By Carol Haskins, Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition, Executive Director
When I gaze out my window at home, it makes me so happy to see plants that are starting to bloom, grass that is starting to turn green, the street sweeper going by to clean up the sand that made our roads safe to travel in the winter, the neighbors’ kids are out playing in the yard, and more people are out walking as the temperatures begin to warm and the hours of daylight lengthen. Everything LOOKS just as I expect it to look this time of year. But, my goodness, it sure FEELS different. And that’s because things ARE different. Very different.
I’m not usually looking out the window at home in the middle of a workday. I’m not usually sitting at the table (now a desk) in my living room or in the comfy chair over in the corner while talking to my colleagues through video on the computer about our projects and programs. This time of year, our team at Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition would usually be putting the final touches on planning for Woodbury Earth Day and looking forward to gathering with thousands of our friends and neighbors in a celebration of our natural resources.
But, here we are, doing things differently, because everyone’s routine has been changed by the pandemic. Each day seems to bring a new challenge, but with each challenge comes a new opportunity. In our generally busy lives, we do not always have the same opportunities that have been placed right in front of us now. Many of us have more time to spend with our families, to try new recipes, to clean out that closet, to explore new hobbies we don’t normally have the time for, to learn how to use a new technology, and to practice mindfulness and gratitude.
Personally, I find myself especially grateful for public lands that provide walking trails and access to rivers and streams. These places have always been a significant part of my life with countless hours spent hiking, paddling, fishing, swimming, and otherwise simply enjoying the natural scenic beauty of our community. But right now, like so many people, I find myself turning to those public lands more than ever to find that certain quietude that nature brings.
In that quietude, I marvel at the unique natural and cultural features in the community and find deep appreciation for those who had the foresight to protect these special resources and for those who continue to steward these resources.
Many of these beautiful outdoor oases would not be available to us if it were not for the hard work of the stewards ensuring that these resources will be available for generations to come. The volunteers and staff of organizations like the Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition, Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust, Southbury Land Trust, Roxbury Land Trust, Steep Rock Association, Bent of the River Audubon Center, and many more work hard keep these outdoor spaces beautiful and natural resources clean and plentiful.
While these organizations lead the conservation and stewardship effort, they also rely on the community for support. Whether it is picking up a piece of trash as you walk a local trail, buying produce from your local farm, planting a tree, identifying a mystery bird in your backyard, drinking the water that flows from your tap (no straws please!), or making a donation, we hope you will join us in celebrating our planet this Earth Day (April 22).
Donations to Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition can be made in a number of ways, including rounding up your total to the nearest dollar at the register when you shop at New Morning Market — we are this month’s Round Up for a Cause partner — and by participating in Give Local, the 36-hour online giving campaign that begins at 7:00 am on Tuesday April 21 and continues through 7:00 pm on Earth Day, April 22. PRWC has a generous $11,000 matching gift challenge that we hope you’ll help us maximize – each dollar raised up to $11,000 will be matched. And then there are more bonus matching funds on top of that! Please consider a gift at this time, if you can, as that contribution will go even further in protecting your always important local water resources. And if making a donation is too much of a stretch right now, we get it…
Whether you are able to give or not, please do enjoy the natural beauty within the community and share that appreciation with others by posting a photo on social media and tag it with @pomperaugriver and @woodburyearthday so we know you are out there! We might even feature your photo!
P.S. If you miss making a gift during Give Local days, you can donate online, anytime, at www.pomperaug.org/
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