Jessie Stratton To Speak on Climate Change

Jessie Stratton photoThe Jonah Center for Earth and Art invites the public to a talk by Jessie Stratton, Director of Policy for the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, on the subject of the state’s policies related to climate change. The event will take place on Tuesday, March 29, 7-8:30 p.m. at the deKoven House, 27 Washington Street, in Middletown. Ms. Stratton will discuss our state’s plans related to mitigation, adaptation, and resiliency in the face of already advancing climate change

Jessie Stratton served as a CT State Representative from Avon and Canton from 1989 to 2003 and as the House chair of the Environment Committee from 1993-2003. After six years (2005-2011) as Director of Government Affairs for Environment Northeast, now Acadia Center, the Malloy administration brought her to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to assist the department in its transition to DEEP as it included energy policy among the areas of its jurisdiction.

In presenting the state’s plans related to climate change, Ms. Stratton will touch upon such topics as the state’s energy sources, transportation, increasing storm intensity, threats to streams, rivers and Long Island Sound, adaptation and resiliency research and implementation, strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and public education regarding climate change

Co-sponsors of the event include: Ecoin (Environmental Collective Impact Network); Coginchaug Area Transition; The Rockfall Foundation; Middletown Clean Energy Task Force; Middletown Garden Club; Middlesex Land Trust; and Wesleyan University Physics 105, “The Science of Sustainability”

Should Middletown Ban Fracking Waste?

Fracking wasteLocal residents who oppose fracking (hydraulic fracturing) for natural gas, in cooperation with Food and Water Watch, invite the public to an informational presentation on Thursday, January 28 at 7:00 p.m. in the Hubbard Room at Russell Library.

Three Connecticut towns have recently passed local ordinances banning fracking waste, joining with hundreds of municipalities in New York protected by similar bans. Why are these towns taking action to protect their communities? We’ll examine the details of these local bans, look closely at the chemical toxins and radioactive materials present in fracking wastes and discuss contamination and human health risks. A video featuring NY State legislators commenting on this issue can be found here.

Continue reading

Air Line Trail License Signing Ceremony and Hike

Air Line Trail 1You are invited to a special celebration of the Air Line Trail license agreement between the Town of Portland and Eversource on Wednesday, January 20, at 7:30  p.m. at the Waverly Center, 7 Waverly Avenue in Portland. This license is a critical step toward the extension of the Air Line Trail into Portland, using property owned by Eversource.

To mark this milestone, a special celebratory 4 mile hike on the trail, called “Freezin’ for a Reason,” will follow on Saturday, January 23 at 10 AM, starting from the YMCA Camp Ingersoll parking area. Continue reading

Sunset Paddle — Glorious Water and Wildlife

Photo by Janice Anderson

Photo by Janice Anderson

The sunset paddle on August 22 was magical.  38 kayakers and canoeists saw the brilliant green wild rice in splendid late afternoon light. A bald eagle gave a star performance in flight and posed in a dead tree for spectator viewing, while loud cries from the nearby nest announced a young eaglet’s hunger. There was a brave great egret feeding on the shore who didn’t budge in spite of all the paddlers.  6 more great herons perched in a low tree farther away.  A great blue heron viewed all the activity from the osprey platform, while the osprey itself circled and swooped in the area.  We even saw 2 domestic goats grazing along the Mattabesset River upstream.  On the way back, as the light faded, hundreds of small, young fish broke the water surface everywhere to feed, adding a final, magical touch to the evening.  It just doesn’t get any better!

Common Council Considers Two Bond Referenda

Middltown logoOn Aug. 24, at 7 p.m., Middletown’s Common Council will consider 2 bond referenda likely to appear on the November ballot: One bond is for additional funding for the Mattabessett Sewage Treatment project. The other is to make long overdue improvements to City parks and athletic facilities.

The proposed Parks Bond would fund improvements including sidewalks, bikeways, and crosswalks at parks and schools recommended by the Complete Streets Committee. Possible projects include engineering costs for a multi-use trail connecting the Mattabessett Bike Trail terminus at Tuttle Place (Westlake Area) and Veteran’s Park; bike-ped improvements along River Road between Harbor Park and Silver Street; and bike route signage and street markings to make Middletown more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly. Complete Streets improvements are aimed at the following goals: safer and more frequent walking and bicycling; achieving the clear health benefits of these activities; reducing traffic congestion and air pollution; and better quality of life.

A controversial proposal included in the Parks Bond is the replacement of 9 natural grass athletic fields with synthetic turf fields. Synthetic turf is opposed by many members of Ecoin (Environmental Collective Impact Network) who favor natural turf maintained by organic methods, like those successfully used in Branford and other communities. The chemicals contained in synthetic turf, the heat generated on their surfaces, damage to the underlying soil and groundwater, and the required maintenance of these fields raise serious concerns. For more information on the health, environmental, and financial risks of synthetic turf, visit Ecoin’s post on this topic here.

As of Aug. 12, 2015, the Jonah Center Board of Directors has not taken a position on any of these questions, although the Complete Streets Committee, chaired by John Hall and Beth Emery, is clearly in favor of improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists included in the Parks bond.

Sunset Paddle in the Floating Meadows — Aug. 22, 5 p.m.

Header 2015-07The Jonah Center invites kayakers and canoeists to paddle the Floating Meadows on Saturday, August 22, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., ending at sunset. We will follow the Mattabesset River upstream, assisted by an incoming tide, and view the 1000 acre marshland’s bright green wild rice grass in late afternoon light at the most spectacular time of year. Redwing blackbirds and swallows will likely be very active, with a half-moon high in the sky.

The outing will start and finish at the new Phil Salafia Canoe and Kayak Launch at 181 Johnson Street in Middletown’s North End (next to the recycling center). Paddlers need to provide their own boats, lifejackets, water and snacks (if desired). Pre-registration is not required, but participants will be asked to sign a liability waiver and photo use permission slip. The Jonah Center requests a donation of $10 for each participant.

For more information, contact John Hall at 860-398-3771.

July 11 River Paddle Cancelled

2011 June paddle bannerThe Jonah Center’s River Paddle on Saturday, July 11, has unfortunately been cancelled.  In the meantime, we encourage you to use the new canoe and kayak launch at 181 Johnson Street, in Middletown. (See the post below for more details.)  If you wish to be on the Jonah News Email list to learn about future paddles and other events, you may sign up using the form on the left side of this page.

Sorry about this change of plans.  We’ll announce another paddle as soon as we are able to make plans.

 

Canoe & Kayak Launch Ribbon Cutting — Fri. June 5, 3 p.m.

Kayak Launch Markup 2013-06-18The Jonah Center’s earliest and longest-lasting project has born fruit. After 9 years of planning, proposal writing, grant writing, negotiations with City officials, set-backs, objections, more site-seeking, and much waiting, the Phil Salafia Canoe and Kayak Launch on the Coginchaug River is now open for use.
The official ribbon-cutting by the Mayor will take place on Friday, June 5, at 3 p.m., to coincide with the end of the Macdonough School Canoe Trip led by the Jonah Center and our volunteers. Continue reading

Riverfront Encounter — Sat. May 9, noon to 5 p.m.

Riverfront Encounter imageWesleyan’s Center for the Arts and College of the Environment, in collaboration with the Jonah Center and many other organizations, invite the wider community to this eco-arts event in Harbor Park, Middletown, on May 9.

Music, exhibits, food, activities for children, boat rides, rowing instruction, environmental action tent, and more.

For a full list of activities, click here.