PROTECT YOUR ENVIRONMENT

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March 26, 1970 - WOMAN WAGES ONE-WOMAN FIGHT FOR MARSH: An Individual personal plea to save the marshlands in the Great Meadows area of Stratford has been issued by a mother whose son used the natural wetlands as a classroom, laboratory and playground from childhood through college studies. Mrs. Stanley Heiden, of Second Avenue, Stratford, located adjacent to the marsh area in the Lordship section of Stratford, is conducting a one-woman campaign "to preserve and retain, in its natural state, the one of the few salt marshes left on entire eastern seaboard." Over the years," Mrs. Heiden has pointed out, "there has been a gradual encroachment on the salt meadows. Greatly concerned with continual industrial development of the area for factories, road ways and other commercial uses as well as threats of expansion to the Bridgeport municipal airport runways, Mrs. Heiden commented that "We should stop to consider what we have in our own backyard." The encroachment on the marshlands, Mrs. Heiden emphasized, will cause the marshlands to be ruined with dikes, development and airport expansion. They will be lost forever, along with all it means to the ecology of the area. Mrs. Heiden who said she fell in love with the marsh area on her arrival in Lordship 17 years ago commented that she continues to wonder at the spectacular wetlands area, which can never be replaced once it is gone. In her campaign, Mrs. Heiden has contacted officials on the local, state and national level in an effort to "possibly effect some legislation to retain the salt marshes," She commented that if properties can be condemned to make way for highways and other projects, then it is just as important that this type of natural wetland be condemned to be kept in its original state. Mrs. Heidens son, Richard, spent much of his childhood and adolescent years playing and studying in the wetlands and through actual observation and biology study, has compiled lists of various forms of bird and wildlife which inhabits and frequents the marshlands. The following species of birds are indigenous to the Stratford marsh and adjacent shore areas, Mrs. Heiden said, adding "They must have marshland in which to live and breed; they are directly dependent on the marsh for survival. Destruction of the marsh will result in their destruction. The list includes Pied-billed Grebe, Green Heron, Black Crowned Night Heron, American Bittern, Least Bittern, Black-Duck, Marsh Hawk, King Rail, Clapper Rail, Virginia Rail, Sora, Black Rail, Piping Plover, Killdear, Spotted Sandpiper, Least Tern, Long-billed Marsh Wren, Red-Winged Blackbird, Ipswich Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrow, Sharp-tailed Sparrow, and the Seaside Sparrow. In addition to these, Mrs. Heiden pointed out, "there are numerous species, which though not dependent on the salt-marsh habitat for sheer survival, nevertheless take advantage of its variety of cover particularly in peripheral areas to live and breed. Destruction of the marsh would result in their disappearance from our area." Included in this category, she said, are the Sparrow Hawk, Ring-necked Pheasant, Blackbilled Cuckoo, Flicker, Eastern Kingbird, Horned Lark, Tree Swallow, Fish Crow, Cedar Waxwing Yellow Warbler, Yellow-throat, Meadowlark, Indigo Bunting, and Goldfinch. The Stratford marsh is also vital to the survival of migrant bird species which, though they may not breed there, depend on it as a virtual oasis in their semi-annual migrations to and from their northern breeding grounds, Mrs. Heiden stated. She noted the rapid and widespread decrease of these oases will result, ultimately, in the decrease of the migrants." Among the migrants which Richard has identified in the marshland in Lordship are the Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, American Egret, Snowy Egret, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Canada Goose, Mallard, Gadwall, Baldpate, Pintail, the Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Shoveller, Redhead and Ring-necked Duck. Also, Canvas-back, Greater Scaup Duck, Lesser Scaup Duck, American Golden - eye, Bufflehead, Old-Squaw, White-winged Scoter, Surf Scoter, Ruddy Duck, Hooded Merganser, American Merganser, Redbreasted Merganser, Coot, Bald Eagle and Osprey. Still more, the Semi-palmated Plover, Golden Plover, Black-bellied Plover, Ruddy Thurnstone, Willet, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Knot, Least Sandpiper, Redbacked Sandpiper, Dowitcher, Semi-plamated Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, Sunderling, Black Skimmer, Forsters Tern, Artic Tern, Common Tern, Roseate Tern and Belted Kingfisher. The Stratford marsh, the Lordship resident commented serves as a winter haven for numerous species including several of our increasingly rare birds of prey. These birds depend on it as a refuge and source of food nearly as much as the summer residents that breed there." She added, "Indeed, the Great Meadows marshland constitutes for this winter population an equally vital counterpart to their own summer breeding grounds. Destruction of this half of their habitat would result in their eventual destruction. Mammals which inhabit the local wetlands include the Opossum, Raccoon, Striped Skunk, White - footed Mouse, Meadow vole, Muskrat and Cottontail Rabbit.

