Pedal Power invites you to participate in a relaxing ride across town and along the Connecticut River. Just a few minutes from the bustle of our lovely downtown, we’ll be on River Road, pedaling through one of the many green wooded areas of central CT and keeping our eyes out for eagles and osprey. Our speed is the relaxed pace of the slowest rider, and the route is “out and back,” so you can always turn around if you find it too challenging. Children under 16 are welcome with an accompanying adult. Helmets are required. Meet in front of the Pedal Power Bike Shop at 359 Main Street, Middletown.
Another work party to remove water chestnut plants from the Mattabesset River’s Floating Meadows is scheduled for Saturday morning, August 5, at 9 a.m. We have made much progress in removing these invasive aquatic plants through earlier efforts this season, but a couple of patches and some stray or recently emerged plants remain. Canoes and kayakers will gather and launch at the Phil Salafia Canoe and Kayak Launch at 181 Johnson Street in Middletown.
This perhaps final effort for the summer will be led by Alicea Charamut of the Connecticut River Conservancy, formerly known as the Connecticut River Watershed Association. Participants are asked to pre-register with Alicea by email at email@example.com or by calling (860) 704-0057.
Gloves and bags will be provided. Participants, as usual, need to provide their own canoes, kayaks, lifejackets, and water.
This year is the bicentennial of Henry David Thoreau’s birth, and to celebrate, Mattabeseck Audubon Society, the Rockfall Foundation, and the Jonah Center are co-sponsoring a program, “An Evening with Henry David Thoreau”, with Thoreau impersonator Richard Smith, a historian and staff member of the Thoreau Society in Concord, MA. The program is scheduled to be held on Thursday, September 28 at 7:00 pm at the deKoven House in Middletown.
The Jonah Center, along with Ecoin, Project Green Lawn, and other environmental organizations successfully pursued adoption of a City of Middletown ordinance to protect children from toxic lawn chemicals. The Common Council voted 11-1 in favor of the ordinance amendment at its meeting on July 3, 2017. Many Council members also voiced strong support for whatever funds and staff training will be necessary to implement the “non-toxic” field maintenance practices similar to those used by the Town of Branford. Reducing the use of fertilizers and herbicides helps the environment, since these chemicals pollute local streams, rivers, and Long Island Sound.
While the immediate goal of ordinance passage has been achieved, we need to remain vigilant and supportive of full implementation of the new practices. We also need to convince the wider community to avoid using lawn chemicals. The Project Green Lawn Brochure is our best local resource on lawn care without chemicals.
If you wish to stay involved in the campaign against pesticides and other harmful lawn chemicals, please sign the petition below. This will enable us to add your email address to our “lawn chemical action network” so you will receive any action alerts or important news on this topic.
I support the Amendment Regarding Natural Turf Care to Protect Human Health and the Environment, and its specific goal: Protecting children from exposure to toxic pesticides by avoiding use of such chemicals not only on K-8 school grounds (as state law now requires) but on all city-owned recreational fields, regardless of the age of the persons using the fields.
Resolution On Natural Turf Care and Children's HealthRead the petition
|173||Kim Konte Non Toxic Irvine||Irvine|
The aquatic plant known as water chestnut (trapa natans) showed its invasive potential last summer at many points along the Connecticut River and its tributaries. In our own Floating Meadows, the freshwater, tidal marshland formed where the lower Coginchaug and Mattabesset Rivers converge, the presence of these plants was first recorded in 2009. The Jonah Center has been monitoring the area closely since 2013, pulling out a few plants each year through 2015.
The summer of 2016 was different! Water chestnut proliferated as we have never seen before, forming expansive, dense patches at multiple locations. Left unchecked, these plants can choke off sunlight and oxygen, threatening native plants, fish, fish-eating birds and other aquatic species. Some waterways, including local ones, have become impassible by water chestnut infestations.
For the coming season, paddles were held on June 10, June 24, and the third is planned for Saturday, July 8, 9-11 a.m. (The time of the July 8 paddled has been changed to 9 a.m. because wind conditions on the earlier afternoon paddles were a major obstacle to progress. In case of bad weather on July, we will attempt to go out on Sunday, July 9, at 9 a.m.) Canoes and kayaks will start and finish at the launch site at 181 Johnson Street, adjacent to Middletown’s recycling center. For each of these outings, we need many volunteers, including those with access to motorboats. Here’s why.
Choose From 2 Routes, Both Along River Road. 4.5 miles (flat) and 9 miles (a few moderate hills).
