All Stories

  • A Sustainability Hat Trick For Food Waste Reduction and Sustainability Efforts

    2017 secretary's awards for excellence in energy and environmental education
    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

    wps compasss log
    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?

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    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

    unified plan 2017
    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

    Marathon Sports Group
    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

    Photo: Becky Wasserman, Resonant Energy
    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!

    kelly's blueberries
    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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  • Give us 1.5 Hours of Your Time This Saturday, June 17 &/or July 15th

    july-jubilation
    We need your help to staff some of our upcoming events. No experience necessary. These are great ways to meet more folks in our community. Please email us at info@SustainableWellesley.com to sign up for some of the following shifts at events in our community. 2017 Pancake Breakfast at Wellesley High School THIS Saturday, May 20th, 7.30-9:30, or 9:30 – 11:30, or 11.30-1pm Then join us for the Parade on Sunday. 2017 Linden Sq. Wellness Event Sat. June 17th 9.30-12:00 or 12:00 – 2:30 2017 July Jubilation Saturday, July 15th, 11-1, 1-3, 3-5 p.m. in Wellesley Square In addition to general helpers, we are looking for good way to entertain children. We have done face painting in the past. Perhaps magician? Other ideas welcome.
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  • March With Us on Sunday in the Parade

    SW parade kids
    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

    action group selfie
    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

    landscapes for living
    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

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    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)

    grass lawn
    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

    allegro solar photo
    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

    Monarch-1-boost
    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

    bird
    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!

    landscapes for living
    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

    young voices
    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

    People March
    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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  • From Medicines to Building Materials, We Have Disposal Ideas

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    We are all pleased that Spring is here and the reusable’s area is now open. However, they cant take it all. 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. SMALL — Those 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. MEDIUM- Hazardous Products Collection Day and Shredding Day is coming up at the RDF on May 7th LARGE – Have left over building materials? Help people repair and improve their homes while also sparing the environment from needless waste by sharing them with the Reuse Center at Boston Building Resources (a 501(c)(3) charity). Both material and financial gifts are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law!
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  • Nothing Better Than ReUsing BOOKS

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    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

    elm
    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

    cowspiracy
    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

    march for science
    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

    arbor day
    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!

    town hall
    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

    whats next 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

    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

    energy audit home
    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

    BEEC-Final-Logo
    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?

    trees at country club
    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!

    wms recycles
    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!

    marybeth
    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

    you-are-invited
    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

    Ethan Gas Leaks
    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

    change everything
    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
    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?  

    lemonade
    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?

    save north 40 photo
             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

    time-to-choose
    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

    vote small
    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

    gas leaks tag
        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

    town of wellesley
    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

    town hall
    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

    jess and susan
    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

    NRC logo
    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

    you-are-invited
    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?

    mass green netowrk
    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

    library
    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

    townhall
    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

    Bates Snow Man
    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

    school garden
    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

    Image from Sierra Club
    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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  • Two Opportunities to Meet Local Candidates!

    meet potential leaders
    With five contested races in the Annual Town Election on March 7, 2017, it’s time to focus on who’s who! Fortunately, Wellesley voters have two upcoming opportunities to meet candidates for the Board of Health, Natural Resources Commission, Planning Board, Recreation Commission, and School Committee. On Thursday, February 16, the Wellesley Democratic Town Committee will host a meeting at the Wellesley Community Center (219 Washington Street), with remarks from the candidates starting at 8:00 pm. On Thursday, March 2, the League of Women Voters of Wellesley will present “Meet the Candidates Night” at the Wellesley Free Library, Wakelin Room. Candidates for all townwide elected board positions have been invited to answer questions from the League and from the audience about their qualifications and their priorities for the Town of Wellesley. The evening will begin with a brief recognition of retiring Town Board members, and then move directly to hearing from candidates. Doors open at 6:30 for light refreshments and an informal reception during which participants can speak casually with voters and other candidates. This event is open to all (not just women). Spend just one hour on either of these evenings and decide for yourself who belongs on these town boards. Bring your questions on sustainability and the environment and see what the candidates have to say!
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  • Meet the Board of Health Candidates

    HEALTH DEP
    The upcoming town election on March 7th, is an unusual one in Wellesley electoral politics because there are so many contested races. But with so much happening in Washington at the federal level, Wellesley voters may find it hard to concentrate on these local candidates. The fact is, the folks on these town boards are more likely to affect our day-to-day lives than the folks in Washington.  Thus, we have asked each candidate running for a contested seat to answer three questions about sustainability and how it relates to the work of that particular board. We will be covering one race at a time leading up to the election on March 7. Please share widely with your friends and neighbors — and please VOTE! All responses will be posted on our web site through Election Day on March 7, 2017, for your reference. We believe sustainability is an important dimension of the Town’s responsibility to Wellesley so we asked all candidates how they believe sustainability relates to their work for us.  Meet the two Board of Health Candidates Shepard Cohen and Robert Anthony. Here is what they had to say about their possible three-year term position. Robert Anthony’s responses: Q1. What is your track record on sustainability, including any particular interests and experience with sustainable ideas and initiatives? A1. Your February 10 deadline for a response is perfect because I am in the forest area of Yellapur, India working on Rotary’s international ‘Peer Leadership & Depression Prevention’  program. Each day here I see examples of the  failure to live in sustainable ways. Even in the forest, the air is smoky by too many people working too little land and using wood as their primary fuel.  Tap water is not safe to drink. Q2. How do you view the relationship between public health, the environment, and sustainability? A2. I view the relationship among public health, the environment and sustainability as clear and direct. As soon as I leave the smoky forest areas, the noise pollution is constant. Vehicle horns are used at each bend of the road and over each hill crest. Debris litters every roadside. I love the people of Katnataka state in India but it’s geography has been devastated. Q3.What specific initiatives related to the environment should the Board of Health undertake in your prospective three-year term? A3. As a member of the three person board, I would consistently encourage collaboration with all town departments and the wider community. Sustainable Wellesley initiatives and wellness initiatives naturally complement the other. Simple examples: fabric shopping bags could advertise the wellness workshops for new parents at Newton Wellesley hospital, distribution of seedlings from historic trees of Wellesley could be packaged with a mindfulness activity (such as visual imagery)  focused on the tree, and the aquaponic experiment could be fostered with a lesson on how nutrition affects mind and body. Shepard Cohen’s response: Thank you for your questions regarding local public health and the environment. Given the shared mission of protecting the health, safety and well-being of all Wellesley residents, there has always been and always will be a strong link between public health and environmental protection services. The Wellesley Health Department’s section on Environmental Health is staffed with expert, experienced Environmental Health Specialists and our current Health Director has a graduate degree in environmental sciences. During my 25 plus years on the Board of Health (20 as chair), we are proud of a long list of environment/sustainable accomplishments, to name a few: anti-idling campaign, artificial turf studies and directives, toxic use reduction grants, pesticide awareness campaign, integrated pest management policies, sharps/needle/medication disposal, and several others. Looking to the immediate future, the Health Department, under the leadership of the Board of Health, will do education and enforcement of the plastic bag ban, will work with the Green Collaborative on food waste initiatives, and will participant in the planning and conduct of the Landscapes for Living Symposium in May, 2017.  
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  • Meet School Committee Candidates