March 29, 1970 - LORDSHIP PUPILS PROGRAM SUBMITTED AS PROJECT ENTRY IN STATE PTA CONTEST: Efforts of Lordship school students in seeking to save the Great Salt marsh in Stratford and to eliminate air and water pollution in the area will be the highlight of an entry by the Lordship PTA in the 1970 PTA-Sears Participation Project competition. Purpose of the state-wide project; Supported through a grant from the Sears Foundation, is to encourage PTA groups to be aware of the needs of children and youth and the responsibilities of parents and teachers to these children in the home, school and community. The Lordship PTA president George Wood, said "these youngsters feel if they are going to inherit the earth they don't want it wrecked by further carelessness in future generations.'" The project has been actively aided by the Lordship PTA and parents of school children working along with faculty members and local, state and national government officials. Results of the competition which is based on the theme "Concern for the Real World of Children and Youth" will be announced at a later date during the 1970 PTA convention. The Lordship PTA program was an outgrowth of a study of conservation by the fifth grade in Lordship School and became a project which involved many of the parents of children, PTA members, conservation groups and local and state government officials. In the "classroom", the students and their teacher, Mrs. Phyllis Kriksciun, collected information in individual files on conservation and then reported on various phases of the subject. Parents of these students and PTA members became interested and also collected and passed on information on conversation and its effect on the community. Because of the air pollution problems caused by burning at the town dump and smoke from the town incinerator, a letter writing program was started to seek the aid of local and state officials. Children composed their own letters which were copied or typed again by parents, making more copies available. Several individuals contacted answered and visits and talks were arranged by a state senator, sanitary engineer for the town incinerator and sanitarians from the Health Department. Letters were published in area newspapers and news coverage afforded by the Bridgeport Post of the school program. Another effort was started to seek prevention of the burning of the marshes surrounding the adjacent Bridgeport Municipal Airport in Lordship. Mayor Curran answered through the manager of the airport, reporting that the burning was accidental and regrettable. A parent and active PTA member, Mrs. Eleanor Epler, suggested that the students further study marine ecology in their own nearby salt marsh area in connection with their conservation work. Mrs. Epler, a marine biology enthusiast, contacted David Cherney a biology teacher at Thomas School, Rowayton, whose students had waged a campaign last year to save their marsh classroom near their school from a fill development for housing. The Lordship School children in the fifth and sixth grades and many of their parents joined the PYE (Protect Your Environment Club) which Mr. Cherney's students had organized. The Lordship students and teacher, Mrs. Kriksciun, supported by members of the PTA, went on their first marsh study field trip in December under the supervision of Mr. Cherney, who explained the ecology of the marsh area. Other trips are planned this spring. The fifth grade is now engaged in a further campaign to save the nearby Lordship marsh area from encroachment by factories and the airport, which the Bridgeport municipal administration wants to expand. The children and their parents and teachers have written newspapers, radio and television stations and many persons who are interested in conservation. A New Haven television station covered the Lordship program in depth in a news feature depicting the children presenting short messages pleading for conservation in the salt marshes. Peter Burgomaster, of the Yale University staff, visited the school and conferred with students about preservation of the meadows. Mrs. Luther Strayer, a renowned conservationist, showed the students slides from various parts of the world, along with scenes of wildlife, plants and other natural areas which are being threatened with extinction. Besides being affiliated with the PYE club the students have become actively engaged in supporting the aims of the Fairfield County Citizens for Environmental Control. A group of the Lordship students, Mrs. Kriksciun and interested citizens from Lordship, represented