Edition 3 of 6 (July 10 – July 16, 2018

Report compiled by Will Taft, NHS CB&O Summer Fellow

Community Building and Organizing Weekly Project Report

Women’s Empowerment Mural
On Wednesday (July 16), REI treated volunteers at the mural to free ice
cream. NHS provided water and worked with Kwadwo to prepare the
mural for the event. A group of children from the Keefe Community
Center in Hamden painted at the wall, ate ice cream, and picked up
stickers and temporary tattoos from the NHS table at the event. A few
residents who were out enjoying the weather stopped and grabbed a
brush after discovering the project. One child from the Keefe center
asked when the group could return.

Kwadwo will be at the mural every day from July 16th through July 20th
from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm and on Saturday, July 21st, from 4:00 pm to
8:00 pm. Stop by the mural at 400 Goodrich St on the Farmington Canal
trail to help out!

West River Water Festival
NHS, in partnership with Doreen Abubakar and the West River
Watershed Coalition, hosted the West River Water Festival on Saturday
(July 14). 13 volunteers from the Choate Summer Volunteer Corps
helped manage set up and festival activities.

The festival attracted over 150 residents and offered attendees free
canoe rides, lunch, a magic show, and educational activities about the
West River Watershed. The New Haven Fire Department also partially
opened a fire hydrant, creating a sprinkler for kids.

The festival serves to educate residents about the West River, which
runs directly through the West River Memorial Park, and the significance
of the West River Watershed. Some families came to the festival from
their homes across the street, unware that a river cut through their
neighborhood park.

16 organizations hosted interactive activities that dovetailed to explain
the ecological importance of the watershed and what residents could do
to protect the watershed. At the NHS table, children guided marbles
through a rain drop journey to visualize the role of rain gardens in storm
water management and pollution control. To the right of the rain drop
journey, parents could sign up for free rain barrels with Frank Panzarella
from the Bio-Regional Group. Haley, an NHS Americorps Summer
Vista, painted more than 28 faces at her table. At the West River
Watershed Coalition booth, kids tested the pH and oxygen level of
water drawn from the portion of the river in the park. Park rangers
opened the Barnard Nature Center for families to observe live turtles
and reptiles. Cyril the Sorcerer’s magic routine provoked children
to think about how water is polluted and how our waterways can be
maintained. The Sawtelles provided live music.

Community Gardens and Greenspaces
14 volunteers from Bike and Build pulled knotweed, collected trash,
and cleared trails at Sherman Forest on Tuesday (July 10). They
also cleared a new trail head that faces Sherman Avenue and
connects to the existing trail. We hope the more obvious entry point
will make the trail more accessible and resident usage more likely.

On Monday (July 16), volunteers from the Choate Summer
Volunteer Corps collected trash at Sherman Forest before coming to
NHS for a presentation by Adam and Kathy explaining the
importance of removing trash from the West River Watershed.

At the Learning Corridor, Doreen and Haley continued to work on the
gardening beds and the urban oasis. Newhallville Ambassadors
came to the site three times. On Wednesday (July 11), the
ambassadors worked on beautifying the space and planting a new
pumpkin patch. On Friday (July 13), they performed greenspace
maintenance. New Haven cycling advocate Paul Hammer taught a
lesson on bicycle safety. After the lesson, the ambassadors rode
down the Farmington Canal Trail with bikes from the Learning
Corridor. On Monday (July 16), children from the Harris and Tucker school and the Newhallville neighborhood laid mulch
with the ambassadors. After gardening maintenance, Haley and
the ambassadors played active games with the children.

Haley has contacted over 94 New Haven residents about their
interest and expertise in gardening. She is following up on the
initial survey to guide gardening programing in New Haven
neighborhoods. Contact her at hbrown@nhsofnewhaven.org to
learn about the project!

In order of appearance from top…
Volunteers paint at the Women’s Empowerment Mural during
the event hosted by REI and NHS.

Women’s Empowerment Mural artist Kwadwo Adae teaches
children from the Keefe Community Center how to paint at the

An employee of the New Haven Department of Parks and
Recreation guides a child through an activity on the evolution of
unique bird beaks to fill niches in the west river ecosystem.

Haley paints faces at the NHS table.
A family paddles down the West River.

Children guide marbles through the Rain Drop Journey at the NHS

Adam Rawlings and Kathy Fay present on water pollution in the
Water River Watershed to a group of volunteers from the West River

Doreen teaches Newhallville Ambassador Melodie how to ride a
bicycle at the Learning Corridor.

A child lays mulch at the Learning Corridor during an
Explore.Discover.Create session at the Learning Corridor. Every
week day from 10-12, families can visit the Learning Corridor for
educational and interactive activities.

What we are reading this week…
In Women’s Empowerment Served A La Mode, Lucy Gellman
covers the Wednesday (July 11) volunteering event at the Women’s
Empowerment Mural.

Read about the challenge to define affordable housing in New
Haven and how the Affordable Housing Task force is reckoning with
it in this article in the New Haven Independent.

YES! Magainze explored the challenge of providing affordable
housing to all Americans in their most recent issue. It covers co-ops,
community land trusts, multigenerational homes, and indigenous
home design principles. Read the entire edition online here.

Want to get involved in any of these projects?
Sign up to volunteer here: