Under bright blue skies, Westport goes green
Published 2:25 pm, Monday, April 29, 2013
Sunday was Green Day in Westport, and the sun, animals and earth all seemed to blossom under brilliant blue skies for the occasion.
This year's event got a shot in the arm from Staples High School's Club Green and its advisor Michael Aitkenhead, who also is the steward of the Wakeman Town Farm. He and the group organized additional Earth Day-themed activities to promote broader environmental awareness.
"I'm really hoping it's the start of a much larger event in coming year," Aitkenhead said between teaching about gardening and helping to plant trees.
A number of his environmental science students visited the farm Sunday as well, and he noted, "It's one thing to talk about things in the classroom," but said the town-owned agricultural center and Green Day itself afforded opportunities for young people to experience first-hand nature and the environment in meaningful ways.
"I think it's really great for the community that we're all getting out here and supporting the green movement," said David Hoffman, a Staples student. "I think it's good that we all learn about sustainability and helping the environment."
Visitors to the farm took part in gardening lessons and had the chance to put that learning into practice. There were also introductions to a variety of livestock, including chickens, baby ducks and one particularly fluffy rabbit named Lily.
"It's a real good way for the community to come together," said Elizabeth Zaffina, 17, who will have an internship on the farm this spring. For Green Day visitors, she was providing introductions to Lily.
"It's good just getting the kids engaged at such an early age," her friend Charlotte Piekara, 16, said in regard to the farm.
"Just to see them get excited about the animals and planting," Zaffina said. "It's great."
"It really gets you introduced to new animals and just like how to keep your own garden at your own home," said Peter Taets, 13, a junior apprentice who is also raising chickens at his house.
"It's nice," he said. "I like it."
"We get to do all kinds of stuff around here," said Hannah Schmidt, 11, another junior apprentice. "We get to meet all the pets, and of course we have to weed, but we get to meet a lot of people and it's fun."
"This place is great," said Steve Tredennick of Fairfield, who visited with his wife and daughter. "We came here for her, but I love it too."
"We recently started a garden at home, so I'm loving this and I'm hoping to ask some questions myself, as well as for my daughter, about growing my own food," he said.
Other environmental awareness activities took place around town in celebration of Green Day, including nature hikes and pond activities at Earthplace, as well as film screenings at both the library and through the Westport Cinema Initiative.
In the words of Judy Sloan, Wakeman Farm Committee member, "It's a good day to be green."