Tag Archives: Staples High School Club Green

How Staples’ Garden Grows

There’s a lot of space in front of Staples High School.

There’s room for dozens of buses. For hundreds of students to enter the building at once.

And room for a brand new garden.

The area in front of the art department — on the left side, facing the entrance — has been transformed into a beautiful, friendly and ecologically important space.

Members of the Science National Honor Society and Club Green spent a Saturday last month weeding, and planting native plants donated by Aspetuck Land Trust.

The garden is part of the Pollinator Pathways Project. Begun in 2017, the goal is to  establish pollinator-friendly habitat and food sources for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinating insects and wildlife along a series of continuous corridors.

The project was led by Teagan Smith — a recently graduated senior, and longtime super Wakeman Town Farm volunteer, with guidance from Alice Ely, WTF gardens chair and science teacher Cecilia Duffy.

The next time you’re at Staples, check it out. Then thank Teagan and fellow students Charlotte Barnes, Olivia Bernard, Tanvi Gorre, Christina Meehan and Ashley Sarelli.

Staples science teacher Cecilia Duffy spotted her first monarch caterpillar of the year, on a common milkweed. It was just a couple days old. (Photos/Cecilia Duffy)

Happy GreenDay!

Looking for a way to welcome spring, honor the environment, and do cool, important things with family and friends?

You’re in luck!

GreenDay is this Saturday (April 29). In just 5 years, the event — created by Staples High School’s Club Green — has become a low-key but very fun Westport-wide celebration.

You can choose from:

8:30-10 a.m. Clean-up Greens Farms train station and Riverside Park. Both events are sponsored by the Westport Beautification Committee.

10 a.m. Family Trail Run at Earthplace. Trail run/walk options for all ages and abilities, from a 100-yard dash to 2 miles. Cost: $25 per adult, $15 per child, $75 maximum. Proceeds benefit Earthplace’s community education programs.

10 a.m. Tour Westport’s wastewater treatment plantSee how sewage turns into clean water. Location: 4 Elaine Road, off Compo Road South, between I-95 and the railroad tracks.

11 a.m.-3 p.m. Fun and learning with nature at EarthplaceEarthplace naturalists, Wakeman Town Farm animals, Westport Library storytellers and the new Lillian Wadsworth Arboretum join forces. Experience and explore the natural world through hands-on science activities, and nature arts and crafts. Cost: $5/person.

12-3 p.m. Westport Tree Board gives away native saplings at Earthplace. Members will also direct visitors on tours of the Arboretum, and conduct a free raffle. The winner receives a wooden bench, handmade from black locust wood harvested on the property by Tree Board member Dick Stein.

2 p.m. Rally for the environment at Earthplace. Bring or make your own signs (materials provided), to celebrate science and nature.

3 p.m. Hydroponics at the Westport Library. Watch a hydroponic system being built. Learn how it helps grow a healthy food system.

Get your green on!

(For more GreenDay information, click here.)

GreenDay Comes To Westport!

Uh, no, not that Green Day.

Still, if we can’t have a 5-Grammy-winning, 75-million-album-selling punk band, we’ve got the next best thing: a 2-day, Staples-student-spearheaded, townwide event celebrating the environment, sustainability and related life-affirming causes.

It aims to counter (obligatory Green Day reference here) “21st Century Breakdown.”

GreenDay replaces EcoFest, the music, food and vendor-filled event. But the renovation of Levitt Pavilion meant EcoFest needed a new home, so the organizers — Staples’ Club Green — gave it a totally new spin.

Staples High School Club Green

Staples AP environmental studies teacher and Wakeman Town Farm steward Mike Aitkenhead says, “I’m always overcome by the fact that so many groups are doing amazing innovative work in town — but these groups rarely work together. And so few people outside of these circles know about the incredible work in sustainability that’s happening right here in Westport.”

Rather than a single, localized “festival,” GreenDay (this Saturday and Sunday, May 3 and 4) highlights innovative work being done all around town. Westporters can pick and choose among many family-oriented, free events.

