Friday, January 2, 2015

Hopeful Highlights from 2014

In anticipation of good things to come in the year ahead, I’d like to share some of the high points of 2014 from my small corner of the world.

Greater New Haven’s citizens stood up for their trees. They came out in record numbers to object to the plans of the state’s utility companies to preemptively, aggressively, trim street trees in response to power outages during 2013’s severe storms. The power companies are still trimming, but they were forced to modify their “Vegetation Management Plans.” 

A new magnolia for YHP
Despite the rainy, cold weather, 650 cyclists braved the elements on April 26 to complete one of three routes in the 6th annual Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride, raising $152,157.55 for 26 environmental groups — the most successful Rock to Rock yet! Check out this article in the New Haven Independent for more. 

Yale University began to offer long-term employees the option of planting a tree in their honor in lieu of the usual commemorative gifts. Here is a photo of a magnolia tree planted outside the Yale Health Plan by volunteers and URI staff during the Yale Day of Service on May 10.

Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven has two rain gardens in their demo lot, constructed as part of a grant from the Greater New Haven Green Fund to divert stormwater from the city’s storm sewers. They were installed by volunteers and NHS staff under the direction of Michael Dietz, Director of U Conn College of Agriculture and Natural Resource’s NEMO Program. The June 13 installation had to be called to a halt due to torrential rain. It was finished on June 26, a real scorcher! The conditions remained harsh for new plantings during the coming weeks; here is a late summer photo. I look forward to seeing how the garden grows this spring. 

Late summer NHS raingarden
New Haven’s Beaver Ponds Park was designated an Urban Oasis. The little spruce we transplanted in the park is thriving in its new surroundings and sprouted some cones.

EcoWorks, a creative reuse center for the arts, opened as a Project Storefront In New Haven’s Mill River district. They sell materials, collected from businesses and institutions, to teachers, artists, crafters and others seeking low-cost art supplies. Check their website for hours and upcoming events and this link if you have materials to donate. 

New Haven Green Drinks had a successful year, under the leadership of an enthusiastic team of co-organizers. The group met 12 times, in 12 different locations over the past year and heard speakers on a broad range of environmental topics. The group welcomes new members, new ideas, and new venues. 

These are some of the many reasons why New Haven is a great place to live. Follow #gscia on Twitter to see what others are sharing.

On a personal note, late last January I enjoyed a long-anticipated hike to see the seals of Año Nuevo with my family. I look forward to more West Coast adventures in the years ahead.  

This fall, I became a Connecticut Certified Advanced Master Gardener and was awarded a pewter trowel pin for my hours of service. Here is a board I made along the way in fulfillment of some of my outreach hours. 

Finally, I have recently taken up knitting. You will have to check back later in 2015 to find out how that is going and exactly what I have managed to knit.

Wishing you and yours a year of peace, health, happiness...

Happy 2015!

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