SAWIG and the Town of Stratford recognize the tremendous importance of our ponds, streams, rivers and wetlands, and is committed to respecting the natural resources entrusted to us for present and future generations. The town, in partnership with the Stratford Area Watershed Improvement Group, is in the process of selected naturalization in parks and public areas, with the purpose of further protecting surface water from run-off, erosion and pollution and creating additional habitat for wildlife. We have started the naturalization process Robert L. Cotton and Pondside Parks.
Mowing has ceased in selected areas of these parks to allow the areas to naturalize. It may look rough for a few years until the native plants and trees mature. Naturalization brings environmental and ecological benefits which include (but are not limited to):
- Increased carbon capture and storage
- Protection of local waterways via increased buffer zones
- Reduction of general lawn maintenance and lower greenhouse gas emissions
- Creation of habitat for wildlife
- Improvement of human health and well-being by providing natural and calming spaces
- Increased shade in parks and public spaces
- A location for future environmental education for youth and families
It is the hope of the town and watershed group that this project will assist in a cultural shift towards increased awareness of the importance of urban naturalized areas. As this project is taking place in high profile locations, residents of the community are already seeing the results and benefits of urban naturalization. By converting selected areas of the landscape through naturalization, we can decrease the need for mowing, and provide naturalized spaces for humans, animals, and native plant species.
Please feel free to contact either the town or watershed group with questions or comments!