “bridge” and said that he felt the program will be completely self-funded in two to three years, but that they need help and community support to get started.
Will Baker, President and CEO of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), which is the largest and only independent organization that exists solely to protect and restore Chesapeake Bay, made the keynote address. Baker has been on the staff of CBF since 1976 and has been CEO of the organization since 1982. Under his leadership, CBF received the nation’s highest environmental honor, the 1992 Presidential Medal for Environmental Excellencem in recognition of its environmental education program.
Four environmental achievement awards were given to Dr. Vincent Rose, Joe Carvalho, Bruce Hooke, and Dr. David Murphy for their environmental activism.
“These honorees are nothing short of heroes,” said Stone. “They’ve committed their time and talent to ensure the health of Narragansett Bay and their stewardship is commendable.”