    wps compasss log
    The upcoming town election on March 7th, is an unusual one in Wellesley electoral politics because there are so many contested races. But with so much happening in Washington at the federal level, Wellesley voters may find it hard to concentrate on these local candidates. The fact is, the folks on these town boards are more likely to affect our day-to-day lives than the folks in Washington.  Thus, we have asked each candidate running for a contested seat to answer three questions about sustainability and how it relates to the work of that particular board. We will be covering one race at a time leading up to the election on March 7. Please share widely with your friends and neighbors — and please VOTE! All responses will be posted on our web site through Election Day on March 7, 2017, for your reference. We believe sustainability is an important dimension of the Town’s responsibility to Wellesley so we asked all candidates how they believe sustainability relates to their work for us.  This week, we are covering the race for School Committee. There are five candidates — more candidates than seats — so your choice of candidate is very important. Their responses are listed alphabetically. 1.What is your track record on sustainability, including any particular interests and experience with sustainable ideas and initiatives? Ron Alexander Response: My main experience with sustainability is from my youth in a rural setting in north central Massachusetts. Our family had a large garden that fed half of the neighborhood with fresh vegetables raised using organic farming techniques and no pesticides or fertilizers. I managed a large compost pile that took in yard waste, kitchen refuse, and animal manures and produced a natural fertilizing compost that was spread out and turned under in the fall to prepare the soil for the coming spring planting. We also reduced our dependence on fossil fuels by burning wood in a barrel stove in the basement to heat the floors and use less oil in the furnace. After moving out on my own, I still always had a garden, and made use of vermiculture (worm composting) to compost kitchen waste, paper, and yard refuse, and used the resulting rich compost on my various gardens. Eli Burstein Response: My commitment to sustainability has taken myriad forms, helping govern my professional pursuits, my personal life, and my civic responsibility. Professionally, I am very proud to be a real estate investor in developing Boston’s first USGBC LEED Gold Certified condominium building, The Lancaster. Further, all of our development projects are LEED certifiable, being built to the same standards as The Lancaster. Personally, my family has assumed (and vigilantly enforced!) the practices of most environmentally conscious families. I also have been a consistent, long-time supporter of (Rhode Island’s) Save the Bay organization and, when living in RI, an active participant in their organized activities. Most relevantly, though, sustainability is a fundamental tenet that Rebecca and I emphasize to our children; seeking teachable moments to ensure that sustainability is never an afterthought. My responses to the following topics address how I intend to apply the principles of sustainability to my civic life, if elected. Jennifer Jordahl Response: Personally and professionally, I have a strong interest in sustainability initiatives. Volunteering my time professionally to visualize data, I have supported initiatives such as government programs to dole out carbon credits and, what will seem strange to US citizens, the European concept to bring back airships to travel between cities. Personally, when my house was destroyed by fire, I researched the many different kinds of sustainable concepts for my rebuild effort. Our family planned tours of the Ford plant in MI to see the living roofs and porous pavement concepts implemented at scale. I researched toilets: those with dehydrators, some with dual flushing systems and some with toilet bowls fed by reservoirs from sink waste water, grey water. Further, I researched economical energy alternatives regarding solar, thermal energy, wind generators, and bio-chemical reservoirs. Finally, I researched the kinds of heating systems forced air vs hydro-air systems, paying particular attention to the cleanest air each system provided. The give an take of various options were important to me though many were not yet feasible for my rebuild. My answer to sustainability is don’t just think about it do it, because I am particularly interested in giving my grandchildren a wonderful world to inherit. Matthew Kelley Response: As a School Committee member, my first focus has been on supporting education. As part of that mission, though, I have supported a number of activities related to sustainability, for example, the Bates School participation in the EPA Food Recovery Challenge. I served as one of the School Committee liaisons to the North 40 Committee. While we made clear that it was certainly possible to build a first-class school on the site, we did not support that use of the land, recognizing and supporting the priority for maintaining open, undisturbed space in town. We have also moved several facilities maintenance projects forward, most notably the Middle School Windows project, which has greatly improved integrity of the building envelope, and is expected to result in reduced energy costs. A fun (albeit small) part of that windows project also included renovation/repair of the greenhouse at the Middle School, where students were able to grow and recently harvest vegetables. Melissa Martin Response: As a mother of four children, I am interested in ensuring that we manage our resources in a manner that will allow the future to be bright for many generations.  I have worked in areas in which I have seen the blight caused from degradation of the environment, and I highly value the natural green spaces that we have preserved in Wellesley. Within our own town government, last year, as a Town Meeting Member, I supported the plastic bag ban that was presented at Town Meeting in 2016.  On a personal front, I have improved over the past months in bringing my own reusable bags when I […]
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  • Stick To Your New Year’s Resolution

    OSM_MIN93
    The new year is underway and you made a resolution to make more mindful decisions. That can happen even when you shop and want to update your wardrobe. One Savvy Mother –  launched by Wellesley Green Team Leader and resident Lara Crawford – sells a curated collection of eco inspired handbags, jewelry, socks, shawls, belts and more.  One Savvy Mother enables shoppers to update their look with low impact accessories. One Savvy Mother thoughtfully takes into consideration the artists, materials, sourcing as well as recycling efforts so you don’t have to. Simply enjoy your beautiful fashion accessories.
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  • The Event Calendar Needs You – Volunteer Opportunity

    volunteer
    Looking for an easy way to make a difference in an hour or so a week? Sustainable Wellesley is looking for a volunteer to maintain its event calendar. Message us at info@sustainablewellesley.com and we will get you started. Share with others you know looking for a volunteer position. Students welcome too.
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  • February Vacation Activity -Contest for Students

    Sustainability Challenge 2017 header
    The Wellesley Education Foundation, the Wellesley Municipal Light and Wellesley Green Schools launched the 2nd annual STEM EXPO Sustainability Challenge. This contest is designed to engage young people  by inviting them to write an essay, story, poem, or persuasive argument; create an artwork/model or make a video about how renewable energy (solar, wind, hydro, etc.) might impact their lives and the environment in the future. To enter the Sustainability Challenge, participants must live or go to school in Wellesley. For more information and to submit, please click here by March 24th. “With nearly 90 homes in Wellesley powered by solar, and the numerous wind turbines scattered across New England, students see this form of energy every day,” said Jessica Stanton of Wellesley Green Schools. “This Challenge offers them a non-traditional way to get more familiar with renewable energy and an understanding of how it provides energy to our homes and businesses today, and in the years to come,” Stanton said.   Creative and visionary winners will be honored at the Wellesley STEM EXPO on April 8th with special VIP access, refreshments, award recognition, and a chance to be interviewed on television.  This is also a  great launching pad for state and federal student environmental awards. The EXPO, hosted by Wellesley Education Foundation (WEF), is a hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) exposition. On Saturday, April 8th, Wellesley High School will be transformed into an interactive science center, offering hands-on exhibits, workshops and a student work showcase. Mark your calendars to be inspired by the 140+ exhibits and workshops between 10am – 2pm; the Keynote speaker (Dr. Ed Bertschinger) from 2-3pm, and a meet the STEM Professional’s event for High Schoolers from 3-4pm. “WEF, a charitable organization dedicated to  advancing innovation and excellence in the Wellesley Public Schools, is proud to present the 2017 Sustainability Challenge,” said Susan Ryan, Co-President of WEF. “Through the funding of programs and grants for over thirty years, WEF has championed THE LOVE OF LEARNING in our district — from the first day of preschool, through high school graduation and beyond — and this Challenge continues to promote this love of learning,” Ryan said. WEF works to unite the entire community in enthusiastic support of Wellesley’s schools, and is going even further to support another community project: Wellesley’s goal to reduce its carbon footprint. “Wellesley’s goal to reduce its carbon footprint 25% by the year 2020 requires commitment from all different sectors of the community and Wellesley’s MLP is proud to be doing its part,” said Debra J. Healy, Assistant Director of the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant. “Through our Power to Choose program, we offer residents and local businesses the opportunity to elect to have some or all of their energy come from renewable energy sources. “Choosing renewable energy, in many cases for less than the price of a cup of coffee a month, will not only help the town meet its carbon reduction goal, it will improve Wellesley’s national ranking for voluntary renewable energy from it’s current number 3 position,” Healy said.
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  • Call Your State Legislators Before FRIDAY!

