The Pond Lily Nature Preserve is a 14-acre tract of water and woodland in the West Hills neighborhood of New Haven. The West River, impeded by a dam built in 1794 to power a grist mill, flows through the center of the Preserve. Over the past several years, New Haven Land Trust, which acquired the land in 1996, Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound and other partners have planned for the dam’s removal to prevent flooding in the Town of Woodbridge and allow fish passage between Long Island Sound and points upstream from Pond Lily. The dam removal, slated for the fall of 2013, is the centerpiece of a broader transformation of Pond Lily, including reshaped river banks, native plantings, new trails, educational resources and removal of a significant quantity of solid waste.
Solar Youth has offered after-school programs that empower youth of all ages in West Hills since the beginning of 2011. Solar Youth’s Stewards from West Hills are playing a key role in the restoration of Pond Lily by coordinating the removal of solid waste; contributing to the redesign of Pond Lily following the removal of the dam; and mobilizing community residents to ensure Pond Lily’s stewardship over the long term.
This past Saturday, Solar Youth Staff and Stewards and volunteers from New Haven Land Trust, Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound, Southern Connecticut State University and the West Hills community worked tirelessly for several hours removing solid waste from a large tract of the Preserve. This was many volunteers’ first visit to Pond Lily and several were shocked that such a potentially valuable public resource could have been so mistreated over the years. Yet the task at hand energized many in the group and they vowed to join Solar Youth Stewards to finish the job at the next Pond Lily clean-up day! Thanks everyone, and stay tuned!
You can find more photos of the clean-up day here!
Special thanks to the Greater New Haven Green Fund, River Alliance of Connecticut and New England Environmental Education Association for their support of this project! It was a great day!