Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT) has announcd the eight grant recipients for the 2016 Merritt Neighborhood Fund. The Fund provides modest grants to Aquidneck Island’s neighborhood and community groups to support their preservation of small parks, playgrounds and other natural spaces in order to strengthen their community’s identity and character and to model the ethic of land conservation and stewardship through community volunteerism.

The 2016 Merritt Neighborhood Fund grant recipients include:

–          Aquidneck Community Table for the installation of the Friends Meeting House Community Gardens.

–          Off Broadway Neighborhood Association/City of Newport to support installation of a flag pole.

–          Daffodillian to purchase additional daffodil bulbs to help continue to beautify the City of Newport.

–          Friends of the Waterfront to support additional dinghy plantings.

–          Rogers High School to support the Newport Project.

–          Portsmouth Dog Park to help establish and off-leash dog park.

–          Portsmouth Garden Club for improvement of the Portsmouth Free Library garden and conservation practice.

–          Thompson Middle School for materials for outdoor classroom.

“The Merritt Neighborhood Fund recognizes the work of neighborhood groups and associations to reclaim parcels for community good,” said Chuck Allott, Executive Director, Aquidneck Land Trust. “These eight grant recipients serve as environmental stewardship role models and they are vital to Aquidneck Island’s future. We congratulate them and look forward to seeing their projects grow.”

Established in 1999 by ALT, the Merritt Neighborhood Fund honors the late Peter M. Merritt, the organization’s visionary president emeritus, for his decade of leadership. Peter had a vision to someday execute the mission of the Land Trust on a smaller scale to benefit individual neighborhoods across Aquidneck Island.

Aquidneck Land Trust’s time-sensitive mission is to conserve Aquidneck Island’s open spaces and natural character for the lasting benefit of our community. The organization has conserved 2,552 acres on 76 properties across Aquidneck Island since its founding in 1990. ALT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and the first land trust in Rhode Island to have received national accreditation. For more information, visit

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. Although not the founder or original owner, Belmore has been with What'sUpNewp since its early beginnings in 2012.

Belmore was born in Providence, Rhode Island; grew up and graduated high school in Coventry, Rhode Island; and lived in Newport, Rhode Island for more than ten years. He 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 and his wife, Jen, as well as their two dogs (Aero and June), recently moved to Alexandria, Virginia. Belmore travels back and forth to Newport every couple of weeks to cover events, work on story ideas, to meet with What'sUpNewp's on-the-ground contributors, to visit friends, and to eat as much seafood as possible.

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