‘Something Small Can Create Something Bigger’: New Canaan Duo Launches Food Waste Recovery Program

Mariana Ferreria, a recent New Canaan High School graduate who earned a bachelor’s degree this year from Boston College, had been looking last winter for “a side passion project” before going to Spain later this summer as a Fullbright scholar. Ferreira approached Robin Bates Mason of Planet New Canaan, who connected her with 2022 NCHS graduate izzy Kaufman. Kaufman had already launched a composting program at Greenology, where she worked. “I had Izzy explain what she did at Greenology and I was like, ‘That’s crazy because I was thinking of doing the exact same thing for other restaurants in town,’ ” Ferreira recalled. “So we decided it was perfect partnership and from there we started designing what ‘NC FWRD’ is now.”
Short for “New Canaan Food Waste Recovery & Diversion,” NC FWRD is pilot program designed to fully fund and support restaurants that are interested in diverting their food waste.

Dedication of ‘Steve Benko Pool’ Set for Saturday, June 4

Town officials this month voted unanimously to approve a June 4 ceremony to honor and memorialize one of New Canaan’s most recognizable, well-liked and dedicated residents. The Parks & Recreation Commission at its May 11 meeting voted 7-0 to approve a plan to dedicate the “Steve Benko Pool” in Waveny on the morning of Saturday, June 4. “I think it’s wonderful,” Chair George Benington said during the meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference. “Steve Karl and Robin [Bates Mason] have worked really hard to put this together.”

Benko died Feb. 12 after a brief battle with cancer.

Officials: ‘Swap Shop’ Proposed for Transfer Station Waiting on Salt Storage Plans

Longstanding plans to install a volunteer-run “swap shop” at the Transfer Station are on hold pending a separate capital project at the site for a storage family for road salt, officials say. The fiscal year 2023 budget now under discussion includes $50,000 for a site and construction study of a planned “salt dome” at the Transfer Station, officials said during the Feb. 17 meeting of the New Canaan Conservation Commission. Pegged at $500,000 last year, the construction costs may well have increased since that time, Commission Chair Chris Schipper said during the group’s meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference. 

Effortrs to put in a swap shop based on Darien’s successful model are “getting harder,” Schipper said. “Until they get the salt cellar, we’re not going to get anything,” he said.

Conservation Officials Consider 10K Running or Walking Event to Spotlight New Canaan’s ‘Greenlink’

Citing a successful model from Darien, local conservation officials say they’re thinking of launching a 10K running or walking event in New Canaan that would spotlight the town’s “green link” connecting public parks and the downtown via trails and sidewalks. 

Robin Bates-Mason, a Town Council member who sits on the legislative body’s Land Use and Parks & Recreation Committee, and also volunteers with local nonprofit organizations such as Planet New Canaan and the New Canaan Beautification League, said the Darien Land Trust uses an event to bring awareness to its properties around Darien. “It’s quite popular,” Bates-Mason said during last week’s meeting of the Conservation Commission, where she was a guest. Participants pay a $15 fee, she said. The appointed body’s chair, Chris Schipper, said it could be “an interesting project.”

“I like the idea of people walking and riding,” Schipper said during the Oct. 14 meeting, held via videoconference. 

Referring to his request on behalf of open space advocates to allocate a portion of a $6 million windfall in federal funds through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Schipper added, “And I have, in the course of discussing ARPA funds and allocations of funds, I’ve said we really have to promote walk-ability and bike-ability here in New Canaan and I think we have some support from [the Department of Public Works], we just have to get around some of these state road restrictions.”

“And I can tell you it drives me crazy I come up 106, regularly coming back from Greenwich, and I see young moms with a stroller walking alongside [Route] 106.

Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: Lally Jurcik

In walking her dog in the area of Frogtown Road and the Noroton River, Robin Bates-Mason has gotten a firsthand look at how quickly trash can build up along the roadside and in the waterway itself. People driving along Frogtown, a heavily used east-west connection between Ponus Ridge and Weed Street, often don’t realize how much garbage there is because they’re moving too fast. “And of course, when summer comes in and the vegetation comes in, you don’t see it as well, but when you’re a dog walker and you see it, Frogtown just awful, it’s really bad,” Bates-Mason said. “Unfortunately  it’s not the safest route to clean up.”

Even so, as she did a few years ago, Llewellyn Drive resident Lally Jurcik took the lead last week in organizing a neighborhood campaign to get families out and cleaning up, said Bates-Mason, one of several residents of the area who received an email with details. Armed with garbage bags and loaned “grabbers” supplied by New Canaan Inlands Wetlands Director Kathleen Holland—an advocate fo the town’s annual “Clean Your Mile” campaign, more below—Jurcik helped organize more than one dozen volunteers who picked up everything from coffee cups, plastic bottles and plastic bags to discarded dog poop bags and beer cans.