Growing Instead of Mowing in Hartford’s Parks

Have you noticed areas in our parks that look like they have not been mowed in a while?  Low mow zones are planted with meadow plants instead of traditional turf, saving valuable staff time and money on lawn maintenance while absorbing runoff and providing habitat for wildlife. They reduce usage of fuel and equipment, which in turn reduces carbon dioxide emissions, protects the atmosphere and saves money.

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Welcome to Walktober!

Fall is here, and it is prime time to take a walk in the great outdoors. This month the iQuilt Innovation Center is celebrating Walktober, a series of over a dozen different walks around Hartford. Each walking tour will be led by a knowledgeable guide who will highlight a unique part of the city, so make sure to go to as many as you can.

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No Time to Waste: Public Comment Open for Trash Site Rehab

Many believe that from an environmental justice perspective, Hartford has shouldered the region’s trash burden for far too long already. Yet as a part of the Connecticut Solid Waste System Project, there are plans to redevelop the large materials and solid waste facility located within Hartford. The time to provide public input into these plans is now!

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Whole Cities Foundation Funds Mobile Teaching Kitchen

The City’s newly adopted Climate Action Plan focuses on the action area of “food,” aiming for nutritious food that is locally grown or non-carbon-intensive, and is readily available across all neighborhoods, leading to improved health and greater resiliency for area families.  But we are making progress in this area.  An example?  The Whole Cities Foundation (sponsored by Whole Foods) has given the Keney Park Sustainability Project a grant for a mobile teaching kitchen.  The KPSP has purchased and rehabilitated a former school bus, and intends to start its first mobile programming later this fall.   KPSP will offer health foods education and cooking demonstrations, with the ultimate goal of reducing rates of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.  Read more and watch a video, from the Hartford Courant!

Video: Launch of Climate Stewardship Initiative

Check out this video about the launch of the Climate Stewardship Initiative, edited by CCSU student Wojciech Muszynski:

Another video, focusing on the Climate Action Plan and featuring additional community members engaged in these efforts, is coming soon.

Zoning for Green Infrastructure!

Thanks to an innovative set of new zoning provisions recently approved by the City of Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission in consultation with the green infrastructure team at the Office of Sustainability, green infrastructure practices will now be incorporated into new developments disturbing more than 5,000 square feet.

The goal of these changes is to manage one inch of precipitation on the lot, without discharging any stormwater runoff into the public drainage system. This approach was recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency in its Next Steps Memo for Hartford, after the “Green and Complete Streets” workshop it ran earlier in 2017. Green infrastructure also provides many valuable co-benefits beyond the capture and treatment of stormwater runoff. Reducing the amount of impervious surfaces in our city and adding green spaces helps cool and clean the air. Plantings help beautify our streets and neighborhoods.

As part of the permitting process, applicants will be required to show how they plan to manage the one-inch storm on-site or at another location. If that is not feasible, they can opt to pay into a newly-created green infrastructure fund supporting the implementation of stormwater best management practices around the city. Fees have been set at $3 per gallon, except in the federally-designated Promise Zone, where they will be $1.50 per gallon.

These new provisions are based largely on the stormwater management provisions instituted in Norfolk, Virginia. The goal of managing one inch of stormwater on-site follows the New York City requirement, and Hartford hopes to achieve the same goal on an incremental basis. The opt-out fees were adapted from an analysis of costs of best management practices done in Washington, D.C.

The photo above was taken at Keney Park Sustainability Project at its edible rain garden site! 

September Transport Hartford Events

Transport Hartford has some upcoming events that may be of interest:

Friday, Sept 1st – Bike, Walk, and Bus to Work Meetup

  • 7:00am – 9:00am at Blue State Coffee, 777 Main Street, Hartford
  • Join this informal, social gathering on the first Friday of each month.  We’ll move the location to different Hartford coffee spots.  Stop by on your way in to work to chat, or just swing down for a coffee and say hello.
  • Conversation Starter – CTfastrak.  Who’s used it?  What do you think?
  • Facebook Event Link – Invite and Share

Wednesday, Sept 12th – Bike Share and Car Share Happy Hour

  • 5:00pm – 7:30pm at the Spectra Wired Cafe, 5 Constitution Plaza, Hartford
  • Fun and informal.  Hear what the LGH Quest team has been up to with a pilot bike share project.  Brainstorm on how to kick start car share in Hartford.
  • Facebook Event Link – Invite and Share

Wednesday, Sept 27th – CTtransit Goes East to UConn Storrs

  • Join Transport Hartford as we ask a panel of experts and UConn students about this important link.  BYOQ – Bring your own questions!
  • CTtransit now connects all the way out to UConn Storrs.  CTfastrak and Bradley Flyer airport express both serve this hourly connection that links the entire regional transit system to the state’s flagship university.
  • What does this mean for the region?  What does this mean for you?  What does this mean for students, faculty, and staff at the new Downtown Hartford UConn campus?  Will UConn Storrs students use the CTtransit connection to visit restaurants and attractions in the capital city?  Will more Hartford area students consider UConn when applying to colleges?
  • RSVP Required – Email ( or call 860-247-3227 ext 20
  • Facebook Event Link – Invite and Share

Sign Up Now for Grant Writing 101!

