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  • Can You Think Beyond The Holidays?

    We know this is a busy time of year. But please take a moment to breath and enjoy the season. Also, have a look at our Event Calendar because 2018 is already filling up with some fabulous events. The variety is great. Some highlights are below. Al Gore comes to Wellesley College! Conservation Council talk at the Wellesley Rotary Club Talks about eating locally & seasonally Sustainable Wellesley party Documentary and dinner evenings Wellesley Green Schools summit RDF’s talk on reducing food waste at the Hills Library Grow your own garden talk at the Hills Library Learn about raising backyard chickens Author of Our Earth, Our Species, Our Selves: How to Thrive While Creating a Sustainable World speaks Happy Holidays from all of us to all of you.
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  • Local Food Rescue Program to Donate Apx. 20,000 Meals!

    Great news from Wellesley’s Sustainable Energy Committee: “A number of schools and colleges in Wellesley and the Metro-West area will donate an estimated 20,000 meals this year to an organization in Cambridge that takes wholesome, edible surplus and leftover food and passes it on to people in need. Wellesley’s 3R Working Group – which consists of representatives from the Department of Public Works, the Sustainable Energy Committee, and the Natural Resources Commission – has been working with the Environmental Protection Agency/New England and the Cambridge-based non-profit Food For Free to develop a collaborative food rescue initiative. The food service vendors dedicated to its implementation include Whitsons Culinary Group, Rebecca’s Café, Sodexo, Chartwells, and AVI Foodsystems. The initiative delivers on the goals of the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge Program focusing on local K-12 schools, colleges and universities. The collaborative food rescue program participants include Wellesley Public Schools, Babson College, Bentley University, Olin College of Engineering and Wellesley College. To date, over 4,000 pounds of food have been donated since September from Bentley, Olin and Wellesley Middle School; the program was rolled out in the other schools in recent weeks. With this critical mass of participating schools and colleges in place, other local organizations with serviceable leftover food will be encouraged to join. Food For Free – a food rescue organization that distributed over 2 million pounds of food last year – is repackaging this rescued food into single-serve meals. Recipients may include people living in shelters, in temporary housing such as motels, in housing without full kitchens, and those receiving Meals on Wheels. “Translating this dream into a realty has been a complicated challenge as there were few precedents of such a comprehensive and collaborative initiative,” said Ellen Korpi, Vice Chair of the Town’s Sustainable Energy Committee. “It took the support and guidance of the Wellesley’s school administration, food services vendor, and the health department to bring this project to fruition.” “In order to make it worth our sending a truck to this area, we needed a minimum volume per pick up,” explained Sasha Purpura, Executive Director of Food For Free. “Because these institutions collaborated and came to us as a group, we were able to view this as a single collection, making them a viable food donation partner.” “The commitment and teamwork of the food services organizations is key to the success of such an initiative,” said Alison Cross, 3R Working Group member and author of the program’s standard operation procedures. “They are responsible for moving the surplus food through the process of collection, storage and preparation for pick-up, while protecting the integrity and safety of the food.” Wasted food is a growing problem in this country and an untapped opportunity. In 2014 alone, more than 38 million tons of food waste was generated and the EPA estimates that food makes up the single largest category of waste material in landfills, constituting a fifth of discarded municipal solid waste. Much of this wasted food is wholesome and edible and could be serving the one in six, or 52 million American households, that were “food insecure” in 2013, according to the US Department of Agriculture. “Food insecurity,” which describes a household’s inability to provide enough food for every person to live an active, healthy life, is one way to measure hunger. In Massachusetts today, it is estimated that one in ten people are food insecure. One of the side benefits that stem from food waste donation programs, according to the EPA, is that organizations that donate food see new opportunities for reducing leftovers. The donation process creates an informational feedback loop for waste generators that inevitably reduces both their wasted food, and their food waste removal costs. As the 3R Working Group recruited local colleges for this program, conversations with MassBay Community College, located in Wellesley, revealed that 52% of the students surveyed there, indicated they were food insecure. Food For Free is now working with MassBay to develop a program for these students to receive food from the Food For Free Family Meals program. For more information, click here
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  • Bucket List & New Year’s Resolution

    As 2018 gets closer are you thinking about your bucket list? Some New Year’s resolutions?  Consider a role in town government! Our fabulous Town Clerk, Kathy Nagle, put out a message to the town for those considering running for municipal office. Read on for more inspiration and details recently shared by her office.  Feel free to contact her at 781-431-1019 ext. 2250 with any questions. “The Town of Wellesley depends on the active participation of citizens like you! We have 11 Boards and Committees elected at the Annual Town election this March. The seats on these boards are staggered so that one or two seats are elected each year for 3 year terms (Planning and Housing are 5 year terms). Wellesley also has a representative Town Meeting for 240 members elected by voting precinct. Town Meeting Members have staggered three year terms so 10 are elected each year from each precinct. Town Meeting meets in March/April to vote on operating budgets, capital expenditures and bylaws for the town. The process of our local elections begins with candidates obtaining nomination papers from the Town Clerk. Candidates then solicit signatures of registered voters and return the papers to the Town Clerk for certification. Nomination papers are available beginning December 6, 2017 for both town-wide offices and town meeting members. Candidates must obtain papers for town wide offices on or before 5 pm January 12, 2018; and for Town Meeting on or before 5 pm January 26, 2018. The offices on the ballot for the March 6, 2017 election are: 1 seat each for Board of Assessors, Board of Public Works, and Board of Health, and Moderator (1 year); Town Clerk (3 years); 2 seats each for Board of Selectmen, School Committee, Library Trustees, and Natural Resources Commission. Planning Board (one 5 year and one 3 year) and Recreation Commission (also 1 one year) have a regular seat to elect and an unexpired term due to resignations. All 10 Town Meeting seats for each precinct with some additional seat available due to resignations. View a table of offices here: http://www.wellesleyma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/8311“
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  • Low-Waste Holiday Season? It’s Easier Than You Think!

    Bring on the bells and the bustle—the holiday season is here! As we rush to prepare, we sometimes reach for what seems most convenient rather than what is more sustainable. Thanks to Sustainable Wellesley member Kelly Caiazzo, we have a handy guide with low-waste gift ideas and resources that will give your family and friends simple ways to reduce their waste — all year long. Click here for the Sustainable Wellesley Holiday Gift Guide with ideas for reusable gifts that keep on giving!  My own family has been working to reduce our waste all year. In October, we fit all our landfill waste into one tiny paper bag! Here are some of the ways we plan to reduce our waste over the holidays: – Eliminate “disposables:” We have stocked up on inexpensive cloth napkins, glassware, ceramic plates, and flatware for parties—eliminating all disposables. Overnight houseguests get their own reusable bags, reusable coffee cups, and bamboo utensils so they don’t bring “to-go” trash back to the house. – Wrap with reusables: There are many easy ways to wrap gifts — beautifully — without using wrapping paper and ribbon! We have cloth gift bags that we’ve been reusing for years and Kelly Caiazzo has introduced us to the Japanese style of tying cloth around gifts of all shapes and sizes. Click here for a video demo. – Shop in the bulk food section and avoid plastic and non-recyclable packaging: Buying in the bulk section eliminates a lot of packaging. We avoid products that have “hidden” packaging that can’t be recycled — such as crackers with a plastic pouch inside. (Wasa brand crackers are packaged entirely in recyclable paper.) – Manage food waste: We are participating in the food waste program at the Wellesley Recycling & Disposal Facility so we have eliminated all food waste from our landfill trash. (Thanks, RDF!) Please send us YOUR favorite tips for reducing waste and we will include them in a Sustainable Wellesley update: info@sustainablewellesley.com.
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  • TONIGHT: Wellesley’s Unified Plan Open House

    Swing by the Great Hall in Town Hall TONIGHT for the Unified Plan Open House between 7 & 9pm. Learn more about ideas for preserving and enhancing Wellesley’s environmental resources, natural and recreational open spaces. Other main topics include housing, town government, zoning, transportation and economic development. Share your ideas on these and other important sustainable issues facing Wellesley.
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  • A Message from the Sierra Club

    Here is a message from the Massachusetts Sierra Club. Contact Jacob at (617) 423-5775 or jacob.stern@sierraclub.org for more information. “Wellesley is one of ~50 towns in Massachusetts that receives its electricity from a Municipal Light Plant (MLP). There are 41 MLPs in Massachusetts today and electricity generated from these plants cover about 15% of customers in the Commonwealth. What is a Municipal Light Plant (MLP)? MLPs are municipally-owned utilities. This might sound familair because you probably receive your power from a local light plant utility instead of an investor owned utility like Eversource. In many ways MLPs function similarly to larger Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs), but there are some key differences. First, in Massachusetts IOUs cover large regions of the state. MLPs, by contrast, serve just one or a handful of towns. Second, MLPs are not subject to the same laws as IOUs, namely the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard is a requirement for our Investor Owned Utilities to maintain an annual increase in the percentage of renewable energy generated for our grid. MLPs are EXEMPT from the RPS and not eligible for many of the associated funds unless they choose to opt into the same IOU standards. What can I do to bring more renewable energy to Wellesley? There are options for MLPs participate in renewable energy generation and some have already begun moving in that direction. Recently the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) proposed better clean energy policies that include MLPs. Unfortunately, more than a third of the MLP boards submitted comments to the state saying they disagreed with being included in the Clean Energy Standard. The DEP needs to hear from people in their towns that you care about clean energy and want them to do better. Please email the DEP at climate.strategies@state.ma.us to urge them to include MLPs in the standards: As a resident of Wellesley, I have become aware of the stakeholders sessions that the Department of Environmental Protection is holding in regards to the inclusion of Municipal Light Plants (MLPs) in the Clean Energy Standard. I write to urge you to include MLP’s in the Clean Energy Standard and encourage light plants to plan for a steady integration of renewable energy resources, with a priority on Class I renewables. MLPs should be a part of commonwealth’s solution to climate change and not be exempted. Want to learn more? Join our January 2018 MLP meeting! Mass Climate Action Network (MCAN) is hosting a summit in January 2018. This meeting will focus on information sharing and provide you with the skills needed to advocate for better clean energy standards for your local municipal light plant. Click here if you’re interested in attending!”
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  • Less STUFF This Holiday Season

    This holiday season consider expressing your love by doing things with friends and family, instead of necessarily buying Stuff for them as STUFF has serious consequences for the planet. As you attend holiday parties, have lunch with work colleagues, try starting a chat about all that Stuff, where it comes from and where it goes; as well as the impacts on people and the planet along the way. This oldie but a goodie short film called Story of Stuff is good to show and share on social media, but they have a whole slew of newer films too. Some non-material gifts ideas include event tickets or membership to a local museum; something home made or pre-loved, something they have on their to do list that you can do for them (ie. unsubscribe them from unwanted junk mail through Catalogue Choice). You can also do a volunteer event with them or make a donation to a local charity that means a lot to them (maybe donate to Sustainable Wellesley or Wellesley Green Schools by clicking here). For those that must buy something, try Sustainable Wellesley’s holiday gift guide that offers ideas on items that help create less waste. What are you doing for folks this holiday season? Share your ideas with us on Facebook or by emailing us at info@SustainableWellesley.com. Happy Holidays!  
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  • Take Advantage of Electric Vehicle Incentives – Before 2018

    NOW is the time to buy an electric vehicle. Mass Energy Consumers Alliance’s “Drive Green” program makes EV purchases or leases more attractive, on top of the federal tax credit and the Massachusetts state MORE-EV rebate. Click here to learn more about possible discounts to purchase or lease a top EV model at a participating dealer. This is great news as EVs are cheaper to run per mile, require less maintenance, pollute less and are an excellent way of reducing your carbon emissions. This nonprofit organization is working to reduce emissions 80% by 2050 and stop climate change and have created this EV program as part of the solution. Be aware that there is a Federal bill that would eliminate the $7500 tax credit for EV purchases.  If this tax bill passes, that credit will only be available until the end of 2017, making the thought of buying/leasing an EV car timely.
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  • Doesn’t Matter When You Donate

    Sustainable Wellesley’s ever-expanding team of volunteers has successfully brought a wide variety of events to Wellesley residents, businesses, and neighbors: sustainable living, sustainable investing, trips to climate marches, hosting talks and movies and campaigns, Action Group meetings, and work on transport, renewable energy, food waste, Monarch butterflies, pesticide reduction and more. Sustainable Wellesley once relied on personal, ad-hoc contributions from its Board, but now is looking toward larger and longer-term projects and we could use your help. Our team will be grateful for any level of annual, tax-deductible contribution you might be willing to make to support our work together here in Wellesley. You may confirm our EIN charity number 47-3458525 here. Many thanks!  
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  • US = You & Me @ Unified Plan Open House – Lets Build a Sustainable Future for Wellesley

    The Town of Wellesley is developing a Unified Plan that will be a guide for all town decision-making for the next 10 to 20 years. That sounds important, right? IT IS! If we want the Town to make decisions that prioritize sustainability, now is the time to say so. Come to the Unified Plan open house to get an update on the plan and speak up about how you envision a sustainable future for Wellesley. Drop in on Wednesday, November 29, anytime 7:00 to 9:00 pm, in the Great Hall at Wellesley Town Hall.
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  • Residents Urge Governor Baker to Take Action to End Construction of New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

    Wellesley residents Lise Olney and Raina McManus traveled to the State House in Boston on Tuesday, November 14, to ask Governor Charlie Baker to use his executive authority to stop the construction of dangerous fracked gas pipelines and infrastructure in Massachusetts. They joined 60 people outside the governor’s office in silent protest, ending in song. This “stand in” is part of a larger campaign organized by the Mass Power Forward Coalition, a group comprised of 200 environmental and community groups — including Sustainable Wellesley — demanding that the state take a leadership role by acting on climate justice. The campaign began on September 13, and has grown every week as waves of Massachusetts residents have traveled from around the commonwealth to Baker’s office. Residents of Wellesley, Barnstable, Middleboro, North Andover, Bedford, and Boston were at the event. In the wake of President Donald Trump’s recent withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, Governor Baker joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, acknowledging that the effects of climate change “threaten the people of [Massachusetts] and put an intense burden on [its economy].” But concerned residents say Governor Baker’s energy policy reflects a pro-pipeline stance rather than a commitment to a clean energy future. A member of Sustainable Wellesley’s leadership team, Lise Olney said, “We took our concerns to the governor’s door because he’s not listening to the people. Governor Baker says he’s taking action on climate change, but when you look at his policies, he’s actually in favor of building new fracked gas pipelines and power plants that we don’t need. He should insist that gas companies fix the 16,000 gas leaks in Massachusetts before they expand pipelines that endanger us and undermine our future.” The Baker administration has continued to side with utilities and fossil fuel companies by promoting the notion that more fracked gas is needed to meet Massachusetts’ energy needs, and by supporting a gas infrastructure tariff known as the “pipeline tax.” Sustainable Wellesley leadership team member Mary Gard has also been participating in the stand-ins at the governor’s office, along with Regina LaRocque, Amy Benjamin, and other Wellesley residents. “Massachusetts does not need any more fracked gas pipelines.  Instead, we’re asking Governor Baker to take bold action on climate change and transition the state to a renewable energy infrastructure. It’s better for both our environment and our economy,” said Mary Gard. At the stand-in, residents delivered a letter to the governor asking him to issue an executive order instructing state agencies to do everything in their power to deny permits for new large fossil fuel infrastructure projects such as gas pipelines, compressor stations, and gas power plants. More information about the campaign can be found at www.betterfutureaction.org/standupcharlie.  
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  • Let Us Wrap Your Gifts for FREE on SATURDAY

    Get your great Wellesley Marketplace gifts wrapped FREE onsite at the Sustainable Wellesley booth! Volunteers will be doing complimentary gift wrapping in up cycled Furoshiki cloths that you can reuse and regift for years to come. Sustainable Wellesley is also giving away free Holiday Gift Guides for earth-conscious consumers. See eco-friendly gift ideas on display and walk away with a free gift guide tucked into a food-safe reusable cotton bag! Find Sustainable Wellesley upstairs at the 41st Wellesley Marketplace THIS SATURDAY, Nov. 11th at Wellesley High School. Entry tickets available at the door or online here.
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  • Landfill Diversion | CDs/DVDs | RDF Closed This Sat. | Reusable Area Open Thru Dec. 2

    Lots of great news from Wellesley’s Recycling and Disposal Facility — – The food waste pilot is diverting 1 ton a week from the landfill! Congrats! – Got CDs/DVDs? You can now drop them off at the new bin – next to the book exchange – and they will go to the non-profit, More Than Words. – Note that the RDF will be closed on Veterans’ Day, Saturday November 11th. – Do some home clean up and participate in America Recycles Day on November 15th. Be sure to drop some items off at the Reusables Area before it closes for the season on Dec. 2nd. – Nov. 26th is the last Sunday the RDF will be open until the Spring. – Speaking of waste, here is a recent report from the UN on Where the 50 Million Tonnes a Year of Toxic E-Waste Go.  
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  • Rethinking Urban Transportation

    The last of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Transportation’s four public listening sessions around transportation will be held this Thursday, November 09, 2017 from 6pm – 8pm at the West Middle School, 271 West St. in Brockton. These public listening sessions for stakeholders across Massachusetts will help identify the best state and regional policies aimed at reducing transportation sector emissions, increasing deployment of zero emission vehicles, and increasing the resilience of transportation infrastructure as the climate changes. They are also welcoming comments on designing transportation policy solutions with environmental justice communities in mind. Please submit written comments before January 1st here, or email them to gwsa@massmail.state.ma.us. The Union of Concerned Scientists can send you an action alert with suggested information on this topic. To receive that information once the listening sessions are complete, sign up here. In addition, discussions are happening around Wellesley on this topic. If you are interested in learning more and getting involved, please email info@SustainableWellesley.com.  
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  • Food, Films, Transportation & More This Sunday From 1-3pm

    Join us Sunday, November 5th from 1-3pm in the loft overlooking the golf course at 161 Oakland Street for a Sustainable Wellesley get together. Interesting Topics including: – Transportation and clean vehicles discussion from Eleanor Fort, Union of Concerned Scientists – Food and The Environment – Winter Film Series – Gas leaks update – including upcoming pipeline event on 11/6 at the State House ***Please bring clean bandanas, fabric squares, scarves you can donate for Sustainable Wellesley to use at our booth at the Wellesley Marketplace event*** This is a great group of folks who’s actions together make a measurable difference in Wellesley. Plus, the meetings are humorous and on time, so please add this to your calendar. Feel free to invite a friend, family member, work colleague or neighbor. Never been before? No problem. Sustainable Wellesley gets together a few times a year to talk about issues happening in our community and what we can do to make a difference. Please email us at info@sustainablewellesley.com to let us know if you will be there, plus issues, concerns, ideas of your own. See you Sunday! Snacks provided.
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  • Frustrated With The Train?

