green animals

The Preservation Society of Newport County has received a $4,705 planning grant from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities (RICH) Major Grants program to develop a curriculum for an Edible Schoolyard (ESY) Project at Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth. ESY is a national program founded by Berkeley, California chef Alice Waters, to educate children about healthier food choices and respect for one another and the land.

The Green Animals project will provide hands-on classes to teach students in grades K-12 about sustainable gardening practices, proper nutrition, and the role food plays in our social and cultural lives. Topics to be explored will include how land use has changed on Aquidneck Island over time, the changes in traditional New England horticultural practices introduced by later immigrants, and the role of “gentlemen’s farms” in the late 19th century.

“We want to promote good health and also engage young people in learning the importance of preservation, sustainability, and our connections to the earth and to each other,” said Preservation Society CEO & Executive Director Trudy Coxe.  “We’re very thankful for the support that RICH has provided to get us started.”

The planning team is led by Preservation Society Curator of Historic Landscapes Jim Donahue.  Research & Interpretation Coordinator Abigail Stewart, a former teacher, will ensure that lessons align with core curricula; Patricia Bailey, outreach horticulturist at Green Animals, will travel to California for training to ensure that the curriculum aligns with the proven standards established by ESY. Educators from school systems across Aquidneck Island will be included in the curriculum creation process.  The goal is to pilot the program in spring 2017.

ESY currently informs 5,300 school programs serving over eight million students across the country. By affiliating with the program, the Preservation Society will have access to a wealth of resources developed in thousands of successful programs to assist in developing lesson plans that use the resources of Green Animals to engage students.

The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities is an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The Council seeds, supports, and strengthens public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement by and for all Rhode Islanders.

The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island, is a non-profit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes, decorative arts and social history.  Its 11 historic properties–seven of them National Historic Landmarks–span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.