Darien's climate and eco-friendly policies earn it a silver certification from a state nonprofit

Sustainable CT recognized Darien's silver certification in West Hartford. Pictured left to right: President & CEO CT Green Bank Bryan Garcia, Sustainable CT Vice Chair Laura Francis,  Members of Advisory Committee on Sustainability Christine LaJaunie & Carolyn Bayne, First Selectman Monica McNally, Member Kathy Finnegan, and Executive Director Sustainable CT Lynn Stoddard

Sustainable CT recognized Darien's silver certification in West Hartford. Pictured left to right: President & CEO CT Green Bank Bryan Garcia, Sustainable CT Vice Chair Laura Francis,  Members of Advisory Committee on Sustainability Christine LaJaunie & Carolyn Bayne, First Selectman Monica McNally, Member Kathy Finnegan, and Executive Director Sustainable CT Lynn Stoddard

Thomas Hurlbut Photography/Contributed photo

DARIEN — In recognition of its work on climate and environmental policy, the town of Darien earned a silver certification from statewide nonprofit Sustainable CT. 

“Darien is a community that has demonstrated its commitment to the future by promoting sustainability,” First Selectman Monica McNally said. “Members of the Advisory Committee on Sustainability worked tirelessly to achieve silver-level certification by encouraging support of local businesses, safeguarding natural spaces and education the public.”

Sustainable CT is a voluntary certification program recognizing sustainability in communities with more than 129 participating cities and towns across the state. Darien is one of 30 municipalities earning a silver certification. In 2019, Darien was certified bronze.

Committee member and project coordinator Kathleen Finnegan spent most of the past year compiling and documenting sustainability-related action Darien has adopted for this year’s application, officials said.

“We're taking matters seriously that relate to the climate and environmental policy,” Finnegan said. “There's a good feeling when you can be part of either implementing solutions or, in our case — in many cases — documenting the solutions.”

The solutions include everything from environmentally driven policies and initiatives to improving equity and opening up broader communication with town residents, she said.

Some of the initiatives Finnegan said she found particularly impressive included the improvements to waste management, a new food scraps recycling program and Project Buddy Up, a program that gives children and teenagers the opportunity to volunteer with Parks and Recreation.

By compiling a list with so many town initiatives — publicly available on Sustainable CT — the certification system makes it easier for both Darien residents and other towns to learn from each other’s work or possibly collaborate on future initiatives,she said. 

“There's a lot of good work, and a lot to be learned within our own community,” Finnegan said. “Hopefully, other communities look at our application.’” 

Recognition from a statewide nonprofit could also make moving to Darien more appealing to new businesses and residents, she said.

“It’s a great way to attract new people to the area and to demonstrate a commitment to sustainable practices,” Finnegan said.

To keep its certification, Darien will have to submit another application within the next three years.