    lobby day jan 2017
    Last Wednesday, members of Sustainable Wellesley joined more than 200 climate activists from around the state for the Mass Power Forward “Clean Energy for All” Lobby Day. We discussed our priorities for the 2017-2018 legislative session in meetings with aides to Wellesley legislators Senator Cynthia Creem, Senator Richard Ross, and Representative Alice Peisch. We urged them to co-sponsor specific bills to accelerate the transition to clean, renewable energy. Now it’s your turn! The deadline for legislators to co-sponsor bills is this Friday, February 3! Make your voice heard by calling Senator Creem, Senator Ross, and Representative Peisch. Here is a summary of our goals: – Accelerate the transition to clean energy by increasing the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) by 3% per year instead of the current 1%, and by requiring municipal light plants to comply with the RPS. Click here for fact sheet. – Establish a statewide solar target of 25% solar by 2030, eliminate limits on solar net-metering, and ensure low-income solar and community-shared solar projects receive fair compensation. Click here for fact sheet. – Give local municipalities and community members a voice when pipeline decisions are being made by the Department of Public Utilities. Click here for fact sheet. – Incorporate the principle of environmental justice into provisions of the MA Environmental Policy Act. (Environmental justice is the right to be protected from environmental pollution and to live in and enjoy a clean and healthful environment regardless of race, income, national origin, or English language proficiency.) Click here for fact sheet. – Support public safety through the decommissioning of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant, with increased funding from the owner/operator and by enlarging the Emergency Planning Zone to a 50-mile radius around the plant. Click here for fact sheet. Click here for more details and specific bill numbers. Call before Friday, February 3, to ask our Wellesley legislators to support these goals! Senator Creem (for Wellesley precincts A, C, D, E, H): 617-722-1639 Senator Ross (for Wellesley precincts B, F, G): 617-722-1555 Representative Peisch (all Wellesley): 617-722-2070
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  • What To Say When Discussing Climate Change

    climate-reality-project
    Wondering how to handle the next climate change discussion you engage in? Get insights on this topic at the upcoming Climate Reality Talk given by Sustainable Wellesley’s President, Quentin Prideaux or contact us at info@sustainablewellesley.com to have him come speak at an event you would like to organize. Prepare to be educated and inspired. With the U.S.’ part in the Paris Climate Accord under discussion, it is vital that we all get involved. These talks are a great way to do so. Grab a friend and relative, neighbor or colleague and learn more.
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  • We Marched — Now Let’s Take Action!

    raina
    Millions of people took to the streets this weekend in a passionate response to the Presidential inauguration and backward thinking of the new administration. Many of you were out there too — and so were we! Sustainable Wellesley folks marched in Boston and Washington DC to express outrage at the climate denial that is taking hold of the federal government. Here’s what we heard at the rallies: It is up to US to take action. This Wednesday, January 25, you can take action — join us on Beacon Hill at the Mass Power Forward Lobby Day! Sustainable Wellesley is participating in a day of clean energy advocacy with the statewide Mass Power Forward coalition. Join scheduled meetings with Wellesley legislators State Representative Alice Peisch, State Senator Cynthia Creem, and State Senator Richard Ross. Environmental issues will slide to the bottom of the agenda in the new legislative session unless our elected officials hear from us. Click HERE for a summary of the Mass Power Forward priorities for the 2017-2018 legislative session. Click HERE to sign up for January 25, and to receive specifics on the schedule, logistics, and fact sheets. DATE AND TIME: Wednesday, January 25, 9:45 am to 3 pm LOCATION: Meet at the Appalachian Mountain Club, 5 Joy Street, Boston (near the State House)
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  • WASTE: Take The 1 Minute Survey

    composting
    Not only does the Town of Wellesley pay $86/ton to haul our trash to a landfill in New York State, the US EPA estimates that food waste makes up nearly 30% of the weight of trash deposited in landfills.  This waste produces methane emissions that create up to 80 times more greenhouse gas impact than CO2. Thus, Wellesley’s Reduce Reuse Recycle {3R} Working Group issued a survey to explore ways to cut down on the amount of food waste sent to landfills. They are asking residents and business to please take this food waste diversion survey. Perhaps a long term goal is to send food waste to a local compost facility, returning it to the earth as healthy fertilizer.
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  • More Treasures at The Wellesley Free Library

    library
    The Wellesley Free Library is a treasure for our community. That treasure is even more impressive these days. They recently opened the “library of things” area where library card holders can borrow non-traditional library items such as toys, games, tools, etc for up to 3 weeks. As part of the Town wide effort to reduce waste, this is a welcomed addition to the library. Items added all the time so check in frequently.One hidden gem in the “library of things” is a little easy-to-use device called the Kill-A-Watt meter. It will enable you to measure the electricity usage of electrical items in your home. Go CHECK IT OUT.
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  • Energy Savings From Your Cable Box

    cable box
    Written by: Ellen Korpi, Chair of Wellesley’s Sustainable Energy Committee Contact: sec@wellesleyma.gov For a number of years, the Town’s Sustainable Energy Committee has been highlighting the “vampire” electricity use of set-top cable boxes. While our TV sets are turned off, the energy use barely changes. Most of us have several of these boxes in our homes and hate to turn them off because then we can’t arrange recordings remotely and because rebooting is time consuming. In some homes with multiple pieces of older equipment, the cable boxes are using as much energy as a refrigerator, even if the TVs are rarely turned on. In December 2013, Comcast and Verizon participated in a voluntary set-top conservation agreement that the EPA estimates when fully implemented across the industry will result in about $1 billion in annual residential electricity savings and reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of taking 2 million cars off the road each year. For Comcast customers in Wellesley, the best way to participate in this new technology is to upgrade cable boxes that are more than a few years old and switch to Comcast’s X1 platform. This is how it worked at my house last spring: • Comcast estimates that our new cable box uses 200 kWh/year of power. Comcast and their representative indicated that comparable boxes 6 years ago used at least 25% more energy. (This depends on the cluster of services provided by the box and the individual model. A neighbor reported that his replacement box reduced energy consumption by 60%.) • Our two cable boxes were replaced by one cable box and one “dummy” box (“DTA on the chart in the link above) that uses an estimated 70% less power per year. For those with more than two cable boxes, the savings are multiplied. • Our new cable box has a Power Saver mode. The chart in the link above indicates that this “light sleep” mode reduces the power use from 21.9 to 21.2 watts. • Our new system has many new features including higher quality TV pictures, voice recognition commands, the ability to record more programs simultaneously and access on both TVs for all recordings. • In the transition, we had to forfeit our existing inventory of recordings on our old DVR. Because the primary cable box only goes into “light” rather than “deep” sleep in Power Saver mode, it’s benefit is negligible and it is not Energy Star that requires a sleep mode with at least a 40% reduction in power use. The technology is well developed and readily available from manufacturers for deep sleep mode but what is holding back progress, at least in part, is that it requires technical changes in how Comcast servers communicate with each of our individual homes. According to a Comcast representative, they are moving towards more dramatic energy savings through new technology that will replace the set-top box completely with a cloud-based app. The beauty of the X1 platform is that it requires no change in customer behavior nor compromise of the user’s experience. I estimate that through the combination of the more efficient later model box and the use of the “dummy” box for our second TV, our household will reduce our annual electricity use by as much as 4%. This upgrade was free and did not increase our monthly bill. For many other Comcast customers, depending on what plan or contract they are on, this will be the case. To find out whether you can take this earth friendly step, reduce your energy bill AND get more features, contact Comcast Customer Service at 800-934-6489. I hope someone reading this is a Verizon customer and can educate us on what opportunities they provide to upgrade the energy efficiency of their set top boxes.
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  • House Torn Down Every 3.8 Days in Wellesley

