Kelly Caiazzo

Thank you to all who attended the Sustainable Wellesley and Wellesley Natural Resources Commission documentary screening of Stink!.

We packed the Wakelin Room with approximately 70 attendees in honor of Rachel Carson Day on May 27th. That’s a lot more people who are now aware of the fragrance loophole and lack of regulation of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals in our everyday products! 

Vote your values! As helpful as it is to know how to buy safer products personally, sweeping change happens when busy consumers don’t need to do their homework because of protective legislation. If the film resonated with you, consider making chemical regulations and transparency part of your voting agenda.


Below are some resources to help simplify the process of making safer consumer choices. Because kids should be worried about what’s on their pancakes, not what’s in their pajamas!


Apps for the phone: 

Silent Springs Institute App, Detox Me:

Environmental Working Group App, Healthy Living:


  • Oeko-Tex certification:

  • Avoid flame retardants, look for pajamas that say “wear snug fitting, doesn’t contain flame retardant”

  • Tip: Google “oeko-tex certified _____” to find products, you’ll often discover brands and companies that way for everything from sheets to shirts


Household cleaners: 

Someone asked specifically about dishwasher pacs – I use this powder in my dishwasher, but there are dishwasher pods & pouches listed in the EWG guide as well. 


  • Look for sunscreens labeled “reef safe” and avoid oxybenzone and octinoxate in particular

  • EWG Sunscreen Guide:

Lawn Care:

Video about Healthy Yards in Wellesley:

Organic Landscapers that Service Wellesley:

Letter from the Wellesley Board of Health and NRC about toxic lawn chemicals:

Reading Labels: 

EWG guide to label decoding:

Stink! documentary resources page:

Silent Spring Institute

Sustainable Wellesley:

Wellesley Natural Resources Commission:

Audience suggestions:

  • Consider googling soap nuts (soap berries) for laundry – some attendees have had great success, one person recommended ones originating from Nepal

  • When speaking to people to encourage environmental change, using language like “Would you consider…” is less likely to put them on the defensive. A great tip for initiating respectful conversations!

Additional questions: Please don’t hesitate to e-mail me if you’re having difficulty finding a product replacement or have questions. I’m not an expert, but I am an enthusiast who has found a lot of resources who are experts. I am happy to point you in the right direction or dive into the problem solving with you to find a solution that works.

There’s also a local Facebook group where people swap resources and problem solve together to find more environmental solutions for living: Sustainable Living Wellesley Facebook Group:

Thank you so much to everyone who attended!

Jon Whelan, the film’s narrator and director, responded personally to our request for a non-profit screening license to show the film. I was able to send him the photo below from the event thanking him for the license and let him know how many attendees we had. Given how personal the film was for him after losing his wife to cancer, it was meaningful to me to share with him how many of you showed up to hear his message.

Thank you.


Special Thanks to Raina McManus of the NRC for presenting, Dr. Michael McManus (Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry) for fielding the Q&A, and Sustainable Wellesley volunteers Ellie Perkins and Janie Penn.



Preview YouTube video Healthy Yards in Wellesley

Phyllis Theermann

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

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.

Phyllis Theermann

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: