Phyllis Theermann

Big thanks to the Wellesley High School Football players and coaches who took part in the first high school team town-wide clean up this past weekend. This event was so motivating that the team will start doing it annually and have challenged other teams to do it as well.

Members of Wellesley Green Schools and Football Coach Jesse Davis last came together to create a meaningful community-service project to call attention to the increasing problem of single-use plastic pollution.  A team-building cleanup project was proposed and organized, with the NRC providing maps of areas in need of cleanup, as well as gloves, safety vests, and other supplies.

“The Wellesley Football Team town-wide clean up not only beautified Wellesley’s public spaces, but also allowed the players to see first hand the amount of single use plastic around town. This started conversations on ways to reduce it,” said Coach Davis. “To encourage players to create less waste, the team purchased water bottles with their numbers on them for students to re-use,” Davis said.

Thanks to the team’s hard work, residents noticed trash-free areas around the High School, Memorial Grove, Perrin Park, Ollie Turner Park, Ouellette Park, and Reeds Pond.

“The coach encourages us to give back to the community since they support us on the field,” said Holt Fletcher, Wellesley High School senior and one of the four captains of the football team. “Not only was the town-wide clean up a great way for us to do that, and to get out into the community as a team, but it really opened up our eyes to the amount of trash lying around our school and many of the town’s parks and conservation areas,” Fletcher said.

“I hope other teams and community members join the football team in this important effort to help our town,” said Nicholas Cavallerano, a junior on the team. His brother Louis, a freshman, said proudly, “This was my first football community activity and I really liked that coaches and players worked together to help our community with the cleanup.”

To get involved in other town cleanups or propose one of your own, contact the Natural Resources Commission at 781-431-1019, ext. 2294. To learn tips on plastic waste reduction visit Wellesley Green Schools at  www.sustainablewellesley.com.

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Sustainable Wellesley members gathered in front of the Wellesley Community Center holding signs, and wearing safety vests and tape measures of the sort used by utility crews to draw attention to National Grid’s lack of action on gas leaks. The community center is located near a major leak that has been known to the gas company since 2015.

Last week, Sustainable Wellesley called on National Grid to fix the dozens of persistent gas leaks in Wellesley. The leaks emit vast amounts of methane, which is a dangerous and highly potent greenhouse gas that is contributing to global warming.

Sustainable Wellesley President Quentin Prideaux said, “We first started looking at gas leaks in Wellesley in 2015 when there were 197 leaks reported by National Grid — now there are 261. The leaks are actually getting worse and we need National Grid to step up to protect our climate, our safety, and our health.”

The Sustainable Wellesley action was part of a larger effort across the Boston metropolitan area led by Mothers Out Front, the Gas Leaks Allies, and other environmental groups frustrated by the lack of progress on gas leaks. In Boston, more than 100 protesters gathered on Cambridge Street near a 13-year old leak. Activists are particularly concerned that National Grid has backed away from its previous commitment to identify and repair the largest volume leaks, sometimes called “super-emitters.” These large volume leaks make up only about 7 percent of the more than 16,000 leaks in the state but they emit roughly 50 percent of the methane. The other large gas companies — Eversource and Columbia Gas — have already begun using the accepted method for identifying and repairing these leaks, while National Grid has said it will not do so until next year.

Phyllis Theermann

This year’s STEM EXPO Sustainability Challenge was to promoting a local resource, policy or behavior change that makes Wellesley greener. These came in in a variety of formats such as advertisements, essays, videos, artwork and more. Students from elementary through high school thought hard and convinced their audiences that everything from food waste and removing chemicals from their lawns, to composting and hydroponics were ideal ways to help our environment!

Congratulations to the 2019 Sustainability Challenge winners!

Elementary School Winners:

-Elan Usmani: “Making Wellesley Lawns Greener” video

-Nalini Fiorillo: “How Green Is Your Community?” infographic on school commuting

-Abby Brown and Kayla Bohlin: “Plastic in the Oceans” website and video

Middle School Winner:

-Kellen Sharpe: “Composting” video

High School Winner:

-Owen Mix: “Hydroponic Greenhouse” PowerPoint presentation

Many thanks to all our participants in the 2019 STEM Expo Sustainability Challenge:

Nalini Fiorillo, Chase Gemski, TJ Reohr, Elan Usmani, Emelle Bedair and Layla Bedair, Will Hubbard and Henry Haddon, Nina Wied and Ellery Gerhart, Thomas Zhou, Jacob Gottschaulk and Cooper Gooch, Abby Brown, Kayla Bohlin, Emily Burnham and Audrey Song, Solène Zelenko, Claire Roney, Kathryn Bonnette, Caroline Stewart, Lila Welburn, Aiyden Pires, Hope Schofield, Chace Beauvais, Emma Brostrom, Lilah Wallace, Sean Sullivan, Kenny Song, Olivia Kashian, Costi Papavassiliou, Charlote Haig, Alexander Bertucci, Christian Pooley, Christine McMahon, Nick Lafave, Carter Rich, Ieva MacInnes, Liam Berger, Ryan O’Shea, Daniel Goldberg, Sabrina Gabriel, Leila Eccher, Cameron Poirier, Jayden Song, Graci Doherty, Ben Ackerman, Estelle Maroon, Jacob Recht, Max Wied, Allie Chung, Jake Broggi, Mike Lafave, Blyn Kull-Must, Hally Brown, Lizzy Hudson, Nina Waller, Riley Marth, Lauren Young, Zachary Nolan, Evelyn Harrison, Kaitlyn Willett and Hannah Cronin, Leah Wechsler, Eliza Towle, Kellen Sharpe, Blake and Robert Foster, Alivia Jiang, Owen Mix and Ian Lei.