9/11 Memorial: Friends Of Sherwood Island Respond

The other day, “06880” reader Ellen Bowen complained about the unkempt, goose-drop-filled state of the 9/11 Living Memorial at Sherwood Island State Park.

Yesterday, Friends of Sherwood Island State Park co-president Liz-Ann Koos said:

First, it is  very important that you understand  some facts about birds nests. If house sparrows are making nests in the indoor memorial, they can be removed, even while they are building their nests. They are one of the few bird species not protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

A volunteer Friends member (and dedicated birder) will check and remove whatever  nests are in the 9/11 Memorial area now. However, if a protected bird such as a swallow built a nest, nothing can be done until after the birds leave the nests. Most migratory birds have left their nests by now.

Second, please understand that controlling the Canadian geese is impossible. No one, including the Town of Westport, can remove every goose dropping..

The 9/11 Living Memorial at Sherwood Island State Park. (Photos/Ellen Bowen)

The 9/11 Living Memorial at Sherwood Island State Park. (Photos/Ellen Bowen)

Third, the Sherwood Island supervisor and his staff work  hard to keep the Park looking its best, in spite of the many visitors leaving garbage all over the grounds and not using dumpsters. You are correct that the  responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of the 9/11 Memorial  is indeed part of the staff’s responsibilities. Rest assured it will be in order for the September 8 (5:30 p.m.) service.

However, I am sure that you have been reading about the huge budget cuts impacting the size of the staff and other matters relevant to your concerns, which brings me to my last point.

One of the reasons for the founding of Friends of Sherwood Island State Park was to supply assistance to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in the form of advocacy, volunteers, and funds (through memberships, donations, fundraising projects and events). We need concerned people like yourself to join our ranks to produce positive changes and support for our beautiful Sherwood Island  State Park, where state budget dollars fall short.

Friends of Sherwood Island logoPlease consider buying a ticket or two for our upcoming ShoreFest in the Pavilion (strikingly reconstructed including solar-heated year-round restrooms, with your tax dollars) on Friday September 9 (6 to 9 p.m.). Proceeds from the silent auction will be specifically targeted for our 100 Trees for 100 Years Project, aimed at replacing and maintaining trees and shrubs that were devastated in major storms.

Please go to our website (www.friendsofsherwoodisland.org) to learn about joining Friends, or purchasing tickets for ShoreFest (where you will have an opportunity to discuss your concerns with the park supervisor, State legislators who have adopted the park, and our board and other Friends).

Please contact me directly at  lizannlwv@gmail.com if you would like to know more.

25 responses to “9/11 Memorial: Friends Of Sherwood Island Respond

  1. A.David Wunsch

    In the town in which I live in Massachusetts high school students have to do community service. It is a requirement. I wonder if Staples has a similar requirement. It seems to me that the Friends of Sherwood Island might approach the principal of Staples and set up a program whereby students could get credit for community service by keeping these markers clean. If two students visited the memorial each day I would think that these memorial plaques would look a lot better.
    If this plan doesn’t work, what about approaching the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts?
    ADW Staples 1956

    • Anyone can volunteer w/ Friends of Sherwood Island. As she explained they welcome volunteers. They have a really interesting website inc. history etc. & more is explained there.

    • David – if I recall correctly, there was a community service mandate for graduation (I can’t remember the minimum number of hours), however I believe they ended that program either shortly before or after I graduated; between 2006 and 2008. They did start up an internship program a few years after I left but that’s obviously not the same thing. Perhaps Dan can shed more light.

      • There is no community service mandate, as far as I know. I believe the feeling was that our kids have a lot of demands on their time already, and that mandating community service does not send a great message.

        The internship program is very robust, and many seniors volunteer with community organizations.

