DEEP: Governor Rell Commends Environmental Award Winners

June 3, 2007

Governor Rell Commends Environmental Award Winners

Governor M. Jodi Rell today commended 70 Connecticut civic organizations, individuals and businesses in recognition of their efforts improving the environment.

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today presented GreenCircle Awards at a ceremony at Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill.

"Those being honored today have made an enduring commitment to Connecticut’s environment," Governor Rell said. "Through their efforts and volunteer hours, they have contributed to improving the quality of life for all residents of this great state. For that we thank them."

Since the DEP launched the GreenCircle Award Program in 1998, more than 775 schools, institutions, civic organizations, businesses and individuals have been recognized for more than 1,150 projects that have made a real difference in preserving natural resources and protecting the quality of the state’s air, water and lands.

DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy said, "These GreenCircle Awards make one lesson very clear: that everyone can make a real contribution to improving the quality of our environment. Protecting and improving our environment is not just about laws and government regulation. It is about individuals, organizations and businesses understanding that they have a role to play and that their efforts to protect natural resources and use them wisely really do matter."

Since the program began almost ten years ago, GreenCircle award winners have made tremendous reductions and savings in many areas resulting in:

  • More than 643,000,000 gallons of water annually (municipal, river and/or well water);
  • More than 11,000,000 pounds of air emissions annually;
  • More than 1,000,000 pounds of hazardous waste annually (including 750 pounds of elemental mercury);
  • More than 800,000 gallons of spent solvents; and
  • Several hundred tons of solid waste.

Examples of today’s GreenCircle award winners include:

  • ESPN, Inc., Bristol
    ESPN made improvements to improve the efficiency of its HVAC system. Steps included retrofitting chillers with variable speed drive pumps resulting in reducing energy consumption on the chiller system for an annual electricity savings of over 25 percent. By changing their cooling water treatment processes the result was a savings of over 2 million gallons of water per year.
  • John Sheirer, Enfield
    The McCann Family Farm is an 84-acre nature preserve in Somers which includes a two-mile hiking trail. For one year, John Sheirer hiked this trail once a day, clearing downed trees, removing litter, monitoring plant and wildlife, and repaired damage caused by flooding. Mr. Sheirer kept a detailed record of his trail observations and plans to write a book called, "Loop: Reflections on Hiking the Same Two-Mile Trail Every Day for a Year" with a portion of revenue from the book supporting environmental preservation and education efforts.
  • Greenwich Hospital, Greenwich
    Greenwich Hospital replaced cleaning products that have toxic chemical ingredients with cleaners that are environmentally friendly. The hospital only purchases general-purpose cleaners that meet hospital requirements and the specifications of Green Seal, an independent body that certifies and recommends environmentally responsible products and services.
  • Russell Miller, Madison
    For the past two years Russell Miller has organized the clean up of the salt marshes at Hammonasset State Park in Madison. He noticed that after storm surges, the salt marshes would be cluttered with Styrofoam materials, usually large blocks that had been used on floating docks. In these two years, approximately 580 cubic feet of Styrofoam were removed, in addition to general debris such as plastic bags, balloons, bottles, cans and general trash. Mr. Miller, planned a pollution prevention activity with groups of children to measure the Styrofoam, learn about recycling, and they built an eight-foot by ten-foot fort, complete with roof, in an effort to recycle the material.
  • EMSAR-Torrington, Torrington
    EMSAR installed "power factor" correction equipment to improve electric distribution, reduce KVA demand and lower electric costs. This system maintains a power factor which lowers electrical demand. In the first seven months of 2005, EMSAR-Torrington achieved an energy savings of 2,334,000 watts which decreased electrical demand by 22 percent and saved $11,902.
  • Highland Lake Watershed Association, Winsted
    The Association undertakes ongoing, continuous activities that promote the preservation and enhancement of Highland Lake. They installed catch basin markers on storm drains and catch basins around the perimeter of the lake. Members of the Association also collect water samples and conduct Secchi disk three times per year in the three bays of Highland Lake and the data is compiled and maintained on an annual basis.
An analysis of the GreenCircle Awards shows that businesses, municipalities, civic organizations and individuals are moving towards more environmentally friendly life decisions such as:Businesses seeking ISO 1400l Certification;
  • Installation of "closed loop systems" to avoid the discharge of contaminants and hazardous materials into rivers and streams;
  • Increased recycling of mercury-added products (including lamps) and electronic equipment;
  • Major reductions in electricity consumption;
  • Purchasing "Green-E" energy; and
  • Construction of more environmentally friendly buildings such as LEED certified buildings.

GreenCircle recipients are presented a certificate of commendation and recognized publicly for their efforts. The GreenCircle Program is an on-going award program and award categories are for both common and innovative activities in the environmental field. For a list of GreenCircle award recipients and a description of the program, visit the DEP website at:

DEP GreenCircle Award Winners

Category: Executing changes that reduce annual energy or water consumption rates by more than 15%.

EMSAR – Torrington, CT
EMSAR-Torrington installed conservation equipment to improve electric distribution, reduce demand and lower electric costs.

Hilltop Covenant Church – Cromwell, CT
The Hilltop Covenant Church replaced outdated and inefficient fluorescent fixtures with newer ones- saving 6,741 kilowatts per year

Category: Purchasing "green-e" certified renewable power that equals or exceeds 20% of energy load of a business or governmental facility.

Description of Activity: The following religious institutions have purchased clean power for 50% or 100% of their electric consumption and/or have run campaigns encouraging their members to do so as well.

Andrea Cohen-Kiener, Interreligious Eco-Justice Network – West Hartford, CT
Andrea has been instrumental in this effort, recruiting close to twenty civic organizations to join the cause.

Asylum Hill Congregational Church – Hartford, CT
Christ Church Episcopal in Guilford – Guilford, CT
Congregation Adath Israel Middletown – Middletown, CT
Congregation P’nai Or – West Hartford, CT
Connecticut Conference (United Church of Christ) – Hartford, CT
First Baptist of West Hartford – West Hartford, CT
First Congregational Church – Darien, CT
Grace Episcopal Church – Newington, CT
Jack Spaeth, The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut – Hartford, CT
Hartford Seminary – Hartford, CT
Religious Society of Friends – West Hartford, CT
Saugatuck Congregational Church – Westport, CT
The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut – Hartford, CT
Unitarian Universalist Society East – Manchester, CT

Category: Joining EPA’s Energy Star program and actively participating in DEP’s Connecticut Sponsorship.

Eastern Connecticut State University – Willimantic, CT
ECSU is taking direct action through its Green Campus Initiative. An obsolete heating system in a building was replaced with a geothermal system that now heats and cools the building. The University created a 19-Acre Arboretum maintained for education purposes and public access. In addition ECSU, installed five grid-independent photovoltaic solar panels on the bus stops around campus.

Category: Converting or retrofitting existing diesel-powered vehicles to reduce air emissions.

Pfizer Global Research & Development, Groton LaboratoryGroton, CT
The PGRD Groton Site Services Group completed a voluntary pollution prevention project, converting a Chevrolet Express diesel truck to run on cooking oil from the site’s cafeteria.

Category: Installing a 100% recycled process or cooling water system.

West State Mechanical, Inc. – Torrington, CT
West State Mechanical, Inc., designed and installed two chilled water systems to provide 100% recycling process cooling water for KTI, Inc.

KTI, Inc. – East Windsor, CT
KTI installed two new chilled water systems designed to provide recycling process for cooling water.

Category: Certifying ISO 14001

BAE Systems- Inertial Products – Cheshire, CT
The BAE- Systems- Inertial Products implemented ISO 141001 protocols by creating an ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Manual, which encompasses environmental procedures and forms to conform to the ISO 14001 Standard.

Category: Documenting and implementing a facility-wide pollution prevention plan.

Branson Ultrasonics CorporationDanbury, CT
Branson replaced a power supply system with a unit containing 45% less sulfuric acid solution, which has significantly reduced the quantity of listed hazardous material in the facility.
Branson also won for monitoring reductions in Greenhouse gas emissions.

Pratt & Whitney, Cheshire Engine Center – Cheshire, CT
The facility maintains a site-wide Pollution Prevention Plan, which has positive results including a 23% reduction in hazardous waste and a 16% reduction in facility water usage.

Category: Implementing manufacturing processes that eliminate or significantly reduce the quantity or toxicity of a facility’s waste stream.

EMSARStratford, CT
EMSAR converted all QC testing on the production floor from the solvent isopropanol (IPA) to water only, bringing their IPA usage to zero.

Pfizer Global ManufacturingGroton, CT
Pfizer implemented two new processes to recycle the solvent methylene chloride, which led to the recycling of over 100,000 gallons per year.

Category: Implementing a facility-wide integrated pest management program.

Town of PlainvillePlainville, CT
The Plainville Conservation Commission has invested time in the Freedom Lawn Initiative program, making 30 properties in the town pesticide free. In addition, the Plainville Government Greenhouse Gas and Air Pollutant Emissions Report was completed and the town is currently working on measures that will reduce its greenhouse gas.

