Spring 2016
    Green Living       News
Quote of the Quarter

Lynne A. Vanderslice

First Selectman

Town of Wilton

"The Town of Wilton is excited to be a part of Solarize CT. This exciting program offers a new choice for residents at reduced rates, an opportunity to take control of their energy costs, saving money while using sustainable energy."

Spring Events
Wilton and neighboring towns offer a variety
of opportunities to enjoy and protect the environment. Here are a few of our favorites.

Wilton Go Green Festival
Celebrate sustainable living at the 6th Annual WGG Festival presented by Ross Solar Group. Begin your day with a 5K May Day Run, enter your favorite pooch in the Dog Parade, check out a variety of electric cars and interact with more than 80 exhibitors and craftsmen. Enjoy live music, magical entertainment, delicious food and so much more. May 1, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Learn more

WGG Festival  Green Drinks
To kickoff our 2016 festival, WGG is hosting a Green Drinks event at Bianco Rosso Wine Bar Restaurant, 151 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton. Meet and mingle with folks from our title sponsor, Ross Solar Group, and other green-minded individuals. No admission fee. A Signature Green Drink will be available for purchase at a special price of $5. Monday, April 25 from 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Solarize Wilton Workshops
Learn more about residential solar energy and how you can take advantage of the money- and energy-saving benefits of Wilton's discounted solar group-purchasing program. April 4, 1:30-3:00 p.m., Comstock Community Center, Senior Center Lounge; April 7, 7:00-9:00 p.m., Wilton High School Auditorium. Learn more

Grace Farms
River Walk & Tea  
Explore the River, a spectacular meandering glass building and beautiful grounds. The tour begins with complimentary tea in the Pavilion. March 31, April 2, 7, 9, 16, 21, and May 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, 28, 12:45 p.m.-2:30 p.m.  Learn more

Saturday Family Matinee
A free cinema series presenting animated shorts and feature films that underscore life lessons connected to Grace Farm's core initiatives of nature, arts, justice, community and faith. Best suited for 8-14 year olds, but all ages welcome. April 9, 30, and May 7, 14, 21, 28, 2:30-4:30 p.m. Learn more

Earth Day
Celebrate the natural world on April 23 with insightful programs amidst Grace Farm's 80-acre landscape and diverse habitates. Join in the opening of the Community Garden, watch a live falconry demonstration, enjoy outdoor painting and an art installation, and listen to a panel discussion from experts about climate change and modern slavery. Free admission, April 23, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Learn more

Community Dinners
Enjoy a special meal with friends and neighbors, featuring local performing artists. Fee: $6.00-$10.00. April 15 and May 20, 6:00-8:00 p.m. Learn more

Memorial Day Barbeque Celebration
Enjoy a barbeque in the courtyard. explore Grace Farm's 80 acres of diverse natural landscape, and remember those who have served with a time of reflection in the Sanctuary. Participate in a food drive in coordination with Marine Corps League. Veterans receive a complimentary meal with online preregistration. May 28, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Learn more

Woodcock Nature Center
Springtime Grapevine Wreath Decorating
Gather at the nature center for a brief tutorial on grapevine wreaths, then decorate your own near a cozy fire. Fee ($65 per person) includes wreath, ribbons, flowers, moss, grasses and other natural dried materials. Bring your own refreshments and relax fireside with friends after decorating. April 1, 7:00-10:00 p.m. Learn more

Earth Day Celebration
Celebrate Earth day at WNC on April 22. Join the staff on an explorative walk to seek out signs of Spring's arrival. Scoop for frog eggs, look for salamanders and enjoy the outdoors. 9:30-10:30 a.m. Make an up-cycled terrarium ($10) or recycled crafts (free) -- or both! -- anytime between the hours of 1:00-4:00 p.m. Learn more

