Summer 2017
    Green Living       News
Quote of the Quarter
Heather Priest
Culinary Arts & Sustainable Living Teacher
Zero Waste Schools Team Lead
Middlebrook School

"The launch of the Zero Waste Schools program this fall places the WIlton school district at the fore of environmental conservation in our region -- a leadership position of which we're proud. Our hope is that the broader Wilton community will join us in this important initiative by reducing waste at work and home."

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

Wilton Farmers' Market
Local farmers and artisans join together to provide fresh produce, baked goods, organic dips, jams, olive oil, pies, soaps, lotions, alpaca woolens, and other home-grown goods. Open Wednesdays, June 10th through October 28th, noon-5:00pm, 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 9:00am - 2:00pm at Ambler Farm.

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

Ambler Farm
Adventures at the Farm
This unique program allows preschoolers through kids in 7th grade to experience farm life. Students learn about plants, work in the gardens, spend time with Ambler's sheep, goats and pigs, and check to see if the chickens have laid eggs. Woodworking, hayrides, planting and harvesting, hands-on projects, animals and cooking. Each week in July through Aug 7th. Learn more

Tomato Tastng + Family Fun
Enjoy an epicurean afternoon while tasting and learning about a variety of heirloom, hybrid and garden-variety tomatoes. Bring a tomato-based dish for sharing, enjoy lawn games, tour the garden -- there's even a prize for the largest home-grown tomato. $20/family up to 6 people. Aug 21st, 1:00-3:00pm. Learn more

Woodcock Nature Center
Woodcock Summer Camp
Preschoolers through 8th graders explore Woodcock's 149-acre preserve, interacting with animals, taking nature walks, participating in crafts, games and storytime for little ones, while older campers adventure on woodland expeditions, stream explorations, scavenger hunts, obstacle courses and more. Teens 14 and up can volunteer as a Counselor in Training. Week days in July and Aug. Learn more

Weir Farm
Teen Impressionist Painting Workshop
Teen artists join impressionist artist and master instructor Dmitri Wright for a plein air painting workshop. Wright will lecture and demonstrate how to capture light and color from an impressionist's perspective. July 15th, 10:00am - 3:00pm. Free.  Learn more

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, 10:00am - 4:00pm, May through Oct.  Learn more

Red Bee Honey Apiary & Gardens
Bee to Table
Tour the Red Bee apiary gardens and join beekeeper Marina Marchese as she talks about honeybees and their essential pollination services. Learn how and why these bees make honey, then gather at a communal farm table for a tasting flight of 5 American honeys with perfectly paired accompaniments. Taste fresh honey straight from the beehive during a short honey harvest demo. Aug 13th, 1:00 - 3:00pm. $55.  Learn more

Bee Kind Workshop
Turn your backyard into a bee haven. Learn what honey bees need to thrive and what you can plant to help them, your garden, and the earth. July 22nd, 1:00 - 3:00pm. $55.  Learn more

Grace Farms
River Walk & Tea  
Explore the River, a spectacular award-winning, meandering glass building and beautiful grounds. The tour begins with complimentary tea in the Pavilion and reservations are recommended. $25. July 1st, 12:45 - 2:15pm, July 2nd, 2:00 - 3:30pm, July 5th, 12:45 - 2:15pm  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. July 1st, 2:30pm  Learn more

Open Art Studio for Kids
Children of all ages are invited to explore, play, think, and create every Saturday at Grace Farms. Drop in anytime between 10:30 and 2:30 for a rotating schedule of self-guided, hands-on art activities, from painting with bubbles to building drums. Parents or guardians stay with their children. $5/child. July1st.  Learn more

Seasonal Recipes
Cooking with local, organic produce and eating  with the seasons nourishes not only body and soul, but the environment as well. 
Summer Tomato Supper

Farmers' markets everywhere abound with the freshest, perfectly ripe produce. Long, sun-soaked days yield juicy, deep red tomatoes, packed with flavor and nutrient-rich greens. Make the most of both with this simple yet surprisingly delicious dish.  Get recipe


Russian Beet Salad

This colorful and tasty salad pairs the earthy flavor of beets with the refreshing crunch of cucumbers and distinct flavor of fresh dill. A perfect first course, side dish or luncheon salad. Get recipe

Protecting Wilton's Wildlife

Pollinators are in decline and Wilton is stepping up to protect them. The Wilton Land Conservation Trust, Woodcock Nature Center, Wilton Garden Club, Wilton Library, and Norwalk River Watershed Association have joined together to create the Wilton's first Pollinator Pathway. 


