As of today (late June 2021) the Jonah Center has been successful in planting 17 trees in “high public benefit” areas in Portland. 8 trees were planted in the Quarry Heights and Chatham Court neighborhoods of the Portland Housing Authority (see above); 3 trees were planted in the Quarry View Brownstone Park; 3 trees were planted on East Main; 2 trees were planted on Main Street; and 1 was planted on Waverly Avenue. We thank all the Portland donors to the Jonah Center Tree Fund who made these new trees possible. Pictured above are: Milca Santiago; Bonita Brockers and her son Cartier Brockers; Jesslyn Jordan her daughter Savannah LaFountain and son Travis LaFountain.
Shown above is one of the red maples planted at Quarry View Park. Pictured are Darlene Rice (co-owner of the park) and John Hall. Photo credit: Dean Soucy, the other co-owner and park developer.
The Quarry View Park assumed 1/2 of the cost by delivering and planting the trees themselves, and Portland Housing Authority paid 3/5 of the cost of the ornamental trees they received. Most of the 17 trees were larger-growing shade trees such as red maple, oak, London plane, and linden.
Below are the 2 red maples and 1 pin oak on East Main Street near Fairview.
The Jonah Center’s most far-reaching project is to connect the 2 longest multi-use trails in Connecticut. Of the 23 miles between the western terminus of the Air Line Trail in Portland and the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail in Cheshire, approximately 8.5 miles already exists in the form of shorter trail segments along the way. Another 8.6 miles has been planned or is in the process of being planned. That leaves about 5.5 miles in need of a routing study. The project has was recognized in state law in 2019 as the Air Line Trail – Farmington Canal Trail (ALT-FCT) Connector.
The Jonah Center is working with the Lower CT River Valley Council of Governments (the RiverCOG) to apply for a grant of $350,000 to study the whole connector route, with particular focus on the 5.5 miles between Smith Street in Middletown and North Broad Street in Meriden, and Newfield Street in Middletown.
The ALT-FCT Connector would use off-road trails for about 13 miles, and about 9.5 miles of on-road bike routes. Completion of the ALT-FCT Connector would result in completion of a 111-mile Central Connecticut Loop Trail (shown below). Click here for a Google Map of the Loop Trail that allows you to zoom in for more detail.
Paddlers will continue to go out into the Floating Meadows (the freshwater tidal marshland formed by the Mattabesset and Coginchaug Rivers) each Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., to remove invasive water chestnut plants. This invasive species endangers our local waterways by blocking sunlight and oxygen, thereby damaging the habitat for fish and other aquatic life.
Another invasive aquatic plant, hydrilla, has become a major threat to local waterways. Managing hydrilla is trickier because it spreads by fragmentation. How the spread of hydrilla will affect our efforts to control water chestnut has not been determined, but we will keep our paddlers informed. Hydrilla is now tangled up with water chestnut, so both plants are removed simultaneously, resulting in a higher volume of plant material to be transported out of the watershed.
The starting point is the canoe and kayak launch adjacent to Middletown’s recycling and transfer station. Here is a link to the location. For information on possible last minute cancellation, check back on this post or call 860-398-3771.
On Arbor Day, April 30, Middletown’s Urban Forestry Commission recognized the contributions of John Hall and the Jonah Center for successful initiatives to fund tree-planting by the Urban Forestry Commission and Public Works Department. A London plane tree will be planted on Main Street in Middletown in honor of John’s service to the community.
The Urban Forestry Commission also honored with new tree plantings: Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz; State Senator Matt Lesser; former State Representative Joseph Serra; State Representative Quentin Phipps; State Representative Brandon Chafee; and Girl Scouts of America Troop 62838 led by Jennifer Tortora, who raised money to plant a tree in the arboretum on Long Lane. Continue reading →
This May, celebrate Screen-Free Saturdays! The Middletown Department of Recreation has coordinated with organizations in Middletown to provide many fun outdoor activities including:
5/22: A fox walking meditation exercise and skill training at McCutcheon Park (9:30am) 5/22: Followed by Bingo at McCutcheon Park (10am) 5/29: 10am: A multi-generational book discussion of The Hidden Life of Trees (and two younger reader versions) at McCutcheon Park hosted by Russell Library and Everyone Outside 5/29: Followed by a Tree Walk hosted by Everyone Outside
As time runs out for action on a collection of environmental ailments, measures not yet taken must be scaled to the ever-increasing demands of the situation. But we have to keep our eyes open and not fall prey to convenient but ineffectual “solutions” offered from all sides.
Forewarned may be forearmed, but what are we arming ourselves for? The impacts multiply, and yet life goes on more or less as usual for most of us, at least for now. What else can we do? I have a few suggestions…. Brian Stewart
Join cinder + salt and the City of Middletown in beautifying our neighborhood for a feel good way to celebrate Earth Day. We’ll be meeting at the cinder + salt flagship store at 195 Main Street, Sat, April 17, 2021, 10:00AM – 12:00PM EDT.
Join The Rockfall Foundation, City of Middletown, Wesleyan Sustainability Office, and RiverCOG for a series of conversations about waste, environmental justice, and the role we all play in the future of sustainability. Link below for more details and to register.