    You are not alone. The Union of Concerned Scientists acknowledges that our transportation system is old, congested, under funded, and inaccessible, and it’s our state’s largest source of global warming emissions (40%). Plus, transportation related pollution causes over 3,000 asthma attacks, 500 preventable deaths, and $1.3 billion in combined health costs in Massachusetts a year. Low income and otherwise vulnerable communities suffer disproportionately from these impacts. However, they have an idea on how to build a clean, affordable, accessible, equitable, convenient system that offers access to jobs, schools, and services across the Commonwealth. Come hear about it from Ms. Eleanor Fort from the Union of Concerned Scientists this Sunday, November 5th from 1-3pm at 161 Oakland Street. Since Governor Baker has shown continued commitment to the Paris climate agreement, including setting a goal of reducing transportation emissions by 35% by 2030 under the Global Warming Solutions Act, and working on a regional collaboration with other Northeast states to address these issues, there is hope. Ms. Fort will explain a transportation cap and invest program that could potentially raise up to $4.7 billion, including over $120 million per year for clean vehicle incentives, $120 million in affordable housing initiatives, and $225 million to improve public transportation for Massachusetts. A cap and invest program could help the Commonwealth achieve their climate goal while also expanding transportation access, creating jobs, and reducing health costs. Similar regional programs, including the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), have succeeded when states work together to reduce emissions, strengthen the economy, and save consumers money. A clean, equitable, modern transportation system is within our reach.
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  • Donate Clean Bandanas, Fabric Squares, Scarves

     Please donate your clean bandanas, fabric squares, or scarves. Simply drop them off this Sunday between 1&3 at 161 Oakland Street or email us at info@SustainableWellesley.com to make alternate plans. We will be using them to wrap gifts at the Wellesley Marketplace on November 11th at the Wellesley High School. The materials you donate will be created into furoshiki -an ancient Japanese tradition of easily and elegantly wrapping gifts without waste. Come visit Sustainable Wellesley’s booth upstairs to get your gifts wrapped. If you are skilled at this, we would welcome your help. Please email us at at info@SustainableWellesley.com to help out.  
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  • EASILY FLEX YOUR POLITICAL MUSCLE

    We are Making it Easy For You.   Don’t feel paralyzed.  Make your views heard on important federal and state ENERGY issues: FEDERAL The EPA estimated the Clean Power Plan would prevent up to 6,600 premature deaths and 150,000 asthma attacks in children. Yet, the EPA Chief announced that the Administration will start the process of dismantling this policy. The health and well being of our communities depends on strong climate action from our government, not the removal of protections. Here is an easy way for you to write to our Federal Government about maintaining and improving our Clean Power Plan. STATE The gas industry has been pushing for a tax on OUR electric bills to build new interstate fracked gas pipelines. Not only is this terrible for our environment, but it is a risky investment for us consumers. Democratic and Republican state legislators are circulating a sign-on letter to oppose the pipeline tax and reform the Department of Public Utilities to make the agency more democratic. Urge your state legislator to sign on by clicking here here.  
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  • Shoppers

    As the seasons change, your families’ wardrobe may need to as well. Swing by Shopper’s Corner, located in the Schofield Elementary School, on Wednesday’s from 8:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and the first Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. during the school year to find — and share –gently loved accessories, shoes, and clothes for women, men, and children. This thrift/consignment shop is open to our entire community and is a great way to share clothes that don’t work for you any more and find new things that do. Second hand is en vogue these days and is better for the environment than buying new. Think about how all that textile waste. Ready…more than 80 billion articles of clothing are produced and sold around the world annually. There is a huge consequence of fast fashion, but you don’t have to always be part of it. Plus, a great portion of the funds go to Schofield’s PTO which supports a variety of initiatives so its a win-win.  
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  • Final Say on New LED Streetlights

    At their meeting on Monday, October 30 at 5:30 pm, the Board of the Municipal Light Plant will make a final decision on new LED light fixtures for Wellesley streets. Any resident may make comments during the “citizens speak” period at the very beginning of the meeting. The two LED fixtures under consideration are installed on Croton Street and Pine Street. Have a look and have your say! See you at the Municipal Light Plant, 4 Municipal Way, on Monday, October 30 at 5.30pm upstairs in the Kingsley Boardroom.
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  • The Wellesley Green Schools Newsletter is back!

    Yeah!! Please SUBSCRIBE HERE for Wellesley school updates on green initiatives like school lunch food recovery, cafeteria recycling, student recognition, green tips and more! Every newsletter has a green activity you can do with your kids, a book recommendation, a link to a kid-friendly seasonal recipe, and updates on all the great environmental work going on to make our schools greener. Thanks Kelly for bringing us back.
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  • Sign Up To Turn Your Compost/Food Waste Into Biogas @RDF

    You can easily turn your food waste/compost into biogas by collecting it and bringing it to Wellesley’s own Recycling and Disposal Facility (RDF). Now that is renewable energy! Wellesley residents are invited to participate in a food waste drop off program at the RDF that’s intended to reduce the amount of food waste going to landfills by making composting more convenient for residents. The three-month pilot, part of a series of initiatives conducted by Wellesley’s 3R(Reduce Reuse Recycle) Working Group, will help the town determine if there’s enough interest to permanently offer the program. The 3R Working Group includes the Department of Public Works, the NRC and the Sustainable Energy Committee. Food waste starter kit. As participation in the pilot is on a first-come, first-served basis, interested residents are encouraged to sign up NOW. All participants will receive: -A free starter kit, paid for by Dept. of Environmental Protection grants, that includes a counter-top compost bucket, compostable bag liners and a container for transporting your food waste to the RDF -A program tutorial – Information on acceptable food waste items and those items that are not accepted Participants will bring their waste-filled bags to a container located in the RDF trash drop off area.  The collected food waste will go to an anaerobic digester to be turned into biogas. Pilot program participants will also be asked to complete follow up feedback surveys. All enrolled participants can pick up their starter kits at the RDF. The food waste drop off area will be open during regular RDF hours. Learn more about the Food Waste Drop Off Pilot here!
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  • Positivity and Informative Posts on Instagram

    Looking to add some positivity and informative posts into your Instagram feed? Follow us on Instagram @sustainablewellesley. We love pictures of green initiatives or anything outdoors! Send us your pictures or tag us using our very own hashtag #sustainwellesley to be featured on our page! Big thanks to Emily C. for this!
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  • Massachusetts + Solar

    Last week, Sustainable Wellesley — with 84 other environmental, civic, housing, health, faith organizations and businesses representing tens of thousands of Massachusetts residents — co signed a letter to Chairman Barrett, Chairman Golden, and members of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy urging them to approve legislation that will expand solar energy and ensure that its benefits are available to all. Excerpts from the letter are below. To learn more and get involved on the State level, please email info@SustainableWellesley.com. “Solar energy has grown rapidly in recent years, with more than 300 times as much solar capacity installed today as in 2007. Thanks to supportive state policies as well as the efforts of countless families, businesses, institutions and municipalities, Massachusetts has emerged as a national leader for solar energy. We are seeing the benefits of solar energy all around us. Solar is helping to clean up our air and protect our health from dangerous fossil fuel pollution. We are emitting less carbon dioxide and other climate-altering pollution, which contributes to rising sea levels, more severe storms, and other impacts of global warming. Cities and towns are reducing their municipal electric bills and saving money for their residents by installing solar panels on capped landfills, brownfields, and rooftops. Nonprofits and affordable housing organizations are switching to solar to stabilize their energy costs and invest more of their resources in serving their communities. According to MassCEC, more than 18,000 Massachusetts residents are now working for solar companies, a number that will grow with continued policy leadership from state officials. For all of the progress we have made, we have still tapped only a small fraction of Massachusetts’ solar potential. To maximize the benefits to our environment, our health, and our communities, we should accelerate the growth of solar energy and ensure that everyone in Massachusetts has access to its benefits. Unfortunately, the caps on net metering are preventing families, businesses, nonprofits and local government from switching to solar power. Although the Legislature acted last year to raise the caps, the increase was insufficient to accommodate continued solar growth. As a result, communities served by National Grid and Unitil, as well as Western Massachusetts communities served by Eversource, have once again seen solar projects stall due to the caps. Additionally, the 40 percent cut in the value of net metering credits, adopted by the Legislature when it raised the net metering caps last session, is making it harder for many to switch to solar. This adverse impact is particularly severe for affordable housing providers, low-income families, renters, and others who are unable to install solar panels on the roofs of their homes…. Specifically, we recommend taking the following steps: 1. Eliminate the caps on net metering. Absent an elimination of net metering caps, they should be lifted by no less than 5 percentage points for public and private projects, to provide certainty for solar projects over the coming year. 2. Restore the full value of net metering credits, particularly for projects that benefit low-to-moderate income communities. For the long term, we also support a thorough and transparent process to study and adopt a “value of solar” methodology that fairly accounts for all of the benefits that solar provides as well as the costs. 3. Set aside a portion of any future solar incentive program to benefit low-income communities and renters. 4. Allow net metering”  
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  • Truth To Power

    Quentin Prideaux, President of Sustainable Wellesley, spoke most recently in Wakefield about the impacts and causes of climate change, the actions we need to take, and what it all means for Massachusetts and the Northeast. You can watch the talk by clicking on the video above. Quentin will be part of a panel of experts at the conclusion of TCAN’s showing of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power this Sunday night at 7.30pm. Grab tickets to learn how close we are to a real energy revolution. Vice President Al Gore continues his tireless fight traveling around the world training an army of climate champions and influencing international climate policy – including Quentin. Interested in hearing more from Quentin? Having him speak to a group of yours? Contact him at qprideaux@gmail.com. His talks: -Share why some have been confused about the science – Discuss a serious topic, Quentin keeps it positive and lighthearted where possible – Lead into a question and answer session and/or a workshop where participants can discuss specific actions they will take – according to the wishes of the organizers – Are informative, intelligent, visually appealing, very lively, smart and funny
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  • Night Light Activity- Deadline is Friday

    Wellesley Municipal Light Plant is planning to retrofit 3,100 streetlights with LEDs that would save taxpayers $125K annually and eliminate 930,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity. The good news is that the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources has preliminarily approved the WMLP’s bid for a grant. Plus, they want your feedback! DEADLINE IS THIS FRIDAY. Please go to Croton Street and Pine Street to look at the new LED streetlights that they are evaluating. Then rate them by responding to the survey mailed to you this week or seen here. The poles are clearly marked with signs and colored bands so its easy. Thanks for taking a few minutes to check out marked streetlights on Croton Street and Pine Street, and providing feedback.
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  • Have Broken Items In Need of Repair?

    The Rotary Club of Wellesley will be holding its first Repair Café event on Saturday, October 14th from 9:00 AM to Noon at the Wellesley Recreation Center, Room 008. Repair Cafés are free meeting places that are all about repairing things (together) rather than tossing them out. At the Repair Café event, you’ll find tools and materials to help you make many effective repairs to clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, gadgets, toys, et cetera. You’ll also find volunteers with varying repair skills in all kinds of fields. There are currently over 1,300 Repair Cafés worldwide, with more communities joining regularly – this will be the first such event in Wellesley, and it should be a lot of fun. Here’s how it works: Registered guest visitors bring their broken items from home. With the help of the volunteer specialists on site, they start analyzing the damage, deciding whether the repair can be done, and then picking up tools to attempt their repairs right there in the Repair Café. It’s an ongoing learning process for everyone. If you have nothing to repair, you can just drop by to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee while you watch and learn. Or you can even lend a hand with someone else’s repair job. You can also get some repair inspiration at the reading table – by leafing through available books on repairs and DIY. To join in the learning and fun, and to learn much more about the event and how to participate, please register at the following link: Repair Café / Rotary Club of Wellesley. If you have an item to repair, just register to attend the Café as a guest by filling out the form at the bottom of the page, and please list the item you want to repair in the comments section of the registration form – one item to a guest, please. If you have further questions, feel free to contact John Adams at johnfadamsjr@gmail.com or 617-817- 0314.  The more details they know about your repair before the event, the better they can plan to have the necessary parts and tools available for the repair. If you already have repair skills and want to help others out, please register as a volunteer on the website form; once again, the link is Repair Café / Rotary Club of Wellesley.  
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  • Planning An Event?