    0415_TCLO_HadleyHouseDemo
    Dear Sustainable Wellesley Readers,   Does it seem like there are a lot of teardowns in Wellesley? It’s not your imagination – a Wellesley home is torn down every 3.8 days. Teardowns are not unique to Wellesley, but the pace of demolitions is greater than in any other town. This is because all neighboring towns as well as 150 towns across the Commonwealth have a Demolition Review Bylaw in place. Wellesley does not have this bylaw, so we are a very attractive town to developers. In 2015 alone there were 95 teardowns in our town. Compare that with 42 in 2007.   Why should we care that our current housing stock is being torn down and replaced with large “speculative” McMansions built by developers? Here are just a few reasons: loss of our mature trees and tree canopy due to clear-cutting of lots loss of valuable topsoil due to regrading of landscapes loss of sun, sightlines, and privacy due to towering houses deeper basements mean ledge blasting and damage to nearby homes more lot coverage means more polluted stormwater runoff and flooded neighbor basements the original home’s materials, and the energy and resources used to build it, are wasted and sent to landfills neighborhood character and economic diversity are lost home values are decreased, as the remaining neighborhood properties are now worth only the value of the land and the glut of high-end supply is depressing values. What can be done to slow the teardowns? Our Historical Commission is proposing a Demolition Review Bylaw for Wellesley, which will put us on par with our peer communities and remove the target that exists on our town. It will be up for a vote at this spring’s Town Meeting. How would it work? The process would only review structures built prior to December 31, 1949, and the delay would only be triggered if the structure is deemed “preferably preserved” for its historical or architectural value. A public hearing would occur for these eligible structures and the Historical Commission would vote whether or not to delay demolition. If a delay is imposed, the Commission will encourage the owner to file a waiver to pursue an addition or renovation. (There are many lovely older homes in Wellesley that have been renovated to fit modern-day lifestyles.) However, if a compromise cannot be achieved after 12 months, the house can be torn down. Will a Demolition Review Bylaw hurt property values? The Historical Commission’s research shows that in recent years, towns with Demolition Review Bylaws have significantly outperformed Wellesley in property value appreciation. Want to learn more? View the Wellesley Historical Commission’s excellent presentations to the Advisory Committee [October 26, 2016] and the Planning Board [December 5, 2016]. Here’s How to Act Now: Sign the online teardown petition at http://wellesleysmartgrowth.org. Attend upcoming Board of Selectmen meeting (January 17 @7pm at Town Hall), where the Historical Commission will be discussing this topic and seeking the Selectmen’s endorsement of the bylaw. Forward this message to your Wellesley friends and neighbors who care about the character and economic diversity of Wellesley and want to encourage smart, sustainable growth, and ask them to do the same. More to come – We will be in touch over the coming weeks with more information and with additional ways for you to consider supporting this effort. “Wellesley, the Beautiful” didn’t just happen – it was planned this way. Let’s not let it slip away home by home. Please join the Sustainable Wellesley leadership team and support the upcoming Demolition Review Bylaw. Best Regards, Jeff, Lise, Paul, Phyllis, Quentin and Scott Sustainable Wellesley Leadership Team
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  • “Show up, Dive in, Stay at it”

    action group Wil Quentin Mary Lise
    And we did. A full house filled the art studio last Sunday night at Sustainable Wellesley’s 2017 Kick Off Event with mingling, food and drink, break out groups and of course, inspiration. After a quick 2016 highlight recap — click here for an impressive view of all we accomplished last year — the more than 50 party attenders broke out into action groups to discuss some projects for 2017 including: State energy legislation Natural gas leaks Grow Green Wellesley – protecting our groundwater resources Supporting Wellesley’s goal to reach #2 in the nation with more Power to Choose opt ins for clean, local, easy to get renewable energy Historical preservation bylaw Town Policies– Sustainable Stakeholders, Unified Plan, North 40, 900 Worcester, HHU, etc. “Each topic discussed tonight impacts everyone in Wellesley – ‘sustainably-minded’ or not,” said one guest. “Being together and looking ahead at 2017 made this a valuable, fun evening,” said another empowered guest. One of these topics resonate with you? Simply send us a message and we will connect with folks leading the charge on the issues that matter most to you.
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  • This is Not Just for the Ladies

    womens-march
    On Saturday, January 21, folks from across the state will unite in Boston to march in solidarity in the Women’s March for America in Boston. Let your environmentalist voice be heard by bringing signs that emphasize you are marching to safeguard the protections that exist and to push for more. This peaceful, nonpartisan march is open to everyone. Consider jumping on the 9:47am train from Wellesley Hills into Back Bay station, then walking with others to the Common. For more information about going into town with Wellesley residents and/or making signs, contact laurellanders2003@yahoo.com. You can also meet up with folks from 350 MASS and MA Interfaith Coalition for Climate Action when they assemble at the Arlington Street Church, UU, (corner of Boylston and Arlington Streets) between 9:30 and 10:30 am, before walking over to the Common with a big yellow parasol. For more information, contact Amy Benjamin at interfaithclimatecoalition@gmail.com.    
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  • Coming to YOUR Neighborhood

    The Town of Wellesley is creating a Unified Plan to create a vision for the town’s future. The plan will include goals and strategies for the town’s physical development and a framework for effective implementation by Town Government. This is your chance to talk about specific issues in your neighborhood and comment on a draft vision for the town. Wellesley’s 8 precincts have been divided into three planning districts made up of adjacent precincts with similar character. Click here to find your precinct. Precincts A, B, and G Wednesday, January 18, 2017 7pm to 9pm Hardy Elementary School, Gymnasium 293 Weston Road Precincts C and D Tuesday, January 24, 2017 7pm to 9pm Warren Building, Room 008     90 Washington Street Precincts E, F, and H Wednesday, January 25, 2017 7pm to 9pm Town Hall, Great Hall 525 Washington Street Please share this email with your friends and neighbors in Wellesley. You can find more information about these events and the Wellesley Unified Plan at wellesleyunifiedplan.com.
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  • Edible Garden Event

    school garden event 2017
    An edible schoolyard is a great way to enrich both habitat and community. Inspire the next generation at a school, or just learn more for your home garden at this free event. School Gardens Wednesday, January 25th 9.30 Doors open in the Parkman Room at Elm Bank 10.30 Guest Speaker, John Forti, Director of Horticulture for the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, begins Sponsored by the Wellesley Garden Study Group (active in town for about 65 years) and Wellesley Green Schools This event will explore the heirloom and native plants of our region and how these storied plants can be integrated into curriculum from seed to table.  The talk will inspire the interest of the home gardener and the school gardener alike.    Forti also serves as the Governor of Slow Food Massachusetts, was formerly the Director of Horticulture at Strawberry Banke Museum and Plimoth Plantation Museum.  Over 20,000 follow his blog as “The Heirloom Gardener – John Forti” on facebook. 
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  • Book Lovers, Get Ready