Spring Break Enrichment
This program is full of fun and exploration for kids ages 3-7. Children will learn about the world around them through hands-on activities, animal presentations, hikes and crafts. Program runs from 9:00 a.m.-noon daily with groups of 3-4 year olds and 5-7 year olds. Non-members: $50 per day, members $40 per day. Learn more

Nature Journaling
Learn simple techniques for drawing rocks, plants, trees and birds as well as one of the oldest forms for recording observations and various methods of journaling. Leave with fresh ideas and reference sheets to continue your journey of nature journaling. Suitable for teens (13+) and adults. April 9, 10:00 a.m.-noon. $20 per person. Learn more

Summer Camp Open House
Meet senior summer camp staff and learn what a day at WNC Summer Camp is like. Stop by the nature center on April 6 anytime between 5:00-7:00 p.m. to chat with staff, meet some resident animals and learn about WNC's unique nature camp experience. The first 10 kids get a free "vintage" camp t-shirt. All ages are welcome.

Uncharted Woodcock
Journey into rarely travelled parts of the WNC grounds. Students in grades 6-8 will don waders and venture into swampland, hike and explore un-blazed areas, and look for evidence of wildlife beyond WNC's trails. Four consecutive Thursdays starting April 28 through May 19, 3:30-5:00 p.m. $85 per student. Learn more

Ambler Farm
Home Garden Workshop
Now is the time to start planning your home garden. Farmer Jonathan, Ambler Farm's Director or Agriculture, guides participants on their way to a bountiful home garden, walking through the steps that he takes at the farm and how to adapt these processes for home gardening. March 30, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Learn more

Farm Reads with the Wilton Library
Caregivers and children ages 4-6 will meet at Ambler Farm to enjoy theme-based stories and a nature walk. Books may be checked out at the farm, so bring your library card. April 13 and May 11, 2:00-3:00 p.m. Registration required, no fee.   Contact Ambler Farm for more information.

Spring Pancake Breakfast
Celebrate Spring at the farm! Indulge in pancakes with Ambler Farm maple syrup on April 30, anytime between 1:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Visit goats, sheep and rabbits, and stay to observe the farm's resident sheeps' wool shearing in preparation for warmer weather. Enjoy a spring craft and take home a packet of seeds to sow in your own garden.   Contact Ambler Farm for more information.

Wilton Memorial Day Parade
Enjoy one of Wilton's most beloved community events. The parade marches through Wilton Center on River Road, continuing up Ridgefield Road to Hillside Cemetery for a ceremony honoring those who gave their lives serving our country. May 27, 10:00 a.m.-noon. Learn more about participating

Wilton Farmers' Market
Local farmers and artisans join together to provide fresh produce, baked goods, organic dips, jams, olive oil, pies, soaps, lotions, and other home-grown goods. Open Wednesdays, June 10 through October 28th, noon-5:00 p.m., at the Wilton Historical Society. Learn more

Ambler Farm Stand
Enjoy a variety of organic, seasonal produce and the farm's own Maple syrup. Wednesdays at the Wilton Farmers' Market and Saturdays through October from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at Ambler Farm.
Learn more

Georgetown Farmers' Market
Bring home farm-fresh produce, gourmet prepared foods, eggs, artisan bread, baked goods, pasta, local honey and more. Sundays from June 19-October 30, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. rain or shine. 4 Old Mill Road, Georgetown.  Learn more

Weir Farm
Junior Ranger Program
Earn a Weir Farm Junior Ranger badge by completing one of three fun-filled activities. Or complete two and earn the special Weir Farm Junior Ranger patch. Learn more

Take Part in Art
Take inspiration from the great outdoors while sketching and painting plein air with graphite pencils, colored pencils, pastels and watercolors provided by Weir Farm. All ages and abilities are welcome. Wednesdays through Sundays, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., May through October. Learn more

Red Bee Honey Apiary & Gardens
Bee to Table
Beekeeper Marina Marchese will join celebrity chef, Frederic Keiffer, and Patty Popp of Sport Hill Farm to celebrate food from bee to table. April 22, Artisan Delmar, Southport. Call Red Bee Honey Apiary & Gardens at 203-226-4535 or email Red Bee for more information.