    Planning an event? No matter if it is big or small; for fun, work, or school, Wellesley Green Schools has you covered with this updated SMART EVENT GUIDE 2017.jpg. Check it out, and share it; you will be glad you did.
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  • Complete Streets

    What are complete streets? Mass DOT says they “provide safe and accessible options for all travel modes – walking, biking, transit and vehicles – for people of all ages and abilities.” Designing with these principles in mind contributes toward the safety, health, economic viability and quality of life in a community. It improves the pedestrian and vehicular environments, provides safer, more accessible and comfortable means of travel between home, school, work, recreation and retail destinations. That is why it was discussed at a recent Selectman’s meeting. There seemed to be some debate around this topic so please write to our Selectmen and let them know your thoughts on complete streets and how it helps to promote more livable communities. Here is their email address: sel@wellesleyma.gov.  
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  • From Medicines to Building Materials, We Have Disposal Ideas

    , With Fall in the air, you may be doing some housecleaning. Here are a few resources for you to dispose and share some small, medium and large items in your home. Have other ideas/suggestions. Please let us know. – PRESCRIPTIONS – Got medicines that you are not taking and/or are expired? Please dispose of them safely and properly by bringing them to the Wellesley Police Department’s drug take-back container.   – PAINT? PAPER? – Sunday, Oct. 1 there is a Shredding Event at the RDF and Paint Collection Day is Sat., Oct. 7.   – BUILDING MATERIALS – If you have a home improvement project on your fall agenda, you may end up with leftover building materials that are in good shape. If you don’t need it, but it can be reused, consider donating to the Reuse Center at Boston Building Resources (a 501(c)(3) charity) so someone else can use your item for home maintenance, repairs, or improvements. Cabinetry, appliances, windows, doors, bathroom fixtures, lumber, flooring, electrical, tools, hardware, tile … whether it’s gently used, a misorder, or you just bought too much, your unneeded items can help someone else improve their home. Keep good-quality materials out of the landfill Save on disposal fees Pick-up service available Fill out a materials donation offer form –  material and financial gifts are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.  
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  • Foodie Event, Book Club, RDF Dates, Global Warming Discussions and more

    Check out our CALENDAR page to learn more about upcoming foodie events, book clubs, paint collection/ shredding at the RDF dates, global warming and your backyard discussions and much more! Have something to promote? Let us know at info@sustainableWellesley.com.
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  • See You Sunday 1-3pm

    Please join us for the next action meeting THIS SUNDAY, September 17th from 1-3 pm, upstairs in the loft at 161 Oakland Street. Never been before? No problem. Sustainable Wellesley gets together a few times a year to talk about issues happening in our community and what we can do to make a difference. Come meet State Senate candidate (and WHS teacher) Jackie Katz! Some topics include: – Renewable energy initiative overview – Learn what is happening on the local and state levels and what can we do – Wellesley’s own Green Awards Program – Big town projects – LED street lights/HHU/900 Worcester/Green Communities – Food and the environment Please email us at info@sustainablewellesley.com to let us know if you will be there, plus issues, concerns, ideas of your own. See you in Sunday! Snacks provided but please bring your own coffee, water, tea, etc.
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  • Bright Ideas: A Workshop on Smart Outdoor Lighting

    ​ As you may have heard, new streetlights are coming to Wellesley. The Municipal Light Plant is planning to replace the town’s 3,000 cobrahead streetlights with energy and cost saving LED (light emitting diode) fixtures. This fall, the MLP will pilot these LED fixtures on selected streets to gather public input. Join the Natural Resources Commission at a free workshop to get information that will help you determine the best outdoor lighting for your home and neighborhood. Research has shown that artificial light can create light pollution that affects human health, and has adverse consequences for trees and plants, birds, turtles, bats, and even fireflies. To help inform residents about outdoor lighting, the Natural Resources Commission is hosting a workshop with lighting expert Bob Parks of Smart Outdoor Lighting Alliance.  “Bright Ideas: A Workshop on Smart Outdoor Lighting,” will include and outdoor demonstration of LED lighting options. Tuesday September 26 7:00 to 8:30 pm Wellesley Free Library The “Bright Ideas” workshop will help you: evaluate different types of lighting; choose the correct lighting for your property; make sure your lights improve safety; choose environmentally friendly lights; talk to your neighbors about lighting, and more! Click here for more information on outdoor lighting from the Friends of Brookside. Click here to email the NRC with comments or questions about lighting in Wellesley. Download the flyer here.  
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  • Wellesley Schools

    SO many exciting sustainable-minded things happened last year in the Wellesley Public Schools including: – Impressive senior projects on food waste, bike tours and green building signage at WHS – 2 state wide food waste awards – After school ecological program at Bates – Middle School students grew and served their green house salads – Lots of sustainable projects at the STEM EXPO – 4 Wellesley High School Evolutions projects In addition, Wellesley’s School Department has added another bus to incentivize more public transport, and reduce traffic. Plus, Wellesley’s Facilities Management Department has moved to a sustainable cleaning initiative for all of the schools (plus, most municipal buildings). They have installed the Tennant Orbio os 3 Generators which uses water, water softener salt pellets, and electricity to create a multi-purpose cleaner and an EPA rated disinfectant. Many thanks to Michael Santangelo, Wellesley’s Custodial Services Manager, who worked on this and other important projects. We wish him luck on his new endeavors. We are so proud of the students, teachers, administrators and parents involved in these initiatives and many more across the district. Those interested in learning more about what is happening at the schools, and those with ideas for 2017/2018 school year, please email susan.morris@verizon.net.  
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  • Celebrate Drive Electric Week at Natick Common

    Day: Saturday, September 16, 2017 Time: 9am – 1pm Location: Natick Common 3 East Central Street Natick, MA 01760  to attend this event and complete a short survey for a chance to win $250.  to help the organizers for this event.  the organizers for this event. Thinking about driving an electric car? Head over to the Natick Common for a fun and informative day for the entire family. Learn about all-electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles from owners and dealer representatives, while enjoying the locally made or grown food at the Farmers’ Market. Electric vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions, helping America reduce its dependence on oil.  Electric vehicle range varies by model, from 80-330 miles on a full charge. EVs are known for their performance and efficiency.   Your energy cost is just a fraction of your current gas bill.  If you have recently installed solar panels on your house, imagine never paying for gas again, and charging from energy generated from your own solar panels!
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  • Pre Loved Books- Fall Book Sale

    Lots of amazing pre-loved books for sale at the Wellesley Free Library. September 14 MEMBERS Preview (or become a member of Library that eve) 5-9pm September 15 9am-6pm – Open to the public September 16 9am-5pm – Open to the public September 17 1pm-5pm with  $7 Bag sale The Fall Book Sale supports library programs so its a win-win!
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  • Wellesley’s Farmers’ Market

    Wellesley Farmers’ Market is proud to announce the launch of an exciting new model. Beginning Thursday, September 7th, hundreds of farm fresh and organic products, including vegetables, meats, fish, dairy, eggs, bakery and pantry items, fruits, juices, pet and home offerings from more than 80 New England farmers and food producers, will be available every Thursday from 12:30-2:30. Pre-orders are available, so place your first order today. Residents and food lovers who work in and around Wellesley simply choose from hundreds of just harvested Farmers to You products via www.wellesleyfarmersmarket.com, and indicate the Wellesley Farmers’ Market pick-up site ( UU Church at 309 Washington St.). Seamless home delivery by a local pedal-powered business is also available by request. See details online. The Wellesley Farmers’ Market team is thrilled to announce this exciting new model that brings a wider variety of products, offers a longer season and is highly efficient for the small, local, family farmers. Wellesley Farmers’ Market remains dedicated to serving the food insecure in this community and is looking for sponsors for a Food Pantry Program. For more information, please email  wellesleyfarmersmarket@gmail.com. Keep an eye out for familiar Wellesley Farmers’ Market vendors and community opportunities in coming months as well. Many gluten-free and vegan options available. 
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  • Another Bus Run Added for Wellesley High School Students

    Great news! There will be a second bus run for 8.30 arrival at the high school.  This will accommodate students who don’t have a class until second period.   This is a great way to get your students to school, and reduce the number of cars on the road and congestion at drop off. The fee for the year is $521, due upon registration.  The family cap will still apply to the fee if your family has other registered students. For those already registered for the bus, NO ACTION IS REQUIRED. Your student will be issued a bus pass that can be used for either the 7:30 or the 8:30 am bus. Bus passes and route schedules will be issued to all registered students by Monday, August 21, 2017.  All bus stops on the High School 7:30 am routes will be the same for the 8:30 am routes.  There are no changes to the afternoon bus routes and schedules. We encourage you to have your student take advantage of this transportation option. To Register — Click here to register online before Friday, August 18th. Complete the LOGIN and PASSWORD to enter the system, then click on the Yellow Bus photo. The only available option for you to select will be the “HS 8:30 Bus” Click on the shopping cart icon and proceed to register your student.
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  • An Open Letter to Wellesley Municipal Light Plant’s Board and the Selectmen

      This spring, amid growing concern about the federal government’s withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement, many Wellesley residents have been searching for ways to ensure that our town’s energy policies reflect the priorities and values of our community in combatting climate change.  In April, a group of 50 residents sent a letter to the Board of the Municipal Light Plant expressing concern over the board’s policy on renewable energy and whether it adequately supports our state renewable energy goals under the state Global Warming Solutions Act. The MLP board held a public meeting on energy policy in late May, and on June 26, the leadership team of Sustainable Wellesley presented a petition to the MLP board and the Board of Selectmen signed by more than 200 Wellesley residents. Our July 12 letter to the MLP board — included below — is the latest in this on-going dialogue about renewable energy policy in our town. Sustainable Wellesley invites interested residents to share their views with us at info@sustainablewellesley.com.   July 12, 2017 To the Board of the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant:   We are writing to follow-up with you on the recent public discussions concerning your renewable energy policy and the Sustainable Wellesley petition submitted to you on June 26, 2017, signed by 205 Wellesley residents. The signers of the petition requested that you support the Paris Climate Agreement, despite the recent withdrawal by the federal government, and take specific local actions to reflect the priorities and values of our community. We asked that you commit to a goal of 100 percent renewable energy, and to meeting or exceeding state clean energy standards under the authority of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection in support of the goals outlined by the state Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA).   As you know, Wellesley Town Meeting adopted a goal in 2014 to reduce Town-wide carbon emissions 25 percent below 2007 levels by 2020. Approximately one-quarter of the Town’s carbon emissions result from the electricity sector. The Town will be unable to achieve its carbon reduction goal without meaningful changes in the portfolio of the Municipal Light Plant. Given the urgent need for local action to protect our climate, we believe Wellesley should not only meet this goal, but also set a course for 100 percent renewable energy for our town. More than 30 U.S. cities and towns have committed to 100 percent renewable energy goals — and some have already achieved it. The town of Concord, MA, recently set ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is now on track for 65 percent renewably-sourced electricity by 2018.   Concerning our request that the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant accept the authority of the state Department of Environmental Protection, we appreciate that the board has a strong desire to maintain local control of their activities without regulatory oversight by the state. To be responsible to Wellesley residents, this local control needs to respect both the stated goal of Wellesley Town Meeting and the mandated requirements of the GWSA, the landmark climate law of our state. The GWSA requires reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from each sector of the economy summing to a total reduction of 25 percent below the 1990 baseline emission level in 2020 and at least an 80 percent reduction in 2050. Massachusetts will be unable to achieve the carbon reduction goals mandated by the GWSA without the participation of communities served by municipal light plants. We also wish to underscore that towns with municipal light plants, such as Wellesley, have so far avoided the challenge and higher costs of shifting to clean sources of energy, while ratepayers in towns with investor-owned utilities are required to do so. Wellesley currently enjoys an electricity rate that is roughly 30 percent below that of our neighbors who get their electricity from investor-owned utilities, which are subject to the state clean energy standard. We therefore call upon you:  1. To revise the mission statement of the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant to reflect a commitment to renewable energy and energy conservation. 2.  To develop a Wellesley renewable energy standard that meets or exceeds the state requirements. This standard should be quantifiable and should increase annually with a goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy on a schedule to be determined that works for our Town. 3. To work with the Municipal Electric Association of Massachusetts to develop a system of accountability for the proposed standard. We appreciate that the development of this policy will require input from Town leadership and from residents with relevant expertise, and therefore, we are sharing this letter with the Wellesley Board of Selectmen and the wider community. Respectfully yours, Regina LaRocque Jessica Stanton Sustainable Wellesley Leadership Team: Mary Gard, Lise Olney, Quentin Prideaux, Phyllis Theermann  
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  • What’s Your Water Footprint?

    You see the signs for water use restrictions in neighboring towns. Perhaps that encourages you to use less water on your lawn or garden, but have you considered your water footprint as a whole? This water calculator helps you estimate your total water use. Our water usage goes way beyond our  taps. Think about the water used for your breakfast this am, the technology you are reading this on, etc. Give the calculator a go. Let us know your thoughts by emailing info@sustainablewellesley.com
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  • Newton’s Noise Ordinance — Leaf Blowers

    A group of citizens created a working group called “Newton Safe and Sound” to regulate leaf blowers in Newton. They felt that leaf blowers contributed to the degradation of their environment and decreased the quality of their lives. On January 17th of this year, Newton’s City Council passed a New Noise Ordinance regulating leaf blowers. It allows only ONE electric blower per property from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and all year all leaf blowers must be no louder than 65 decibels. This was a huge step for Newton. Those interested in learning more, please email info@sustainablewellesley.com.  
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  • Add a Vibrant Butterfly Plant to Your Garden

    Sustainable Wellesley is offering a new variety of milkweed plant this season – Asclepias tuberosa. This is a wonderful plant that is very happy in a sunny spot in your pesticide-free garden. In addition to providing the nutrients that are essential to baby monarch caterpillars, it provides nectar that attracts other butterflies and pollinators, including hummingbirds. It is a lower growing variety of milkweed plant and one that is perfect for a perennial garden or wilder meadow garden. The vibrant orange to coral color provides a bright spot in the garden and is very attractive to pollinators! You might also want to try Asclepias syriaca which are bigger and slightly more vigorous than the tuberosa and also easy to grow. Folks with wilder gardens will really love them. They are very nectar rich, attracting many pollinators, providing habitat for the monarch caterpillars. They grow to about three feet in height and are light pink to purple color. All plants have been grown from locally collected seed at Nasami Farms, grower for the New England Wildflower Society and are one year old “plugs”. They can be purchased for $2 at cost, or $5 with a small donation to Sustainable Wellesley. Order your variety of organic milkweeds today by clicking here.  
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  • Take Action re: Renewable Energy. Sign the Petition and Come to MLP Monday at 5.30pm

    Residents filled the Municipal Light Plant meeting room with thoughtful conversation last Thursday for the Open Forum on Renewable Energy. For those who missed the Municipal Light Plant/Sustainable Energy Committee/Board Of Selectman sponsored event and would like to encourage the Town to take specific local actions to run on clean, local sources of renewable energy; please read, consider signing and sharing this petition TODAY and come the MLP Board Meeting this Monday evening, June 26th at 5:30 PM at the Municipal Light Plant on the 2nd floor of 4 Municipal Way. Some of the highlights of the meeting were three key requests for Municipal Light Plant Board including: 1. Formally including “renewable energy and energy conservation” in the mission statement of the Wellesley MLP 2. Developing a Wellesley-specific policy on renewable energy procurement, with measurable goals 3. Working with other Massachusetts MLPs to develop a binding agreement, perhaps through the Municipal Electric Association of Massachusetts, to meet or exceed the Clean Energy Standards — this is particularly important if the MLPs continue to request that they be considered exempt from the state’s Clean Energy Standards There will be continued dialogue on this topic so be sure to be part of it.
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  • Dirty Boys Composting

    Have you considered helping fight climate change by starting a backyard compost pile, but not sure where to begin? Do you have an idle or unproductive compost pile? Dirty Boys Composting, a full-service backyard composting company, takes the guesswork out of composting, making it simple, rewarding and fun. Started three years ago by a Newton teen, the company now serves 200 customers in the greater Boston area, and specializes in setting up backyard compost piles so they are easy for customers to maintain, pest and odor free, and quickly produce useable compost.  Learn more about their services at www.dirtyboyscomposting.com.
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  • Just 2 Hours. Can you Help on July 15th?