    Three open books on wooden table on natural background
    The Friends of the Wellesley Free Library’s Winter Book Sale is right around the corner.  Members Preview is on Thursday, Feb. 2nd from 5:00PM – 9:00PM. Not a member? Join now at friendsofwellesleyfreelibraries.org with a tax deductible membership to take advantage of the advance sale for the best selection. Public Sale: Friday, Feb. 3rd, 9:00AM – 6:00PM Saturday, Feb. 4th, 9:00AM – 5:00PM Sunday, Feb. 5th, 1:00PM – 5:00PM ($7 per bag sale). Through book sales and membership, the Friends are able to fund all adult and children’s library programs, Jackie’s Room programs, the Annual Arnold Lecture, museum passes, maintenance of the fish tank and support library staff enrichment. Thanks for supporting your local library! See you at the Main Library, 530 Washington St in the Wakelin room.
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  • Tonight’s Festivities

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    Sunday Night 5.30pm – 8.30pm Sustainable Wellesley’s 2017 Kick-off Event Meet, mingle, learn, engage, and get even more empowered to make a difference. Enjoy a fun and productive evening in the art barn studio at 161 Oakland St.  Rejoice in all we have accomplished in 2016, and discover what is in store for 2017. From local politics and gas leaks, to eco-landscaping and demolition delays. Plus, Power to Choose, food recovery in the schools, and other Town-wide initiatives going on. We will meet for an hour and the rest of the time will be discussing and mingling. It’s a new year so please join us even if you have not done so in the past. Bring a friend and consider carpooling – see below. There will be some parking on site and some across the street at 166 Oakland. Let us know you’re coming, and if you can contribute here. If you wish to carpool you may put a comment below asking/ offering a share. You don’t need to fill the name and email fields but will obviously need to find each other somehow.
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  • Welcome Back: Here is Your Post Holiday Recap :-)

    What is next
    o            If you care about our town, WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO RUN! You can run for any Board, whether you have previously served in town government or not, and whether or not someone else is running! Deadline is January 17th so head over to Town Clerk’s office soon. More details here. There are many important issues that will be decided or voted on by Boards and by Town Meeting in the months to come. Be part of it, including the fate of the North 40; the closing or renovation of Hunnewell, Hardy, and Upham schools; a new private sports facility at 900 Worcester Street; our town’s commitment to renewable energy; and countless others. o            For only $3 a month the typical Wellesley home can receive 10% of its energy from renewable energy. That is a really simple way to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. WELLESLEY’S POWER TO CHOOSE PROGRAM enables residents like YOU to pay a small premium to purchase 10%, 25%, 50% or 100% of your power from regional renewable sources (such as the Spruce Mountain Wind Farm in Maine). More than 10% of Wellesley residents already participate in this program, making us 3rd in the US in 2014 for voluntary renewable energy participation. However, approximately 200 new households could move Wellesley up to 2nd place! Learn more and sign up here. o            In Wellesley, so many decisions will be based on the UPCOMING UNIFIED PLAN. Lets show how strong our sustainability constituency is by letting the Planning Board know what the community — us — wants! Upcoming meeting dates here. o            Go BEHIND THE SCENES to learn about the design and construction of a net zero energy home that will produce as much energy annually as it consumes. Check out a home that will achieve exceptional energy performance, healthy indoor air quality, superior thermal comfort, and long term durability. While the home is under construction, you will get the unique perspective of seeing the building and systems while the walls are still open for viewing, plus a short explanatory presentation by the experts. Details here. o            SCHOOL GARDENS event on Wednesday, January 25th, 2017. Have one? Want one? Learn more at this free event by John Forti, Director of Horticulture at Elm Bank. Be there by 10.30 in The Parkman Room at Elm Bank. o            REMINDER: BRING YOUR BAGS! The town’s new bag bylaw kicks in this month, plus its the waste reduction and energy/cost savings thing to do. Simply move those re-usable bags you have to the front seat of your car, or the basket on your bike so you don’t forget them. o            Don’t miss the next Wellesley GREEN COLLABORATIVE MEETING this Wednesday, January 11 from 9:15 to 11 am, in the Wellesley Free Library’s Wakelin Room. Topics include the Historical Commission’s proposed demolition delay; WasteWise Wellesley campaign; NRC eco-landscaping initiative, Grow Green Wellesley; and WHS student presentations on community projects.
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  • Sustainable Wellesley’s 2017 Kick-Off Action Meeting and Potluck Dinner

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    We will review some of the sustainability highlights from 2016 in Wellesley, outline some of our major plans for 2017 and then break for drinks, food, and discussion.
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  • Support Sustainable Wellesley Through 2017!

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    Please help Sustainable Wellesley continue our work in 2017, we are an independent and all-volunteer group (not a Town body) so we completely rely on your support.
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  • Get Your Papers & Run For Office

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      The new year will bring a new era in Washington, with little hope of progress for our planet at the Federal level The members of the Sustainable Wellesley leadership team are feeling that now, more than ever before, our best chance of having an impact on environmental issues will be at the local and state level. And we have heard from many of you who are feeling an urgent need to take action. So we have a suggestion: Run for a position on a town Board or as a Wellesley Town Meeting Member! Now is the time to get your name on the ballot. We have made great progress on many issues of sustainability in our community And we have a lot of room for improvement. In the face of the climate crisis, we need to elect more people for whom sustainability is among their top priorities. We are fortunate to live in a highly democratic town with many elected Boards and offices (see list below), and we have an elected Town Meeting that generally meets once a year to decide critically important issues for our town’s future. In years past, there has been a general sense in Wellesley that departing incumbents should “choose” their successors, and incumbents or their chosen successors should run unopposed. We would like to encourage a new tradition in which it is the voters who choose among candidates and we have a polite and healthy exchange of views. No one should be discouraged from running just because someone else is running or because they weren’t “chosen” by someone who is stepping down. If you care about our town, we encourage you to run You can run for any Board, whether you have previously served in town government or not, and whether or not someone else is running! There are many important issues that will be decided or voted on by Boards and by Town Meeting in the months to come, including the fate of the North 40; the closing or renovation of Hunnewell, Hardy, and Upham schools; a new private sports facility at 900 Worcester Street; our town’s commitment to renewable energy; and countless others. Stay tuned, in the coming weeks leading up to the March election Sustainable Wellesley plans to be asking candidates their opinions on these and other issues. To run for any town position Start by visiting the Town Clerk’s office in Town Hall. The clerk will provide you with nomination papers to gather signatures of Wellesley residents. For town Boards and offices, you will need to gather 50 signatures by January 17, 2017. For Town Meeting, you will need to gather only 10 signatures from residents of your precinct byJanuary 31, 2017. Elections will be held on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. Here is a list of the Boards for which there are open seats, with the names of those residents who have obtained papers so far. If no one else is running you may run completely unopposed. If there are more candidates than seats then your joining the race will, at worst, get Sustainability on the agenda and the winner’s approach to conserving the character of our Town on the record. What do you have to lose? Moderator (single office): Thomas Frisardi Board of Assessors (one position) Board of Health (one position): Shepard Cohen (incumbent) Board of Public Works (one position) Board of Recreation (one position) Board of Selectmen (two positions): Beth Sullivan Woods; Thomas Ulfelder Housing Authority (one position): Michelle Chalmers Library Board of Trustees (two positions): Ann-Mara Lanza (incumbent); Ann Rappaport Natural Resources Commission (two positions): Joan Gaughan (incumbent); Regina LaRocque; Lise Olney (incumbent) Planning Board (one position): Catherine Johnson (incumbent) School Committee (two positions) Will you step up and be the change you want to see?
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  • Too Many Catalogues? WHS Students Will Rid You of Them This Saturday

