2009-01-08 / Front Page

Save The Bay appoints new executive director

By Eileen M. Daly

Jonathan Stone is the new executive director of Save the Bay. Jonathan Stone is the new executive director of Save the Bay. Jonathan Stone, a long time Save The Bay member, has been named executive director of the organization, replacing Curt Spalding, who stepped down earlier this year in a planned departure.

Stone is a resident of Providence and has been a member of Save The Bay for the past 19 years. A graduate of Brown University, Stone holds an MBA from Harvard University. Prior to accepting the position as executive director of Save The Bay, Stone was managing director and co-founder of Lee Munder Capital Group.

Stone said that he first became involved with the Save The Bay organization while attending college. "I lived in Rhode Island as a student in the 1970s and became a member of the Save The Bay. As a volunteer and swim participant, I was certainly aware of Save The Bay's many accomplishments," Stone said.

In 1989, Stone said, he returned to live in Rhode Island with his family and again became involved with the organization as a volunteer. Stone noted that he and his family share a passion for the outdoors and that both of his children share his concern for the environment. "My son is a student at a boarding school in Massachusetts. He completed a biology project on salt marsh restoration through Save The Bay," Stone said.

In describing his leadership style, Stone said, "I'm very much a consensus builder. I think this is particularly relevant given the nature of the environmental problems facing the bay." Stone described the problems facing the bay as "very complex," with "many dif- ferent parties involved."

"The ecology of the bay is multi-faceted," Stone said. "The major problem is nutrient overload caused by excessive amounts of nitrogen. Clearly, the source of the excess nitrogen needs to be eliminated, but it is a very complicated issue." There are a number of different sources involved in the excess amounts of nitrogen, Stone said. These include: antiquated septic systems, land use practices and personal behaviors.

"People don't always know how their behavior affects the environment," Stone said, emphasizing the importance of education. He pointed to the recent movement toward organic and locally grown food sources as an example of how effective education can be. "The recent trend toward buying more locally grown and organic foods has had a tremendous impact on agriculture in Rhode Island and in the nation," Stone said. Personal behavior can and does have a major impact, he said.

Stone said his immediate goal for Save The Bay is to expand awareness and program participation throughout the region. He will focus on growing membership and expanding the organization. "There are many different ways that people can get involved with Save The Bay," Stone said, "anything from time contributions to advocacy (writing letters to state representatives and congressmen for instance) to participating in the swim."

Stone said Save The Bay has enjoyed tremendous support from local politicians and emphasized the importance of such support. Stone also placed significant emphasis on the importance of community support. "The clout of the organization is really rooted in the community we serve," he said.

Anyone who is interested in supporting Save The Bay should visit the website, Stone said. "There are lots of opportunities to support Save The Bay. If you visit the website, you'll find a list of various ways to become involved. Or just write us a letter and tell us what you're interested in doing," Stone said.

Stone said that he is looking forward to getting to know more people who are supportive of the organization both here in Jamestown and throughout the state. "It is not lost on me that the people who live on the coast often have livelihoods that depend on the quality of this tremendous resource," Stone said.

If you are interested in learning more about Save The Bay or in volunteering or supporting the organization, visit the website at www.savebay.org.

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