their area at a silent vigil at the Union square dock in Bridgeport a month ago protesting the polluted water of Bridgeport harbor and Long Island Sound. They also attended a special meeting at Sacred Heart University and reported on their activities to the college students. At a meeting of the PTA last week, a program on conservation was presented by the fifth grade class. Entitled "America the Beautiful?" it was directed by Mrs. Kriksciun, assisted by Mrs. Epler and other members of the school staff and PTA members. The efforts of the group included singing, guitar playing, dramatics and presentation of picture slides, correlated in a narrative depicting the pollution of natural resources and a plea to reverse this trend. Posters are being made by children of several grades to draw public attention to the need for saving our marshes. Albert Provenzano, a member of the State Legislature, invited the group to attend the next session of the General Assembly and present their program there. The students have learned much about conservation and how local, state and national governments represent the people. In addition, they have learned how people can work together for a worth-while goal, to read the newspapers diligently for editorials and news, to research specific topics, organize and file materials, and to present a message through various media.

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August 26, 1976 - BOOK ON GREAT MEADOWS AUTHORED BY RESIDENT: A Tour Guide of the Great Meadows Marsh, a book described as an education enlightener for school children, townspeople and tourist has been written by a Stratford school teacher and published by the Remington Arms Company in cooperation with the Connecticut State Audubon Society. Mrs. Patricia Butkovsky of Prospect Drive, author of the guide, said the book is the result of three years of work and has come at a time when a little emotional appeal toward the marsh would not be bad. Along with an imaginary tour of the Great Meadows Marsh and the Long Beach coastline the guide also provides a history of the marshs glacial and colonial history, a section on mans destruction, pollution and their impact on a salt marsh and illustrations of animal and plant life. It is the educational purpose behind this book that makes it important. It is important for everyone, especially children to know what is here in their own town. This book can help them identify all the different types of like the marsh contains, stated Mrs. Butkovsky. The marsh also has aesthetic appeal to bird enthusiasts and nature lovers who can observe the egrets, swans, clapper rails, tern and bitterns there and to photographers who can capture the beauty of the salt cord grass, black grass, spike grass and goldenrod in all seasons. Aside from its educational ant aesthetic appeal, Mrs. Butkovsky admitted that it is hard to write such a guide without making an emotional appeal to those that would change the environment of the marsh. Mrs. Butkovsky writes that more than just a nature lovers paradise, the marsh serves a more important role to man as a floodplain zone. The marsh has a great water storage capacity; when flooding occurs, it acts as a sponge trapping great quantities of water that would have otherwise ravaged homes and property. The guides chapter on pollution cites the raw sewage, detergents, oil, metals and pesticides that destroy the life and beauty of the Great Meadows. Throughout the years the book says marshes have been considered mosquito breeding lands and ideal locations for town dumps, solving two problems: ridding the town of garbage and filling the marsh for future land use. The guide goes on to say that filled in marshes are used for new farm lands, housing, paved parking lots and factory sites. According to Mrs. Butkovsky, the book has been well received. Of the original 500 copies printed, most have gone to the Stratford school system, the Stratford and Bridgeport libraries, Town book and drug stores and several community organizations. Proceeds will either pay for a reprinting or be donated to the Protect Your Environment of Stratford organization. Others who helped to create A Tour of the Great Meadows Marsh include illustrators Belle Donohue, Jean Kuhns and Judi Nielson; researchers Phyllis Kriksiun and Carol Geaney; science editors Michael Aurelia, Inland Wetlands Administrator for the town of Greenwich and Robert Jontos, Environmental Health Officer for the town of Wilton; and proofreaders Louis Cretella and Grant Roti.

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