Battle of the Chefs
Visit the Red Bee honey tasting table at Ridgefield's Founders Hall, June 5, 4:00-7:00 p.m.  Call Red Bee Honey Apiary & Gardens at 203-226-4535 or email Red Bee for more information.

Seasonal Recipes
Cooking with local, organic produce and eating  with the seasons nourishes not only body and soul, but the environment as well. 
Watercress, Watermelon & Citrus Salad

Spring welcomes fresh, local salad greens back to farmer's markets and grocers' shelves. Serve this salad with the soup, below, for a tasty lunch, or with a grilled entree for dinner. Get recipe


Spring Pea Soup & Bacon Bread Crumbs

Peas, like sweet corn, should be cooked as soon after being picked as possible to keep their sugars from turning to starch. This recipe accents their earthy flavor with salty bacon. Get recipe

Protecting Wilton's Wildlife

Bees are some of the most important pollinators on the planet and Connecticut is home to over 300 different species, including squash, honey, carpenter and mason bees. Often seen cruising from blossom to blossom, bumble bees have their own unique way of helping plants fertilize. By rapidly twitching their flight muscles -- a behavior know as buzz pollination -- these industrious creatures dislodge pollen that would otherwise not be released from flowers. Crops such as tomatoes and eggplants also benefit from buzz pollination. 


According to the USDA, 75% of the fruits and vegetables we consume require bee pollination.Yet these vital members of our ecosystems are being threatened and are in decline. It's more important than ever that we each do our part to protect all pollinators. These simple actions can help.


Plant flowers that bloom from early spring through late autumn. You'll enjoy a bounty of beautiful blossoms and provide a place for pollinators to fuel up. Planting native food plants is also a great way to help pollinators flourish.

Create a pollinator-friendly yard by maintaining unmanicured areas of your property. Provide nesting sites, such as patches of untilled, bare, well-drained soil, which are perfect for many ground-nesting bees. Sites for wood-nesting bees include old logs with beetle burrows or brush piles. Be sure to leave these areas undisturbed year-round.

Avoid insecticides, which are especially harmful to pollinators. If you can't eliminate pesticides from your garden completely, avoid applying them when bees are active (most pollinators will be resting during the night), and apply only to the parts of the plant without flowers to minimize exposure to pollinators.

Our Vision
Wilton will be the most environmentally sustainable town in Connecticut.
It's Festival Time!
Mark your calendar 
f or the 6th annual Wilton Go Green Festival -- a celebration of sustainable living --presented by Ross Solar Group on
Sunday, May 1st. 

More than 80 craftsmen, exhibitors, farmers, purveyors of organic foods and handmade goods will gather around Town Green for what promises to be a day of discovery, learning, entertainment and family fun. WGG thanks our Emerald Sponsor, Gardel Home Improvement, and Silver Sponsor, Realty Seven, for joining Ross Solar Group in making this year's event our best yet.

The festival kicks off with the May Day 5k Run, sponsored by Outdoor Sports. Lace up your favorite sneakers and bring your old pair to be recycled. Free mattress and paper recycling will also be available throughout the day.

Cyril the Sorcerer will mesmerize festival-goers, illuminating the wonders of our planet and the powers we have to protect it. Check out a what life might be like living in a Tiny House, and cheer on your favorite canine conservationists at the much-loved dog parade. A replica of Gustav Whitehead's plane, purported to be the first in flight, and an 1898 electric car will be on display to welcome today's modern models at the finish line of the Westport Electric Vehicle Road Rally.

Live music, artisans, and merchants offering green shopping opportunities, a bounce house and children's activities, delicious fare for foodies and WGG's fabulous live auction ensure his year's festival will delight, inspire and educate all.