Teams of volunteers are planting native plants -- such as milkweed, wildflowers, shrubs, and grasses --  along a specified route to support birds, butterflies, months and bees as they travel through Wilton up to Devil's Den. The main pathway will stretch from Wilton Town Center up Ridgefield Road to the west, and along the Norwalk River and Norwalk River Valley Trail (NRVT) to the east, paralleling Danbury Road.


Neighborhood back yards and other green spaces all play a role in creating a continuous corridor of pesticide- and insecticide-free, pollinator-friendly feeding and watering areas.


Planting began this spring along the NRVT and residents are encouraged to convert a portion of their green, but otherwise inhospitable lawns, to small gardens of native plants, which help sustain ecological balance and provide nutrients for pollinators and other wildlife.


As these vital members of our ecosystems continue to 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. Remove invasive plants and replace with native species, such as wild geranium, highbush blueberry, swamp milkweed, New Jersey tea, wrinkleleaf goldenrod, and New England aster  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.


Become a beekeeper

Back yard beekeeping is growing in popularity. Organizations, such as the Back Yard Beekeepers Association, based in southwestern CT, and the American Beekeeping Federation offer a wealth of information and support. A visit with Marina Marchese, owner of Red Bee Honey in Weston, will inspire and delight anyone interested in beekeeping as she recounts tales of the wisdom imparted to her from these industrious, vitally important creatures.

Give the planet a helping hand 
Start by making one simple change at a time. Small lifestyle changes not only benefit the planet, they often save money, too.

Have a favorite green tip that you'd like to share? Email us and we'll be sure to include it in an upcoming edition of Green Living News.
Community-based conservation

Nature is local
WGG is taking bold steps to protect our natural resources. We're partnering with Wilton's schools, government leaders, community organizations, local businesses, and residents to develop and implement programs to safeguard the environment we cherish and share. 

We're collaborating with public and independent schools throughout town to implement the Connecticut Green LEAF Schools Program, a state-wide initiative that helps schools create an infrastructure and focused plan to educate students about sustainability, support the health and wellness of students and staff, and reduce environmental impacts and costs. Currently, Miller-Driscoll, Middlebrook, Wilton High School, and Montessori schools all participate in the program.

We're also partnering with the Wilton public schools to develop a Zero Waste Schools initiative that will significantly reduce the amount of waste -- primarily from school cafeterias -- that  otherwise becomes landfill. Measurements taken at all four schools revealed that an estimated 60-75% of the garbage ending up in dumpsters could have been diverted to recycling or compost.

This ambitious initiative and three-year roll-out will begin this fall with a pilot program at Middlebrook School that incorporates food recovery, reuse, composting, recycling, and environmental conservation practices into the classroom as students learn about -- and then implement -- sustainable behaviors that they can then introduce at home, bringing the learning full-circle. There's even an educational component for parents, staff, and students on the benefits of composting and additional materials that can now be recycled using single stream.

Miller-Driscoll will join in the pilot this fall with all program components except composting and recovery. They, along with other Wilton public schools, will implement part of the program with the goal of also becoming Zero Waste Schools within three years.

Green biz
Bankwell in Wilton joins the growing number of local companies and nonprofits to receive the WIlton Green Business Designation. Committed to good earth stewardship in their daily operations, these businesses and organizations demonstrate leadership in their sustainability practices through educational efforts, a healthy indoor environment, public transportation usage, and responsible energy and water consumption. Wilton Hardware, Realty Seven, Bianco Rosso Restaurant & Wine Bar, and the Wilton Library are also designees.

Celebrating sustainability
May 7th was a day  of discovery, entertainment, and family fun as hundreds gathered to celebrate sustainable living  at the 7th annual Wilton Go Green Festival. In addition to wildlife ambassadors, electric vehicles, children's activities, and other highlights from past festivals, this year's event introduced several initiatives emerging from WGG's November symposium, How Green Could Wilton Be?, and winter community forum. More than 70 craftsmen and exhibitors, local musicians, naturalists, and conservationists filled WIlton Town Green and surrounding areas, creating an educational and green marketplace. As WGG works to advance its goal of becoming the most sustainable town in Connecticut, we applaud the often-unseen efforts of Wilton's residents, businesses, schools, government, and others that make our community a healthy and beautiful place to live.

Spring interns
WGG welcomed three Wilton High School seniors to our offices as part of the WHS Senior Internship Program. The program, which runs for three to four weeks in May, offers graduating seniors the opportunity to explore an area of interest outside of the classroom. 