They include:

  • Clean up Dead Man’s Brook (Saturday, May 3, 9 a.m.-noon). Park at the Westport Woman’s Club lower lot, 44 Imperial Avenue; wear hiking or rubber boots and work gloves. Sponsor: Westport Parks & Rec Department and Builders Beyond Borders. Click here to sign up.
  • Tour the water pollution control facility. (Saturday, May 3, 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., 4 Elaine Road). Find out where Westport’s waste water ends up. See the process and technology, in a guided tour. Sponsor: Westport Public Works Department. 
  • Nature walks and pond science. (Saturday, May 3, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Earthplace, 10 Woodside Lane). Includes crafts and Long Island Sound touch tank. Guided nature walks at 10:30 a.m. and noon; animal encounters at 10 a.m., 11 a.m and 12:30 p.m. Sponsor: Earthplace.

GreenDay collage

  • Spring Fun at Wakeman Town Farm. (Saturday, May 3, 134 Cross Highway). 1-2:15 p.m.: farm tours of gardens and animals; square foot garden workshop; help plant vegetable and lower gardens; children’s activities and games. 2:15-2:45 p.m.: sheep shearing, goat grooming and wool spinning demo. 2:45-3:15 p.m.: Greenhouse dedication ceremony. 3:15-4 p.m.: Traditional Maypole dance and drum circle. Sponsor: Wakeman Town Farm.
  • “Chasing Ice” documentary and panel discussion on climate change. (Sunday, May 4, 4-6 p.m., Town Hall). The story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Sponsor: Westport Cinema Initiative. Cost: $10 per ticket, available For more information, click here.

Aitkenhead says that many Westporters want to contribute to the town’s environmental movement, but don’t know how.

“Greenday is about letting the entire community learn about and share in the excitement of many different initiatives. It’s a day to take part in the great environmental work that Westporters are doing, and help us all work toward a better, more sustainable future.”


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Club Green Wins Green

Last month, “06880” reported that Staples’ Club Green was going for gold in CL&P’s “Live Green Win Green” competition.

They earned a silver — but it’s worth $5,000, as 1 of the top state finalists.

The club will use the funds to sponsor the 2nd annual EcoFest on May 22.  Some of the prize money will also go to pursuing other environmental initiatives throughout Staples and Westport.

A tip o’ the green and silver hat to all club members, and advisor Michael Aitkenhead!

EcoFest Fun

Woodstock 1969 was sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.  Westport’s EcoFest 2009 was biofuel, LED light bulbs — and rock ‘n’ roll.

That’s what 40 years will do.

Yesterday’s event — sponsored by Staples’ Club Green, and funded by Westport’s Green Village Initiative — drew an unexpectedly enormous turnout to the Levitt Pavilion.  Teenagers, families with toddlers, a few folks who looked like they just woke up from Woodstock — all enjoyed a relaxed but involved gathering of eco-friendly Westporters.

Along with free food (environmentally correct napkins!) and great music (not too loud — watch the power grid!), there was information on saving gas, reducing electricity and recycling trash.  But it was low-key, not PC; even Rush Limbaugh would have been chill.

An eco-friendly crowd enjoys Westport's Eco-Fest.

An eco-friendly crowd enjoys Westport's EcoFest. Informational posters can be seen in the background.

Club Green co-vice president Melanie Yemma was elated.

“We’re a small group, but we’ve done a lot this year,” she said.  “We got solar panels at Staples, and helped with the plastic bag ban.  We have reusable water bottles at Staples, and we’re starting the edible garden next week.

“Today it’s just great to see so many different types of people here, having so much fun.”

Staples senior Glenn Friedman proudly showed off the circus bus he bought in Vermont.  He’s converting it to run on waste vegetable oil.  The interior is being built with recycled materials.  The back will contain an organic greenhouse.   A rooftop solar panel will run lights.  He’ll display his bus at schools, green technology conventions and farmers’ markets, as a superb example of Westport’s commitment to sustainability.

If Glenn lived 40 years ago, who knows what he’d have done at Woodstock.

Glenn Friedman poses on the hood of his school bus. He's converting it into a completely sustainable vehicle, using green technology and his own ingenuity.

Glenn Friedman poses on the hood of his school bus. He's converting it into a completely sustainable vehicle, using green technology and his own ingenuity.

Taber Onthank entertains at Eco-Fest.

Taber Onthank entertains at Eco-Fest.