I have bittersweet news to deliver. On December 21, 2012, I will end my service to the Aquidneck Land Trust as its Executive Director.
All of the success enjoyed by ALT these past years, especially during the recession, has naturally attracted the attention of others. I have consistently turned down employment opportunities presented by others these last few years as my family and I very much love the community here, ALT and Aquidneck Island itself. However, I was recently presented a unique employment offer that was right for my family and I: becoming the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust's Executive Director in January.
There are a few primary reasons why this is good for my family and I. It is a great opportunity for me to grow professionally, protect the magnificent Hawaiian landscapes, and do good for people and our environment on an even larger scale. This is also an opportunity for my family and I to grow individually and together while on the adventure of a lifetime. Further, Hawaii has a major Asian influence and allows one to still live in the United States while being geographically almost in between Thailand and mainland USA. That fits my family which is a great mix of Thai and American.
My sadness about leaving ALT, our community and Aquidneck Island itself is assuaged by the fact that I know during my time here (ALT Land Protection Director from August 2000 to February 2005, and ALT Executive Director from February 2005 to Present) I have worked very hard and have successfully delivered lasting good to this wonderful community and place. For example, with the terrific people here, I have been able to do the following:
· *Lead and manage what has become one of Rhode Island's leading non-profits and the first nationally accredited land trust amongst the over 40 land trusts in Rhode Island;
· *Fundraise as ALT's chief fundraiser, which has included raising millions and millions of dollars for land acquisition projects (since its founding in 1990, ALT has completed fundraising for 8 multi-million dollar acquisition projects, with 6 of those 8 projects since 2005), completing ALT's overall $20 million Campaign for Living Land in 2008, and helping grow ALT's Marcella Clark McCormack Stewardship Endowment Fund from about $10,000 in 2000, when I pushed to have this fund created, to over $3.5 million today;
· *Serve as ALT's chief negotiator on land conservation transactions by creating, overseeing and completing strategic land acquisition projects which includes taking care of legal complexities and other sensitive issues such as landowner relations (have taken ALT's land holdings from about 500 acres on 12 properties when initially hired in 2000 to over 2,415 acres on 67 properties to date);
· *Lead ALT through negotiations and fundraising to complete its 2 public nature trails: the Sakonnet Greenway Trail, Aquidneck Island's largest public nature trail; and the Oakland Forest and Meadow Preserve Trail; and
· *Educate and connect our community to the environment through our Conservation Speaker Series, Land Matters Walk & Talk Series, protected parks and trails, Conservation Collaboration Agreements with local schools and other initiatives that I helped champion.
It has truly been an honor working alongside of you, and this outstanding community, to protect, and better connect people to, Aquidneck Island's natural resources and landscapes which sustain us. I cannot thank you enough for your friendship and support over the years. Just as I have worked very hard for ALT for over 12 years because of my love for this place and its people, so will I work over the next month to help assure the best transition possible. Thereafter, you will have a friend to visit in Hawaii. Mahalo!!!
Edward Sortwell Clement, Jr., Executive Director