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News Release

RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

For Release:

June 2, 2000

Media Contact:

Gail Mastrati 222-4700 ext. 2402
Stephanie Powell 222-4700 ext. 4418


PROVIDENCE - Governor Lincoln Almond today announced the formation of a Senior Environmental Corps that will address environmental issues throughout the state including litter pickup, adopt-a-spot programs, soil sampling, educational presentations, and water quality monitoring.

"Our goal is to have hundreds of seniors participating in beautification projects across our state," said Almond. "The work starts right here and right now as the members of our Senior Environmental Corps will be planting flowers and shrubs. Without question, this program will benefit our elders and it will enable us to further our efforts to better protect our environment."

The announcement was made at a press conference in Cranston where the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Department of Elderly Affairs (DEA) signed an agreement to work together with the aging network to recruit senior volunteers to help with a number of environmental protection and beautification projects. The agreement also establishes an advisory council to oversee development of the corps.

DEM Director Jan Reitsma said, "Taking care of our natural resources is an enormous task in which we all bear some responsibility. As we move toward more effective environmental protection by organizing our efforts around local watersheds, we need to rely more on partnerships with local groups and organizations. The senior network has the potential to tackle projects that will make our communities healthier, clean and greener."

Said Barbara Rayner, director, Department of Elderly Affairs, "We are excited to join DEM in this partnership to preserve Rhode Island's natural resources. Seniors have a long history and tradition of service to the community that reflects their desire to leave a better world for the generations that are to follow. The Senior Environmental Corps is another example of this desire and determination."

At today's kickoff event, senior volunteers from the Salvatore Mancini Senior Center, the Capital Region Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, the Cranston RSVP, and West Bay RSVP were on hand in bright yellow tee-shirts donated by the RI Recycling Coalition to do planting and beautification work at the Meshanticut Valley Parkway site. Also joining the Governor was Cranston Mayor John O'Leary.

The 14-member advisory council membership includes representatives from DEM and the Department of Elderly Affairs, the aging network, and the environmental community.

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