Catherine Vose, a high school recycling club member, Emily Mitrione, whose love for the environment was enriched through an AP environmental science course, and WHS recycling and garden club member, Emily Zimmerman, updated the WGG website, collaborated on the development of a media kit, communications plan, and social media strategy, and met with local business and community leaders. We appreciate their many contributions and wish them well in college!

Joining the team
WGG welcomes Sara Curtis, Tina Duncan, Ann Mitrione, Libby Scaperotta, Brian Shea, and Ted Stonbely to the board of directors.
Make a Difference
Wilton Go Green is launching impactful new initiatives focused on Food, Land, Water, and Materials Management in our town and needs your help. Join one of these dynamic teams and help shape Wilton's future. 

For more information or to volunteer, contact Daphne Dixon at (293) 536 4695 or

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 summer, get outside, breathe in the fresh air, and explore Wild Duck Reserve.
Wild Duck Reserve
Acquired by the Town in 1969, Wild Duck Reserve is a perfect destination for a revitalizing interlude with nature when you're limited on time. The trail system in the 16-acre park makes a wide loop easily covered in an hour, skirting the edge of a red maple swamp, scrambling over a series of ledges leading to the park's highest point, and gradually descending through second-growth woods.

For those interested in a longer walk, wander off the beaten path over the crest of ledge rocks extending to the southern boundary and take in the serene views. In addition to red maples, yellow birches, oaks, and hickories offer shade from the summer sun. Be sure to return next spring when the many mountain laurel and wildflowers are in bloom. 

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

When summer arrives, the great outdoors beckon like at no other time of year. Backyard barbecues, naps on a hammock, hikes, bicycle rides, swims, and leisurely strolls along shaded paths renew our spirits, bringing us closer to the natural world--as well as ticks, mosquitoes, and sunburns.

Rather than reaching for DEET-laden bug repellent and chemical sunscreens, try these common-sense natural remedies and enjoy the summer full-on.

Mosquitoes   Al as, some people are more attractive to these pesky insects that others. Genetics and the way your body processes cholesterol, uric acid, and carbon dioxide, among other factors, can draw mosquitoes to you like a moth to a flame. If possible, avoid going out during their heaviest feeding times, dawn and dusk, or wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing that covers your skin. Mosquitos prefer ankles, wrists, and ears -- where skin is thin and blood vessels are closer to the surface. To help repel these pests without shrouding yourself, mix 15 drops of cinnamon oil, lemon eucalyptus oil, or catnip oil in 1/4 cup of olive oil and apply to pulse points. If you do get bit, applying chamomile tea can stop the irritation and itching.

Ticks   The best defense against ticks, which are most active during the summer months, is a good offense. When out in wooded areas especially, be sure to wear a hat, long-sleeved shirt and pants tucked into your socks. Leave the sandals at home and opt for sneakers or closed-toe shoes. Applying lemon eucalyptus has helps keep these unwanted pests where they belong -- outside. When you come in for the day, run your clothes through a hot dryer for at least 10 minutes to kill any live ticks that might have hitched a ride, then take a shower, thoroughly checking your body, paying special attention to areas where ticks may hide: behind ears, along your hairline, in the armpits, groin, and belly button. Remove any ticks immediately with fine-tipped tweezers and flush down the toilet.

Sunburns   A single  sunburn can cause health consequences years later, so use common sense and relax in the shade. Wearing sunscreen daily -- not just between the hours of 10:00am and 2:00pm when the sun is at its most intense -- and reapplying after swimming or being active is a must. Chose one that's labeled "broad spectrum" to protect against both UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of 30 or higher, and check out Environmental Working Group to find a sunscreen that's chemical free. If you miss a spot and end up with a burn, mix a cup of apple cider or white vinegar into a cool bath and soak. Don't rub skin. Afterwards, gently pat dry, then break off a leaf of aloe vera and apply the juice. Don't have a plant? Aloe vera gel is the next best thing. 
Our favorite books 

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan
Ever Proposed to
Reverse Global Warming
Edited by Paul Hawken
"Drawdown is a marvelous collection of strategic thought experiments with metrics that indicate the beneficial impact of each of 80 global-scale initiatives that are feasible with existing know-how. Complete with a message from Pope Francis and an entire section of coming attractions that lay out additional ideas for saving our planet, this inspiring, energizing book is filled with optimism; just what we need!"

-- Patrice Gillespie

Our Vision
Wilton will be the most environmentally sustainable town in Connecticut.

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