Youth wildlife protection group holds first Darien clean-up event

DARIEN — It’s easy to harbor complaints of about the way things are, but at least some young Darien residents are doing something to augment change.

The Darien Wildlife Protection Group organized its first event Saturday morning with a cleanup of Selleck’s & Dunlap Woods Nature Preserve, located at the base of Parklands Drive.

Selleck’s Woods (28 acres purchased in 1963 by the Town of Darien) and Dunlap Woods (22 acres owned by The Darien Land Trust) are in fact one large nature preserve.

With almost 2 miles of trails, the woods are a wonderland of ecologically diverse fauna and flora.

Despite the frigid air, a half-dozen young people—charter members of the newly formed group—walked the trails of the preserve searching out debris and litter to collect.

“This is our first official cleanup event,” explained Maya Patrosz, 16, president of the group, which already prides more than a dozen members.

“This is our favorite park,” she said, noting the consensus was, therefore, to do their first cleanup there.

Along with general interest in keeping the natural spaces clean and pristine, members are also very focused on the health and wellbeing of the woodland creatures inhabiting the town.

“All of us really love animals,” said Julianne Teitler, 16, co-vice president of the group. “We just wanted to do something little to help.”

“We formed the group because we love to just go on trails and we’ve seen all the garbage in there and things people just throw out,” she said.

“I think it’s important to have space like this in town,” said Pai Easterbrook, 16, co-vice president, noting she’s a regular visitor to Selleck’s Woods.

“I don’t like when people leave stuff here,” she said.

The Darien Wildlife Protection Group is a non-school affiliated organization that aims to improve the environment animals live in in Darien by organizing cleanups and educating. It is led by high schoolers who have a passion for animals and the environment.