Environmental groups join forces through The Green Team

The Green Team of Darien

The well-known expression, “There is power in numbers” is the theme of The Green Team in Darien.

The Green Team is a gathering of about 20 nonprofit environmental groups in town. These groups, which include the Beautification Commission, the Darien Community Association, the DCA Bird Sanctuary, the Darien Nature Center and the Garden Club of Darien, meet four times a year to update each other on their work, exchange ideas, and help one another in their green efforts.

The Green Team holds meetings at the Darien Nature Center and the Darien Community Association.

Paola Sordoni and Juliet Cain are the new co-chairmen of The Green Team. They just replaced Linda Goodyear, who had been chairman since the group formed about 20 years ago.

“The Green Team helped pull together a group of organizations that were all involved in making Darien a better place to live,” said Goodyear, a former Darien resident who now lives in New Canaan.

As an example, an item will suddenly become a hot issue, such as “monarch butterflies,” and members of all the groups can be educated on it, according to Chris Filmer, a member of The Green Team and president of Friends of Selleck’s Woods.

“The last couple of years, the population of the monarch butterfly has gone from millions to hundreds of thousands. There is a group called Pollinator Pathway who is assisting all the towns in Connecticut in making people aware of the importance of pollination,” Filmer said.

The group is drawing on many of the environmental groups to help these butterflies from becoming extinct.

“Linda gets us all together so we can talk and share and become a force,” Filmer added.

Sophie Cirillo, president of Friends of Woodland Park Nature Preserve, said whenever the Green Team meets, “we constantly share ideas and learn.”

“When we go in for a Green Team meeting, we all come together and sit around in a circle, and we talk about whatever each nonprofit is up to, and what’s been happening,” said Cirillo, adding that going to these meetings “motivates” her.

“You get to see if you should be doing what they are,” Cirillo said. “It really drives you and inspires you to continue to work with your board and work with your team to make things happen.”

She added that Filmer set the example of how a nature preserve should be with Selleck’s Woods.

“Chris has given us great advice and guidance into everything that has to do with nature preserves, educating people, maintaining habitats, upgrading the trails and making sure they are safe, and having signage,” Cirillo said.

She added that Filmer also taught her to engage the youth in environmentally-friendly projects “so they can understand and appreciate and respect nature.”

“I recently met with students at the Fitch Academy. They are so thrilled to come and continue making repairs and making signage,” Cirillo said. “They are very engaged in the idea of helping Woodland Park.”

Fitch Academy is Darien High School’s alternative high school program.

Beth Harmon, executive director of the Darien Land Trust, said, “There is nothing like sitting around a table face to face and communicating what each other is doing, such as when there is a speaker coming to the town.”

“You can have a bigger voice when everybody collaborates, in terms of letting the public know and getting the word out,” Harmon added.

Free events hosted by organizations in The Green Team, all of which are open to the public:

1. April 4, 7 to 9 p.m., Sea Rise Panel discussion at the Darien Library. Cocktail reception at 6:30, with president Curt Johnson of Save the Sound.

2. Community Outreach, May 19, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Celebration of Selleck’s & Dunlap Woods.

For more information about The Green Team, send an email to Paola Sordoni at sord21@yahoo.com or Juliet Cain at julietcain008@gmail.com.

sfox@darientimes.com