    We need your help to staff the fun-filled July Jubilation. No experience necessary. It is a great way to meet more folks in our community. Share 2 hours with us on Saturday, July 15th, between 9-5 p.m. in Wellesley Square. We have some fun activities and games for children so responsible teen volunteers welcome too. Please bring your family that day if you cant volunteer and buy milkweed before it runs out; pledge to reduce pesticide use at your home and/or put your home on the map of pesticide free lawns; see where the wetlands are compared to your home while children experience a watershed experiment. Please sign up here. Date: 07/15/2017 (Sat.) Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm EDT Location: Wellesley Square
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  • Sustainable Wellesley Responds to the Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and Urges Local Action

    In response to the decision to withdraw our country from the Paris Climate Agreement, the leadership team of Sustainable Wellesley reaffirms our commitment to the goals of the agreement, and to taking local actions that reduce Wellesley’s greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change. Take action with us today by signing our petition request, urging the Wellesley Board of Selectmen and the Board of the Municipal Light Plant to commit to a goal of 100 percent renewable energy and to accept the authority of the state Department of Environmental Protection in support of the goals and principles of the state Global Warming Solutions Act. We can’t change the choices made at the federal level, but we can choose an energy future for our town that reflects our values and priorities. By proving that climate change solutions work, we can set an example at the local level that shows it’s possible to transition to a clean energy future statewide. Across the U.S., cities and towns are leading the way towards 100 percent renewable energy. Wellesley can join this historic movement to invest in the health and future of our planet. Right now, our own Wellesley Municipal Light Plant is pushing to be exempted from state clean energy standards that are under development by the MA Department of Environmental Protection. We need to send a clear message: The Wellesley MLP should reflect our community’s aspirations for a clean energy future. Click here to sign our petition request to the Wellesley Board of Selectmen and Board of the Municipal Light Plant. 2. Then, join us next Thursday, June 15, 7:00 pm, for a public discussion with the Board of Selectmen and the Board of the Municipal Light Plant in the meeting room at the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant (1 Municipal Way).
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  • Tonight: Grow Green Wellesley Meeting & You Are Invited

    The NRC’s Grow Green Wellesley campaign kicked off on Mother’s Day weekend with a special event in honor of Mother Earth – “Landscapes for Living: A Forum on Eco-Friendly Landscaping and Lawn Care.” The event drew a crowd of about 150 who learned about the benefits of planting native plants, maintaining lawns and gardens without the use of pesticides, composting, and much more. “This event completely changed the way I look at gardening and lawn care,” said Wellesley resident Jean Wiecha. “I talked with others who attended and we’re all excited about speeding up our shift from traditional gardening to creating spaces that feed the bugs and the birds.” Tonight,June 8th from 6:00 to 7:30 pm, there will be a Grow Green Wellesley Organizing Meeting and you are invited. Come to Town Hall, Great Hall to discuss the next phase of the Grow Green Wellesley campaign. ❀ Click here to let them know you’re coming!
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  • A “Plug” for Milkweeds

    Order your variety of organic milkweeds today here. The Incarnata are very healthy and sturdy and should do really well.  These are going fast so order soon. Try Syriaca which are bigger and more vigorous than the Incarnata and easy to grow. Folks with wilder gardens will really love them.  They are very nectar rich, attracting many pollinators, providing habitat for the monarch caterpillars. Soon we will have a tray of the Tuberosa variety available – the bright orange ones – the color attracts a lot of pollinators. We would like to thank the Mosher Family who donated some of the Incarnata plugs.
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  • Visit the Open Garden. June 11th 2-4pm

    Come to the open Garden on June 11th from 2-4pm rain or shine at Cronk’s Rocky Woodland, across the street from 21 Crown Ridge Rd. Visit the local sanctuary garden and learn more about the family that gifted it. Explore the charming “Hansel and Gretel” garden house built by the Cronk Family. This event is organized by the Wellesley Conservation Council.
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  • A Sustainability Hat Trick For Food Waste Reduction and Sustainability Efforts

    Bates Elementary School and Matt Delaney, Wellesley Food Services Director Win 3 State and Regional Awards Bates Elementary School’s cafeteria recycling and food waste diversion project and Wellesley’s Food Service Director, Matt Delaney won 3 separate awards in State House ceremonies this month, sparking statewide and regional attention. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs presented the 23rd annual Secretary’s Awards for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education to schools and teachers (K-12 ) across the Commonwealth for their outstanding efforts in furthering energy and environmental education initiatives at their schools. The Bates 5th grade recycling team, Principal Toni Jolley and Custodian Al Martignetti were given 3rd honors and a cash prize.   This same group won an Honorable Mention Award from the Green Up New England Challenge. The Boston Bruins and the Boston Bruins Foundation launched the Green Up New England Challenge this year in partnership with Project Green Schools and Walmart, aiming to develop Green Student Leaders in schools throughout New England for their energy, waste and water reduction efforts as well as best green school, community and sports practices. Wellesley’s Food Services Director, Matthew Delaney, was honored with the Outstanding Green Community Hero for his vast sustainability efforts in Wellesley’s Cafeterias at the 2017 Green Difference Awards as well. These initiatives at Bates and in the Food Services Department are make significant strides and thanks to the Waste Wise Wellesley Team, student and parent volunteers, Principals and custodians, similar programs are rolling out out across the district. Future programming options will address the urgent food waste problem and promote sustainable materials management. The goal of these award-winning efforts is to meet financial and environmental opportunities, cultivate civically-minded students, raise awareness about sustainability, and generate experience and knowledge that can encourage and help other groups to act. Pictured: Eva Bogdanovitch Hayley Butler Ava Chen Isabelle de Fontaine Olivia Frank Nisha Hild Jonah Ginsberg Kate Gordan Michael Hunter Lorelei Martello Emily Reza Emma Sutherland Stella Tomayko Marybeth Martello, Wellesley’s Sustainable Energy Administrator Al Martignetti, Head Custodian, Bates School Toni Jolley, Principal, Bates School Kris Scopnich, Chair, Secretary’s Advisory Group on Energy & Environmental EducationMatthew A. Beaton, Secretary, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
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  • Letter To School Committee

    The Following Letter was written by a Green Schools/Sustainable Wellesley advocate. Please consider researching and writing something of your own and sharing it with the Members of the Wellesley Public School Committee here school_Committee@wellesleyps.org. ________________________________________________________________________ “I am writing today to ask the Board to consider making Climate Change part of the science curriculum in the middle and upper grades.  In addition, I request that the Board officially acknowledge human caused climate change as a clear and confirmed scientific fact, arrived at by the overwhelming consensus of the international scientific community, and that the subject be treated as such in the classroom. The reason for such requests is NOT to bring politics into the classroom, but to keep it out.  As you may know, there has been an ongoing campaign to spread disinformation about this subject, much like the tobacco companies in a previous era spread disinformation about the dangers of smoking.  The latest tactic, initiated by the Heartland Institute, is to infiltrate the schools by sending science teachers a book entitled “Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming.”  This book argues that that the science is not conclusive, that climate change, may or may not be happening, that it is likely a natural phenomenon and that it can even be a good thing. In fact, there is very little disagreement.  Scientists are nearly unanimous in concluding that human activity is contributing to climate change, with potentially disastrous results. The Heartland Institute is spending millions to send out 25,000 copies of this book every two weeks, “until every science teacher in the nation has a copy,” according to Heartland CEO Joseph Bast.  This means that our Wellesley science teachers will be seeing one in their mailbox in the near future. “It’s not science, but it’s dressed up to look like science,” said Ann Reid, executive director of the National Center for Science Education. “It’s clearly intended to confuse teachers.” This cynical tactic of sowing doubt where it doesn’t belong is working.  According to a survey of US science teachers published in the journal Science, 31 percent of teachers told their students that the cause of climate change is still being debated. About one in 10 teachers teach children that humans had no significant role in climate change. To help guide teachers after Heartland’s packages began arriving in schools, David Evans, executive director of the National Science Teachers Association, sent a memo to all 55,000 NSTA members reinforcing that scientists do not disagree about the causes of climate change, and referring educators to curricula supported by established climate science. Some school districts are suggesting that their teachers throw away the book upon receipt. I would respectfully request that your board do likewise, and soon.  Our children deserve the truth.”
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  • Got “Old” Phones? Chargers? iPods? Digital Cameras?

    It’s time for some spring cleaning!  Did you know – just one cell phone, if thrown away, can pollute 40,000 gallons of groundwater?  Cell phones contain lead, arsenic, beryllium and other hazardous toxins that leach into our environment through our landfills.  Wellesley Middle School PTO and the Wellesley Green Team are partnering to run a CELL PHONE RECYCLING fundraiser! Monday, June 5 – Friday, June 9, turn your old, dead, cracked consumer electronics into proceeds for our schools, and protect the environment!  Your used item(s) will be recycled in accordance with EPA regulations (link here to webpage  http://thewirelessalliance.com/recycle-now/).  After collection, your recycled phones and devices will go through a triage process to determine its status for reuse. At that time customer data is removed. It will either be refurbished or shredded for precious metals reclamation.  In this process, devices are shredded and metals are extracted for asset recovery.  By doing this you help the environment and prevent further mining of resources necessary to produce new devices. Wellesley Middle School will be collecting the following items: Cell phones of any age or condition  *  Wall or car chargers  *  iPods  *  Digital Cameras  *  Bluetooths  *  Air Cards  *  Leather Cases  *  Plastic Cases  *  Paper or CD Manuals During the week of 6/5 – 6/9, please drop off any items you would like to recycle in the drop bins at the Wellesley Middle School, Kingsbury Street and Donizetti Street entrances, in the main office. There will be a team collecting items from your car at school pickup between 3:00 p.m. and 3:20 pm. after school at WMS.
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  • Make Your Ideas Known – Wednesday Night – Sustainable Aspects of Unified Plan

    The Town of Wellesley is currently preparing a Unified Plan, collaboratively with Wellesley residents, Town staff and members of the Town’s boards and commissions. They are diving into topics you care a lot about including land use planning, economic development, housing, transportation, education, Town government operations and finance.  Let your vision and priorities be heard to create a livable, innovative and fiscally-sound tomorrow. Mark your calendars and be sure to attend: “Sustainable Systems & Networks,” May 24, 6 to 8 pm and “Natural and Cultural Heritage,” May 31, 7 to 9 pm.
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  • 900 Worcester’s Ice Rinks, Swimming Pools and Playing Fields

    As may of us know, the Town of Wellesley approved a $3.8M purchase of the 7.85 acre property and started on plans to convert 900 Worcester Project into a recreation area featuring a pool, ice skating rinks, and playing fields. You can learn more from the Wellesley Townsman article, but highlights are that Wellesley Sports Center, LLC will develop “two NHL size hockey rinks, 10 lanes (25 yards) lengthwise to bulkhead, plus three lanes (25 yards) widthwise and a smaller (50′ x 25′) warm water teaching/therapy pool, an indoor 90′ x 150′ (suitable for 7v7 high school soccer) turf field, fitness area with physical therapy (4,800 sf) and strength and conditioning (6,600 sf).” This is exciting for many in town. However, we need to think about how this building can be built and run in a manor that will assist Wellesley to meet its goal to reduce its carbon footprint by 25%. Join a group of folks wanting to learn and share more on this mutual goal. Email Info@SustainableWellesley.com to be connected to this team.
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  • The Heat Is On To Go Solar

    Don’t Delay Your Solar Decision: Financial and Environmental Costs Will Only Rise Easy Ways to Make 2017 Your Solar Year After installing solar panels on it’s roof, Wellesley’s Temple Beth Elohim received a lot of interest among the congregants about home solar options and thus organized a Home Solar Forum last week. This event was timely as the State’s SREC program will expire in less than a year so folks wanting to take advantage of extra enticing financial benefits should act soon. Massachusetts residents must have their systems installed and *interconnected* by March, 2018 to take advantage of the current SREC2 program. The potential of a major tax reform is another reason people should act rather than wait. Why should you consider solar? Beyond the urgency of local climate change, solar ensures our community health and resilience, while investments yield more than two times the return of a typical investment. “Our 8,710 (Watts STC) solar system is projected to generate over $70,000 over 25 years,” said Bev Rich of Natick at the Home Solar Forum event. How to get started. EnergySage, the “Kayak or Expedia of solar,” is a good place to start. This website allows users to obtain competing solar quotes easily online. The Boston-based company’s product scours 400 screened contractors and provides up to 7 unbiased, competitive quotes. Audience members were intrigued as sometimes they felt they pay the “Wellesley premium” (when contractors jack up prices in affluent towns). For those that can not put solar on their roof, there are other options. Is your house shaded? Do you rent? Resonant Energy offers a variety of community solar options for those that can not put solar on their own roof. The idea is that they put solar panels on large roofs (i.e.house of worship, school, etc.) which are leased, or owned by several individuals. Another easy option is to choose renewable energy from Eversource and National Grid, or in Wellesley via its Municipal Light Plant’s Power To Choose program. The theme for the evening was consider solar or some sort of renewable energy soon as they provide cleaner air & water, a stronger energy future, and greater energy independence. If you missed this event and want to learn more, head over to Green Needham’s Solar 101 evening info session on Wednesday, June 7th from 7:30pm-9:00pm at the Christ Episcopal Church, 1132 Highland Avenue in Needham. Local residents who attend the Trinity Covenant Church in Lexington wrote in recently to announce that after two years of planning and changing their plans due to solar caps and other issues, they finally have electricity flowing from the sun in a new 25KW Solar Canopy, which will offset 1/3 of their electric bills each year. Join them on May 20th from 4-4.30 to learn more.
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  • Green Up Your Summer BBQ Routine With These 5 Great Recipes!

    Did you know that 51% of Greenhouse Gas Emissions are from livestock production, compared to only 13% from all transportation combined? Animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of amazon rainforest destruction and it takes approximately 2,500 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef. A pound of brown rice can be grown using approximately 250 gallons of water and provides more servings. It all adds up! Every time you choose to eat a vegan or vegetarian meal it reduces the strain on our environment and lessens your carbon footprint. That’s great incentive to give your Summer BBQ a makeover! Here are 5 great crowd-pleasing vegan recipes, just in time for grill season. 5 Delicious Recipes For Your Next BBQ Speedy Three Bean Salad Marinated Grillable Carrot Dogs Asparagus and Potato Salad Grilled Avocado with Roasted Tomatoes BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches Want more green tips for the grill? Check out Kathy Patalsky’s Vegan Grilling Guide with Green Tips. Statistics on animal agriculture are from the critically acclaimed environmental documentary Cowspiracy. Their facts and sources can be found here.
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  • March With Us on Sunday in the Parade

    There is so much good work happening around town on environmental issues – we need to let people know and encourage more and more to join us! You are invited to march in the Wonderful Wellesley Parade with the sustainability community in Wellesley. There will be beautiful butterflies signs to march with that mention environmental type actions going on around town. Come solo, or get a group from your house of worship, club, school, family, or friends and join us. Sunday, May 21st Join us as we meet on Washington Street between Elm and Pine Streets (pole 6-1) at 12:30. Bring your friends, neighbors, and family, including grandchildren! We have butterfly wings for small children (3 to 5 year olds). We are looking forward to a great turnout and are happy to say that many of the environmental groups in town will be marching together including Sustainable Wellesley, Wellesley High School Climate Action Club, Wellesley Conservation Council, Wellesley Natural Resources Commission and Wellesley Green Schools. Please simply fill out this form so we know you are coming or just show up if you feel motivated last minute. This is a great event for the whole family; bring your children, grandchildren, neighbors, cousins, friends, family, etc.
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  • Make Time To Join Us Tomorrow Night (May 11th) 7 – 8.30pm

    Make The Time To Join Us Tomorrow Night! Please join us for our next action meeting on Thursday, May 11th from 7-8.30pm at 161 Oakland Street in the studio above the garage.  This event is open to public and we encourage new folks to attend. It is a busy time of year but don’t let that stop you. Important topics are on the agenda.
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  • Landscapes for Living This Saturday-Register Today

    Did you know that all town-owned land, open spaces and playing fields are managed without pesticides? Want to learn how you can do the same thing with your home lawns and gardens? Attend Landscapes for Living: A Forum on Eco-Friendly Gardening and Lawn Care, this Saturday, May 13, from 10:30 am – 3 pm, at the Wellesley Free Library. This free, all day event will provide homeowners with inspiration and information on earth-friendly ways to improve the beauty, health and habitat of backyards without using chemicals that are toxic to children, pets and the environment. Keynote speakers include expert entomologist Doug Tallamy on “Gardening with Native Plants” and turf pro Chip Osborne on “Help, I Don’t Know What’s in My Lawn;” how-to workshops on backyard composting, gardening with ornamental edibles, and attracting bees and pollinators; information tables and opportunities to order home compost bins and rain barrels. Seats are filling fast. Walk-ins will be accommodated only if space is available.To register in advance, go to www.tinyurl.com/LandscapesforLiving. Landscapes for Living is part of the GrowGreenWellesley campaign and is jointly sponsored by the Wellesley Natural Resources Commission, Department of Public Works, Health Department, Recreation Department, Wellesley Free Library and Sustainable Wellesley.
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  • Come On. Time To Show Off

    You are doing many things that others would love to learn about and emulate. Lets show them off on the 2nd Sustainable Wellesley Bike Tour. The goal of the tour is to bring the community together for a fun bike ride and educate people on eco friendly and sustainable options in our town. On the tour there will be multiple stops highlighting local homes, gardens and other buildings that contain sustainable features. Some of them will include successful composting areas, solar systems, rain water handling systems, geothermal, native gardens, incredible recycling stations, backyard chickens, bees and much more. If you are willing to participate in this event please email Andrew, a WHS senior working on his senior project with Sustainable Wellesley at andrewkovacs5@gmail.com.
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  • Simple Steps to A Lush, Healthy, and Low-Cost Lawn (For You or Your Landscaper)