Part of an environmental nonprofit organization, and interested in developing your professional grant writing skills?

On August 30th and 31st, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Center for Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships is partnering with the Hartford, Connecticut, Field Office & Promise Zone to host 2 grant writing training sessions. The first is geared toward more basic level grant writing, and the second will be more advanced.

Grant writing is a very valuable and useful skill set. “Key Facts on U.S. Foundations” by the Foundation Center states that $54.7 billion was donated to nonprofits by over 86,000 private, corporate, and community foundations in 2013! This is an increase of more that 80% over the decade preceding it. A HUD professional trainer will teach strategies to enhance community and organizational development, as well as the art of successful capacity building for your organization. Topics include: Strategies for a Winning Proposal /Organizational Development; Strategic Planning for Advanced Organizations; Budgeting/Financial Management; Elements of Successful Proposal/Finding Grants; Packaging & Submitting Your Proposal; Dispelling Myths & Building Relationships; Writing Your Proposal from the Funders’ Perspective; Knowing Your Funder; Logic Model; and Knowledge of Top Funders.

The two sessions will take place on August 30th and August 31st, from 10:00am to 4:30 pm at the Lyceum Conference Center – 227 Lawrence Street in Hartford. Register for the sessions separately; you can do so here and here.

For questions, contact Suzanne Piacentini via email at










Some August Environment Events in Hartford

We realize that can’t keep up with all of Hartford’s environment-focused events, including all of the regularly scheduled park concerts, farmers’ markets, and street fairs that take advantage of summer! But here are a handful in the second half of the month for you to consider attending:

  • August 1, 8, 15, 22, 29: Get your grocery shopping done at the West End Farmers Market on Clemens Green (385 Farmington Avenue) every Tuesday, 4-7 pm. 
  • August 8: West End Farmers Market Community organizer Chris Pressley will give a talk at 7 pm titled “Why Growing Your Own Food is a Revolutionary Act: A Primer for the Hartford Backyard Gardeners Club.” Start mingling at 6 (or before), This Green Drinks is alcohol-free due to the nature of the venue. No need to register; just show up! Free.
  • August 9, 16, 23, 30:  Riverfront Recapture partnered with Hartford Sweat to bring free yoga to the riverfront! Yoga will be taking place every Wednesday night this month.  Stretch and strengthen your body and mind in this class designed to link movement with breath, allowing you to unwind and connect.
  • August 10: From 5-8 p.m, the KNOW GOOD Market, featuring some local products and food trucks, pops up at 30 Bartholomew Avenue. 
  • August 18: EnergizeCT Family Water Energy Activity: Discover how water travels through our natural habitats and water’s energy through fun, hands-on activities. Light refreshments will be served. Will take place from 2-4pm in the Energize Connecticut Center.
  • August 19:  From 10:00 a.m.-3 p.m., the Environmental Justice/Health Equity Forum takes place in Whitneyville Cultural Commons in Hamden, CT.
  • August 30: HYPE Terrarium Night with KNOX: Registration closes on August 28th for this, so don’t wait until the last minute! They say: “Get close to nature with our Social Events Committee and a night in the KNOX Inc. greenhouse! This workshop will provide you with everything you need to build your own terrarium including a glass container, soil, and a variety of different succulent plants. This takes place at KNOX (75 Laurel Street) in the greenhouse. $30 general; $20 for HYPE members.
  • Looking Toward September:  Applications are now being received for the 2017 Yale Sustainability Leadership Forum, which will take place on September 13-15 at Yale University. This intensive three-day program takes a broad-gauge look at sustainability as a megatrend of the 21st century. The Forum will cover a range of cutting-edge issues related to sustainability including climate change, carbon pricing, emerging sustainability science, corporate sustainability strategies, sustainability metrics, ESG (Environment/Social/Governance) investing, new trends in land conservation, and industrial ecology. Taught in highly interactive modules by top Yale faculty members and leading practitioners, participants can expect to have exposure to a wide spectrum of views and to engage in lively conversations with others from across the public and private sectors, including government officials, business leaders, teachers, communications professionals, and policy experts.