Monday, April 22, 2024

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Students to Report on Pollution Findings

Students from Westport’ s Staples High School and Wilton High School, working under direction from Earthplace, The Nature Discovery Center, will report on their findings on pollution in a a Westport waterway at a Westport Town Hall meeting on June 10.

The 7 p.m. session in Town Hall auditorium will focus on Muddy Brook, which runs through the Cross Highway, Bayberry Lane, and the Greens Farms areas of Westport before emptying into Sherwood Mill Pond.  Following the presentation there will be an open discussion on next steps.

“These kids worked hard last year to gather and analyze water samples from several different sites on Muddy Brook,” said Dick Harris, who oversaw the project.  Harris is Earthplace’s principal scientist and director of its Harbor Watch/River Watch program. 

“Their results raise concerns and indicate that there are several problems that ultimately may affect downstream bodies of water like the Sherwood Mill Pond,” he said.

Twelve students participated on four teams from July to December last year collecting samples with the Harbor Watch/River Watch mentors, analyzing the data, and creating PowerPoint presentations of the results. Many of the students also received credit in their high school science classes for their work.

The program was funded by a grant on behalf of the Sherwood Mill Pond Committee from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation secured by Harris and Alicia Mozian, Westport’s Conservation Director.

“It’s helpful for town officials to have hard data when making decisions about what problems need to be addressed,” said Mozian.

Mozian said the students had to contend with all types of weather, poison ivy, and other hazards while maintaining the highest standards of field work to bring in the water samples. 

“It’s great that we have so many young people who care about the environment and who want to make a difference,”  she said.

In addition to monitoring Muddy Brook, Harbor Watch/River Watch uses staff and volunteers to maintain regular water quality sampling of the Aspetuck, Saugatuck, and Norwalk Rivers as well as Norwalk Harbor. 

The Earthplace laboratory is certified by the Connecticut Department of Public Health and is recognized as a leader in water quality testing for waterways throughout Fairfield County.

Wednesday’s presentation is sponsored by the Westport Water Quality Initiative, Earthplace, the Westport League of Women Voters, and the Sherwood Mill Pond Committee. The public is invited to attend.

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