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    Have catalogues you don’t want to get in the mail anymore? Worry not! The WHS Climate Action Club will unsubscribe you from them. All you need to do is drop off your catalogues at the RDF THIS SATURDAY, December 17th, or in the boxes in any house office at the high school until January 4th. Don’t feel like carrying the whole catalogue? Just bring the back page with your name and the catalogue’s. Easy, check that off the list.
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  • Your Thoughts on Wellesley’s Future

    Here in Wellesley, so many decisions will be based on the upcoming Unified Plan. Lets show how strong our sustainability constituency is by letting the Planning Board know what the community — us — wants! We now have an opportunity to say what we want and let the plan reflect our priorities. Last Saturday was the first well-attended (even in the midst of the holiday season) event where folks were engaged through a variety of mediums to prioritize what they appreciated, and would like to see differently here in Wellesley. Your opportunity to help decide Wellesley’s future will be in January at the neighborhood meetings so save the appropriate date. To find out which meeting/precinct is for your neighborhood click here. Wednesday, January 18, 2017 – 7pm to 9pm: Precincts A, B, and G Tuesday, January 24, 2017 – 7pm to 9pm: Precincts C and D Wednesday, January 25, 2017 – 7pm to 9pm: Precincts E, F, and H
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  • Check Out A Net Zero Home

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    Go behind the scenes to learn about the design and construction of a net zero energy home that will produce as much energy annually as it consumes. Architects ZeroEnergy Design, and contractors Auburndale Builders will explain how this home will achieve exceptional energy performance, healthy indoor air quality, superior thermal comfort, and long term durability. While the home is under construction, you will get the unique perspective of seeing the building and systems while the walls are still open for viewing, plus a short explanatory presentation by the experts. DATE:  January 18, 2017, Wednesday at 12PM LOCATION:  Newton MA (Address provided approximately a week before tour to confirmed attendees.) DETAILS:  Attendance is free.  RSVP required! Reserve your space by emailing info@zeroenergy.com with name & phone number.
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  • 2017 Sustainable Wellesley Party

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    Join us Sunday, January 8th from 5.30 – 8.30 for Sustainable Wellesley’s Annual Party. The holidays will be behind you and new year’s resolutions under way, so come by and meet some new folks, see friends, join the discussion about sustainable things happening around town that affect you, your neighbors, family and friends. You will be glad you did. Never been to a Sustainable Wellesley event before? No problem. You are welcome to bring friends. Please RSVP to info@sustainablewellesley.com and we will send you the location.  
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  • Many Important Issues at the Planning Board Meeting TONIGHT

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    Lots on Deck at the Planning Board Meeting TONIGHT Wellesley Town Hall, Great Hall, 6:30 pm The Wellesley Planning Board has a packed agenda tonight and a lot of sustainability-related issues will be discussed, including: a proposal to require a delay for house demolitions, a proposal to change how house size is calculated for projects that come under the “Large House Review” process (known cryptically as “LHR TLAG”) a proposal for a bylaw amendment on outdoor lighting a presentation by the Sustainable Energy Committee on gaining “Green Community” designation for Wellesley (which would allow the town to apply for state grants) Click to see the agenda here.
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  • Piloting at WHS

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    In an effort to add more sustainabilty practices around the schools, the Wellesley Facilities Department is conducting a pilot project of the Tennant Orbio os3 Generator at Wellesley High School. The Orbio Multi-Surface Cleaner is certified as environmentally responsible by Green Seal, an independent, science-based standards developer. The multi-surface cleaner uses a dilution of a product that meets Green Seal Standard GS-37 based on effective performance, concentration of a product, minimized/recycled packaging, and protective limits on VOCs and human & environmental toxicity. This machine uses water, water softening tablets (salt), and an electrostatic charge to make a multi surface cleaner and disinfectant that can replace 3 to 4 of currently dispensed chemicals. Michael T. Santangelo, Custodial Services Manager, Facilities Maintenance Department for the Town of Wellesley, said “this easy and efficient means of making-your-own cleaners, also has the added benefits of no fuel used to deliver the product, and less cardboard and plastic packaging added into the waste stream.”
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  • Take One Action TODAY

    Today, Sustainable Wellesley is observing a National Day of Action to honor the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and other indigenous peoples who are protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline under the Missouri River. Organizers at 350 MA for a Better Future and others in the climate movement in Massachusetts have been working with local Native American organizers to determine how best to express support for Native peoples who are working to protect the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux and the millions of others who live downstream from the pipeline (click here for explanatory map). Non-native allies have been requested to honor the commitment of these water protectors in two ways: 1. Educating ourselves about Native history and Indigenous sovereignty, especially here in New England 2. Donating, making phone calls, or otherwise showing public support for the #NoDAPL struggle Here are two organizations that have great resources to help you take action TODAY! Click here for more information from 350 MA for a Better Future. Click here for recommended actions from UU Mass Action (a local Unitarian Universalist organization committed to issues of social justice).
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  • Make a Difference Easily – for Less Than That Cup of Coffee In Your Hand

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    For only $3 a month the typical Wellesley home can receive 10% of its energy from renewable energy. That is a really simple way to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. Wellesley’s Power To Choose program enables residents like YOU to pay a small premium to purchase 10%, 25%, 50% or 100% of your power from regional renewable sources (such as the Spruce Mountain Wind Farm in Maine). More than 10% of Wellesley residents already participate in this program, making us 3rd in the US in 2014 for voluntary renewable energy participation. However, approximately 200 new households could move Wellesley up to 2nd place! Did you know? A typical Wellesley home (750 kWh/month) that shifts all of its electricity to renewable sources for one year, provides the same environmental benefits as driving 15,000 LESS miles in the average car Our Town’s electric rates are so low that even a 100% participant would have a lower rate than residents of surrounding towns such as Needham and Natick Please consider choosing Renewable Energy as it provides cleaner air & water, a stronger energy future, and greater energy independence. You can easily sign up to participate at 10%, 25%, 50% or 100% online HERE or by calling the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant at 781-489-7766. They can also provide an estimated cost, based on your home’s electric use and participation rate. Once you are signed up, the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant adds 4 cents per kWh to your bill each month and the proportional amount to its renewable energy purchases. You will see your percentage of participation and the amount of the surcharge on your monthly electric bill listed as “Residential Renewable.” There are no installations or hookups, this is simply a paper transaction and can be canceled at any time. What a gift to your family and our future.
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  • Locally Crafted Gifts That Carve Out a Better Future

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    A Locally Crafted Gift That Carves Out A Better Future Handmade cutting boards are created by youth in the UTEC Woodworking social enterprise from 100% reclaimed east coast hardwoods When you choose a UTEC cutting board, you support our social enterprise and our mission. Your cutting board is a beautiful, high-quality gift for a loved one or colleague. And your purchase breaks barriers for young people at UTEC, who are working hard in our social enterprises to carve out better futures for themselves. Find UTEC cutting boards in 11 Whole Foods Market stores or order online at Preserve Products – and ship your gifts anywhere! And don’t forget about the Wellesley Square Art Walk this coming Sunday, in conjunction with the Holiday Stroll.  Find a variety of local gifts from Wellesley merchants and local artists (both emerging and established).
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  • Thankful for You

