Mill River Wetland Committee holds 50th anniversary fund-raiser

The Mill River Wetland Committee, Inc. (MRWC) is having a 50th anniversary fund-raiser and wine tasting at the Fairfield Museum and History Center, 370 Beach Road, Fairfield on Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. MRWC is a nonprofit Fairfield organization with the mission to educate the community about the value of watersheds, to advocate for their continued protection, and to engage all people in the fight to protect our environment.

MRWC sponsors the River-Lab Program, a hands-on educational program used in the Fairfield public and parochial schools in grades 3-6 to supplement the science curriculum. More than 3,000 students and 600 adult volunteers participate in the River-Lab Program annually. They learn about maintaining productivity in a river basin system by studying our own Mill River.

The Mill River Wetland Committee, founded by local resident, Jocelyn Shaw, formed in 1966 in response to clear cutting of vegetation on the Mill River floodplain. Shaw gathered a group of environmentally conscientious neighbors to consider alternative solutions. They studied the wildlife and organisms that would be affected by the clearing and that study developed into the River-Lab Program. The River-Lab Program started at Mill Hill School in 1967. The following year, the program was offered to all Fairfield public and parochial schools.   

Author and River-Lab graduate, Sally Pla recently shared in her book signing, how the River-Lab Program impacted her youth. “I was one of the very first groups of students to go through the MRWC program. Almost fifty years later, I still recall walking those trails. I lived for those field trips, which got me out of an overstimulating classroom and instilled in me a reverence for birds and for the wild that was so strong, it inspired me to write a book, The Someday Birds.

Today more than ever, children need exactly the kind of direct, personal interaction with the natural world that MRWC provides. The work being done by MRWC is more than invaluable. I think it’s crucial, for both our children, and our world.

MRWC is planting quiet, important little seeds, at a time when both nature and children need it more than ever. Who knows what wonders may sprout!”

The 50th anniversary celebration will have a variety of wine to sample and purchase. The wine tasting is organized by Kindred Spirits, Black Rock Turnpike. The student-run restaurants at the high schools, Barlow’s at Warde and Falcon’s Nest at Ludlowe, will provide the appetizers and desserts.

All current and former volunteers are encouraged to recognize this 50-year milestone. Other 50 year activities have included: a joint beautification and education project at a pocket park on Rockland Road in collaboration with the Town of Fairfield, the Greater Fairfield Board of Realtors, and Sleepy Hollow Landscaping; seasonal guided walks at Perry’s Mill Open Space; Sweat For the Wetlands spinning fundraiser at ZenRide,; and Trivia Night fundraisers at Bear and Grill.

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