    Join Expert Chip Osborne for Pro Tips on Turf With his easy, interactive format,turf expert Chip Osborne will introduce you to practical strategies for organic lawn care. Learn simple steps to a lush, healthy, and low-cost lawn – whether you like to do it yourself or just want to know enough to have a knowledgeable conversation with your landscaper. Chip Osborne has developed the turf management program for the playing fields and parks in Wellesley. He is the country’s leading expert on natural and sustainable lawn care and assists the National Park Service (and many others) in organic turf. This free event is open to the public and takes place on Saturday, May 13, 2-3 pm at the Wellesley Free Library. It is part of the town forum “Landscapes for Living,” 10:30 am to 3 pm. “Landscapes for Living: A Forum on Eco-Friendly Gardening and Lawn Care,” begins at 10:00 am where you can get advice on soil analysis from Cricket Vlass, Landscape Planner for our own Wellesley Department of Public Works. The program includes nationally known speakers Doug Tallamy as well. Doug will speak about easy ways to incorporate native plants into your decorative landscape. Feel free to attend a practical workshop: – Planting for pollinators, with Best Bees – Gardening with beautiful ornamental edibles, with Home Harvest – Composting in your backyard, with Ann McGovern, EPA Wellesley Women Artisans will also present the exhibit “Art in Nature,” with works by 17 local artists.  The public is invited for refreshments and to meet the artists at a reception in the Wakelin Room on Saturday, May 6 from 3:30-5:00 p.m. Register here to be eligible for prizes. This event is co-sponsored by the Wellesley Natural Resources Commission, Sustainable Wellesley, Health Department, Recreation Department, and Wellesley Free Library. For more information go to: tinyurl.com/LandscapesforLiving.
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  • Home Solar Forum, May 8, at Temple Beth Elohim May 8 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

    Did you know that US solar installations in 2016 were almost double those of 2015, making solar the No. 1 source of new electricity generation in the US last year? You can join that trend by putting solar on your roof. Take the first step by going to the Home Solar Forum on May 8th and learn how your neighbors have gone solar from 7:30- 9pm at Temple Beth Elohim, 10 Bethel Road, Wellesley. Click here for a flyer. Learn about: • Local residents that have installed home solar • Options for solar power for your home, whether you own or rent. • How to find the best solar deals • Why you should go solar in 2017 The forum is free, but you must RSVP to attend: https://goo.gl/forms/GW0bp3lFOyAt78TT2
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  • Please Read Before You Head to Big Garden Centers

    It has been brought to our attention that some “Big Stores” (like Home Depot) have been selling Milkweed plants that have been treated with systemic Neonicotinoids, which are poisonous to birds and butterflies. This is THE host plant for the Monarch butterfly. These plants are being sold now to well-meaning people who want to help the Monarchs, not kill them.  Please be aware and be on the lookout for the information stick hidden behind the identification information that the plants have been treated with systemic Neonicotinoids.  This issue is currently being addressed by various environmental agencies but the plants are already out there, so check the tags! Sustainable Wellesley will have healthy milkweed in the next few weeks. Email us at info@SustainableWellesley.com for more information.
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  • Bird Walks

    The Wellesley Conservation Council invites you to their FREE spring Sunday-morning bird walks beginning the 1st Sunday in May. They anticipate observing 30 species in their top breeding finery and vocalization in and around Wellesley. Beginners and novices are welcome. The leader will direct the group to the most promising birding site of the day. Binoculars, guide books, and waterproof footwear are advisable. Except for the Mother’s Day trip to Mt. Auburn Cemetery, which meets at 7 a.m., all bird walks commence at 8 a.m. Sundays from the parking lot at the corner of Cameron and Washington Streets (next to the main Library). Spring 2017 Schedule: Date          Leader                 Time May 7       Jim Pugh            8:00 AM May 14     Alice Cestari      7:00 AM (Mother’s Day) to carpool to Mount Auburn  May 21     Dan Kemp          8:00 AM (Wellesley Wonderful Weekend) May 28     Natalie Starr       8:00 AM June 4      Judy Nackony   8:00 AM  The Wellesley Conservation Council is our local 501(c)(3) non-profit land trust that protects 14 sanctuaries across more than 45 acres of natural land in Wellesley and bordering lands in Needham and Weston. More information about their mission, the sanctuaries and membership can be found at www.wellesleyconservationcouncil.org.
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  • Don’t Spray That Lawn!

    Before you treat your lawn with chemicals this spring, come learn about safer, healthier, and more eco-friendly ways to care for your home landscape. Sustainable Wellesley is co-sponsoring “Landscapes for Living: A Forum on Eco-Friendly Gardening and Lawn Care,” on Saturday, May 13, 10:30 am to 3 pm, at Wellesley Free Library.   Whether you are a beginner or a long-time green thumb, you’ll find inspiration and information at this free forum. Come early at 10:00 am to get advice on soil analysis from Cricket Vlass, Landscape Planner for our own Wellesley Department of Public Works.  The program includes nationally known speakers Doug Tallamy and Chip Osborne. Doug will speak about easy ways to incorporate native plants into your decorative landscape. Chip will discuss how you can use the same principles of organic turf management that he developed for the Town of Wellesley to manage your lawn at home. And in between these two keynote speakers, you can choose a practical workshop: Planting for pollinators, with Best Bees Gardening with beautiful ornamental edibles, with Home Harvest Composting in your backyard, with Ann McGovern, EPA  Wellesley Women Artisans will also present the exhibit “Art in Nature,” with works by 17 local artists.  Register here to be eligible for prizes: tinyurl.com/LandscapesForLiving   Click here for flyer to download and share.   Click here for Facebook event. Event co-sponsors: Wellesley Natural Resources Commission, Sustainable Wellesley, Health Department, Recreation Department, and Wellesley Free Library.
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  • Film For Students – Young Voices for the Planet

    As part of the Mass Climate Action Network (MCAN) Young Voices for the Planet documentary film series, Mass Audubon’s Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary will screen four short films, Wednesday, May 10, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. “The Young Voices for the Planet short films show the difference young people can make,” said Carol Oldham, director of the MCAN. “These touching stories of kids taking action in their communities to make your world a better place is inspiring and just what we all need right now.” The short films document youth speaking out about climate change, creating solutions, and taking action. Highlights include stories of youth in the United States and Germany implementing a statewide ban on plastic bags, saving their school $53,000 in energy costs, and planting millions of trees, in addition to changing laws and minds in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint of at homes, in schools, and throughout communities. Following the screening, one of the young stars from the film “Save Tomorrow” will lead a discussion about her experience changing town bylaws in Lexington, MA, which allowed for solar panels on public buildings. WHAT: Young Voices for the Planet climate change documentary film screening WHEN: Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 7:00–8:30 PM WHERE: Mass Audubon’s Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary, 280 Eliot Street, Natick, MA HOW: Admission is free and open to the public
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  • THIS Saturday (April 29): Boston People’s Climate Mobilization & MAICCA Pre-Rally Gathering

    On April 29, the Boston People’s Climate Mobilization will bring together a diverse coalition to call for solutions to the climate crisis that are rooted in racial, social, and economic justice. The Mass Interfaith Coalition for Climate Action (MAICCA) invites you to start the day at Arlington Street Church. 10:30 am – Gather in the Clarke Room at Arlington Street Church (351 Boylston Street) 11:00 am – Interfaith service in the sanctuary 11:30 am – Head to the rally on the Boston Common (rally starts at 12 pm) Click here to let us know you are coming via our Facebook event. We also need volunteers — let us know if you can help on Saturday morning: interfaithclimatecoalition@gmail.com.
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  • Nothing Better Than ReUsing BOOKS

    The Wellesley Free Library’s Spring Book Sale is happening April 27-30th.  The sale is open to members on Thursday evening, followed by three days of a public sale, of which the last day is a $7 a bag sale.  Not a member? Join Thursday evening. This is a great way to dive into gently used books. Also, the Library is working on its strategic plan and wants to hear from you! Please help set the course for the future of library service in our town by taking the Wellesley Free Library’s Strategic Planning Survey.
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  • Environmental League of Massachusetts’ Wellesley Event

    Wellesley resident Pete Pedersen — Board Chair of the Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM), an environmental advocacy 501(c)(3) organization located in Boston — and his wife Sarah invite you for drinks & discussion. Thursday, May 11th at 6pm 116 Glen Road in Wellesley ELM’s Executive Director, Ken Pruitt, will talk about the important work of advocating for strong environmental policy. The event comes with no obligation and is designed to familiarize attendees with the organization RSVP: ameyer@environmentalleague.org
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  • TONIGHT COWSPIRACY FILM– Food We Eat & Its Environmental Impact

    Few seats left for tonights free showing at 7:30 pmShowcase Cinema at Legacy Place. Come over! Middle School and High School Students Welcome as well. Email kelly.caiazzo@gmail.com to reserve free tickets today for Cowspiracy – The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged. As Andersen approaches leaders in the environmental movement, he increasingly uncovers what appears to be an intentional refusal to discuss the issue of animal agriculture, while industry whistleblowers and watchdogs warn him of the risks to his freedom and even his life if he dares to persist. As eye-opening as Blackfish and as inspiring as An Inconvenient Truth, this shocking yet humorous documentary reveals the absolutely devastating environmental impact large-scale factory farming has on our planet, and offers a path to global sustainability for a growing population.
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  • Celebrate Earth Day by Joining the Boston March for Science! Saturday, April 22nd

    April 22 is both Earth Day 2017 and a day to celebrate science at the Boston March for Science on the Boston Common! Family friendly activities start at the Parkman Bandstand at 1:00 pm and run until 4:00 pm. The rally for science runs from 2:00 to 4:00 pm at Beacon and Charles Streets. This diverse and non-partisan event celebrates the discovery, understanding, and sharing of scientific knowledge as essential to the success, health, and safety of the human race. Publicly funded and publicly communicated scientific knowledge is a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. Earth Day Is 47 Years Old! The March for Science is co-organized with Earth Day, which started 47 years ago in the United States and is now celebrated in all 193 United Nations member states. This year’s theme is environmental and climate literacy. The Earth Day Network is also promoting the Trees for the Earth campaign, which aims to plant 7.8 billion trees worldwide by the year 2020 – one tree for every person projected to be on Earth. You can help right here in Wellesley by planting a tree! Just sign up to get a free tree planted in your yard through the Wellesley Natural Resources Commission. Contact nrc@wellesley.gov. Honoring Trees The single largest living thing in the world is the giant sequoia tree. Sequoias live for hundreds – sometimes thousands of years. The age of one sequoia was calculated to be 3,500 years – determined by counting the rings in the trunk after the tree died. The tallest known sequoia trees live in the Sierra Nevada Desert in California. “General Sherman” is the tallest at 275 feet high. The second tallest is known as “King Arthur” and is 270 feet high. The widest tree trunk belongs to a sequoia called “Boole” that is 113 feet wide. It would take 23 adults or 42 children to form a circle around Boole. During this past year, the Wellesley Free Library has exhibited photos of favorite Wellesley trees to commemorate Earth Day. Catch the exhibit before it ends on April 22, 2017!  
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  • Arbor Day Activities with Rotary Club

    Each year for over the  past twenty years, every fourth grader in Wellesley is given a tree to plant at home in honor of Arbor Day thanks to the Rotary Club. Suzy Jordon, Wellesley’s Town Horticultural Technician, leads a group of 12 volunteers in bagging over 400 tree saplings with dirt in plastic bags for distribution to all fourth graders. It is a fun project and only takes 2 hours. They gather April 18th at the DPW at 4:00 PM. Please join! Use this link to learn more and register.
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  • Three Important Measures Now Up for Approval at Town Meeting!

    With so much attention on issues of national importance – local issues can get lost in the shuffle. Wellesley Town Meeting opened Monday night and will soon be discussing three hyper-local issues that have a direct impact on sustainability and the fundamental character of our town — Articles 31, 32, and 40. If you are a Town Meeting Member, we strongly urge you to approve Articles 31, 32, and 40. If you aren’t a Town Meeting Member,  we urge you to call or email your Town Meeting Members today to ask them to vote in favor of these articles! (Wellesley has 8 precincts, each represented by 30 elected Town Meeting Members. To find out who your town meeting members are and how to contact them, click here.) Please Support Articles 31, 32, and 40 (scroll down for more detail on each): Solar Overlay Zoning Amendment, (Article 31), proposed by the Sustainable Energy Committee – This measure would make it possible for the state to install a solar array on the cloverleaf at Routes 9 and 128. (No current solar project is proposed.) Approval of the zoning overlay would allow Wellesley to apply to become an official “Green Community,” making the town eligible for state grants to improve energy efficiency and increase renewable energy use. Large House Review Amendment (Article 32), proposed by the Planning Board. This amendment would improve the accuracy and equitability of the current Large House Review by including garage and attic spaces in determining which houses are reviewed. Historic Preservation Demolition Delay/Review Bylaw, (Article 40), proposed by the Wellesley Historical Commission. This bylaw would allow a pause in advance of the demolition of a home built before 1949. Please contact your Town Meeting Member now and ask them to vote to approve Articles 31, 32, and 40 to preserve the sustainability and character of our town! Read on for more details…. Solar Overlay Zoning Amendment, (Article 31), proposed by the Sustainable Energy Committee The Sustainable Energy Committee (SEC) is proposing an amendment to the Zoning Map and Bylaws for a future solar overlay. If approved, this amendment would allow the town to apply for the “Green Community” designation from MA Dept. of Energy Resources (DOER). As a Green Community, Wellesley would be eligible for grants and technical assistance to improve energy efficiencies and increase renewable energy in public buildings, facilities, and schools. Neighboring towns have won more than a million dollars in grants. In order to apply for the Green Community designation, towns must demonstrate that they have the potential to develop a large-scale solar installation. The proposed Solar Overlay Zoning Amendment would allow for potential future development of ground-mounted solar installation at the clover-leaf at Route 9 and 128, which is owned by the state Dept. of Transportation. (The DOT has no current plans to develop the site.) Large House Review Amendment (Article 32), proposed by the Planning Board. The “Large House Review” is a process approved by Special Town Meeting in 2007 that allows the Planning Board to invite input from neighbors, and to address whether a proposed house is compatible with the character of the neighborhood. Size thresholds are set for each zoning district — if a proposed house is larger than the threshold, it gets reviewed through Planning.  Currently, the calculation exempts garage and attic spaces, so builders design houses that fall just under the definition of “large,” but actually include large garages and potentially livable attic space. Article 32 calls for two relatively simple and reasonable changes that will make Large House Review more predictable and remove unintended consequences: Counting garage space as part of the “Total Living Area,” and counting attic space when the roof height allows at least 5’0” under it. This would result either in more houses coming through the Large House Review or in developers building houses that are somewhat smaller. Either way — Wellesley wins with houses that are more in keeping with the character of our town. Historic Preservation Demolition Delay/Review Bylaw, (Article 40), proposed by the Wellesley Historical Commission. One house is torn down every four days in Wellesley. There have been 859 teardowns since 2002, significantly more (pro rata) than neighboring towns. Teardowns are less environmentally friendly than renovations and it can take up to 80 years for energy-efficient new construction to overcome the negative environmental costs associated with the teardown-rebuild process. In addition, there’s an enormous environmental cost from new materials and associated transportation (e.g., asphalt shingles, lumber framing, insulation, paints, metals, carpeting, etc.), not to mention the clear-cutting of our mature canopy trees to make way for larger foundations, and the massive increase in landfill waste from home demolition. Currently 148 Massachusetts towns have demolition review bylaws and EVERY abutting town has a demolition review bylaw. We need to level the playing field and better manage the rampant pace of demolitions and developer-built construction in our town. This bylaw is a priority of Wellesley’s Comprehensive Plan (2007 – 2017) and is specifically recommended in Wellesley’s current Comprehensive Plan. It was crafted to provide a window of opportunity to protect our history and character and slow down the teardowns, which are actually on the rise. The Demolition Delay will allow for thoughtful discussion in the face of wanton destruction; allow neighbors to weigh in on a proposed demolition; offer a pause to consider; and encourage renovations and additions vs. complete teardowns.
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  • Standing Room Only at Wellesley Gas Leaks Forum

