A Note From Our Chapter Chair
Leaping Ahead! - February 2024 Newsletter
We’re back and I guess winter is too! It’s a leap year!
After the holiday break, we leapt into 2024 with fresh energy! We have been planning new events and preparing to advocate for stronger environmental protections and progress toward a clean energy and more resilient future.
On February 14, surprise your Valentine with an evening “Hiking the French Alps”! Kinda kidding! But this presentation at the Greater Hartford Group meeting does look like fun!
Also on Valentine's Day, show some love for Remington Woods and join us to deliver thousands of signatures supporting the conservation of Remington Woods to Corteva's Lake Success Office. On February 21, at noon, we will host a webinar on food waste and other effective methods of reducing our waste stream without incinerators or landfills – Connecticut needs a comprehensive food waste prevention & recycling law: the why and the how.
Citizen science is a way for volunteers to get involved in learning more about the world and helping to advance knowledge and help protect the environment. Volunteer teams are trained to do local water testing, and school children come out to do bug counts. Last summer we were asked to record our sightings of fireflies, whose decline has been dramatic in recent years.
Advanced, but simple to use technology such as smartphones and drones give ordinary folks, like us, the tools to help record data that can be used for numerous scientific studies, such as mapping the ecology of an area, or taking aerial photos of a hidden pollution source.
Sierra Club Connecticut members are participating in citizen science in a couple of areas. We have a team of volunteers monitoring air quality to learn more about local pollution and suggest ways to improve Connecticut’s dirty air. We have funded and placed several Purple Air sensors to monitor PM 2.5 (fine particulate matter) emissions, most recently three near the Oxford, “Algonquin” compressor station which recorded spikes in methane leakage and supported the needs for further monitoring. Read the report: Low-cost PM2.5 sensors can help identify driving factors of poor air quality and benefit communities.
Image: Region of PM2.5 study, with measurement locations and noteworthy features from the report
Currently, we are collaborating with allies to test the water in areas with likely sources of PFAS contamination. I went out on a cold, icy day to scoop water from the Quinebaug and Little Rivers in rural Northeastern Connecticut, also known as the Last Green Valley. Ann and Martha did testing in the Northwestern area, and so on around the state. There were challenges with finding access to specific places to test including finding public land, a safe place to get down the often steep riverbanks and difficulties from snow and ice, but, for me, it was exciting to be a part of gathering this important data.
Photo: Susan Eastwood and Martha Klein taking a water samples to test for PFAS on the Quinebaug River at Cotton Bridge in Killingly and the Wood Creek in Norfolk
The Cyclopure PFAS tests are sent to a certified lab and we expect the results back in time to inform our legislative work on preventing toxic PFAS exposure in the future. Stay tuned!
We will leap into another Connecticut General Assembly legislative session on February 7th, with the hope that our advocacy for clean air, water and a healthy environment will make a positive impact on the outcomes of all the hard work that goes into legislating. We appreciate our legislative champions who work so hard to make a difference to all of Connecticut’s residents. As always, we encourage you, our members, to contact your state legislators in support of the environment. They really do need to hear from you!
Susan Eastwood is Chapter Chair of Sierra Club Connecticut.