On April 29, 2017, Mattabeseck Audubon Society, with the Jonah Center for Earth and Art and the Connecticut Forest and Park Association (CFPA), is pleased to offer a special trip to a variety of significant nearby geological sites. Leading the event will be Dr. Peter M. LeTourneau, author of the recently published book, The Traprock Landscapes of New England: Environment, History, and Culture, and Robert Pagini, whose photographs are featured in this work. The field trip, like the book, tells the story of the hard rock ridges that form the backbone that runs through the center of our state. Topics will include the geology, ecology, and human history of the area, beginning 200 million years ago and concluding with the present crisis to preserve the rocks and protect the unique plants and animals that exist only in the crags and talus of this ancient place.
Participants will meet at CFPA at 16 Meriden Road (Route 66) in Middlefield at 9 a.m. and end @ 2 p.m. Bring lunch. We will carpool to the various stops:
Stop 1: Black Pond state boat launch, Middlefield (Off route 66 near Meriden-Middlefield town boundary). Walking difficulty is moderate, about 1/4 mile on level but irregular and rocky terrain.
Stop 2: Giuffrida Park/Chauncey Peak, Meriden. Participants may split into two groups, one up a steep, challenging trail to the summit (<1/2 mile), one easy to lakeside vista and points of geologic and biologic interest (1/2 mile on level but irregular terrain).
Stop 3: East Peak/Castle Craig in Hubbard Park, West Peak, Hubbard Park (drive to summit). Easy walking, no access issues, some irregular, rocky terrain
There is no fee, but please email Alison Guinness at firstname.lastname@example.org to register so that we have an idea of the number of participants.
The Jonah Center for Earth and Art and The Rockfall Foundation invite the public to learn about plans to increase the number of trees in Middletown and to make streets safer and more inviting for walking and bicycling. The program will take place on Tuesday, April 11, 7- 8:30 p.m. at the deKoven House, 27 Washington Street, in Middletown. Presenters will be Jane Harris, chair of Middletown’s Urban Forestry Commission, and John Hall, co-chair of Middletown’s Complete Streets Committee.
What makes a place nice to live in? Trees and safe places to walk are key to a city’s attractiveness. We like the softening effect of shade trees and the birds that sing in those overhead branches. Neighborhoods become more desirable and businesses thrive when there is plenty of foot traffic, with clean air and low noise levels. Planning departments, educators, and health advocates increasingly recognize the many benefits that follow when shops, schools, and restaurants can be reached on foot. Continue reading
Here are 2 excellent videos produced by Kate Ten Eyck and Joseph Smolinksi, friends of the Jonah Center. These works of environmental art were projected onto the white walls of the pedestrian tunnel under Route 9 during the Riverfront Encounter Festival at Harbor Park, Middletown, in May 2016.
Tides by Kate Ten Eyck — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viwcecoGVO0&sns=em
This animation takes the viewer into the mystery of tides, waves, and the creatures that inhabit the watery underworld.
Downstream, by Joseph Smolinski — https://vimeo.com/167206035
This two channel video follows two local rivers, Sumner Brook and the Coginchaug River, that flow into the Connecticut River. The right side of the video is filmed upstream while the left is filmed downstream. The installation is projected on opposing walls so the viewer can pass through a virtual flow of water. Note the rich soundtrack of river sounds. Throughout the video sculptural compositions appear that were made by collecting debris, 3D scanning the objects and then compositing them into the footage. This project was filmed in the Spring, 2016, through a grant from Wesleyan University Center for Fine Art. The Jonah Center assisted through site selection and by identifying access points.
The Air Line Trail Steering Committee in Portland had a successful year in 2016, bringing the vision to extend the trail from East Hampton into Portland closer to reality. Now that the major funding and permission obstacles have been overcome, we can foresee the day when construction will begin. Here is their 2016 progress report.
- We received a license from Eversource for use of the Air Line Trail property.
- The Town of Portland received a State of CT Grant to fund the Air Line Trail ($686k).
- The Town of Portland purchased the Keegan Property (a significant parcel off Middle Haddam Road, east of the YMCA Camp Ingersoll, and adjacent to the trail) for use as a trail head and additional open space, thereby completing our required match for the state grant.
- Jeff Sanborn & Associates completed a survey for the new trail in November and submitted results to the engineering firm, Nathan L Jacobson & Associates. Kati Mercier of Jacobson and Associates presented a preliminary design to our committee. We provided additional input and expect multiple additional meetings to finalize the design. We anticipate presenting the final design to the Board of Selectmen for review and final approval so that the project can go out to bid for construction.
The third annual “Freezin’ For A Reason” walk will be held (weather permitting) on Saturday, January 14, 2017 starting at 10am from the upper parking lot of the Portland YMCA Camp Ingersoll (follow signage). Adults and children invited (and dogs on leash) to participate. Please arrive 15 minutes early to register. Contact is Lou Pear at (860) 262-2745
Additional information on the Portland Air Line Trail can always be found on our Facebook Page. Committee meetings are usually held the last Wednesday of the month in the Portland Library.