  2. Raises a great point about youth volunteering and responsibility to the community. There is an immense amount of garbage and plastic bottles littering the Wakeman fields at Bedford. I’ve watched an increase since playing ultimate on the fields since the early 2000’s. I asked one father about the waste and he claimed the ‘kids were to blame’. I always try to question our players on the occasion items are left behind and usually the final few remedy the problem. Who is teaching the kids then? Teaching them that this waste is unacceptable in the reality of our current world. Westport and Fairfield County should be a shining example for a sustainable way of life. This would have included a statement with recent major developments, and the opportunity to set an example of the economy of the future. We have that opportunity. For the tremendous amount of capacity and intelligence in our area, we seem far from that example. Thanks for publishing the response of a hard working and under-resourced group maintaining a beautiful open space. The response illuminates a gap in our understanding of how we can can come together as a community and improve, not only our incredible environment, but how we can begin to reform our outreach to both, see from the perspective of others and contribute to a better world in business, development and public life. It’s possible, profitable, fulfilling and necessary.

    • x Ken Coulson – That is sad as I recall when it was open land there (both field & wood) and unlittered. I’m also surprised – as I too thought environmentalism was being taught intensively from an early age for a long while now (twenty years +). It is healthier to use a refillable metal bottle anyway (and they make bottles that filter tap water as you drink from them – for those who question the purity of old water pipes). The plastic bottles are even more toxic when they’ve been in the sun (which sounds like the scenario you’ve described) so I’m surprised people are still giving them to their children. Westport used to be more environmentally conscious – instituting recycling in 1970 etc. – long before other towns & cities. If you look at the comments to the recent 06680 article ‘Save Turkey Hill South’ you may have some of your questions answered about Westporters & the environment. (A subject – carbon footprint & global responsibility – I attempted to bring up there re. people there expressing why they need McMansions w/ ten bathrooms etc.).That may explain all the bottles you’ve described and the indifferent attitude. I never saw a scrap of paper on the ground when I was at Staples in the late 70s… Lastly: Volunteering for credit is a great concept to involve people – but I believe people should be raised to volunteer without a reward.

      • Kids who don’t clean up after themselves — and coaches who leave the fields when they are filled with litter — are an enormous problem at Wakeman. It is a constant issue, related (perhaps) to kids who grow up expecting everyone to constantly pick up after them, and not being held accountable even in their own homes.

        Another issue is adults who walk dogs at Wakeman and don’t pick up after them. I am constantly amazed at the number of dog-walkers who don’t carry litter bags. And then there are the ones who can’t be bothered to carry the bags to the trash, so they just leave them anywhere (including, yesterday, tucked into a fence).

        We’re all in this together. Adults set examples for kids. Kids have an obligation to follow the positive examples — not the negative ones.

        • Re. leaving the bags in the fence for others to take care of! This reminds me Dan of when I was at the beach in Stratford picking up trash left by others (as I feel compelled to do) and a high school age girl standing talking w/ another girl put down her can of soda into the sand RIGHT in front of me – FOR me to pick up. (TWO feet in front of me). AND there were trash cans lining the beach behind her. I was really mystified! I think she assumed (racistly) that as I’m a person of colour I worked there. (In a bikini – hahaha).

    • Sorry – re. previous comment to Ken Coulson – I should have written: I remember when it was part of Isaac Wakeman’s farm… Re. what I wrote about remembering ‘open land…unlittered’ I was referring to the Bedford Middle School area next to the older North Ave. Staples…

  3. One more thing: the Osprey Cam at Sherwood Island is brilliant! (A camera trained on the nesting birds which one can watch from one’s phone etc. A few other shore towns in The States have them also). Anyone can go to their website and set that up (if they will still have that next year). It’s really amazing…

  4. 2016 is the 15th Year Anniversary of 9/11. We Will Never Forget. With all the loss in America and our own State of CT and the unending battle against terrorism in the world, you can help by donating “with your heart” to our own CT Memorial. I support Friends of Sherwood Island and hope 06880 residents will as well. This is a perfect year, end of summer, and our leaders at Sherwood Island are good people who care about the Environment and our Memorial. A little bit…goes a long way, too.

  5. thanks for the info and the link- i joined today

  6. Phyllis Freeman

    Ellen’s post certainly generated some important responses. I am joining Friends of Sherwood Island today, as well.