    It was hard to find a seat last Tuesday as Wellesley residents filled the Wakelin Room at the library to hear from gas leaks experts and share concerns about the 193 gas leaks throughout town. If you missed the event, you can watch it online through Wellesley Media here. To see an updated map of leaks in Wellesley, click here. Meanwhile, here are some highlights of the forum… There are some important reasons to be worried about gas leaks in our town: – Gas leaks are a safety risk – The Wellesley Fire Department responds to more than 80 calls a year concerning gas odors. – Gas leaks contribute to global warming – In fact, methane is at least 80 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. – Gas leaks kill trees – Public shade trees and private trees and shrubs are all affected by methane seeping into the soil and suffocating their roots. – Gas leaks are expensive – All ratepayers pay for “lost and unaccounted for” gas through our gas bills – estimated to be as much as $60 million worth each year. – Gas leaks affect our health, resulting in asthma and other respiratory disease. State Representative Alice Peisch spoke of her strong support for legislation that would prevent gas companies from continuing to charge ratepayers for wasted gas (H.2683/S.1845 An Act relative to protecting consumers of gas and electricity from paying for leaked and unaccounted for gas). One of the expert panelists, Dr. Nathan Phillips of Boston University spoke about his work mapping gas leaks, including recent research that indicates about 7 percent of gas leaks are “super emitters” and are responsible for 50 percent of gas emissions. Dr. Phillips and others are working on ways to identify these high volume leaks and prioritize them for repair. Audrey Schulman, president of the Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) surprised the crowd with a slide showing a graphic representation of the leaks along Route 9, with large peaks of methane emissions all along the main gas line that cuts across Wellesley. She also pointed to a recent study conducted by HEET and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council which demonstrated that millions of dollars could be saved by improving coordination between utility companies and local governments on pipeline replacement and repair. Dr. Regina LaRocque, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a newly elected member of the Wellesley Natural Resources Commission, raised concerns about the health effects of exposure to natural gas, including increased rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases. Much of the natural gas in Massachusetts originates from fracking sites in Pennsylvania, and Dr. LaRocque spoke of the carcinogenic chemicals that are used to extract natural gas as part of the fracking process. These toxic chemicals have been identified in the areas around the fracking sites and gas transfer stations, but little is known about what is in the gas that is leaking throughout Wellesley. National Grid representative Sue Fleck offered to hold quarterly meetings with residents to report on progress in repairing the leaks. She also committed to improving coordination with the town on scheduling road work and street closings as National Grid works to repair all gas leaks within the next 10 years. Following the forum, the organizer of the event and chair of the Wellesley Natural Resources Commission (NRC), Lise Olney, said that the NRC would continue to research the connection between gas leaks and the death of public shade trees throughout town. The NRC is exploring a possible independent survey of gas leaks in Wellesley. The Selectmen offered this statement: “The Board of Selectmen is grateful to the co-sponsors and participants of the recent forum on Gas Leaks in Wellesley for bringing this critical issue to the forefront, raising public awareness, and elevating our understanding of the problem and its solutions. The Town is working with National Grid to implement an effective, coordinated town wide strategy for the repair of gas leaks and with both National Grid and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to coordinate gas leak repair and road improvement work along Wellesley’s Route 9 corridor. The Selectmen appreciate the importance of on-going public engagement on these issues and plan to hold a follow-up forum in the near future to continue public dialogue and discuss progress with the community.” What Can Wellesley Residents Do? – Call National Grid when you smell a leak. The gas company needs to hear from us whenever we smell gas. The number to call is 1-800-233-5325. – Support bi-partisan action on gas leaks legislation. Wellesley’s State Representative Alice Peisch and State Senator Cynthia Creem are cosponsoring a bill to prevent gas companies from continuing to charge ratepayers for wasted gas – H.2683/S.1845 An Act relative to protecting consumers of gas and electricity from paying for leaked and unaccounted for gas. If you live in Precinct B, F, or G, please consider contacting State Senator Richard Ross to encourage him to support sponsoring as well. – Power your home with renewable energy – Wellesley residents can enroll in Power to Choose, a program offered by the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant that allows you to sign up for 10, 25, 50, or 100 percent renewable energy for your home for a modest additional cost. Even if the gas leaks are fixed, our continued reliance on natural gas and other fossil fuels is not sustainable and is harming our planet. We can and must make the transition to 100 percent renewable energy. Do so today by clicking here. – Join us – Sustainable Wellesley’s next action team meeting is Sunday, April 9, 3 to 5 pm, 161 Oakland Street. We’ll be having a debrief on the gas leaks forum and talking about next steps for action.
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  • INSPIRING Environmental & Sustainability Exhibits at STEM EXPO

    There will be many environmental and sustainability exhibits, and so much more at Wellesley Education Foundation’s STEM Expo on Saturday, April 8th. Bring your family for an incredibly inspiring day when they transform Wellesley High School into an interactive science center. Register today! Swing by the Sustainable Wellesley/Wellesley Green School’s table near the auditorium and see some of the incredible Sustainability Challenge finalists. We encourage you to consider car pooling, walk or biking to the EXPO; and don’t forget to BYO water bottle too.
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  • Free Energy Audit >>> Learn More Sunday, April 9th, 3-5

    Looking for a Free Energy Audit? Having an energy audit was one of the action items mentioned at the Gas Leaks Forum along with using renewable energy via Wellesley’s Power To Choose Program. Sign up for both next Sunday, or email info@sustainablewellesley.com today. HomeWorks Energy, a home efficiency service, will be providing information and taking requests for free home energy audits during the Sustainable Wellesley action meeting on Sunday, April 9th from 3-5pm at 161 Oakland Street. All are welcome. Some additional action team discussions will include: Landscapes for Living Event for all those gardeners and anti pesticide folks Gas leaks follow up – We have made lots of progress but more to go!  We couldn’t do it without you. Membership Coordinator Position Parade Fun
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  • Babson Zero Waste Conference This Friday

    Babson is hosting the 11th Energy & Environment Conference. This year’s theme is Babson Challenge: Zero Waste. Our esteemed thought leader panelists will discuss the opportunity and challenges associated with attaining a zero waste existence. Gwen Ruta Keynote Speaker Gwen Ruta is Vice President, Programs for Environmental Defense Fund, a leading nonprofit organization that links science, economics, and law to solve serious environmental problems. Ms. Ruta’s focus is to ensure that EDF delivers on execution of its strategies to protect human health and the environment. Georges Dyer Speaker Georges Dyer is Executive Director of the Crane Institute for Sustainability, and a Principal of the Intentional Endowments Network, supporting endowments in aligning investment policies with institutional mission, values, and sustainability goals. For over 20 years he has been engaged in solutions-based approaches to sustainability. Udi Meirav Speaker Dr. Udi Meirav is CEO and Founder of Boston-based enVerid Systems, a technology leader in Air Care, which has developed and commercialized groundbreaking HVAC Load Reduction (HLR®) technology that enable dramatic reduction in HVAC energy consumption. Barbara Finer Speaker Barbara Finer, CEO & Founder, TechSandBox, has founded several technology companies. She has served on Boards including MIT Enterprise Forum, WPI Venture Forum, Choices Wellness Center, and Spidersplat and has judged and/or mentored at Ignite/CTO. Conference Details Date:      March 31, 2017 Location:  Olin Auditorium, Babson College Time:      8.15am – 3.00pm Prices:    $10 – $50 Register : Click here to register
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  • Do Golfers Hate Trees?

    Probably not. But if they love trees like the rest of us then why is the Wellesley Country Club destroying so many of them?  The club has already cut down over 80 trees that were outside of the town’s jurisdiction, and is now headed to the Wetlands Protection Committee this coming Thursday, March 30, 6:30 p.m. to ask for permission to remove another 67 trees that are in wetlands. The club offers a number of reasons for this widespread tree removal – some of the trees are in decline, some interfere with play and some are invasive species.  But one driving force behind the plan seems to be a problem with fungus on the turf that they say can only be dealt with by either the application of pesticides or by removing trees so that better air circulation can eliminate it. There is a problem with both of these strategies. First, using pesticides in a wetland area is not a healthy, safe approach. Secondly, if better air circulation creates a drier environment that will kill off the fungus, then it seems it will also dry up – and eliminate – the wetland.  Fungus is a naturally occurring growth and does especially well in damp environments – like a wetland. At a time when people around our planet are working hard to save and plant more trees in order to stave off climate change, it just seems wrong to be cutting them down for “interfering with play”. A quick look at articles in the USGA magazine, November 6, 2015 issue, reveals that this is a growing trend on golf courses nationwide.  Trees are viewed as obstacles to the game and not appreciated for the beauty, shade and habitat they provide (not to mention oxygen).  This outlook runs counter to common sense and treats trees as if they were merely furniture and not the living, breathing beings that they are. The Country Club is a beautiful open space.  It’s beauty however, comes mainly from its trees. If you are passionate about trees and preserving as many as we can in our town, please come to the wetlands hearing – Thursday, March 30 in the office of the Natural Resources Commission, Town Hall.  Public Voice begins at 6:30 p.m.
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  • WMS Recycles Bottles and Cans!

    Did you know that the WMS Cafeteria sells over 60,000 bottles and cans per year? That is about 300 per day.  Now, with new and improved recycling can locations and signage, the bottles and cans are easily being recycled – rather than ending up in the landfill.  Not only is this great for the environment, it saves on WMS trash removal costs! Thank you to the administration, staff, custodial services, and cafeteria employees for supporting this important effort. And, a special thank you to students for using the bins! Keep up the great work! –Wellesley Middle School Green Team Leaders
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  • Reducing and Recovering Wasted Food – Lessons from the Cafeteria Line!

    Join EPA Sustainable Materials Management Web Academy and Wellesley’s own Sustainable Energy Administrator on Thursday, Mar 30, 2017 from 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM EDT School food invokes memories of cafeteria lines, pizza and cartons of milk. What most of us didn’t pay attention to or remember was the amount of wasted food (food that could be eaten by someone else if recovered) and food waste (food that is inedible or has been partially consumed and could be composted) created in school cafeterias. In this webinar, attendees will hear from three leaders in the industry on how to more effectively managed the entire food process affecting school cafeterias. First, you will hear about methods to teach children about the impacts of food waste and wasted food. Then, moving directly into the cafeteria, you will learn about practices to evaluate the amount of food waste and wasted food. Finally, you will learn about a new initiative to collect the wasted food and redistribute it into the community for people to eat. Please register here. Speakers: Nayiri Haroutunian is the Program Manager at Washington Green Schools. Through this non-profit, she works closely with schools and teachers in the state to provide curriculum support that is rooted in environmental standards as well as guidance to encourage student environmental leadership projects. She recently developed an NGSS-driven curriculum on waste and decomposition for Seattle Public Schools called Zombie Guacamole. Nayiri previously worked as an environmental educator at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago developing, implementing, and evaluating engaging programs for diverse urban youth, including local stewardship and restoration programs. Nayiri holds an MS in Natural Resources & Environment from the University of Michigan and a BS in Psychology from the University of Iowa. Nayiri is committed to access and equity in environmental education and is passionate about local food and photography. Marybeth Martello, Sustainable Energy Administrator for the Town of Wellesley, MA and Program Coordinator for the MetroWest STEM Education Network at Framingham State University.  Inspired by USEPA’s Food Recovery Challenge, Marybeth led an effort at Bates Elementary School to design a comprehensive cafeteria waste assessment and implement a food recovery and recycling program that is now being replicated at other schools.  Marybeth collaborates with Town government, state and federal agencies, and community groups to devise and run initiatives to lower greenhouse gas emissions via sustainable materials management, building design, and energy conservation.  Marybeth’s projects also work to advance STEM learning, especially as it pertains to the environment.  She is currently helping to develop a climate change education program for middle school teachers.  Marybeth holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering and a B.A. in English from UCONN.  She has an M.S. in Environmental Engineering and an interdepartmental Ph.D. from MIT. Lynn Johnson is the Supervisor for the Child Nutrition Services at the Bremerton School District, in Bremerton Washington since January 2015. She has been involved in Child Nutrition for over 15 years.   Bremerton School district serves over 5,000 children across 9 schools. Lynn has been instrumental in the School Food Share project that started with the Bremerton School District in 2016. This project keeps on an average 3,000 pounds of reusable food per month out of our landfills and puts it into the mouths of people in our community who need it.  Lynn has 4 married children, 3 grandchildren with another on the way.  Lynn enjoys spending time with her family on their 5 acer “hobby farm” in Belfair, WA where they garden, grow fruit and have lots of animals!
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  • Human Health & the Environment

    Over the past few decades, Dr. Eric Chivian has been inspiring medical and environmental professionals, as well as policy makers, religious groups, and others—through his research, writing, teaching and organizing—to recognize the implications of biodiversity loss in particular, and the health of the global environment in general, on human health and well-being. Dr. Chivian is a physician, and the Founder and Former Director of The Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School. He shared the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for co-founding The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. He is currently Director of The Program for Preserving the Natural World, Inc., and an Associate in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. Now, as the reality of climate change is setting in, Dr. Chivian’s work and messages are more important than ever before. We’ll have the chance to hear from him just how critically important conservation work now is, not just for the earth’s ecosystems—for its people too. Dr. Chivian’s award-winning Oxford University Press book Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity will be available for sale, and he will be happy to sign copies. The Mass Audubon’s Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary sponsored event takes place on Sunday, March 26th from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm at the Natick Center for the Arts (TCAN) at 14 Summer Street, Natick and is is free, but preregistration is required as it will fill fast. Register here.
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  • BE THERE TUESDAY PM: National Grid In Town at Gas Leaks Forum

    Mark your calendars and join us on Tuesday, March 21, 7:00 to 8:30 pm, at the Wellesley Free Library for a public discussion of gas leaks in Wellesley. You smell the leaks, and see the signs around town marking the roughly 200 gas leaks in our neighborhoods (thank you 40+ volunteers who made it happen). Perhaps you have seen this Wellesley Media and the Natural Resources Commission’s video on the topic. Unfortunately, there surely are leaks in your neighborhood. We want do something about all that leaking gas that poses a risk to our safety, our health, and our environment — don’t you? As ratepayers, we are also all paying for this wasted gas. Now is the time to hear what we can do about it from health, environmental, and energy efficiency experts, as well as ask questions to National Grid and Town Officials. The Board of Selectmen will preside, joined by Representative Alice Peisch. Featured panelists: Dr. Nathan Phillips, Dept. of Earth & Environment, Boston University Audrey Schulman, Home Energy Efficiency Team Dr. Regina LaRocque, Mass General Hospital Sue Fleck, Pipeline Safety, National Grid Town officials will also be available to answer questions Please click here so we know you are attending! This event is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by Wellesley Board of Selectmen, State Representative Alice Peisch, State Senator, Cynthia Creem, State Senator Richard Ross, Natural Resources Commission, Sustainable Energy Committee, Health Department, and Sustainable Wellesley.
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  • Buy Your Bus Ticket Now for The April 29 DC Climate Mobilization

    Join people from all over the country on April 29, 350 in Washington, DC for the People’s Climate Mobilization—a massive march to protect our climate, our families, and our communities. Join us—buy your bus ticket now! The huge mobilization on April 29 is a chance to fight back against Trump’s disastrous plans and show our passion, our commitment, and our fierce love for this planet and one another. Just as importantly, it’s a chance to build the relationships that will allow us to transform our movement right here in Massachusetts. We’re mobilizing for April 29 alongside a powerful coalition of labor unions, faith organizations, and youth organizations, in addition to environmental justice groups with deep roots in Boston’s communities of color. We’ll travel to DC together, march side-by-side, and return to Boston ready to fight together for our shared future. This could be a crucial moment for the Massachusetts movement, and we want you to be part of it. Buy your bus ticket now! Ticket prices will rise significantly after March 24. Buy your ticket now to secure your spot and take advantage of our $85 round-trip early bird rate. “Can’t go to DC? Come to the People’s Climate Mobilization on the Commons in Boston — start time will be 1 pm. A coalition of organizations is working on building this amazing event — more information coming soon!”
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  • Growing, Harvesting and Serving Lettuce at Wellesley Middle School