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    We are so thankful for our community and the amazing efforts folks are making. While the federal government is not acting urgently enough to address climate change and other environmental challenges, there are huge opportunities for progress at the state and local level. Is the future written? No. Are there things we can do? Yes. What do we do when there’s work to be done? We do it. Together. To make a difference in our community, we need your help. Many of you are stepping up and lending your voice, your time, your talents, and your passion. In the same spirit, this coming Tuesday happens to be #GivingTuesday — The global day of giving back.  This annual celebration of giving has spread across the country and world, inspiring people everywhere to support causes and nonprofit organizations that are making a difference. It’s your turn to get involved.  Please consider being part of the #GivingTuesday movement and support Sustainable Wellesley and other non profits you are thankful for. If you can, please make a gift here. We thank you for your support. You can also support Sustainable Wellesley every time you shop on Amazon – at no cost to you – by going to Smile.Amazon.com. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, set your supporting organization to Sustainable Wellesley. You’ll find the same experience and prices, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Sustainable Wellesley to support our programs. Your generosity funds schools, transportation, gas leaks, renewable energy, pesticides and other important initiatives in Town. Thank you for your support!  
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  • Your Seat

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    One of the ways you can make a huge impact in our community is by running for a seat on an elected town board or in Town Meeting. Town elections will be held on March 7, 2017; all you have to do is gather some signatures to have your name appear on the ballot. Nomination forms for signatures are available at the Town Clerk’s office at Town Hall. The Wellesley League of Women Voters is having a meeting on “How to Run for Town Office,” Wednesday, January 11, at 7 pm (location to be determined – check http://www.lwvwellesley.org). There are 10 elected town boards and two elected offices in Wellesley: Board of Assessors Board of Health Board of Public Works Board of Selectmen Housing Authority Library Trustees Moderator Natural Resources Commission Planning Board Recreation Commission School Committee Town Clerk If you are interested in running, nomination forms are available on December 8th and due on January 18. You will need 50 signatures of Wellesley residents. Running for Town Meeting is another option. One-third of the 240 Town Meeting Members are elected each year – 10 from each of the 8 precincts. Nomination forms are available on December 8th and due on February 1st. You will need 10 signatures from the residents in your precinct. Annual Town Meeting is held in the spring and decides some of the most important issues in the town, including amendments to town bylaws and appropriations to town departments. Make your voice heard in Wellesley town government!
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  • What is Your Vision for Wellesley?

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    How can we make Wellesley an even better place to live, work and play? Come to the Community Visioning Forum on December 10th from 9-12 and help shape the future of Wellesley. Environmental sustainability measures woven into the unified plan can enhance our resources, prevent harm to the natural environment and human health, and benefit the social and economic well-being of the community for the sake of current and future generations. Share your thoughts on climate action plans, transportation, further conservation and protection of our natural resources, greenhouse gas reduction, and other ideas of yours to make our community even more environmentally conscious.
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  • Turkey Trot

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    Did you see these? On the heals of America Recycles Day, the Wellesley Turkey Trot jumped in to do their part for the national campaign that raises awareness about the benefits of recycling and buying products made with recycled materials. Thanks for reducing, reusing and recycling this holiday weekend. Whether you ran it or not, you can support the Wellesley Turkey Trot Foundation HERE. The organization supports local charities in the areas of cancer, medical research, education and community service. Something we can all support.
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  • Wellesley’s Changing Wildlife

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    Come learn about “Wellesley’s Changing Wildlife” Thursday, December 1st at 7pm at the Wellesley Free Library, Wakelin Room​  Red Tail Hawk at the North 40 ​ How are climate, habitat, hunting, and invasives changing Wellesley birds and mammals? Climate change is upon us and there is a shift of southern species northwards. Invasive alien plants from other continents escaping from horticulture and our gardens are impacting many habitats. Birds from overseas are competing with native species. Learn about these newcomers and how they are affecting our backyards and wild lands. Peter Alden is the author of 15 books including the National Audubon Society Field Guide to New England. Free and open to the public.Sponsored by the Wellesley Conservation Council and the Wellesley Free Library.More information can be found at http://www.wellesleyconservationcouncil.org/wcc-news, Like this event on Facebook,  or email info@wellesleyconservationcouncil.orgThe 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 our mission, the sanctuaries and membership can be found at www.wellesleyconservationcouncil.org.
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  • Saturday Shopping & Sustainability

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    Come visit Sustainable Wellesley at the Wellesley Marketplace – on the 2nd floor mezzanine at Wellesley High School – this Saturday, November 19th between 9am and 4pm. Find out where the gas leaks are that are near your home, sign up for renewable energy via Wellesley’s Power to Choose Program and talk to us about pesticides and eco landscaping ideas. Then swing by the many artisans with quality crafted reclaimed, salvaged, organic and natural products. For example, you will love Folk Couture‘s one-of-a-kind, hand-stitched, up cycled stunning and comfortable clothing. Tickets are available online here, at Roche Bros. and at the door.  Premium shopping tickets ($20) offer exclusive “early bird shopping” from 9 am to 10 am.   Premium tickets, which must be purchased in advance, can be bought at the Wellesley Roche Brothers courtesy booth or online at WHJWC.org.  Regular admission is $15; admission for seniors and students is $5.  
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  • What is Next? Join Us Sunday to Discuss

    Photo from Time Magazine
    It is more pressing than ever to raise the number and volume of our voices! Channel your energy into action. Come to the Sustainable Wellesley Action Group Meeting on Sunday, November 20th from 1-3 pm at 75 Emerson Road. There are clear actions we can all do to step up our game. We will discuss general topics, than break-out into action groups. These meetings are on time, leave you with a sense of purpose and a great way to meet new folks as we have fun along the way. All are welcome—bring a friend! Snacks provided. Please email us to confirm your attendance at info@SustainableWellesley.com.
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  • Buy Local For Thanksgiving This Sunday

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    This Sunday, after the Action meeting, swing by the PRE-HOLIDAY MARKET before 4 p.m inside the Historic Stone UU Church at 309 Washington St. for lots of local Thanksgiving delights. It will be a festive place to shop for your favorite poultry, pork, steaks, sausages, ground beef and other goodies that you enjoyed all summer from Fixx Chocolates, Tea is the Way, Nu3Kidz pancakes, Chrissy’s Crumble, and more! Enjoy acoustic trio Cold Car and shop for cookbooks and gifts at the Wellesley Books Pop-Up Store.
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  • Inspiring Highlights From Wellesley Green Schools’ Summit