Category: Successfully implementing an innovative and unique recycling program.

Dave SteinmetzWoodbridge, CT
Dave Steinmetz and his sisters have worked on the "No Butts About It" litter campaign since 1996. Dave and his sisters have conducted neighborhood cleanups and maintained a website that promotes the elimination of cigarette butt litter.

Northeast Lamp Recycling, Inc.East Windsor, CT
The main mission of Northeast Lamp Recycling is to implement the correct management and disposal of mercury-filled devices to keep the hazardous chemical out of our environment.

United States Postal Service, Connecticut District – Hartford, CT
Initiated in 1998, the U.S. Postal Service’s mixed office paper-recycling program includes all of the post offices in the state and has significantly increased the volume of paper recycled since the program’s inception.

Virginia Walton, Recycling Coordinator, Public Works Department – Mansfield, CT
Among numerous other strides to promote recycling, Virginia’s main effort is the composting program she installed in Mansfield’s schools. Virginia teaches K through 12 students through the actual composting of school lunch wastes, which fertilizes the Green Thumbs garden in the Southeast School’s greenhouse.

Category: Executing an innovative purchasing program, which promotes the procurement of recycled and environmentally preferable products.

Greenwich HospitalGreenwich, CT
Greenwich Hospital replaced cleaning products that have toxic chemical ingredients with cleaners that are environmentally friendly and meet the specifications of Green Seal.

Category: Opening large tracts of private property for public recreation.

Allan Rawson & Jeffrey Rawson, Rawson Products – Putnam, CT
Allan and Jeffrey Rawson donated 37 acres of open space lands, which will preserve a section of Rocky Brook and provide a link from the Airline Trail to the Tri-State Marker.

Category: Adopting a vacant lot, community garden, stretch of highway or beach for a year and donating significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects sponsored by youth groups, or community conservation organizations.

Charles Keating, Trail Maintenance Volunteer, Chatfield Hollow State Park – Killingworth, CT
Charles Keating is the sole volunteer for the over 10 miles of trails at Chatfield Hollow State Park and adjoining sections of Cockaponset State Forest. He routinely works on clearing blown down branches from the trails, "armoring" wet spots, and improving drainage.

Kevin Watson – Norwich, CT
Kevin Watson adopted the streets Canterbury Turnpike and Old Canterbury Turnpike. On average, he cleaned them three times a month or about 3,000 volunteer hours per year. He has also been involved with various Wildlife Projects at Salt Rock State Camp Ground.

New Haven Land Trust – New Haven, CT
The New Haven Land Trust has seven preserves totaling almost 60 acres of wetlands, upland and shoreline habitats. The Land Trust has established close to 50 community gardens throughout the neighborhoods of New Haven.

Category: Sponsoring a river, beach or neighborhood clean up day.

Chanelle Adams – Bloomfield, CT
Chanelle is a twelve year old, eighth grade student at the Lewis Fox Middle School Science Academy in Hartford. With the goal of educating the public on the importance of keeping a clean environment, she conducted a cleanup day in the vicinity of her school entitled: "Harford is Beautiful, Let’s keep it That Way!"

EMSAR – Stratford, CT
In April, EMSAR sponsored a beach clean up in Stratford. This event was co-sponsored by ESPN Inc, in Bristol, CT. Several volunteers from the Stratford facility, along with friends and family, worked for several hours on Saturday morning picking up trash and debris.

Highland Lake Watershed Association – Winsted, CT
The Highland Lake Watershed Association promotes the preservation and enhancement of Highland Lake. The association sponsors an annual clean-up day, resulting in the removal of a significant amount of trash and paper waste from the Lake.

ESPN, Inc. – Bristol, CT
Co-sponsored Bristol Clean Up Day in April and cleaned up a one-mile stretch of Pine Street.

John J. Leone, Jr., Greater Bristol Chamber of Commerce – Bristol, CTMr. Leone and ESPN, Inc., co-sponsored Bristol Clean Up Day.

Philson Incorporated – Watertown, CT
Philson Incorporated’s employees, their children, neighbors and suppliers gathered in the rain to conduct an Annual SteeleBrook River Clean Up on Earth Day. Nearly 30 yards of trash and debris were collected.

Russell Miller – Madison, CT
For the past two years, Russell Miller has organized the clean up of the salt marshes at Hammonasset State Park in Madison where approximately 580 cubic feet of Styrofoam were removed from the marshes. Mr. Miller also planned a pollution prevention activity with groups of children to measure the Styrofoam, learn about recycling, and built an eight-foot by ten-foot fort, complete with a roof in an effort to recycle the material.