    Wellesley Middle School Students in the greenhouse: Eddie Trenk, Blake Lothian, and Michael Ossam Story written By: Alex Abdelal and Eddie Trenk, Wellesley Middle School Students Photo By: Greg Bodkins, Science/IT Department, Wellesley Middle School          Growing lettuce in the Wellesley Middle School greenhouse? Yep, that’s a thing. This year’s Design and Technology class, an elective at Wellesley Middle School, changed its  curriculum. Spearheaded by Mr. Bodkins, a teacher at WMS, the goal this year was to hydroponically grow vegetables and herbs to be served in the middle school cafeteria. Hydroponic growing means growing in water and not in soil. Students had to build hydroponic growing systems to meet their goals, which took much dedication and work. The hydroponic systems were installed  in the newly renovated greenhouse at WMS. The greenhouse windows had been replaced and it was fixed up last summer, so this class could take place. This course was open to all 8th graders, first semester.          To build hydroponic growing systems, students first had to learn about what was necessary for plant growth. After a few weeks of study, students had a solid understanding of the process needed to grow plants, the systems they would use, and how to construct them. Classes reviewed the options for growing and decided to build Deep Water Culture systems (DWC) and Vertical Drip systems.           Students were then able to select seeds for growing. Most of the chosen produce was lettuce because Mr. Delaney, the head of Whitsons, which is the food service at WMS, requested lettuce and herbs. Mr. Bodkins placed an order for the many varieties of seeds selected by the classes from Johnny’s Seeds.           Then, Design and Tech students faced the challenge of actually growing plants, but before the germination process could start, the benches in the greenhouse had to be fixed. Classes then improved the broken benches in the woodshop over the course of many classes in the woodshop. Once the benches were fixed, the germination process started while students started to build the hydroponic systems.           One of the systems built to grow plants was a Deep Water Culture System. This system holds plants that have germinated in rockwool growing cubes. They are then immersed into a tub of nutrient rich water — essential for plant growth. The DWC systems installed at WMS were rafts, which held the plants in a large tub of water. The students also built vertical drip systems. These were wide plastic tubes with holes filled with various media. The water dripped down from a tube above, and it went to the plants placed in the tubes. The students melted plastic until it was malleable to make this particular system.            Michael Ossam, a Design and Tech student, remarked, “I really enjoyed building the parts for our system. For example, I liked melting the plastic for the vertical drip system,” Ossam said.         Design and Technology students also had an opportunity to go on a field trip to Water Fresh Farm in Hopkinton where they grow produce hydroponically. The students got a tour of the facilities and even tried the food. They got to walk around and look at the systems that Water Fresh Farm uses and compare them to the systems at WMS. Water Fresh Farm uses Deep Water Culture systems, similarly to WMS, but their systems are used on a much larger scale. They also used vertical drip systems for growing some of the herbs. It was a very informative field trip, where students witnessed more developed systems in which they could look up to, or try to replicate.            At the end of the semester, the students created logos which went on the salads. Slides for advertising the produce were displayed on the TV’s outside the WMS main office for students to see. Finally, it was time to harvest (on Friday the thirteenth of January, really…) The produce had mostly been successful and usable, and the high quality food was eventually served at lunch. The students picked and washed the plants, and then the salad was served the same day in the student cafeteria with lunch!          “Produce does not get much fresher than that,” said Noah Ford, a Design and Tech student. “It felt really good when the lettuce was served in the cafeteria. It felt like all the hard work in Design and Tech was worth it,” Ford said. The Design and Technology challenge was met, and much of the food in the cafeteria that day was made by just two classes.             Ultimately, as Will Fortescue, a Design and Tech student commented, “If somebody has a knack for gardening, growing plants naturally, or just learning something new, they should sign up for Design and Tech.”              This year’s new Design and Technology challenge was innovative, and there is still much room for development after the success in Mr Bodkins’ semester one classes. With semester two underway, more WMS students will be building on the progress made during semester one.           “It gives kids a chance to learn something new about vertical farming and hydroponics that many kids don’t get the chance to learn,” said WMS student Jordan Monsen.  “It really is a great class for thinking about how the world can sustain itself in the future,” Monsen said. This year, the WMS Design/Tech Challenge will be on display at the Wellesley STEM Expo on April 8th.
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  • Need A Beverage Dispenser For Your Event?  

    Whether you are having a meeting, team dinner, party or any other event serving drinks, we have a great alternative to cans and bottled drinks. Wellesley Green Schools has these 3-gallon beverage dispensers that they would be happy to lend you. Fill them with water, lemonade, ice tea or your favorite cold beverage and save yourself lots of clean-up and recycling. Just e-mail Sue Morris at susan.morris@verizon.net to coordinate getting them.
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  • Got Lawn Signs?

             First of all, thanks for voting! Now that the election is behind us, it is time to remove the lawn signs decorating town. Feel free to re-use them for the next election, turn them into happy birthday signs, craft them into something useful or fun but PLEASE don’t just throw them away. Simply separate the metal from the plastic and make sure the plastic goes into the Rigid Plastics Area at our local RDF. In some cases, the signs can eventually be converted into plastic pellets which are used to help make many consumer goods we use every day.  
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  • ‘Time to Choose’ Film and Discussion This Sunday

    How can we, as individuals, address the climate crisis? See, Time to Choose, a powerful 90-minute climate change film at First Parish in Needham, 23 Dedham Ave. With footage from five continents, Time to Choose explores the scope of the climate change crisis and the power of solutions already available. The film will be followed by a discussion of concrete steps to address climate change. Attendees can also enjoy refreshments and a chance to browse informational tables from local groups. This free event is sponsored by First Parish in Needham, Green Needham Collaborative, as well as 10 Metro West environmental groups, local League of Women Voters groups, and houses of worship. For more information, see greenneedham.org. Academy Award®-Winning documentary filmmaker Charles Ferguson (Inside Job, No End in Sight) turns his lens to address worldwide climate change challenges and solutions in his new film TIME TO CHOOSE. Featuring narration by award-winning actor Oscar Isaac, TIME TO CHOOSE leaves audiences understanding not only what is wrong, but WHAT CAN BE DONE to fix this global threat. Ferguson explores the comprehensive scope of the climate change crisis and examines the power of solutions already available. Through interviews with world-renowned entrepreneurs, innovators, thought leaders and brave individuals living on the front lines of climate change, Ferguson takes an In-depth look at the remarkable people working to save our planet.
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  • Vote Tomorrow. Your Voter’s Guide W/ Candidates Views of Sustainability

    With numerous contested races, it shows Wellesley residents are leaning in and are taking steps to make changes on the local level, regardless of what is happening in Washington.   Wellesley voters are doing their research and getting ready to vote on Tuesday because they realize that local politics greatly affects their day-to-day lives.    Thus, we have asked all candidates, except the Moderator, to answer three questions about sustainability and how it relates to the work of that particular board.   Please share widely with your friends and neighbors — and please VOTE!   Board of Selectmen – Click here. Board of Assessors – No response. Board of Health – Click here. Housing Authority – No response. Library Trustees – Click here. Natural Resources – Click here. Planning Board – Click here. Board of Public Works – Click here. Recreation Commission – No response. School Committee – Click here.    
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  • Help Families Tag the 200 Gas Leaks In Wellesley This Weekend

        Wellesley Green School and Sustainable Wellesley families will be tagging the nearly 200 gas leaks in Wellesley this weekend as a very visual way of getting the message out about the upcoming Wellesley’s Gas Leaks Public Forum taking place on March 21st from 7-8.30 pm in the Wakelin Room at the Wellesley Free Library. Join the families at a pre-tagging rally on March 11th from 9.30-10am at Town Hall. Interested in helping out? A sign-up form for tagging leaks is here. Tagging is easy; simply hang up signs with pre organized materials in specific spots (map provided) and hang a few door hangers. The Town is working to get National Grid to fix these leaks (click here for map), some of which are 20 years old. Many residents are familiar with the smell of gas in their neighborhoods but they are not aware of the damaging effects of gas leaks to the public’s health and the environment, as well as the costs to Wellesley residents — the Forum will be an opportunity to learn more. The goal of the Forum is to build public understanding and awareness about the leaks, equip residents with expert information, and allow residents to ask questions directly to National Grid representatives. Featured panelists include Dr. Nathan Phillips, Dept. of Earth & Environment at Boston University who will discuss the environmental impact; Audrey Schulman, Home Energy Efficiency Team, will discuss ways of  improving coordination to repair leaks; Wellesley’s own Dr. Regina LaRocque of Mass General Hospital will share vital information on the dangers to humans; and Sue Fleck, Vice President, Pipeline Safety, National Grid, will talk about the company’s plans for fixing the leaks in Wellesley. Town officials will also be available to answer questions. Registration is recommended for the Gas Leaks Forum. Do so here. The Gas Leaks Forum is co-sponsored by Wellesley Board of Selectmen, State Representative Alice Peisch, State Senator Cynthia Creem, State Senator Richard Ross, Natural Resources Commission, Sustainable Energy Committee, Health Department, Sustainable Wellesley, and Wellesley Green Schools.
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  • Candidate for Board of Public Works

    There is one seat for a 3 year term on the Board of Public Works which oversees the Department of Public Works (DPW): Engineering, Park, Highway, Recycling & Disposal, Management Services, Water, and Sewer. Jeff Wechsler Candidate for Board of Public Works answers Sustainable Wellesley’s questions below. What is your track record on sustainability, including any particular interests and experience with sustainable ideas and initiatives? I try to infuse sustainability throughout my life, and look for pragmatic and cumulative ways to make a difference. Since joining the Environmental Club in high school during it’s inaugural year – I’ve done my best to recycle, reuse, and conserve. My home and my property are as chemical- and pesticide-free as possible. We love and frequently use the town recreation facilities and parks. We’re also Mass Audubon members, and enjoy the properties they protect and care for. I try to be sustainable in my food choices (Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.) and choose local and/or organic as much as possible. I am currently involved in a business to streamline the supply chain for small share farmers and to help the good food economy compete with, as well as influence, industrial agriculture. I am extremely interested in alternative energy sources and believe they won’t be so “alternative” in a decade. I’m interested in reducing our carbon footprint and was fascinated and inspired when recently touring a zero-energy home in Newton (thanks, Sustainable Wellesley for telling me about it!). As a car geek, I love electric vehicles, and am excited about the future of transportation. And as someone that commuted on the MBTA for years, I’m excited to see what sustainable and clean mass transit solutions can replace the aging, unreliable, fume-spewing trains that run through our town. But I know that I can do more, my family can do more, and our community can do more. I know that the choices we make today will directly impact the world that our future generations will inherit, and I want to do my part to make it better. How do you see sustainability as a factor in the development of policy and strategic goals for the Board of Public Works, given the board’s oversight authority over both the Department of Public Works and the Municipal Light Plant? One of the reasons I wanted to join the Board of Public Works is because I believe that the choices we make every day regarding our infrastructure have a direct and long-term impact on the environment and the world we live in. I believe sustainability should be an underlying consideration in as many public infrastructure policies and goals as possible. I believe that Wellesley is, and can continue to grow as, a leader in municipal management. Fortunately, we are increasingly seeing that sustainability can be good business. Which means it should become easier over time to balance sustainability goals with financial goals and constraints. I know there will be hard decisions, and people won’t always agree. But my hope is that if we  take a minute, and remember the long-term impact of decisions being made, sustainability will become almost second nature. Similar to how alternative energy will become “energy”, electric cars will become “cars,” zero energy homes will become “homes” and good food will just become “food.” I believe that sustainability goals should eventually become so commonplace they are just “goals”. I look forward to becoming a part of our community leadership and having the opportunity to help our town, our DPW and our MLP balance the demands of sustainability, safety, service, and cost. What specific policies might the Board of Public Works undertake related to sustainability and environment? First, an outreach and community involvement suggestion: I think we could as a community inspire our kids through increased exposure to the workings of the DPW and MLP. If our kids take an active interest in recycling, water conservation, maintaining our parks, taking care of our streets, etc. I’m pretty sure that would translate into more families becoming involved, informed, and invested in the policies that determine the sustainability of our town infrastructure. As for policy, the Board of Public Works is a representative body and is well served when it has input from our town residents as well as the professionals that we trust to make everything work. I expect that superb ideas for our community are already out there, and I look forward to hearing them, studying them, and helping to make smart choices regarding those ideas. For example, I’ve recently heard of community members advocating for waste reduction through programs such as food composting at the RDF. I want to be methodical about getting to know the people we rely on to take care of our infrastructure, get to know our residents, get to know what is already in place, what is already in the works, what has already been considered and what has already been tried. I believe that as I learn from and stay connected to the community, I will be in a good position to help make good policy decisions. If you are a resident who has a policy suggestion or question, please let me, Board members, or the DPW and MLP staff know what it is!
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  • Board of Selectman Candidates

    There are 2 candidates running for the 2, three-year-term seats for Board of Selectman. The Board of Selectmen serves as the chief executive board of the Town, and as such, oversees all matters affecting the interest and welfare of the community. The Board exercises the authority vested in the Town not specifically assigned by law to any other board or office. What is your track record on sustainability, including any particular interests and experience with sustainable ideas and initiatives? Tom Ulfelder I have not been employed in an industry or specific position directly related to sustainability. My experience is with the personal choices my family and I make on a daily basis. Our approach to energy conservation at home, recycling, and food are consistent with the goals of optimal sustainability. Beth Sullivan Woods I am a strong believer in sustainability and the importance of the 3R philosophy. As a family, we are avid recyclers and proud users of our amazing RDF facility, including the take-it or leave-it swap area. Not surprisingly, we take advantage of the collection at the Library for movies and books; our home library is filled with “recycled” books and movies purchased at the Friends of the Wellesley Free Library book sale, and we donate back the materials we no longer use so they can be enjoyed by others. We shop locally whenever possible, and enjoy the Wellesley Farmers’ Market. As a Town Meeting member since 2009, I have voted in support of the key sustainability initiatives that have been brought forward, including funding the restoration of Fuller Brook Park, enacting the tree by-law, supporting overlay protection to NRC land, and implementing the plastic bag ban. I currently serve on the Library Board of Trustees and we recently voted to have library lands maintained according to the NRC’s Organic Integrated Pest Management plan in order to cut down on harmful chemicals in our environment. How do you see sustainability as a factor in the development of policy for the Town of Wellesley? Tom Ulfelder The Town of Wellesley has established an interest in and a willingness to evaluate and implement sustainable choices. Whether it is the MLP (Municipal Light Plant), the PBC (Permanent Building Committee) working with the schools and the FMD (Facilities Maintenance Department), or the recent implementation of the plastic bag ban, the town and its residents have demonstrated a willingness to incorporate sustainability in our long term decisions and personal lives. Wherever applicable, sustainability should continue to be a consideration in the way we approach projects and town policy. Beth Sullivan Woods Sustainability should play a critical role in how our town approaches all projects, and be embedded from the beginning. We need to continue to build on and support the efforts of our boards, committees and staff to improve energy efficiency in our town buildings, maintain our beautiful open spaces which act as important natural resources, and identify strategies to alleviate traffic as well as cut down on fuel use and emissions. I’m excited about the prospect of obtaining Green Community status for Wellesley in order to be eligible for grants for projects that will help us achieve our town’s carbon reduction goals. The Selectmen should seek early engagement with the SEC, NRC and other non-government groups in town as part of development decisions and building design. What specific new initiatives related to the environment should the Board of Selectmen undertake in your prospective first term?  Tom Ulfelder The Unified Plan is well underway and in the course of the planning process the committee has asked for participation in surveys that ask about public attitudes toward sustainability in Wellesley. This information may be the most current data we have as a town in terms of public perception and support for this issue. It is important to develop policy and identify initiatives consistent with town wide opinion and priorities. Some of these decisions are easily made where there is a clear return on our investment. As a new Selectman, it is important to first understand the Board’s view on sustainable practices and then to understand the projects where sustainability is a concern and the Selectmen are involved. Once understood, choices may be made regarding environmental initiatives. Beth Sullivan Woods The upcoming partnership with the Board of Selectmen to co-host the gas leak forum in order to aggressively address the numerous gas leaks in town is an example of the type of partnerships that should be embraced; I would like to see the BOS encourage more of these town-wide collaborations. I believe the schools are playing an important role in educating our children about sustainability and the environment so that they are empowered to think and act sustainably; these types of programs should be celebrated. Finally, I look forward to working with our knowledgeable and talented citizens who so generously and passionately give of their time and energy towards this end, and as a Selectman will encourage and welcome their ideas and participation.  
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  • Join Us To Talk About Food, Energy, Gas, Waste, & Govt. This Saturday, 3-5pm

    Please join us this Saturday, March 4th from 3-5 for our next action meeting. We will gather at Quentin’s home, 75 Emerson Rd. All are welcome—bring a friend! These meetings always run on time and allow us to break out into small teams that get things done in town. We encourage you to share your ideas, creativity, and energy to any of the following topics our teams are discussing and working on: Gas Leaks Town elections/government Food and its Environmental Impact Renewable Energy Plastics and further waste reduction Please email info@sustainablewellesley.com for more information; let us know you will be joining in, or simply swing by on Sunday.
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  • Meet Our Natural Resources Commission Candidates