Keep a watch out for further information in the weeks ahead and join us on May 1st for a day of discovery, entertainment and family fun.

Green is Smart
Miller-Driscoll School's commitment to fostering a healthy, green  learning environment recently earned students and faculty  the  Connecticut Green LEAF School   d esignation.
A  collaborative, state-wide initiative, the program recognizes and supports schools dedicated to three major goals: 
  • Providing effective environmental and sustainability education through interdisciplinary learning;
  • Improving student and staff well-being through health programs, nutrition and fitness standards, and quality outdoor time, and;
  • Reducing environmental impacts and costs by minimizing the school's environmental footprint.
Miller-Driscoll is the 86th school in the state -- and the third in Wilton, following in the footsteps of Middlebrook and WHS -- to join Connecticut Green LEAF Schools.  Studies show that green schools raise academic achievement, save money and improve the health of students and staff. Students are also energized knowing that they're making a difference in their school and community. Now that's smart!

Conservation Champions
WGG is pleased to recognize three individuals whose dedication to sustainability and conservation make Wilton a healthier, greener home for us all.
Heather Priest  2015 Outstanding Green Teacher, Family & Consumer Sciences Instructor, Middlebrook School, for producing an educational, student-created video on the dangers of vehicular idling that aired throughout the school during No-Idling Week.
Willa Ratner   2015 Outstanding Green Graphic Designer for her many creative contributions, including development of the WGG logo and brand, website art, print graphics, and design services for special initiatives.
Eve Silverman   WGG  E nergizer Bunny Award for her tireless efforts to help launch Wilton's No-Idling Program. 
A Gift from Mother Nature

Humans have relied on the sun's energy for survival since the beginning of time. However, it wasn't until the 1950s that scientists began harnessing this natural resource to generate solar electric power, also know as photovoltaic or PV.

Thanks to advances in research and technology, we now know that an enormous flow of useful energy reaches the Earth's surface in the form of solar radiation that can be converted to solar energy without emitting greenhouse gases.

"We have reached a sort of tipping point here with solar being a very affordable, reliable, clean energy source,"
says Tom Kimbis, vice president of executive affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association. 

In an effort to make solar energy more accessible and affordable to Wilton residents, town and state officials recently launched   Solarize Wilton. Operating under the auspices of Solarize Connecticut --  a partnership between the Connecticut Green Bank, SmartPower and the John Merck Fund -- Solarize Wilton offers homeowners solar energy at discounted prices. To date, 58 Connecticut communities have participated, saving thousands of residents money on their energy bills.

After a thorough vetting process by the state, the nonprofit Smart Power, and town officials, Ross Solar Group was selected as the preferred provider for Solarize Wilton.

Partnering with a single installer affords residents pre-negotiated, community-based pricing, reflecting a discount on equipment and services not usually available to individual homeowners, according to Wilton Energy Commission co-chair, Debra Thompson-Van. Wilton residents have the choice of taking advantage of Ross Solar Group's preferred pricing or contracting with an installer of their choosing.

A variety of flexible, low-cost financing plans are available, including leasing and no-money-down options, that allow homeowners to lower their monthly electric bills immediately. And residents can take advantage of a 30% federal tax credit for all solar installations operational by the end of 2016. The Connecticut Green Bank also offers a sales and property tax exempt incentive as well. 

Residents simply sign up for a no-obligation site evaluation to determine if their home and property lend themselves to solar power. If so, Ross Solar Group will provide homeowners with a quote for the installation and answer any questions homeowners may have. Don't delay: the program ends on May 18th!

Designed to make Wilton a cleaner, more energy-efficient community, Solarize Wilton runs through May 18, 2016.  To learn more, email Debra Thompson-Van or call her at 203-858-8219.
Exploring Wilton's Open Spaces

Wilton is home to 23 parks, preserves, farms, sanctuaries, fields, forests and other protected land, totaling about 1,250 acres. This spring, get outside, breathe in the fresh air, and explore Belknap Preserve.
Belknap Preserve
Rich in natural history and glimpses into Wilton's early agrarian past, Belknap Preserve boasts trails crossing old fields in varying stages of forest succession, an impressive stand of "wolf" trees, rolling open woodlands, and a network of remarkable stone walls dating back to the 1800s.

