HomeEnvironmentWestford Sustainability Newsletter – April 2023

Westford Sustainability Newsletter – April 2023


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WESTFORD — The following newsletter was shared for publication with WestfordCAT on behalf of Westford’s Sustainability Coordinator, Sue Thomas.

April is Earth Month!  Come visit me, the bands, baby animals and other great organizations participating in the Earth Day Festival on the Westford Common on Earth Day, Saturday April 22nd from 2-5 PM.  Learn about how to reduce your carbon footprint and make Westford healthier, more sustainable, and resilient this year and every year.  Many thanks to Westford Climate Action for sponsoring the festival and an array of activities this month. The Gardening for Wildlife in an Era of Climate Change Webinar they organized last week was outstanding!  Check out the other events and webinars on their site as well. 

Join me earlier on April 22nd in Carlisle at the massive Route to Sustainability Day. The schedule permits you (and I) to attend both events and maximize your fun and learning!

April is Tax Month.  You can claim credit this year (and last) for doing right by the earth. See the IRS website to claim your Clean Vehicle and Energy Credits.  You may be eligible for up to $7500 per vehicle and 30% of a clean energy home improvement project at your home or business. Massachusetts also offers credits for installing renewable energy on your property.

Whether you are a renter, a single family homeowner or live in a condo or apartment, there is a cost saving Mass Save Program for you and probably some related state and federal tax savings as well whether you are thinking big this spring, or just taking a small step, like buying a new appliance.

Vehicles eligible for the Federal tax  credit going forward changed effective April 18th 2023. Check out The Green Energy Consumer Alliance, sign up for their webinar  on updated incentives. Fueleconomy.gov, and the following articles from the Washington Post also offer resources on buying an EV, either new or used:

    • Timing a purchase
    • Using your EV to power your houseSpring is Annual Town Meeting Time Thank you for approving the budget, the solar ready Blanchard roof project, a variety of land use questions and last, but not least two electric vehicles, one for the Facilities Director and another for the Water Department.

April appears to be a great time to contract for electricity, so the Town Manager’s office and CEASC are hard at work renegotiating and reformulating the Community Aggregation Contract otherwise known as the Westford Pop Program, and the Municipal Electric contract on your behalf.  If you aren’t sure if you are signed up, go here.

Every month is Westford Climate Roadmap monthWatch for an upcoming Select Board meeting to discuss endorsing this vital document.

April is time to get outside to work and play.  Keep these ideas in mind:

    • Climate change is extending tick and mosquito season – take precautions like clothing, tick checks and removing standing water
    • Eliminate poisons – attract bug predators to your yard with plants and habitat and stop feeding the birds this time of year so they eat those bugs!  Poisoning your part of the earth likely means you are poisoning you and your family and so many other things that keep populations in balance as well.  If it has to be disposed of as hazardous waste, think about eliminating it from your property and your life for good.  
    • Our wild weather is disconnecting/discombobulating previous plant and animal cycles that ensure food and animals appear at the right times to support each other.  Many of us will notice that our spring plants tried to bloom multiple times between last spring and now, and are thirsty as they try to bloom again, this time at the correct time. Order a water barrel or two from the water department and nurture natural solutions to your landscape problems. Try to remember that a healthy yard is one that works with nature.
    • No Mow May means minimal clean up in April – spread your compost (order an earth machine from the Westford Recycling Commission and support composting at Westford Academy by purchasing from Westford Community Compost. Email compost@sustainablewestford.org), plant natives and cold weather crops (still too early for tender plants – see the Native Plant Trust ), add some cold hardy annuals for color in baskets or on the porch (don’t feed the deer with them), remove invasives before they flower (garlic mustard is out and yummy), and leave the lawn alone.  The dandelions and violets feed our native bees.  They are edible for you as well if you don’t treat them with anything.  Fireflies, butterfly larva and all sorts of beneficial insects need the leaves and stems of last year’s plants until they hatch out.  A “clean” yard is often a sterile one.  No food chain, no food.  Keep the carbon in your soil and your plants and grow what should be grown in our ecosystem and you won’t need expensive petrochemical based soil amendments or new soil.  The birds and the bees will come to you. 😊
    • Add electric lawn care tools and services to your routine now to minimize air, noise and carbon pollution and get a rebate from MassSave!

April can be time for Spring Cleaning  Don’t forget to check out the Westford Recycling Commission’s website for special diversion events, instructions, and resources!

April and May are Capstone months for seniors at Westford Academy.  If you see two young men out and about picking up litter and removing invasive plants in the next few weeks, congratulate them for their hard work on behalf of our environment.

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