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    More than 25 Town employees, committee directors, parents, teachers, and students gathered together last week to join their voices and have a roundtable discussion about all things sustainable at Wellesley Public Schools (Dana Hall too). The annual Green Schools Summit guest speaker was Eric Magers who has created an intriguing model at Manchester Essex High School where 120+ students are part of a green team course. He inspired many with his curriculum which: promotes environmental literacy encourages student service-learning projects enriches students’ learning experience by developing 21st-century and e-STEAM skills empowers students to take on personal environmental responsibility and civic accountability Mary Gard, of Wellesley Green Schools and Sustainable Wellesley, reminded folks that a few years ago school administrators, town officials, parents and teachers were discussing the creation of the new Wellesley High School. The first goal was to create a school with sustainable design features and technology that would support the Town’s energy goals while also creating a healthy learning environment for students and teachers. The second goal was to create a green community that would live and breathe in it. We now have a Massachusetts Certified High Performance School (status as defined by the Massachusetts School Building Authority), and its time to reach the second part of that goal and utilize the building we have paid for. What amazes folks the most at the Green School Summit is the vast amount of programing going on across the district and the cross pollination that occurs. Some highlights include: Town boards working together to create building guidelines that help the town meet it’s carbon reduction goals More waste reduction and food waste recovery are happening many thanks to the SEC, NRC and the Manager of Wellesley Food Service’s Provider, Whitsons. Bates School is piloting an outdoor learning project, created scarecrows for Festival with reusable materials and are participating in the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge Wellesley High School Evolution students are working on a variety of town community projects including aquaponics, solar and renewable energy, reusable bag and tree adoption initiatives To promote using less single use plastics, Wellesley Green Schools offered loaner H20 pitchers for meetings and shared the Smart event guide Sustainable Wellesley is encouraging HHU and the Town to choose a scenario that creates the least, long term negative environmental implications, and the greatest sustainable opportunities for our community WMS has new science curriculum with interesting programing including: – 6th grade – 1/2 a year on energy including renewables – 7th grade – part of the ecology section they are doing a program with the Charles river watershed and Community Rowing Inc (CRI) doing water quality testing and looking at drain channels (leaks and all) – 8th grade – hydroponics in the newly renovated greenhouse WHS has local plantings/landscaping Sustainable Energy Committee will be re-launching Power to Choose Schofield will have the Garbage is My Bag assembly coming up courtesy of the Wellesley RDF Wellesley’s Department of Public Works is adding items the town can recycle and working on Waste Wise Wellesley Program Hunnewell is enthusiasically re launching green team Upham is working on recycling lunch trays The Natural Resources Commission gave a bag ban update Sprague School is  working on some no idling programs now and will do a survey of students and faculty to see what direction green team should head Dana Hall is looking to coordinate with WPS on ideas and methodologies -working with Natural Resources Commission on some projects with green team and recently showed “Before the Flood” to very intrigued students. Custodial Services now has a new piece of equipment that they are piloting at WHS which will pull even more chemicals out of the line, eliminate packaging and transportation (cost and waste!) Present WHS students couldn’t make meeting but wrote in to say they are excited and eager to help raise awareness more For those unable to make the meeting, or interested in learning more, simply email us at info@SustainableWellesley.com. We are here to help.
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  • To Our Sustainable Wellesley community:

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      In the aftermath of the election, we wanted to reach out to you — our Wellesley neighbors — who share our deep concern for the environment and our planet. The election outcome has sent our country into uncharted waters. For the first time, we will have a president who considers climate change to be a matter of belief, rather than science. In this new era of uncertainty, it will be up to local communities such as ours to continue to promote actions and decisions that will protect our planet. We will need to organize as never before. In the meantime, we invite you to share your thoughts with us about how you are feeling and processing the events of this week. We are here for you and we are listening. Our email address is: info@sustainablewellesley.com, or feel free to message us here on Facebook.    In solidarity,   Jeff, Lise, Paul, Phyllis, Quentin and Scott   Sustainable Wellesley Leadership Team   
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  • Buying A Car? Read On.

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    In the market for a new car? Wondering how you can compare the carbon footprint of various car makes and models? Try out http://carboncounter.com/. MIT’s Trancik Lab designed it to help people shopping for a car (new or used). You may be surprised that some of the big electric cars have a higher carbon footprint than some hybrids!
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  • No Candy Waste

    All Metro-West schools and organizations are invited to join Wellesley Dental Group’s 9th Annual Community Candy Drive to benefit the U.S. ​troops serving overseas. From November 1st to November 9th, Wellesley Dental Group will be collecting candy, as well as handwritten notes and cards, to be sent to American servicemen via non-profit organization CarePacks, along with oral hygiene supplies. Continuing last years tradition, the competition is bigger than ever! The Wellesley Dental Group will be awarding a grand prize of $1000 to the school PTO that donates the most candy​​​. The winning school will be selected based on the amount of candy donated divided by the number of students in the school, to ensure fair competition. The Candy Drive is open to any school or institution that is interested in participating in this cause. The Wellesley Dental Group also invites schools and organizations to be a part of their ​Veteran’s Day ​e​vent on November 10th at 10:00 am, at their office in Wellesley. Principals, faculty members, parents, and students (with the permission of their​ parents and​ teachers) are welcome to attend. Local institutions, media and photographers are also invited to participate.​ RSVP requested.​ To schedule a candy drop-off, please call 781-237-9071 or email the Wellesley Dental Group at ​candydrive@wellesleydentalgroup.com.
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  • Looking for Volunteers to Interview Food Waste Vendors

    Image thanks to, Waste & Resources Action Programme
    Volunteers needed: As part of our WasteWise Wellesley initiative, we are looking for ways to reduce waste that goes to landfills.  Food waste is a particular problem because it emits methane gas as it deteriorates in the landfill, a greenhouse gas as much as 80 times worse for the climate than carbon dioxide.  Food waste as a percentage of our residential trash is estimated to be 20% to 30% by weight. We have a number of initiatives underway that address diverting surplus food and food waste.  Among these are the pilot project at Bates School that will hopefully be rolled out to other schools, diversion of surplus cooked food from WMS that is sent to Wellesley’s Food Pantry and the colleges’ food waste diversion that is mandated by the State.  We are looking to expand our activities. We are looking to form a Working Group that would interview the current vendors that provide small scale food waste pick up services in the Boston area that are currently delivered to composting sites.  We have identified 3 vendors to interview but there might be several more. The goal is to fully educate ourselves on how each of these services works in terms of logistics and economics and to see if this better understanding will point us to new initiatives. Anyone interested in working on this should email Ellen Korpi at ellenkorpi1@gmail.com.
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  • HHU

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    Take a moment to add your voice to the Hardy, Hunnewell and Upham (HHU) discussion. They are looking for your opinion. Please take the survey, paying special attention to questions 14, 23 and 24. Your input can help the Town decide on a scenario that creates the least, long term negative environmental implications, and the greatest sustainable opportunities for our community.
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  • PRE ORDER LOCAL TURKEYS AND ROASTS FOR THANKSGIVING

    Add the Thanksgiving Marketplace to Your Calendar Sunday, November 20th 1-4pm Wellesley Farmers’ Market The Wellesley Farmers’ Market invites you to it’s indoor pre-Thanksgiving market at the Unitarian Universalist Church on SUNDAY, November 20 from 1-4 p.m. The scene inside the historic stone church will be festive and customers will be able to pick up pre-ordered turkeys from Copicut Farms, roasts from Shire Beef, and shop for a range of holiday goodies and gifts from Tea is the Way, Nu3Kidz, Fixx Chocolates, Chrissy’s Crumble, Wellesley Books and more! Don’t Delay on Reserving Popular Holiday Turkeys!  Turkeys are $5.69/lb. Order here https://store.copicutfarms.com/collections/turkeys today. Pre-order to your own specifications Shire Beef’s roasts for your holiday celebration by November 3rd! Email them the cut type and approximate weight request and they will have it ready for you on Nov. 20th. INFO@SHIREBEEF.COM. – boneless rib roast (prime rib) $24/lb – bone-in rib roast (prime rib) $22/lb – strip loin roast $23/lb – tenderloin roast $28/lb Bring an extra bag so you can store up on some of your favorite poultry, pork, steaks, sausages, and ground beef and other goodies that you have been enjoying all summer long. www.WellesleyFarmersMarket.com
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