In 2003, Wendy Taylor Humphrey’s house caught fire, killing her two dogs, six cats, and pet goat. Devastated, she searched for a way to overcome her loss by helping other animals. She trained as a wildlife rehabilitator and founded West Place Animal Sanctuary four years later to help provide shelter and recuperation for abandoned and injured farm animals and wildlife. Today, the sanctuary serves as a home for a variety of animals ranging from domestic ducklings and rabbits to wild turkeys and sheep. Sanctuary volunteers and part-time staff members receive abandoned and injured animals, nurse them back to health, feed them, and provide them with space to roam.
At any of Great Place to Learn's five locations, students can attend private or group sessions that focus on test preparation, adult literacy, or special education, among other topics. Students study with teachers who boast extensive educational backgrounds and glowing reviews.
The Aquidneck Land Trust began in 1990, when a group of local residents gathered together to dedicate itself to saving the natural character, economic value, and environmental health of Aquidneck Island. Since then, the organization has conserved more than 2,300 acres on 66 properties. Along with ongoing projects for Merritt Fund recipients, Aquidneck Land Trust’s current priorities include completion of the Sakonnet Greenway Trail and conservation of 70-plus acres on Saint Mary’s Church land. By working with landowners, foundations, government agencies, and communities, the organization aims to protect and conserve roughly 4,000 acres of open spaces.
Norman Bird Sanctuary spans more than 300 acres and seven miles of hiking trails where binoculared bird lovers can spy on local and migratory birds. Hikers can explore the woods or climb Hanging Rock to feast on views of the ocean. In addition, the Sanctuary organizes public programs such as hands-on educational events for children and evening lectures for adults.
At Newport Equestrian, the mother-daughter team of Suzanne Hourihan and Kamala Duffy handle all instruction duties, helping beginners and experienced riders alike to improve their skills. The instructors root their approach in the principles of sound equitation—a focus that Suzanne inherited while training under Irish Olympic rider Nole McGee as a child. Kamala, a USEF hunter/jumper competitor, carries on her mother's passion as she coaches riders of all stripes, from casual pleasure and trail riders to show jumpers intent on winning a gold medal before some cool new Flash game makes the Olympics obsolete. During private and semi-private lessons on flatwork courses, Kamala teases out riders' potential while treating them with respect and encouraging them to overcome the improvement plateaus they'll inevitably reach.