“The next generation of conservationists”

By Helena Touhey

The Aquidneck Land Trust announces winners of annual youth art & writing contest

The Aquidneck Land Trust has announced 24 student winners in the 2023 Aquidneck Land Trust Art & Writing Contest, held annually to promote the importance and value of the conservation of open spaces. Students at Aquidneck Island schools and those who reside on Island were invited to enter artwork or written work depicting their favorite local vista. The winners were honored in a ceremony at the Land Trust’s Annual Meeting on February 1, 2024.

Art entries were judged by a panel that included Jonathan Gewirz, owner of design/build firm Sixteen on Center and current Board Chair; Seamus Hames, Manager of Museum Education at the Newport Art Museum; and Susan Woythaler, musician and board chair of the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County. Written entries were judged by Terry Sullivan, Executive Director of Aquidneck Land Trust; Beezie Bickford, Associate Head for Faculty and School Affairs at St. George’s School; and Helena Touhey, Managing Editor of Newport Life Magazine and former Land Trust intern. The contest was underwritten by a grant from Sixteen on Center.

Art winners in the kindergarten through grade four category are: Gwendolyn Montalvo, first place (Melville Elementary School); Wilamina Johnston, second place (The Pennfield School); Margaret Scholhamer, third place (The Pennfield School); and Timothy Norris, honorable mention (Melville Elementary School).

Art winners in the grade five through grade eight category are: Elijah Cote, first place (The Pennfield School); Kiyomi Francis, second place (St. Philomena School of the Sacred Heart); Benjamin Adams, third place (Portsmouth Middle School); Lucille Walker, honorable mention (The Pennfield School); and Anneliese Halvorsen, honorable mention (The Pennfield School).

Art winners in the grade nine through grade twelve category are: Winston Yeung, first place (St. George’s School); Sydney Rinfret, second place (Portsmouth High School); and Gabriella Humes, third place (Portsmouth High School).

Writing winners in the kindergarten through grade four category are: Sarah Adal, first place, “Second Beach,” posted below (All Saints STEAM Academy); Joseph Fricchione, second place (All Saints STEAM Academy); Grace McNabb, third place (St. Philomena School of the Sacred Heart); and Alexander Lavery, honorable mention (All Saints STEAM Academy).

Writing winners in the grade five through eight category are: Caroline Whitlock, first place, “Changing Tides,” posted below; Callie Patten-Harding, second place; Juni Wolfskehl, third place; and Brady MacFarland, honorable mention (all of St. Michael’s Country Day School).

Writing winners in the grade nine through grade twelve category are: Rei Gaulin, first place, “Miantonomi Memorial Park,” posted below (Middletown High School); Maggie Lauder, second place (Portsmouth High School); Loganne McKenna, third place (Middletown High School); and Leo Ailes, honorable mention (Middletown High School).

Winners received cash prizes and a household membership to ALT. The schools of each first-place winner will receive a generous grant to support their environmental science curricula. The Land Trust thanks Sixteen on Center for underwriting the contest, which encourages local students to recognize and treasure the beauty of Aquidneck Island.

ALT is the oldest accredited land trust in Rhode Island. Since 1990, it has conserved 99 properties covering 2,815.90 acres of land on Aquidneck Island, or over 11.5% of the Island’s total acreage.

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