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Friends of Canonchet Farm Endowment Fund
By Jean Cohoon / December 31, 2013 /   Loading Disqus...
In the town of Narragansett lies a unique 175 acre piece of land. Named after the chief sachem of the Narragansett Indians, Canonchet, this land, Canonchet Farm, was part of former Rhode Island Governor William Sprague’s sprawling estate in the 1800s.

Now some 150 years later, the Friends of Canonchet Farm, a volunteer-led organization, came together to preserve and improve Canonchet Farm. Since inception in 2007, they’ve put in a lot of work, including removing asphalt from the base of European beach grove trees, a project that involved more than 60 different volunteers and resulted in the successful removal of nearly 50 tons of asphalt from the area.

Their current project involves the removal of invasive plants and restoring the natural habitat around Lake Canonchet and Little Neck Pond. “We’ve had amazing results,” said Kathie Kelleher, volunteer and secretary of the Friends of Canonchet Farm. “People can’t believe the work volunteers have done without using pesticides,” she added. Since the removal project began, the land has grown back 30 different native species.

It’s work like this that’s earned the Friends of Canonchet Farm Narragansett’s prestigious Knights of the Rockingham Arch (KORA) Award. “The KORA award is typically given to individuals who do a lot for the town and this was the first time an organization had ever received it,” said Kathie.

In addition to their efforts to improve the land, the Friends of Canonchet Farm hold educational and fun guided walks that cover a variety of subjects ranging from historical to cultural to scientific. This year the Friends of Canonchet Farm hosted nearly 200 visitors.

“This farm means a lot to the community now. It’s changed from a place where nobody even knew it existed to a place where people say ‘I can’t believe this beautiful spot is here in Narragansett.’ It’s where you walk on the trail and you always see somebody,” said Kathie.

“It is our hope that through this endowment at the Rhode Island Foundation we can raise enough funds within five years to hire a dedicated part-time person to continue the great work we’ve done so far,” concluded Kathie.
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