The Environmental Professionals’ Organization of Connecticut (EPOC) is pleased to announce our environmental grant awards for 2019 as follows (total amount of all awards is $10,749):
- Northwest Conservation District
The Northwest Conservation District (NWCD) serves 34 towns in northwestern Connecticut by addressing drinking water and aquifer protection, watershed and wetland protection and restoration, aquatic resource protection through Low Impact Development (LID) measures, Open Space and Farmland Preservation, sustainable land care and land use, invasive plant management, agricultural resiliency and renewable energy. The Conservation Districts began nationally in the 1930s in response to concerns over agricultural erosion, floods and the sky-blackening dust storms of the Dust Bowl. In Connecticut, NWCD is one of five districts. EPOC’s grant will be used to establish a Low-Impact Design (LID) native pollinator rain garden to mediate stormwater runoff and serve as a living laboratory at Torrington High School (THS) in partnership with Northwestern Connecticut Community College (NCCC). Students from NCCC’s General Botany course and THS’s BioClub, Honors Biology, and Introductory Biology will be involved with planning and planting of the project, based on principles from their varied courses.
- Lake Waramaug Task Force
The Lake Waramaug Task Force (LWTF) was founded in 1976 and is an organization of volunteers and scientists that provides leadership in restoring and maintaining the ecology and water quality of Lake Waramaug and its watershed. Lake Waramaug is bordered by the towns of Washington, Warren and Kent. LWTF’s principle services include researching and designing the most effective water quality management solutions; managing extensive in-lake restoration systems that aids in removing / isolating harmful nutrients; improving the lake’s habitat for cold water fish and beneficial zooplankton; and controlling the non-native aquatic invasive plant species in the lake. EPOC’s grant will be used to fund the stormwater sampling cost of their Catch Basin Inventory Project of Lake Waramaug. LWTF is focusing on runoff from the near-lake residents and roads via the catch basin network on the highway surrounding the lake. The Catch Basin Inventory Project of Lake Waramaug will help LWTF evaluate, rank and address near-lake stormwater runoff.
- Audubon Connecticut
Audubon Connecticut, an operating unit of the National Audubon Society, is one of Connecticut's premier conservation and environmental education organizations. Their mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity. Since 2012, and with prior support from EPOC, Audubon CT has partnered with the City of Bridgeport, the City of West Haven, and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute (RTPI) to coordinate the WildLife Guards program. Through this program, Audubon CT hires local high school students, or WildLife Guards, from Bridgeport and West Haven to work alongside Audubon field biologists in stewarding, monitoring, and raising public awareness about the beach-nesting birds that share our shores. These youth receive training from the partners in coastal ecology, public engagement, and general job skills, then become the official wildlife monitors at Pleasure Beach in Bridgeport and Sandy Point in West Haven, tasked with tracking the reproductive success of state-threatened bird species and sharing their knowledge with visitors.
- Great Hollow Nature Preserve
Great Hollow Nature Preserve & Ecological Research Center is a newly established organization in New Fairfield, CT that is dedicated to biodiversity conservation, applied ecological research, and experiential environmental education. Great Hollow also operates as a biological field station and welcomes external researchers, including both professionals and students, to use its 825-acre preserve for their work. Their staff and collaborators conduct integrative, conservation-driven studies of wildlife, plants, and ecosystems within and beyond the preserve. EPOC’s grant will be used for the cost of plants, fencing materials, interpretive signage, and tools to establish a pollinator garden at Great Hollow Nature Preserve, where it can then be viewed by the public and used in their education and outreach programs for years to come. In so doing, they will also be greatly increasing the availability of habitat for pollinators at the nature preserve, in an area that will foster visitor engagement.
The EPOC Grant Program provides non-profit and not-for-profit environmental advocacy groups, community-based groups and environmental education organizations, funding for local projects that benefit the environment on an annual basis. For further information, see our Grant Program page on our website at www.epoc.org/grants.