SOUTH COUNTY — Now entering its 50th year of service, the Narrow River Preservation Association (NRPA) looks forward to continuing its water monitoring and educational initiatives with the support of the People’s Credit Union.
Though the NRPA has had the support of the People’s Credit Union for several years now, according to Program Coordinator Alison Kates, this year the credit union came on board as the local, non-profit organization’s presenting partner.
“It’s a complete partnership,” Kates said, stressing that credit union will be giving more than just a donation to further the organization’s mission. “They’re also interested in being community partners.”
In December, the People’s Credit Union presented the NRPA with a $5,000 donation to help fund the organization’s water monitoring and education initiatives but also pledged to be engaged in the health of the Narrow River first-hand.
Throughout the year, the NRPA and People’s Credit Union will be presenting events and activities that promote the non-profit’s mission to preserve, protect and restore the natural environment and the quality of life of all communities within the Narrow River Watershed. You’ll see team members from the People’s Credit Union handing out waters along the Narrow River Road Race routes, or collecting trash along the Narrow River during cleanup days, according to Kates.
“People’s Credit Union is extremely proud to partner with the Narrow River Preservation Association in such a meaningful way,” said Marketing Manager Courtney Hunter. “As community and environmental stewards, the Narrow River Preservation Association’s mission and good work are aligned with our core values here at People’s.”
One of those core values is enhancing the communities they serve, be it through employee volunteerism or investing in not-for-profit, charitable organizations or agencies. Throughout Rhode Island, People’s Credit Union supports a number of initiatives and organizations, such as little leagues, animal rescues, schools and food pantries.
The additional funds provided by People’s Credit Union will go a long way in the association’s continued water monitoring efforts, according to Kates.
Since 1992, NRPA’s volunteer river monitors have tested water in Narrow River and its major freshwater inputs from May through October as part of URI Watershed Watch. Monitoring the health of the watershed is the first and perhaps the most important job of any watershed organization, Kates said, and a task its citizen scientists do not take lightly.
The work they’ve done, she said, has helped to inform decisions and lead to better planning. In part, the organization has helped to bring about the improved water quality that’s being seen nearly 30 years since the watering program began.
Members of the community, not just municipalities that have used the information and data to move away from harmful environmental practices, are also more informed about the watershed.
One of the organization’s biggest educational programs, “What Lives In the River?” allows families to have hands-on, interactive experiences along the watershed. Twice a year, community members are welcome to come and use nets and microscopes to see what organisms and species live in and along the waterways.
It’s an event that gets attendees really excited, Kates said, but especially children.
In addition, the NRPA also runs an osprey education program each March for local fourth graders, going to various schools in the area to deliver a one-hour presentation on the bird’s biology and adaptations, and on concepts of ecology in our area in general.