    • I love that you did not suggest cutting down the tree as most people probably would (if it would be one or the other)! It’s a beach and at the shoreline there are a lot of birds. And that’s what birds do. If more people volunteered there – the memorial would look more pristine. The birds are not littering – they’re being lovely birds! 🙂 I would be concerned about people littering… and that’s not the fault of the birds or the volunteers. Friends of Sherwood Island needs as many volunteers as possible.

      • Bobbie Herman

        Do you think it would help if they put a fence around the Memorial? Maybe an attractive New England picket fence about four feet high with a gate so people could enter it to pay their respects.

        • x Bobbie Herman 🙂 Trash blows around – especially w/ the higher winds at the beach – so it would get inside a fence. Also – and I think more importantly – the designer of the memorial must have intended it to be viewed as they designed it – in place: A fence would alter the whole experience of the memorial. (The sight line & viewing it from a distance & standing nearby etc.). Re. “New England picket fence”. Picket fences are not only a New England feature and they were traditionally used here for low gated gardens in front of usually wooden homes. The traditional type of fence here (& elsewhere) that would surround a memorial would be of iron. As w/ the fence surrounding the Minuteman in town. (OUR Minuteman – as I was surprised to learn there is another in MA perhaps even better known!). Lastly – the earlier 06880 post on the fence round the Minuteman statue was about people hanging flyers for tag sales etc. on that fence – illustrating that the proverb about fences making good neighbours is not always true. (Regarding people hanging things on them anyway…).

        • PS x Bobbie Herman – I think the kind of fence you mean – “picket fence about four feet high” – is called a stockade fence. They are used now for when people DON’T want passers by to be able to view whatever is behind them. (Or vice versa like when people aren’t fond of viewing their neighbours’ compost pile or trash bins). Also they were used for imprisoning people (POW soldiers in earlier wars here… Native Americans… in forts etc.) so that would not be a good metaphor for those who passed in 9-11. 🙂

          • Bobbie Herman

            Zoe Cassis — No, I did not mean a stockade fence. I meant a picket fence. White, with a pointed top, with the pickets placed a few inches apart so you can see through them. If trash would blow into it, it would be a lot easier to clean than geese poop. I was trying to offer a solution to a problem. Sorry if you don’t like it.

        • “New England” fence = fieldstone. A “picket fence” “white” or otherwise is not that common here (and found far & wide outside of “New England”). It’s not a matter of what I “like”. The memorial was designed to look and be experienced in a particular way. Plus not everything in “New England” has to be surrounded by “a white picket fence” (as in a Hollywood movie about New England vs. the type of fences original to CT & NE).

  8. I am encouraged by all the responses both to my original post and this very thoughtful response from Liz-Ann at Friends of Sherwood Island. They are a wonderful volunteer organization and need our support. I will also be making a donation, and am hoping to gather a few more local Westporters to follow suit. Perhaps like on many of the medians I see around town, we could find someone to “adopt” the 9/11 Memorial to insure it gets more frequent attention. I will reach out to some local businesses and organizations to see if I can get some interest. We should honor those lost every day or every year.

  9. Joyce Barnhart

    News 12 has broadcast from the memorial at Sherwood Island that T. Palmer Landscaping and other Westport volunteers have been at the site today since 7:30 this morning, weeding and otherwise making an effort to improve appearances there. Kudos to them.

  10. Last comment. Craig Patton of the Friends of Sherwood Island just sent me the following information for a Clean Up Day on Wednesday 9/7 from 9 am to 11 am:

    In preparation for the 9/11 Memorial Service on September 8, please help Friends of Sherwood Island weed, clear, and prune a large garden bed visitors pass on their way to the memorial. T. Palmer Landscaping has generously spent two full days cleaning and preparing the memorial itself. Help us supplement the hard work of the CT DEEP staff by restoring this portion of the grounds.

    Volunteers should bring work gloves and gardening hand tools if able, as well as sunscreen and water as needed. For more information, or if you have questions, contact Friends of Sherwood Island board member Luise Bianco at 203-226-5228 or via email at lcbianco@me.com.

    For more information on Friends of Sherwood Island and their Shorefest fundraiser for the park being held on September 9, visit http://www.friendsofsherwoodisland.org.