Eastern Rhode Island Conservation District announced today that Desautel Law will match donations up to $2,500 for its “Send AgInnovation to Washington” campaign. A group of Portsmouth students has been awarded a prestigious national award for their Portsmouth AgInnovation Farm program; they are raising funds to accept the award at the Environmental Protection Agency’s award ceremony on August 4, 2022 in Washington D.C.

The students are much closer to reaching their goal with the help of local law firm, Desautel Law. Desautel Law specializes in environmental law, energy and utility law, and land use law matters. Its owner, Marisa Desautel, has always been passionate about the environment. She said, “I knew since I was around ten that I wanted to find a career where I can have a positive impact on the environment.” Desautel grew up in Foster, Rhode Island and participated in Envirothon, a national environmental education program.

The AgInnovation Farm program piqued Desautel’s interest because the agricultural education component reminded her of her Envirothon days. She said, “It’s so important for kids to understand the relationship we each have with the environment. Our day-to-day actions have an impact and we all need to be conscious about living with the earth, not just taking resources from it. Every student should have the opportunity to learn about the environment in this way and the AgInnovation Farm program is giving local kids that opportunity.” Desautel lives in Portsmouth and practices law in Newport.

Sara Churgin, ERICD District Manager, said, “We are so appreciative of Desautel Law’s support. This is a huge opportunity for these students to represent not only the farm, but the entire community on a national stage. Marisa herself is a wonderful role model for our students to aspire to become.”

The award the students are receiving is The President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA), an award which recognizes outstanding environmental stewardship projects developed by K-12 youth. The students need to raise funds to cover transportation and lodging costs to travel to Washington. ERICD is the fiscal agent for the Portsmouth AgInnovation Farm. Any proceeds raised above the travel funding need will support the farm’s program fund. 

The students will also hold a bake sale and meet and greet at Greenvale Vineyards on July 14 from 6-8PM. Everyone is invited to come meet the awardees and hear about the project.

Contributions can be made at www.easternriconservation.org/award. For questions or more information please contact Sara Churgin at schurgin.ericd@gmail.com or 401-934-0842.

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 - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

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 ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.