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We are very grateful to the First Unitarian Universalist Society of New Haven for their ongoing support of our work.
We are excited to announce that a volume of writings by Bioregional Group co-founder Fred Cervin (1940-2013) will be published this fall to celebrate Fred’s life and the 10th anniversary of the Bioregional Group. Stay tuned for details!
Bioregional Group members Lynne Bonnett and Domingo Medina have been working this summer on a citizen science project with community partners including: Yale Peabody Museum’s Afterschool Evolutions Program, the Mercury Research Lab at John Jay College in New York City, and the New Haven Environmental Justice Network.
[Yale Peabody Museum’s Afterschool Evolutions program.]
Here is an update from Lynne:
Our moss samples to measure airborne mercury went up on July 1 and came down July 21. Now they are undergoing analysis at the lab in New York City.
Why are we doing this?
1) To determine if there is a geospatial distribution of airborne mercury around the largest point source in New Haven: Greater New Haven Water Pollution Control Authority’s sewage sludge incinerator just next to East Shore Park. Samples were taken at different distances from the incinerator along transects. We expect to observe a distance effect of mercury levels associated with the source of emission.
2) To test if this type of study can be done in urban settings such as New Haven. Given the different potential sources of mercury emissions in an urban environment, we want to see if our instrument with our methodology is sensitive enough to capture airborne mercury and if it can discern a clear spatial pattern of mercury deposition.
Our citizen scientists have been hard at work: constructing poles from PVC pipe, washing sphagnum moss, weighing and putting the moss in hairnets, tying them to poles, digging the hole and putting the pole in the ground!.
New Haven Parks department kindly let us put a pole by the softball fields at East Shore Park for more public outreach. The interns made a sign – “Why are these poles here?”
Next up, trip to NYC for a tour of John Jay College and a visit to the mercury lab where the samples are being analyzed.
Begun in the 1990s, Project Limulus is a partnership by researchers at Sacred Heart University, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and citizen scientists, to monitor the population ecology of the eastern horseshoe crab, Limulus Polyphemus, a remarkable species of Marine Arthropod that has been around for 400 million years.
In the late spring, Limulus Polyphemus visits various locations along the Connecticut shoreline to mate. When volunteers find a crab specimen, they carry out scientific measurements and then give the crab a tag to help monitor population and habitat changes over time. Bioregional Group member Aaron Goode has been a volunteer tagger for the last two years. These photos were taken at a tagging expedition last night (June 2, 2015) at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk.
We’ll be talking more about (and hopefully seeing specimens of!) this amazing species on our CT Trails Day walk this Sunday at Sandy Point. Join us!
The West River Watershed Coalition is developing a watershed management plan for the West River that will outline long-term strategies for improving water quality, restoring habitat, and enhancing recreational access. The second public input-gathering session will be held on May 27 at the Barnard Nature Center.
A few months ago Bioregional Group members Lynne Bonnett and Domingo Medina were invited by the Yale Peabody Museum’s EVOLUTIONS Program — an afterschool program for high school students from New Haven and West Haven — to talk about ways to understand and connect with our bioregion.
The relationship between EVOLUTIONS and the Bioregional Group has grown into a summer research project to measure mercury levels in New Haven’s airshed to get a better understanding of what mercury air emissions are like in an urban environment. Lynne and Domingo are excited to work with the students along with the Mercury Research Lab at John Jay College and the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. It will be a unique opportunity for the students to learn about research projects on an applied environmental justice issue in New Haven and participate in all aspects of the monitoring and data collection process.
Recently we attended a gathering of the New England Resilience and Transition Network (or NERTNET) in Keene, New Hampshire. The Bioregional Group was a founding member of NERTNET several years ago because we believe that local resilience-building and regional cooperation go hand in hand.
[Recent NERTNET gathering in Keene, NH.]
Would you or your organization be interested in joining the Network and contributing to its work of fostering regional resilience? Fill out this brief survey.
We mourn the loss and celebrate the life of Bioregional Group co-founder Fred Cervin, who died last week at the age of 72.
Bioregional Group members Domingo Medina and Bobcat Carruthers have been working on a shiitake mushroom-growing project! Read all about it in the New Haven Register
[Photo: New Haven Register.]
Don’t forget to register for CT NOFA’s 30th Annual Winter Conference, which is taking place this weekend at Manchester Community College.
Members of Transition Greater New Haven will be among the presenters.
Thanks to everyone who came out to the Fair Haven Sustainability Tour last Sunday, and thanks to Kerry Triffin of Fair Haven Furniture and Brian Driscoll of Phoenix Press for meeting with our group.
If you missed the tour, you can still check out our Fair Haven sustainability resources guide.