Riverfront Recapture, Inc. – Hartford, CT
The Riverfront park system covers 120 acres with 6.5 miles of shoreline along the Connecticut River. Riverfront Parks are the home of many programs and services that welcome the community to experience and appreciate the natural environment.

Category: Promoting conservation and preservation of critical plant or animal habitats.

Carolyn Wysocki, Ecological Health Organization, Inc. – Berlin, CT
The Ecological Health Organization and Grassroots Coalition developed an environmental instructional program for daycare centers to teach children and their families the value of preserving ladybugs and the use of Integrated Pest Management as an alternative to using pesticides.

East Haddam Inland Wetlands and Watercourses CommissionEast Haddam, CT
The Town of East Haddam took action against the Goodspeed Airport to prevent the destruction of floodplain forest along the Connecticut River in East Haddam.

James Ventres, East Haddam Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Commission – East Haddam, CT
Mr. Ventres, the wetlands enforcement officer, teamed with the Town of East Haddam to prevail in the wetlands enforcement action against the Goodspeed Airport.

Simsbury Land TrustSimsbury, CT
The Trust built "The Bog Walk" off of North Saddle Ridge Drive, which provides visitors a close view of the 40 acres of plants and wildlife found on that wetland property without causing damage to the surface vegetation.

Category: Implementing habitat enhancements for fish or wildlife on public or private property.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research InstituteWallingford, CT
BMS has prepared a Wildlife Habitat Management Plan for its facility in Wallingford and has implemented projects to increase species diversity, preserve natural habitats, and provide education regarding the value of species on this campus.

Category: Donating significant time or resources to environmental instructional programs.

Friends of Dinosaur State Park and Arboretum – Rocky Hill, CT
The Friends sponsored several new programs over the past year. Including a loan box program for teachers, a lecture series for older children and adults, and a series of educational programs during school vacation.

Friends of Sessions Woods, Inc. – Burlington, CT
Friends of Sessions Woods developed a Hands-on Classroom located in the Education Center and an Outdoor Pavilion to be used as both a picnic area and shelter for outdoor instruction.

Senior Sunshine Center of New FairfieldNew Fairfield, CT
Members of the New Fairfield Senior Center formed a Senior Environmental Corporation to assist in local environmental projects and education. Projects include a bacteria monitoring program conducted with the Candlewood Lake Authority.

Category: Donating significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects sponsored by youth groups, or community or conservation organizations.

Anessa L. Haney – Putnam, CT
Anessa Haney, a community activist, started a neighborhood clean-up project where graffiti was erased from street signs, no littering signs were put up along with two "Slow: Children At Play" signs.

Bridle Path Conservancy – Madison, CT
The Bridle Path Conservancy is dedicated to the preservation enhancement, and acquisition of multi-purpose, passive-use, recreation trails. In its first year the BCP held eleven trail maintenance days at the Weber parcel of Cockaponset State Forest.

Eastern Connecticut State University, Roots & Shoots Club – Willimantic, CT
Roots & Shoots members implemented the 10% challenge, which is a voluntary program that encourages participants to reduce their ecological footprint by lowering their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 10 percent.

Jesse Raymond – Colchester, CT
For his Eagle Scout project, Jesse Raymond relocated a ¼ mile portion of the Orange Trail at Devil’s Hopyard State Park. He got his Colchester Boy Scout Troop 72 from Colchester, Connecticut involved in the project. The total donated labor consisted of 100 hours, and Jesse’s work made the Orange Trail safer to use.

John Sheirer – Enfield, CT
The McCann Family Farm is an 84-acre nature preserve in Somers, Connecticut that includes a two-mile hiking trail. Between May 17, 2005 and May 17, 2006, John Sheirer hiked this trail once a day, clearing downed trees, removing litter, monitoring plant and wildlife, and attending to damage caused by the October 2005 flood. – New Canaan, CT is a computer service that supports the computer recycling program at Saxe Middle School in New Canaan by: Soliciting computer donations from customers; publicizing the program on its website, and cleaning and repairing all donated computers.

ESPN Inc. – Bristol, CT
Ten members of ESPN, along with several family members, participated in a Volunteer Day at Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area in Burlington, Connecticut. The team painted the pavilion and picnic tables there. They also worked to clean up a 1.5-mile stretch of Pine Street in Bristol along with co-sponsoring a Bristol Clean-Up Day with the Bristol Chamber of Commerce.

Waterbury Litter Control and Beatification Commission c/o City Hall – Waterbury, CT
For the past several years, the Waterbury Litter Control Commission has been organizing a clean-up day for all city neighborhoods.