    The mission of the Natural Resources Commission is to provide stewardship of, education about, and advocacy for the Town of Wellesley’s park, conservation, recreation and open space system so that the full value of the Town’s natural assets can be passed onto future generations. This commission works on many projects with Sustainable Wellesley and is one of two Town governmental committees truly looking at the environment and sustainaiblity concerns. There are two seats available for 3-year terms, with two incumbents running (Joan E Gaughan and Lise Olney). What is your track record on sustainability, including any particular interests and experience with sustainable ideas and initiatives? Joan Gaughan During my tenure on the NRC we have had many sustainable initiatives. We have run an active campaign under the expert guidance of Dr. Sarah Little to educate our citizens to the dangers of pesticide/ herbicide use to our health, the health of our wildlife and the environment in general. Many forums were run, much literature was developed and distributed. We have had dialogues with even the local golf courses, especially Wellesley Country Club, which abuts some of our town wells. Healthy organic lawn signs were created and people displayed them proudly as a contrast to the “Chem Lawn “ signs. The NRC has protected our limited and precious open space on more than one occasion from assaults on it (two serious ones during my chairmanship) and the constant encroachment of its boundaries. Strong efforts were made to try to use herbicides in Morses pond to eradicate the weed problem. I fought this with other NRC members and were successful. Other strong efforts were made by many in town to use artificial turf for fields composed of recycled tires which contained many harmful carcinogens. The NRC along with the Cancer Prevention Committee again were successful in convincing Town Meeting to choose the more expensive alternative of virgin rubber. In past years the NRC has promoted composting of food waste by encouraging  and helping to make available through the RDF back yard food composters. We have promoted recycling in our community and in our schools, through the Environmental Aide program in our elementary schools of which I was a member for many years and though scout and other groups. As an NRC member I have protected our tree canopy by not allowing trees to be removed unless they are hazardous. We have even needed to impose fines on people who have violated our laws. Many of our new trees planted along FBP were financed from fines imposed on severe violations. I sat though many meetings with our legal council to insure we received adequate compensation. We actively encourage citizens to replant trees that must be removed and work with our very competent arborists to make sure we maintain a beautiful tree canopy in town. I have shepherded three Eagle Scout candidates through their projects to help to protect habitat and encourage usage of our open space. They have built trails, bog bridges, bat houses, and wildflower gardens to encourage pollinators, just to name a few. I endorsed and supported our plastic bag ban and hope to work to reduce use of polystyrene and other non recyclable materials in the near future. The NRC has been aware of the many gas leaks that have been harming our health and the health of our tree canopy and have worked and will continue to work to hold the gas companies accountable. I have worked diligently with the Trails Committee ( I am the NRC liaison)to promote use of our trails to help people realize how important a walk in the woods is to the health of our citizens both physically and mentally. I ( and Denny Nackoney) have developed and run 6 successful Kids’ Trail Days where we try to educate our youth about the importance and fun of open space. I have introduced many groups, including this one, to the biodegradability of trash left in the woods( or anywhere) based on studies done at the Woods Hole Institute. Regina LaRocque I have been active in a number of sustainability initiatives in Wellesley. Currently, I am co-leading the reinvigorated Power to Choose campaign, which aims to increase participation in the Municipal Light Plant’s voluntary renewable energy program. I am a citizen representative on the committee working on the town’s proposed LED streetlight conversion. As a Town Meeting member from Precinct E, I worked to pass the recent plastic bag ban. I am also an active member of Sustainable Wellesley and Wellesley Green Schools. Lise Olney I have been on the Sustainable Wellesley leadership team since 2011, helping build Sustainable Wellesley into a strong grassroots non-profit that advocates for sustainable living and decision-making in our town. In 2015, I co-founded the Massachusetts Interfaith Coalition for Climate Action to help organize people of faith to take collective action on issues of climate justice, and to advocate at the state level for a transition to clean renewable energy. For the past three years, I have served on the Wellesley Natural Resources Commission. Last year, I co-led the successful initiative to pass a bag bylaw to reduce plastic litter and encourage residents to switch to environmentally friendly reusable bags. I have also organized a public forum to discuss Wellesley’s 200-plus gas leaks on March 21 at the library–this event is co-sponsored by Sustainable Wellesley, the Board of Selectmen, and others. We have also initiated the NRC’s new Grow Green Wellesley campaign to promote eco-landscaping and reduce pesticide use in cooperation with the Board of Health and Sustainable Wellesley, with whom we are co-sponsoring a day-long forum called “Landscapes for Living” on May 13 (also at the library). 2. What do you think the priorities of the NRC should be for the next three years of your prospective term? Joan Gaughan Over the next three years I believe the NRC priorities should be to do everything we can to hold the gas companies accountable for the leaks that are harming our trees. We should encourage […]
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  • Local Environmental Action Conference

    Join community leaders, environmental advocates and experts from across New England to learn, connect, get inspired, and take real action for change at the 30th annual Local Environmental Action conference. WHEN?  March 05, 2017 at 9am – 6pm WHERE?  Northeastern University, 360 Huntington Ave., Boston Click here to register, visit the conference website at to learn more, or call 617-747-4362 with any questions.
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  • Styrofoam Frustrating You?

    Reducing Plastic Waste Activists and interested citizens, municipal officials and staff, as well as business people are invited to the Mass Green Network 2017 Summit. Learn from other communities that have banned polystyrene (“Styrofoam”), share experiences and ideas for new campaigns and network with other sustainability organizations.  At the Summit there will be opportunities to reflect on the lessons of the past year, share stories, and learn about new resources and best practices (both for passing new regulations, and for implementing those that have been adopted). Register here for the summit which takes place on Saturday, March 25 from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm at the First Baptist Church, 111 Park Avenue, in Worcester. Admission is absolutely free!
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  • Meet the Library Board of Trustees Candidates

    Sustainable Wellesley continues its series of questions to candidates in regards sustainability, and how it relates to the important town positions they are running for. This week we are publishing the responses from the 2 candidates running for the Wellesley Library Board of Trustees. This board focuses on the general oversight of all library services and policies, assess the Library’s needs and its role in town, establishes policies and procedures and works in conjunction with the Library Director to prepare a budget. 1. What is your track record on sustainability, including any particular interests and experience with sustainable ideas and initiatives? Ann-Mara Lanza I am a firm believer in the concept of “reduce, reuse, and recycle.” Growing up in Lincoln, Massachusetts, recycling has always been a part of my family practice. We are proud that we now live in a community that has a more comprehensive recycling program, and love our trips to the RDF. I borrow most of my reading material from the Wellesley Free Library, rather than buy books. I have turned my son into an avid thrift store shopper. We drive a Tesla. My particular interest is in saving this world for our children and their children. 2. How do you see sustainability as a factor in the development of policy and strategic goals for the Wellesley Free Library system? Ann-Mara Lanza The library is, inherently, all about sustainability – the ultimate source of reusable materials. By providing materials (books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, newspapers, and more!) to borrow, we encourage residents to conserve the resources of our planet, rather than to purchase new. Today, the library lends items beyond what one might remember from their childhood. Recently, the library has expanded our “library of things” to enable residents to borrow items that they might only use once rather than purchase, like a character cake pan. The WFL is in the process of developing a new 5-year strategic plan. This plan will outline new initiatives for the Wellesley Free Library and new ways that the WFL can encourage residents to borrow. 3. Please describe any new initiatives related to the environment that you think the Library should undertake. Ann-Mara Lanza The Wellesley Free Library is always ready to partner with other organizations in town to protect the environment.  Last year, working with the MLP, the Wellesley Free Library installed a solar powered charging station outside the main library building where residents can charge their cell phones.  We are also working with the Sustainable Energy Committee to expand our “library of things.”  As we create our strategic plan, we will continue to work with the community to develop programs and services that promote sustainability. Ann Rappaport I joined the grass roots organization SMART (Sustainable Management of Appropriate Resources and Technology) formed in 2006 to lobby for a ‘green’ high performance high school. Our group was very effective in advocating that the WHS School Building Committee incorporate sustainable design into the WHS project. We raised awareness of green school building practice in the US and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through researching and writing white papers and presenting our findings in citizen speak before SBC/PBC. We also formed a ‘Green Team’ to compete at the 2007 and 2008 WEF spelling bees (Pamela Posey, Katie Smith Milway and I won the Bee both years). The new high school achieved 34-point MA-CHPS certification, necessary to receive reimbursement from the Massachusetts School Building Authority and the PBC added $1MM more in ‘green’ features to the project. WHS was ultimately awarded a Green Difference Award in the Outstanding Green School category. In 2007, I was asked to participate on an Ad Hoc Green Committee which produced a report to Town Meeting (see March 2008 Advisory Report, pp 125-127) in which we recommended the establishment of a “Green Ribbon Study Committee” charged with examining town energy usage and developing a Sustainable Energy Plan. (The GRSC ultimately led to the permanent Sustainable Energy Committee.) I was the Wellesley Advisory Committee Liaison to the SEC in 2012-2013 and participated in a WMLP pilot program to “peak smooth” my family’s energy usage; we got very used to doing laundry and running the dishwasher after 10 PM at night! As a Town Meeting Member for the past decade, I have supported all sustainability initiatives, including the formation of the SEC, stretch energy code, and recent plastic bag ban. On a personal level, I live in a house built in 1848 lacking standard modern conveniences like central air-conditioning. (Our family has discovered that the shade trees on our property help keep us cool in the summer.) My family composts, avoids non-organic lawn care and tries to reduce, reuse and recycle whenever possible. I recently attended a PBC meeting to speak as a former member of SMART to encourage the PBC and SEC to incorporate sustainable building guidelines into Wellesley’s current and future building projects. It was very encouraging to see so much support on both committees for this initiative. As a Library Trustee, I would continue to advocate for sustainability practice in building design, energy, resource and material conservation whenever possible. I was encouraged to read about the Library’s new “Library of Things,” whereby old games, puzzles, instruments, baking pans, etc. are offered for patrons to take home – a way to recycle items no longer used and/or to avoid having to purchase items that might only be used a few times. Most recently, the Library Trustees voted to support the town wide Integrated Pest Management policy promoted by the NRC. As a Library Trustee, I would encourage the Library to continue to work with SEC, NRC, and other groups in town which promote sustainability whenever possible; I believe the Library is, and should continue to be, a good neighbor which works collaboratively with other boards toward common goals that benefit our community and the greater good.
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  • Meet the Planning Board Candidates

    This week, we are covering the race for the Planning Board. This Board both codifies Town policy to manage the community’s assets through Zoning Bylaws, and permits how many of these assets are developed. Catherine Johnson is running as an unopposed incumbent, for another five-year term. There is 1 seat and 2 candidates running for the 1 year term and they are Thomas MacDonald and James Roberti. 1. What is your track record on sustainability, including any particular interests and experience with sustainable ideas and initiatives? Catherine Johnson It is impossible to separate sustainability and planning. Since 2013, when I joined the Planning Board: – I have pushed forward Planning’s sponsorship of the Natural Resources Protection Development Zoning Bylaw (Section XVI F), which protects 50% of all land in 5+ lot subdivisions as open space. It now needs to be reviewed. – I also have worked to change Planning’s Zoning Bylaw/Map overlay for NRC-owned land from “residential” to “park/recreation/conservation”; the two boards brought some of the NRC parcels through the 2016 ATM and another 17 parcels will be before Town Meeting this year. This adds a layer of protection for open space in Wellesley. – I was Planning’s representative to the Route 9 Enhancement Study Committee (Route 9 is both a thoroughfare and a residential street: it should have more trees, environmentally sensitive lighting, and even sidewalks). – I am sponsoring a new Lighting Bylaw that will be before Town Meeting next month. Though not as comprehensive as everyone would like, it is a necessary incremental step to permit fully shielded, cut-off lighting and some Dark Sky Compliancy, where possible. – However, my major focus is residential development and how to make it sustainable. Over the last 15 years, Wellesley has witnessed incredible changes to the character of our residential neighborhoods: tear downs and subsequent building of large houses. This chews up the open space in our yards and removes too many trees during the building process. One of Planning’s tools for restoring sustainable sanity to development is adjusting our Large House Review (LHR) Zoning Bylaw (Section XVI D). For the last two years, I have spearheaded a study to address what changes are needed for LHR. The Planning Board is bringing this very important Article to this year’s Town Meeting. If passed – and I need everyone in Sustainable Wellesley to email their Town Meeting Members to get them to vote in favor of Article 32, LHR/TLAG (Total Living Area + Garage) amendment – the size, scale, and mass of new houses will include the garage area and the “attic” area as part of the square footage of the house. This doesn’t prohibit large houses, but it mandates a review of mass and scale, lighting, trees and ground/storm water discharge. Almost all speculative developers try to avoid LHR permitting by building only to the square footage threshold that would trigger a review. If garages and attics are counted, as they are in Newton, Weston, and other nearby towns, much of the new construction in Wellesley still will be built below the review threshold. Houses will appear about 9-10% smaller than what you see today. More yard, more trees, smaller basements that push down into our land. Thomas MacDonald I am currently the Operations Manager, Office of Facilities Services at Boston College.  I have oversight at any given time of more than 150 buildings and their infrastructure, 338 acres of campus land and more than 7 million square feet of physical plant.  As you can imagine in a University setting sustainable initiatives are of key importance.  Some University-wide initiatives in conjunction with my department include converting all CFL to LED lighting in classrooms and common use buildings; investigating alternative energy sources for a conversion where possible to clean energy and the use of non-fossil fuels, the institution of a major water conservation effort; including low flow toilets and showers, the installation of faucet aerators, and the inclusion of a grey water system in the new 490 student dormitory to recycle almost one million gallons of water a week treating personal shower water for reuse as toilet water.   James Roberti I am a real estate attorney with 30+ years of experience in land use planning and real estate development. During my practice I have worked with several different clients in the area of  large scale development of solar fields.  I got involved in solar field development in 2008 upon the passage of the Green Communities Act in Massachusetts by Governor . Patrick and the Massachusetts Legislature.   At home my wife, my sister and I have been tireless recyclers since we moved to Wellesley in 1994.  I was also very involved in attending and supporting the process of acquiring the North 40 by the Town as a vital open space asset for the Town.  I also supported and voted for as a Town Meeting Member the ban on the use of  plastic bags by large retailers at last spring’s town meeting. 2. How do you see sustainability as a factor in the development of planning policy in Wellesley? Catherine Johnson Right now, the answer is simple. Planning is revising its 2007-2017 Comprehensive Plan to merge it with the Board of Selectmen’s strategic plan. The new name will be The Unified Plan. It should be ready to come before Town Meeting for endorsement by the spring of 2018. It is not supposed to be a magic wand that will make Wellesley as sustainable as we want it to be on day one, but it will address issues and give us tools. It should provide policies, goals, and action strategies. Everyone can and must have input. Your voice is as important as mine. Going forward, it will be my personal goal to adopt the action strategies at the Planning Board level to guarantee preservation of open space, to resist bad development in favor of smart growth, and to support the residents and other Town boards or committees that want to keep us Green and […]
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  • Bates’ Clean Air Charlie

    Some Bates families had fun creating “Clean Air Charlie,” last week. Clean Air Charlie sent a gentle reminder about not idling in car line. Even in cold temperatures, idling is against the law, is bad for the environment and public health and has costs that go along with it. Wellesley Green Schools and Sustainable Energy Committee created this flyer with lots of reasons why NOT TO IDLE including: Lets say you never idle, talk to those who are idling near you (in parking lots, on your street, etc.). Tell them it is against the law and you wouldn’t want them to get a ticket. Better yet, print this out and share it with them.
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  • Teachers. Parents. Gardeners. 2 Great Events For You

    Mass Horticultural Society’s School Garden Conference: Beyond Education will take place this Thursday, February 23 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM in the Hunnewell Building. Their third annual school garden conference will feature workshops that explore regional best practices for planning and running a garden that will not only meet educational goals, but also provide opportunities for a diverse student body, and make connections within the school community and beyond. A variety of workshops will support interested parents and volunteers, teachers and administrators—those who have established gardens and those just breaking ground. _________________________________________________________ Garden in Woods promotes awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the botanical and natural world through experiential and inquiry-based learning. They now offer programs that meet MA STEM curriculum standards. Each k-4th grade garden visit is one hour long and is accompanied by pre- and post- classroom activities. Programs are led by committed teacher-naturalists who guide students in hands-on field investigations of plant life, diverse habitats, and the effects of weather and climate. Could be a unique field trip for your school.
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  • Save the Date: Wellesley Gas Leaks Forum on March 21

    Do you ever smell gas when you are walking or driving around Wellesley? If so — it’s likely that you are getting a whiff of one of the 200-plus gas leaks in our town! Sustainable Wellesley is co-sponsoring a town forum on gas leaks with the Board of Selectmen, Natural Resources Commission, Sustainable Energy Committee, and State Senator Cynthia Creem.  Join us to learn more about these leaks, their harmful effects on the environment and human health, and what’s being done to address them. A representative from National Grid is also expected to attend.   Click here to let us know you are coming! Featured guests: Dr. Nathan Phillips, Boston University, speaking on the extent of the gas leaks and the environmental impact Audrey Schulman, Home Energy Efficiency Team, speaking about how towns and utility companies can improve coordination on leak repair, and how to find high volume leaks Dr. Regina LaRocque, Mass General Hospital, addressing the impact of gas leaks on human health Sue Fleck, Vice President, Pipeline Safety, National Grid, on fixing the leaks in Wellesley Please click here to register now!
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