Who We Are

Below are the currently-active volunteer members of the Friends of Salter Grove, listed alphabetically.

Peter Becker (coordinator) — Peter has a doctorate in Biological Sciences from the University of Michigan. He lived overseas in Latin America and Southeast Asia for two decades, and worked as a researcher in tropical forest ecology and a university professor. On returning to the States, he promoted sustainable forestry in Missouri as research coordinator for the Eastern Ozarks Forestry Council and a consultant for forest carbon projects. Since moving to Rhode Island in 2012, he teaches English to adult immigrants, assists at a free clinic, and promotes live jazz performed by local musicians.

Peter applies his analytical and organizational skills as coordinator of FoSG. His top priority is to make the causeway safe for the many fishermen and nature lovers who enjoy the breakwater. In this effort, he is personally grateful to Rep. Joseph McNamara, who shares his desire to promote family outdoor recreation. Looking further down the road, he can’t wait to see the Grove rehabilitated so that it once again becomes a beloved neighborhood feature.

Trent Batson (Preservation Network) — Trent is a retired university professor and administrator.  During his long academic career, he received a number of grants focused on using technology for learning in higher education. His last academic appointment was at MIT, where he worked in the Office of Educational Innovation and Technology, helping faculty use technology in their teaching. After MIT, he founded a non-profit association working in global higher education with 110 college and university members in four countries.

When Trent was still in college, he worked during one summer for a timber company in Oregon as a lumberjack. He learned many of the skills he later used to build cabins on the Allegheny Plateau and to manage a small forest. He has hiked, camped, cross-country skied and kayaked for much of his life. He served as one of the leaders of the Sierra Club in the DC area for two years.

He therefore has experience working with fund-raising, managing projects for social good, and doing outdoor work.

Matt Dickinson (landscape architect) — Matt is a landscape designer with diverse experience in residential design—build, planning and horticulture. He holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design and is a RI Certified Horticulturist and CRMC Invasive Plant Manager. As a resident of Warwick and parent, Matt feels Salter Grove is on the cusp of providing valuable opportunities for recreation, relaxation and learning. He hopes by raising awareness and supporting the park’s potential, it will be a significant resource for the community.

Richard Furia (accountant) — Upon graduating from high school, Richard joined the US Army and served two years active duty. When he was discharged he entered the University of Rhode Island and majored in accounting, graduating in 1965. He started his public accounting career where he received extensive experience servicing many different companies working for large public accounting firms in RI. In 1977 he successfully passed the rigorous CPA examination. In that same year he opened his own firm to provide a more personalized service to clients.

Richard has been in public practice for over forty years. During that time he has developed extensive experience servicing clients in various industries, manufacture, service, legal, and non-profit. Richard lives in Warwick with his partner Dale Shea. He has three children and five grandchildren.

Louise Jakobson (fundraising and advancement) — Louise is a long-time Rhode Island resident born in the UK, and has been Director of Advancement at The French American School in Providence (offering a dual language preschool to G8 program open to all language backgrounds) for eight years. She is responsible for fundraising at the school, including grant-writing and events.

One of the highlights for Louise of living in Rhode Island is being near the water. Volunteering to help raise money for FoSG gives her the opportunity to improve the Gaspee neighborhood and to work to make Salter Grove a real local gem.

Michael Jarvis (fundraising) — Michael is an Assistant Vice President with Business Banking at Citizens Financial Group.  He is a lifelong resident of the Gaspee/ Pawtuxet area having grown up in Edgewood, not far from the Pawtuxet Village,  and has since settled with his family on “the other side of the bridge” in Warwick.  Michael recalls as a kid riding down to Salter Grove on his bike and spending summer days either fishing or just lazing on the wall with friends and is saddened at the deterioration of the park as the years have passed.

Michael came to be associated with FoSG while working on a similar project to revive the long-neglected Bishop Playground in the Lakewood section of Warwick.  When he learned of the plan to rehabilitate the Salter Grove he was immediately drawn to this group of like-minded individuals who were eager to improve a wonderful public resource of which he had fond memories.

As the father of two very active young children, Michael appreciates the value of our parks and open spaces and he believes strongly in working to preserve these irreplaceable assets so they may continue to be a source of enjoyment for the community.

Jason Major (communication and design) — Jason is a freelance graphic designer who lives and works in Warwick near Salter Grove. A hobbyist nature and bird photographer, Jason enjoys visiting local parks like Salter Grove to photograph both native and migratory bird species throughout the year. He would love to see this special place along the upper Bay receive the care and consideration by the local community that it deserves.

A graduate of Rhode Island College with a Fine Arts degree, Jason likes to communicate his enthusiasm with the public and has set up this blog as well as the FoSG Facebook and Twitter pages to share news. You can also see some of Jason’s photography here.

Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (popular advocate) — Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D) represents District 19 in Warwick and Cranston. First elected in November 1994, Joe is the chairman of the Health, Education and Welfare Committee, and has received
numerous awards for his health advocacy. Joe is a retired educator with a
M.Ed. from Providence College. He has numerous affiliations with service, cultural,
scouting, and environmental groups.

Joe has been a resourceful advocate for repair of the Salter Grove causeway, and he has politically facilitated FoSG’s other efforts. As a Gaspee resident, Joe wants Salter Grove to be a great and safe place for family outings.

Alfred Nazareth III (construction project leader) — Alfred is an engineer who earned his B.S.C.E. from Northeastern University in 1982. Besides a strong mechanical inclination and orientation to detail, he has extensive experience in heavy and highway construction. This includes earth work management, structural excavation, utility modifications and installations, dewatering, bridge construction, concrete pour management, and related personnel and financial management.

A father of three and grandfather of two, Alfred has a singular view of Salter Grove. Having enjoyed a lifetime of recreational boating, sailing, and navigation, he was also a “Master” Captain of the U.S. Coast Guard and attended flight school. Thus attuned to outdoor recreation, Alfred hopes to encourage others to enjoy this simple pleasure by improving the amenities at Salter Grove.

Marina Wong (education outreach) — Marina worked as a tropical biologist in Southeast Asia and Central and South America for over 20 years. She received her doctorate from the University of Michigan for research on Malaysian rainforest birds. While Curator of Natural History at the Brunei National Museum, she supervised the development of a national park, and worked extensively with indigenous groups. After returning to the states, her interest in languages led to the radically different second career of teaching Spanish to high school students. Now she tutors GED students in English and math at an adult learning center and is a Spanish interpreter at a free clinic.

Marina is amazed that a place like Salter Grove exists just a short walk from where she lives. She sees its great potential for environmental education and wants to develop activities that illustrate the scientific topics covered in local classrooms. She also hopes to work with area scouts to enhance and maintain the existing trail system.  

Want to join the FoSG team? Click here to find out how.