Mary Tesla and Senior Girls Scout Troop 38305 used a $200 MEPI grant in 2015 to purchase native plants for a restoration project at Wilcox Park – a Milford habitat home to many migrating and year round resident birds, and other wildlife. The scouts and their leaders, Mary Tesla and Diana Roberts, pulled invasive plants from the restoration area and then planted Black-eyed Susan, Anise Hyssop, Wild Bee balm, Hardy Mistflower and Coneflowers. The scouts plan to continue taking care of the area each year during Milford’s Earth Day celebration.
Suzanne Harrison-Thomas, Children’s Librarian at the Milford Public Library received $150 in 2015 to purchase children’s books about coastal ecosystems and wildlife. The books, which included these title: Biodiversity of Coasts, Day in the Salt Marsh, Examining Tide Pool Habitats, Hermit Crabs, Marvels in the Muck, Kids Bird Guide of North America (Nat'l Geo.), Ospreys, Tide Pools, Wetlands Inside Out, improve the library's capacity to help educate Milford children about the wonders of their natural environment.
Vincent Piselli received a $250 grant in 2007 to work with scouts to create a trail with signage at the Solomon property. The trail provided improved access to this 90+ acres of open space and raised awareness about the devastation being caused by neglect and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).
Cheryl Cappiali, an environmentalist and Milford Garden Club member applied for and received a 2017 MEPI grant on behalf of the Garden Club and the Milford Conservation Commission to install 30 nest boxes for Eastern Bluebird in bluebird-suitable habitats across Milford. The nest boxes were built by Milford residents Tom Barrell and Joe Romick using wood provided by the CT DEEP as part of their Bluebird Restoration Project. The boxes were installed by Tom Barrell and Steve Johnson, Milford's Open Space and Natural Resources Agent, with assistance from Milford Conservation Commissioner Oden Seaholm and others. The nest boxes will be monitored to record what species (hopefully bluebirds) nest there and cleaned and tidied up each fall for next year's birds.
In 2005, MEPI awarded its first grant to the community group Bridges, which used the $250 award to buy tools and seeds to plant vegetables on a plot in Milford's community garden. The project was funded by the sale of a book about Dr. Helen Langner, a legendary figure in Milford who cared for many of our citizens and was loved by more. Dr. Landnger's passionate concern for Milford and its environment was the inspiration for MEPI's conservation efforts.
Green Eggs and Sand – MEPI supported this 2014 workshop about horseshoe crabs with a $1,000 grant to Project Limulus at Sacred Heart University. At this two-day workshop, conducted at the Coastal Audubon Center in Milford, 20 participants learned about the natural history and ecology of horseshoe crabs, threats to their survival and programs aimed at tracking and protecting them. Participants also had the opportunity to take part in nighttime survey and tagging of spawning horseshoe crabs, and conduct field observations of shorebirds. MEPI sponsored another Project Limulus outreach presentation about horseshoe crabs at the Milford Public Library in 2015, which was attended by more than 50 residents.
In the spring of 2015, MEPI and the Milford Library sponsored a presentation on horseshoe crabs by a graduate student from Sacred Heart University who is participating in research about horseshoe crabs' lifecycle and migration patterns, and threats to their populations. The research involves monitoring and tagging horseshoe crabs at Milford Point and other coastal locations. More than 50 people attended who expressed interest in learning more. Their interest led the the grant to the children's library described below.
Boy Scout Christian Lofthouse received a $500 grant in 2012 for his Eagle Scout project to plant woody plants – fruit trees, shrubs and vines that provide food for wildlife in Eisenhower Park. Such plants are called “mast”, and the mast Christian planted included crabapple and American chestnut trees. He also planted an assortment of wildflowers to enhance the pollination of the trees.
Recent MEPI Grant Projects
Steve Johnson received a $4,400 MEPI grant in 2012 for a pilot stewardship management project at the Solomon property, with a goal for improving stewardship at this site and providing a model for managing other open spaces in Milford. The plan included reining in ATV use at the property and clearing hundreds of pounds of trash and fallen trees. Stewardship walks and workshops for volunteer stewards were also part of this project.