Category Archives: Environment

Pics Of The Day #731

Willowbrook Cemetery’s Daffodil Mile in full bloom.

A Sad Osprey Update

Earlier today, alert — and disheartened — “06880” reader James McDonald posted a comment about our ospreys. I drove by the Post Road East site this afternoon, and saw the same thing.

The ospreys have abandoned the nest that was rebuilt by the inconsiderate and ignorant people who took it down.

Sparrows were in it today. I have not seen the ospreys in a week or so.

This incident should never be forgotten. The company that did it has effectively murdered a family of beautiful ospreys.

Two weeks ago, the ospreys were back in their nest. Property owner Regency replaced the platform they removed two days earlier. (Photo/Carolyn McPhee)

Pics Of The Day #727

Spring has sprung in Westport. Alert “06880” reader Molly Alger captured these scenes on her Whitney/Salem/Colony/Post Road walk.

(Photos/Molly Alger)

Photo Challenge #224

I’ve lived in Westport my whole life.

I know Routes 1, 33, 53 and 136. Of course I know I-95, and I know the Merritt Parkway is officially called Route 15. (I gave up on News12 once when a reporter called it that.)

But I never had a clue that the Sherwood Island Connector is an official state route.

Yep: It’s 476.

That’s one amazing factoid I learned from Patrick Laffaye. I also was impressed with the 2 images he supplied for last week’s Photo Challenge. They show dirt roads, and an impossibly overgrown path (with signs pointing in opposite directions).

All were taken at Sherwood Island State Park. (Click here for the photos.)

Very impressively, Brian Stern posted the right answer just 2 minutes after it went live. (He did not, however, mention Route 476.)

Nor did Diane Bosch, Jalna Jaeger and René Fontaine, when they checked in with the correct answer.

But Wendy Cusick knew that arcane Route 476 fact. Well done!

This week’s Photo Challenge is from the other end of town (duh). But where in Saugatuck is it? If you know, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Jeff Manchester)

Pic Of The Day #726

(Photo/Neil Cohn)

Alert “06880” reader Neil Cohn writes:

After your recent post about the Westport Community Gardens, I signed right up.

The area assigned to me had some nice raised beds and soil. I spent last weekend cleaning the weeds and prepping the beds. Unfortunately the previous owner had a change of heart and removed everything, leaving a swamp when I showed back up.

Lou Weinberg, who runs the garden, offered to help me build new beds. I picked up lumber at Torno, and this morning we got to work.

A senior couple, Paddy and Pat Duecy, came by. They offered amazing gardening advice, and chatted with my 9-year old-daughter. Reese is a 3rd grader at Coleytown Elementary School.

My kids have planned out our crops. Now we’re off to Gilbertie’s for some more soil and plants. What a treasure the garden is — and what a sense of community it brings!

Single-Stream Glass Recycling: We Can Do Better!

Confused about single-stream recycling? You’re not alone. Since Westport went to this method, there seem to be more questions than answers.

Environmentally conscious Staples High School junior George Nelson sent these thoughts to “06880”:

In the 1970s, recycling became a common American practice. To many, it’s a way of being environmentally friendly. When people recycle they believe they are doing the earth and their community justice. But your recycling may not end up where you think it does.

In fact, the United States is actually going backwards. Across the nation, dozens of communities are completely ending their recycling programs. This results in more garbage buried or burned.

The reason? It has become too expensive for some towns to afford. China — once the US’ #1 customer of recycling waste — no longer accepts used plastics, glass, metal, cardboard and paper, due to high levels of contamination.

This caused recycling prices to skyrocket. In some cities, recycling costs have nearly quadrupled since last year.

In Westport we are lucky enough to continue recycling, though at great expense (up to $65 a ton). Our town produces 3,300 tons of recyclable waste annually. However, not all of that waste is actually recycled.

Single stream recycling

Single-stream means that all recyclables — paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, metal cans, etc. — go into one bin. This is much easier for residents than separating recyclables into different bins. When Westport changed from separating different types of recycling to single stream, the rate of recycling increased by over 30%.

