126th Annual Meeting Highlights
The Audubon Society of Rhode Island celebrated 126 years of environmental conservation, education, and advocacy at the annual meeting of the organization held on October 22, 2023, at the Audubon Nature Center and Aquarium in Bristol, RI.
Audubon Announces 2024 Strategic Goals
Executive Director Jeff Hall spoke about the numerous milestones achieved in 2023 and highlighted the organization’s goals for the upcoming year: Accessibility, Biodiversity and Climate Resiliency.
2023 Award Recipients
Cumberland Resident April Alix Receives the Audubon 2023 Educator of the Year Award
April Alix, Conservation Program Coordinator of the Providence Parks Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership, has received the Audubon Society of Rhode Island 2023 Educator of the Year Award. Audubon recognized Alix at the Society’s 126th Annual Meeting held on October 22, 2023, at the Audubon Nature Center and Aquarium in Bristol, RI.
Alix was honored for her work in connecting diverse and underserved communities to nature through outdoor play and exploration. She is a knowledgeable and engaging environmental educator who started her career with Audubon as an AmeriCorps member in 2010. Today, she continues to partner with Audubon through a number of educational outreach initiatives to city communities.
Using her background in creating innovative programs and events in urban spaces, Alix collaborated with Audubon to develop Providence Birding Adventures, a popular program that gets people outside exploring city parks and neighborhoods on a regular basis. Her efforts to create bird-friendly environments and connect communities to nature helped to establish Providence as an Urban Bird Treaty City through the national Migratory Bird Program in 2019.
She also secured funding for Audubon to facilitate summer camps in Providence Parks for six years and continues to find ways for Audubon to connect with children and families who live in city neighborhoods.
Alix has served on the Rhode Island Environmental Education Association Board of Directors for many years. She resides in Cumberland, Rhode Island.
Photo caption: April Alix receives the Audubon Educator of the Year Award from Audubon Senior Director of Education Lauren Parmelee (left) and Audubon Executive Director Jeff Hall (right).
RI Representative June Speakman
Rhode Island Representative June Speakman was honored with the Audubon Society of Rhode Island 2023 Legislative Leadership Award at the Society’s 126th Annual Meeting on October 22, 2023 in Bristol, RI. Audubon recognized Representative Speakman for her dedication to Rhode Island’s environment, action on the climate change crisis, and the protection of birds, wildlife, and the people of Rhode Island.
Representative Speakman (D) was first elected to represent District 68 in Warren and Bristol in March 2019. She is an exceptional legislator who cares about conservation issues and prioritizes them in her policymaking:
- Representative Speakman has been a strong voice in advancing the conservation of forests and siting for renewable energy sources in the age of the climate change crisis. During the 2022-2023 legislative session she succeeded in addressing a critical step in solar siting reform in which legislation was passed to protect core forests and enacted into law this year.
- She is a consistent advocate for environmental protection and climate change resiliency as a member of the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee and chair of the Housing Affordability Commission in the RI House of Representatives
- In 2021 she sponsored The Forest Conservation Act which was enacted into law. This legislation created the Forest Conservation Commission under RI Department of Environmental Management; dedicated to identifying incentives for landowners to maintain their properties as forest.
- Representative Speakman persistently works to advance laws that prevent exposure to cancer-linked polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). She was the sponsor of the 2022 law that requires the Department of Health to set standards for the chemicals in drinking water.
Audubon applauds Representative Speakman for her dedication and support of critical environmental legislation.
Photo Caption: Representative June Speakman (center) receives the Audubon 2023 Legislative Leadership Award from Audubon Executive Director Jeff Hall (left) and Audubon Board President David Caldwell, Jr.(right).
Meet our Newest Board Members
Stephanie Beauté has extensive career experience as a senior program manager in the field of technology. She has degrees from the University of Rhode Island and the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Richard Staples, Jr.
Richard Staples had a 50-year career in bank marketing and mortgage finance before retirement. He currently serves in the elected position of Moderator for the Town of Barrington, RI.
Sarah Sweetman is an Associate Professor at the University of Rhode Island College of Education. She has experience working with STEM expectations for student success in grades preK-12.
The Audubon Society of Rhode Island gratefully acknowledges the terms of service of the following Board Members who are stepping down from the board of directors this year: Terry Meyer and Ivan Colón.
Audubon 2023-2024 Board of Directors
David Caldwell, Jr. (President)
Emily Murphy Prior
David T. Riedel
Richard Staples, Jr.
Carol Lynn Trocki
Image: Terry Meyer (center) receives recognition for three terms served on the Audubon Board of Directors at the 126th Annual Meeting from Audubon Executive Director Jeff Hall (left) and Audubon Board President David Caldwell, Jr.(right).