WESTFORD — The following newsletter was shared for publication with WestfordCAT on behalf of Westford’s Sustainability Coordinator, Sue Thomas.
April was the hot time to hedge electricity contracts. The Town just locked in municipal and residential rates for the coming years to help keep your tax and electricity supply bills in check. Westford residents are fortunate to have a Community Choice Aggregation Program. Take advantage of it! Make sure you are part of Westford Pop. WBUR just ran a series on the Massachusetts electricity market, the unfortunate advertising deregulating the electricity supply has created, and the value of community aggregation plans for consumers
Many thanks to everyone who voted in our local election this past month and supported the funding of the Blanchard Roof project. We hope to add solar to this effort soon.
Have you noticed May has been hot and dry? While we have had enough periodic heavy rain to finally pull us out of drought, and clear weather is wonderful for spring celebrations, southeastern Massachusetts is still abnormally dry, the Pacific Northwest is experiencing a heat wave, and the national weather service issued a drowning danger alert last week for New Hampshire to warn people not to swim in normal cold spring waters when the weather is abnormally hot. What can you do?
- Attend the virtual Carbon Countdown Saturday with Climate Chief Melissa Hoffer and learn more about pathways to 2030 climate targets
- Consider greener cooling – attend a heat pump webinar at Carlisle Town Hall on May 24th at 7:00 PM to learn about this technology and get direction on equipment and funding
- Get your A/C tuned up for maximum efficiency
- Purchase a rain barrel, abide by water restrictions, and limit or stop mechanized irrigation, which is both an electricity and water hog
- Plant a drought-tolerant landscape. This list is not exclusively natives. Native plants are best, not nativars or cultivars (which often have catchy, marketing names), which are bred for human preferences and may no longer serve as food or other desirable traits for the ecosystem that is your yard. See the Native Plant Trust and pay attention to where a plant was grown to avoid error and importing unwanted hitchhikers (bugs, worms).
- Drive to Concord and visit lawn alternatives.
- Support local agriculture and minimize trucking! Eat in season, grow your own food, frequent the Farmer’s Market and/or join a CSA.
It isn’t just the air temperatures. New England Right whales have noticed too, and have largely left our waters for cooler temperatures and likely more plentiful food further north, allowing restrictions for their safety to be lifted this month.
Dryer weather means fewer insects (for you and the birds) and disease vectors, so lighten up on the poisons, practice natural controls, and use plants to feed both pollinators and birds.
- Save money and protect your health: eliminate regular spraying and chemical applications
- Remove standing water from around your property (that isn’t a wetland or a vernal pool) – invert wheelbarrows, pots etc.
- Screen your house and your rain barrels
- Use plants that repel critters and insects, like marigolds, onions and garlic, citronella, bee balm and the mint family. Many of these attract pollinators. Go native. Use containers for bee balm and the mint family, which are aggressive, unless you are growing a meadow.
- Practice companion planting
Looking to stay cool in the kitchen? Join New Yorkers, Buy an induction stove to get heat only when you need it and get a money back from Mass Save.
May is Capstone month – You may have spotted 2 Westford Academy seniors cleaning up our environment, removing both trash and two invasive plants, garlic mustard and Asian bittersweet, from around town, and learning just how persistent they can be. Look for their presentation at the Capstone Exhibition at Westford Academy on May 26th from 10-12 AM.
Remember to avoid single-use items as you celebrate the end of the academic year, recognize those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, and enjoy summer.
Best wishes for moving May gatherings and a bountiful growing season!
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