On May 29, at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers, hundreds of citizens showed up to protest the FY2019 budget which did not contain funding for the Environmental Specialist and Arts Coordinator positions. The arts community was represented by numerous adults who were nurtured by the Summer Circus program, including a young woman named Jasmine who entered the Council Chambers on tall “giraffe stilts.” She had to duck to get through the door, and the camera needed to move up to capture her head and face. The testimonies were eloquent and passionate.
In the end, the Council voted 7-3 to sustain the Mayor’s veto of the relevant line items. 8 votes were needed to override the veto. But the struggle is not over. The positions still need to be evaluated, and refilled.
The Jonah Center and members of the environmental community remain concerned about the future of the Department of Planning, Conservation, and Development, which has 2 vacant positions and is struggling to complete urgent, necessary work.
To: Members of the Common Council
I am writing to you with great concern that the Planning & Environmental Specialist position in the Dept. of Planning, Conservation, and Development may not be funded in FY2019. I understand the revenue/expense/general fund balance situation that the City faces, but eliminating the ES position would be a serious additional setback to a PCD Department that has already been damaged and has functioned very poorly over the past few years. More important, given the services and grant receipts that come with the P&ES position, eliminating this position would be financially detrimental in the long run. Continue reading
The Jonah Center’s efforts to protect Snapping Turtles from commercial trapping was successful. The campaign began in 2012 and faced many discouraging moments along the way, but now we rejoice in victory for the ancient and majestic snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina
Our primary turtle advocate, Barrie Robbins-Pianka (who took all of the photos above) deserves major credit for the inspiration and investigative work behind the campaign. State Representative Matt Lesser was our legislative advocate. Wesleyan Professor Barry Chernoff provided scientific testimony. Many of you, Jonah Center advocates, sent emails and made phone calls to members and leaders of the legislature across the state. All of this finally added up to critical mass and so, at last, our state will protect snapping turtles from commercial trade. Governor Malloy has signed the bill into law.
To read one of the most compelling and informative testimonies sent to legislators (from Tim Walsh of the Bruce Museum in Greenwich), click here.
The following testimony by Tim Walsh of the Bruce Museum in Greenwich not only helped our legislative effort to protect snapping turtles, but it serves as a good summary of the science of the issue. Turtles still need protection. This bill only offers protection from commercial trapping. Habitat loss and resulting highway mortality are still threats to the majestic Snapping Turtle.
I am one of a group of citizens who have been urging legislation to protect snapping turtles from commercial trapping since 2012. This year, HB5354, A Bill Concerning Snapping Turtles and Red-Eared Slider Turtles, passed the Environment Committee 19-0, and an amended version of it passed the House of Representatives 141-0.
Please accept this letter as support for a cessation of legal harvest for the common snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina in the State of Connecticut. Turtles are ancient creatures that walked the earth with the dinosaurs and today are important and visible elements in many ecosystems. Many species play key ecological roles, serving as both predators and prey, contributing to the cycling of nutrients, and acting as seed dispersers. Currently, turtles are the 2nd most endangered vertebrate group in the world. Approximately, 53% of the world’s species are threatened with extinction. We are not talking about just an endangered genus or species of animal, but an entire family. The decline of turtle species throughout their range is being fueled by habitat loss and modification, highway-related traffic mortality, and collection for the pet trade and human consumption. Continue reading