The Register Citizen 6/11/22
Photo credit: Aquarion
BRIDGEPORT — Water Company on June 4 celebrated the five winners of its 2022 Aquarion Environmental Champion Awards during a ceremony at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. Annually, the Environmental Champion Awards recognize organizations and individuals in the large and small business, non-profit, adult, and student categories. Community members across Connecticut dedicate themselves to preserving the state’s environmental resources and pursuing solutions for sustainability.
“Preserving Connecticut’s beautiful waterways, land, and wildlife is vital to our state’s future,” said Donald Morrissey, President of Aquarion Water Company. “For over a decade, Aquarion has celebrated the efforts of environmental advocates across Connecticut and we’re proud to congratulate this year’s Environmental Champions for their exceptional accomplishments.”
The nonprofit winner of the 2022 Aquarion Environmental Champion Award is the Housatonic Valley Association, Cornwall Bridge. The environmental organization, operating in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York, aims to preserve the health of the Housatonic Watershed. The HVA collaborates with communities and businesses to protect local lands and waterways, according to a statement. Since it was founded in 1941, the HVA has successfully protected the Housatonic Watershed by mobilizing more than 20,000 volunteers to support a range of initiatives, from large-scale litter removal projects to shoreline restoration. In 2020, the HVA completed its Healthy Housatonic Watershed Dashboard, a diagnostic tool used to identify land and waterway vulnerabilities. Last year, the HVA preserved almost 3,000 acres of forest in Northwest Connecticut that were identified as vulnerable by the dashboard. The organization is currently working to protect an additional 3,000 acres of land and restore 50 miles of stream that have been identified using the dashboard.
Large Business: Pratt & Whitney – East Hartford. The company’s Facilities & Services Scrap and Revert team has created a Global Center of Excellence. In the past year, the Center has helped minimize the business’ need for raw resources by returning 100,000 pounds of metal alloys back into the production system. In addition, they’ve also recycled more than four million pounds of scrap metal and metal recyclable material. Reaching beyond its own facilities, the Scrap and Revert team at Pratt & Whitney participates in global knowledge-sharing to spread best practices with domestic and international partners. The initiative to recycle and reuse materials is just one example of how Pratt & Whitney has become a leader of sustainability in the aviation industry.
Small Business: Nod Hill Brewery – Ridgefield. Established in 2017, Nod Hill Brewery is Connecticut’s first and only brewery powered completely by solar energy. The company’s solar array, completed in 2019, provides power for its entire facility and brewing process, and each year returns more than 5,600 kilowatt-hours of electricity back to the power grid. By planting a variety of native plant species in the meadow alongside its biergarten, Nod Hill has created a habitat for pollinators right on the brewery’s Ridgefield property. Additionally, Nod Hill’s newly completed parking lot features electrical vehicle charging stations and solar-powered lighting.
Adult: Mary Ellen Lemay – Trumbull. She is a passionate advocate for sustainability in the Trumbull, CT community. Mary Ellen serves as the chair of The Town of Trumbull Conservation Commission and is a member of Sustainable Trumbull, an organization devoted to clean energy initiatives and town-wide recycling. Known to friends and co-workers as MEL, Mary Ellen is a true environmental hero for her town. Recently, her efforts have been dedicated to securing municipal funding to support both 1,000 Trees for Trumbull, a tree replacement program, and the expansion of the community garden at Abraham Nichols Park to include vegetable patches for local food banks. MEL’s continued actions to protect her community’s environment and natural resources have inspired many of her fellow Trumbull residents to join her efforts.
Student: Izzy Kaufman – New Canaan. A senior at New Canaan High School, Izzy independently created a food scrap diversion plan for Greenology, a plant-based restaurant in New Canaan where she works. Izzy collects food scraps from Greenology for Oak Forest Farm to feed its chickens. Izzy’s initiative helps support local agriculture while curbing the impacts of food waste. She has also helped facilitate Greenology’s transition from single-use plastics to reusable and compostable food packaging. By partnering with Planet New Canaan, a local environmental organization, Izzy is helping other restaurants in town implement food scrap programs.
To learn more about Aquarion’s 2022 Environmental Champions, go to www.aquarionwater.com/2022-champions.