Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT) is pleased to announce that Sofia Taylor, a student of Portsmouth High School’s 2016 graduating class, is the recipient of the 2016 Environmental Leadership Award (ELA). Taylor was recognized at the Portsmouth High School awards banquet on May 26, 2016 for her demonstrated leadership and commitment to environmentalism.

“Sofia has been an active member of the Green Club and led an important project, which was to place waste stations in the cafeterias at the high school so that students could easily separate waste products and increase recycling,” said Chuck Allott Executive Director, Aquidneck Land Trust. “She displays all of the leadership qualities we aim to find in an ELA recipient and she is now our summer intern in the Development Department as well.”

ALT is dedicated to inspiring young people to care for the spaces they love. The ELA supports young leaders who inspire the island community around land conservation and environmentalism. Each year, seniors enrolled at Aquidneck Island high schools are eligible for this $1,000 merit award and each school may nominate one student for this award.

For more information, visit or please contact Laura Freedman Pedrick at or call 401.849.2799, x18.

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 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 -

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In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
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