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Senator Sheldon Whitehouse speaking at the event at Providence Place Mall. Behind the Senator are (L to R): Phoukham Vongkhamdy, Ira Leighton, and Alicia Lehrer. Two of the panels are visible in the background.

Alicia Lehrer (left) speaking to the assembled guests at Providence Place Mall.

A Celebration of the Educational Panels at Providence Place Mall:

Display panels about the Woonasquatucket River, installed along the windows overlooking the river at Providence Place Mall, were celebrated in a ceremony on March 16, 2009. More than fifty Woonasquatucket supporters attended the event and we were honored with remarks from the following speakers:

  • U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
  • Ira Leighton, acting regional administrator for the EPA
  • Phoukham Vongkhamdy, State Conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Ames Colt, chairman of the Rhode Island Bays, Rivers and Watersheds Coordination Team
  • Kevin Cleary, Smithfield Town Engineer

The panels were funded by grants from the Rhode Island Rivers Council and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and designed by Jason Tranchida of Llama Product The project was undertaken with the strong support and encouragement of Craig Gorris, Senior General Manager of General Growth Properties, the owners of Providence Place. For more about the display panels see the Providence Place Mall Display Panels page.

Following are some selected quotes by the speakers at the event:

  • "I've loved the Woonasquatucket for a long time, so anything I can do to help, count me in..."
    • Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
  • "Local, State and Federal partners have realized that significant migratory fisheries habitat restoration can occur as a part of urban revitalization efforts. The projects that have been the focus of urban revitalization efforts in Olneyville have provided NRCS the opportunity to implement riparian restoration/and fish passage restoration in concert with urban redevelopment to benefit the poorest and most disadvantaged neighborhoods in our region."
  • "One reason I think so highly of this watershed council is that it acts on an ethical principle of fundamental importance. The principle that the children and families who live off of Eagle Square and Manton Avenue deserve to enjoy a clean river blessed with abundant aquatic life just as much as the children and families who live around the headwaters of the Woonasquatucket in North Smithfield."
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