Wilton nonprofit focusing on small changes for sustainability

Wilton Go Green is hosting a month of programming to promote small sustainable changes in the community entitled "Make Your March Green."

Wilton Go Green is hosting a month of programming to promote small sustainable changes in the community entitled "Make Your March Green."

Wilton Go Green / Contributed Photo

WILTON — Local conservation and sustainability nonprofit Wilton Go Green is providing a series of seven educational events this month in an initiative called “Make Your March Green.”

The monthlong program will give community members the opportunity to learn about sustainability practices. It will offer both virtual lectures via Facebook Live and in-person offerings, partnering with Woodcock Nature Center in Wilton.

The goal, according to the organization’s president Tammy Thornton, is for residents to become inspired to make even the smallest changes in their day-to-day routines to promote a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

“Each of our webinars touches on sustainable behavior. The point of Wilton Go Green is to encourage you to take actionable steps to incorporating that into the community,” Thornton said. “Our goal is to make Wilton the most sustainable town in Connecticut through educational initiatives.”

Thornton, who has been a member since 2018 but has since become the president of the organization in 2020, said the new series of informative sessions came from an inability to spread the message in person like it has in years past.

“Usually at the end of March, we would do an expo at the (Wilton) high school field house,” she said. “It was an opportunity for people to drop off really hard-to-recycle items, like electronics and textiles. It was really a place of gathering around sustainable behavior.”

The event was canceled just two weeks before it was set to take place.

Thornton also said the nonprofit’s members and town residents who were interested used to meet at some of the Wilton Chamber of Commerce events, such as the Winter Carnival, and at farmers markets.

It has been hard for Wilton Go Green to promote their message during the pandemic, Thornton said.

“When you don’t have a familiar face or kind voice to share or present these ideas to you,” she said, pausing for a moment before continuing. “Sustainable behaviors are only fostered when you can see and hear other people doing them.”

That is why Wilton Go Green is looking to bring the word back to the community, even if it is online.

The nonprofit’s message has not changed since it was initially started as a committee on the Wilton Energy Commission tasked with organizing the first Wilton Go Green Festival in 2009. The goal has been to promote sustainability as a tangible change to the culture in the community. Through sponsored events such as the Zero Waste Faire, Solarize Wilton and the Wilton Library Green Speaker series, the nonprofit has worked to spark change.

The nonprofit will kick off this month’s programming on March 4 at 7 p.m. with a talk from Donna Merrill, the former executive director of the Wilton Land Conservation Trust. Merrill will educate residents on how to maintain healthy practices on their own properties for wildlife, and ways to prevent pollution in Wilton’s rivers and brooks.

The following day will see Daphne Dixon, executive director and co-founder of Live Green Network, to teach about actionable steps residents can take to support electric vehicle readiness in their towns.

The seven-part program will cap with an in-person event held at the Woodcock Nature Center on March 27 where staff will teach participants how to make decorative garden art by repurposing plastic bottle caps and cans.

Thornton said that there is a lot of information that Wiltonians can learn from these events, but WGG’s finds its successes at the margin.

Whether those slight changes are opting not to put pesticides down on a lawn, planting pollinator-friendly plants, changing use of disposable packaging and food waste, everyone can do something, she said.

“We are all about giving residents suggestions for small changes they can make in their daily lives,” Thornton said. “There is a collective impact made when we each make small changes. These webinars really focus on that.”