The Town of Wilton purchased the 37-acre track of land from the Belknap family in 1999, preserving it for future generations through a Conservation Easement granted to the Wilton Land Trust. 

Belknap Preserve offers a variety of trails ranging from a quarter of a mile to 1.5 miles. For those adventurous souls wanting to explore further, follow the blue-blazed trail to the southwest corner of the preserve where you'll be rewarded with a dramatic view of the Mayapple Brook valley and Gregg Preserve beyond. Walk down the access trail to the bridge crossing Mayapple Brook and continue your trek a bit farther in Gregg Preserve before heading back to Belknap's Wampum Hill Road entrance  and home for the season's first glass of lemonade. The spring air, budding daffodils and early-leafing vegetation -- not to mention the exercise -- offer a welcome respite from past months spent indoors.

For more information, directions, parking, access and a trail map, click here
Tips for a greener life

Going organic is a  commitment to living holistically. And it's never been easier to purchase household and personal care products that are kind to people, animals, and the environment. Or you can make your own. So, the next time that life gives you lemons, c lean the microwave.

Kitchen Fixes Clean baked on food in the microwave without scratching the surface or working up a sweat scrubbing. Simply mix three tablespoons of lemon juice into 1.5 cups of water in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 5-10 minutes. Allow the steam to condense on the inside, then wipe away softened food with a dish towel.

Banish odors from cutting boards and sanitize them at the same time by rubbing thoroughly with the cut side of a lemon half. You can also wash the board in undiluted bottled juice. 

Healthy Tricks   Freshen your breath by rinsing with lemon juice, fresh squeezed or straight from the bottle. The citric acid in the juice alters the pH level in your mouth, killing bacteria that causes bad breath. Rinse with water after a few minutes to protect tooth enamel.

With spring comes budding vegetation -- including poison ivy. The next time this pesky vine comes a-creeping on your skin, apply lemon juice to the affected area to soothe itching and alleviate the rash.

Laundry Boosters   Bleach delicate fabrics by swapping chlorine bleach with lemon juice, which is milder, more environmentally friendly and no less effective. Soak delicates in a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda for at least half an hour before washing.

Rising temps invariably lead to perspiration -- and underarm stains. Ditch expensive dry-cleaning bills and harsh chemicals by scrubbing the stained area on shirts and blouses with equal parts lemon juice and water. 
Our favorite books 

The Lorax 
by Dr. Seuss
"Way back in the days when the grass was still green and the pond was still wet and the clouds were still clean, and the song of the Swomee-Swans rang out in space...one morning, I came to this glorious place."

Long before saving the earth became a global concern, Dr. Seuss, speaking through his character the Lorax, warned against mindless progress and the danger it posed to the earth's natural beauty. 

Utilizing his characteristic whimsical rhymes, word plays and images, Seuss presents an amusing exposition of the ecology crisis, introducing children to the concept of environmental stewardship.

"Unless someone like you...cares a whole awful lot...nothing is going to get better...it's not."

Spring is the perfect time to relax with the kids  and enjoy
The Lorax,  a classic tale that teaches young readers to see the beauty in the world around them and take responsibility for protecting it.

Giving the planet a helping hand is just a matter of making one simple change at a time. And there's a big bonus: small lifestyle changes not only benefit the planet, they often save money, too.
Got a favorite green tip that you'd like to share? Email it to us at   info@wiltongogreen.org and we'll be sure to include it in an upcoming edition of Green Living News.

Go Green! Submit your conservation news, favorite
seasonal recipes, sustainability tips, green-event listings
and wildlife photos to: info@wiltongogreen.org