Paddle With A Purpose — Water Chestnut Removal

On two Saturdays, June 5 and June 19,  from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., paddlers will return to the Floating Meadows to remove emerging water chestnut plants. This invasive species endangers our local freshwater marshland. Since plants are still small at this early stage in the season, removing them as soon as they emerge saves much labor later in the summer.

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.

The Jonah Center is grateful to our partner, the Connecticut River Conservancy for staffing this work party and covering the event with their insurance policy. All participants will need to sign CRC’s liability waivers and paddle at their own risk.  The starting point is the canoe and kayak launch at 181 Johnson Street in Middletown. For information on possible last minute cancellation, check back on this post or call 860-398-3771.

 

John Hall, Elected Officials, and Girl Scouts Honored On Arbor Day

John Hall, Founder and Executive Director of the Jonah Center speaking at the Arbor Day Ceremony in Middletown on April 30.

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

Screen-Free Saturdays: Outdoors in Middletown

This May, celebrate Screen-Free Saturdays! The Middletown Department of Recreation has coordinated with organizations in Middletown to provide many fun outdoor activities including:

5/1: An invasives cleanup at Wadsworth (big) Falls hosted by the Rockfall Foundation
5/8: A nature hike at Guida’s Conservation Area organized by Beth Lapin
5/15: A fox walking meditation exercise and skill training at McCutcheon Park
5/15: Followed by Bingo at McCutcheon Park
5/22: Story Time by Russell Library at Harbor Park
5/22: Followed by a river clean-up hosted by Cinder + Salt
5/29: 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

For the full listing, times, and how to sign up, see page 21-22 of the current Dept of Rec brochure: https://www.middletownct.gov/DocumentCenter/View/15122/Current-Recreation-Brochure-

Earth Week Rant 2021: Last Call

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

April 22, 11:50 AM – 1:10 PM at https://wesleyan.zoom.us/j/869541729

 

Upcoming Middletown Events

A downtown Middletown clean-up event is being sponsored by Cinder + Salt and Councilman Ed Ford this Saturday, April 17, 10 a.m. to noon. The meeting place is Cinder + Salt at 195 Main Street, near Thai Gardens. Please register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cinder-salt-earth-day-street-clean-up-with-the-city-of-middletown-tickets-141877652879. If you can’t make this event, another is coming up in May.

For Middletown residents, the Recycling Commission is sponsoring its annual Earth Day paper-shredding event on Saturday, April 24 from 9 to 11 at Vets’ Park off Newfield St. Confidential papers only (no junk mail!), and a limit of five boxes or bags per car.

Middletown’s Arbor Day ceremony honoring local legislators and John Hall will take place on April 30 at 2 p.m. in the garden of the Middlesex County Historical Society, 151 Main St. Enter through the gate off Spear Park.

Tree Fund Gift Supports Spring Tree Planting

Middletown’s Public Works Department and Urban Forestry Commission will soon be planting more trees, with support of the Jonah Center’s Tree Fund. In the coming weeks, you will see water bags on the trees planted last fall along Church Street near the Traverse Square apartments (with cost sharing by the Middletown Housing Authority) and along 3 sides of the YMCA. These 22 new trees added to the approximately 130 trees planted by the Urban Forestry program, funded by the city budget.

Recently, the Jonah Center Tree Fund received an unsolicited $500 donation from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County/Sally Ann McGee D’Aquila & Salvatore D’Aquila, Jr. Fund. We hope this timely example will inspire others to support the Jonah Center’s ongoing Replace Our Trees program. Gifts received will continue to supplement plantings by the Urban Forestry Commission in Middletown. In the past decade or so, Middletown has lost over 100 trees per year, and that is just counting the trees on city property.

Even though the city’s tree maintenance budget was dramatically increased last year, those funds are strained by the need to catch up on the large number of tree removals that are required for public safety, often at a cost of over $1000 per tree. The Jonah Center’s Tree Fund is a way that local residents can help stop the rapid disappearance of trees from the urban landscape due to age, climate change, and pests.  Arborist Jane Harris chooses species for new trees that promise to be more resilient and resistant to such threats. Food and habitat for wildlife, the need to avoid too many trees of a single species in a given location, and a species’ ability to withstand urban conditions such as road salt and root confinement are also considered in these decisions.

To assist in the effort, you may donate by check payable to The Jonah Center, PO Box 854, Middletown 06457 or by credit card/PayPal here. Indicate “Tree Fund” in the memo line or using the online donation form.

In Portland, the Jonah Center is still seeking permission and planting sites for new trees after a disappointing season in 2020, when we obtained permission to plant only 3 trees, and those were on private property. We are looking for sites in or near the town center area where trees will improve a streetscape, shade a sidewalk or other pavement to mitigate “heat islands” in summer, and where the property owner or tenant can take responsibility for watering. If you know of such a site, send us a message here.

Volunteers Sought for Air Line Trail Clean-up Day

Air Line Trail eastbound approaching overpass at Middle Haddam Road.

The Portland Air Line Trail Committee will host a trail maintenance day on Saturday, April 24TH (rain date May 1ST) starting at 10:00 a.m. gathering at the trailhead parking lot at 82 Middle Haddam Road. We will be trimming back invasive plants and branches along the trail, picking up litter and sticks, and sweeping the asphalt approaches at the intersections at Breezy Corners Rd and Middle Haddam Rd.

We are planning for a minimum 2-hour event. Please bring your own work gloves, masks and any equipment you have available, i.e. pruners, trimmers, etc. We will maintain social distancing while working (family members may work together). Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

If you can possibly assist, please email your name(s), email address and contact phone number to:  chantal.foster@comcast.net