Solar Youth All Over the (New Haven) Map!

This week, like many at Solar Youth, was a whirlwind of activity and adventure.

Saturday found the Winter Explorers at West Rock Ridge State Park taking in the views and enjoying the surprisingly mild January weather. With the help of James Barnett from YOP (Youth Opportunities Program), teams from McConaughy Terrace and Westville Manor found common purpose in their climb to the summit, and enjoyed time together playing in Judges’ Cave.

Monday evening, two courageous Stewards from the McConaughy Terrace team, Aalexus and Sebastian, attended a meeting hosted by the New Haven Land Trust regarding the Pond Lily, a local nature preserve very near their neighborhood. The discussion covered proposals for the removal of the Dam at Pond Lily, as well as wildlife, recreation, and development for the area. Both Stewards had questions and feedback for the Land Trust and others present, including Connecticut Fund for the Environment, American Rivers, Malone and MacBroom, and the City of New Haven. 

Sebastian posed his first question to the group: “Are the animals going to like it when the dam is removed?” he asked. Then, Aalexus chimed in, “Are there any beavers there? What will they think of the dam being demolished?” Their concern over the proposed development, and its effects on the ecosystem at Pond Lily (even though it would be a great place for them to explore during program!) were a great example of the leadership, ecological awareness, and connection and commitment to their community that have been fostered during their time as Stewards.

We saw folks from the New Haven Land Trust again on Tuesday night, when Solar Youth staff attended the First Annual Meeting of the Greater New Haven Green Fund to be recognized as one of their first-year grantees. The Fund supports the efforts of environmental organizations that advance environmental justice, community sustainability, and restoration of the natural environment. Solar Youth received $10,000 to fund the 2012 Neighborhood Model Expansion process for the Citycology program. Other recipients included Solar Youth partners Common Ground High School, New Haven/Leon Sister Cities Project, and, you guessed it, the New Haven Land Trust! We are grateful to the Greater New Haven Green Fund for the opportunity to grow our programs, and our impact in New Haven! 

Left to right: Aalexus had questions for the Pond Lily project team; Winter Explorers celebrate making it to the summit; Sebastian (with Educator Julie Carson) asks more questions about Pond Lily

Fantastic work, Aalexus and Sebastian!

Your input on Pond Lily plans is really important. Thanks for participating in the discussion!