Although this is the easiest way to recycle, it leads to an abundance of contamination, such as plastic bags and styrofoam being put in recycling bin. Even more problematic is when particles of broken glass end up in paper and cardboard, rendering them useless as recyclables.

Nearly 25% of single-stream recycling goes to the incinerator. That figure can reach 40% for glass recyclables. What is so frustrating is that glass is one of the best recyclable materials. It can be continuously recycled and reused in its original form, through a relatively easy process.

When glass is recycled it is brought to a recycling facility. Once there, it is smashed into tiny pieces and sorted by color by an infrared light.

The glass is then washed. The broken, sorted glass is then shipped to yet another facility, where it is melted down and finally ready to be reused. Most of the glass is remade into other glass products such as bottles or jars. Some recycled glass is used in asphalt for roads, or mixed with beach sand to prevent erosion.

Separating single-stream recycling.

Although it’s most common, single-stream recycling is not the best option for glass. Westporters must make a better effort to recycle glass.

One way is to bring glass-redeemable bottles (beer, soda) to a deposit redemption machine at grocery stores, or a redemption center.

Another is to wash and reuse glass bottles and jars.

If you do continue recycling glass single stream, make sure to clean the glass and place it in the bin in one piece.

NOTE: The Sustainable Westport Advisory Team (formerly the Westport Green Task Force), whose mission is to support Westport’s goal to be a sustainable, thriving community, will promote waste reduction at the Maker Faire April 27. Look for the zero waste stations, and the Sustainable Westport “Maker” table.

Pic Of The Day #723

Happy Easter, from Winslow Park Animal Hospital (Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

Pic Of the Day #722

Winslow Park kids (Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

Terrain Hosts An Evening Of Ospreys

Last weekend, Terrain was ground zero in the Great Osprey Outcry.

Employees were the first line of defense, when workers hired by Regency Centers came to remove the osprey nest perched on a pole on the border between the Fresh Market shopping plaza, and Terrain next door.

The nest is back. But Terrain is moving forward. The garden-and-much-more store hosts an evening of education about the remarkable birds. It’s this Tuesday (April 9, 6 to 8 p.m.).

Speakers include Charlie Stebbins and Milan Bull from the Connecticut Audubon Society and Osprey Nation, and Christine Peyreigne of Christine’s Critters birds of prey rehabilitation center.

The goal is to provide a forum for education and volunteerism. The event is free and open to the public. There are complimentary snacks, and a cash bar.

No word on whether the ospreys will swing over to say hi.

Terrain’s neighbors (Photo/Christine Peyreigne)

Regency Apologizes; Vows To Do Better

Last night, Regency Centers went before the Westport Planning & Zoning Commission, seeking permission for work on the facade and parking lot at Fresh Market — the shopping plaza they own.

“06880” readers remember that last weekend, prior to to approval, Regency had an osprey nest on their property removed. An uproar ensued, before the owners placed the platform back on its pole.

Alert “06880” reader Carolyn Doan was at Town Hall last night. She reports that Jack deVilliers, Regency Vice President, began with an apology. He thanked Westporters — and “06880” — for their concern, and noted that Regency appreciates having its regional office here in Westport. He said that the company “got it wrong” with respect to their removal of the nest, adding that the company did consult with the Audubon Society and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection prior to its actions.

The ospreys are back in their nest, after Regency replaced the platform they removed last weekend. (Photo/Carolyn McPhee)

DeVilliers acknowledged that Regency’s apologies might not be enough for some Westporters.

He promised the company would do better in the future, then presented plans for the property that included a rain garden (water holding pond) and restaurant.

Several speakers talked about parking issues, asked about the restaurant — and expressed concern about Regency going forward, with regard to its properties and the ospreys.

No vote was taken. Regency will return April 25, to address issues like fencing and the neighbors.

But the P&Z did approve the new Westport Weston YMCA building expansion and Camp Mahackeno project. It includes a water slide, splash pad, new heated pool and archery range.