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.
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.
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.