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April 2022 - Issue 1

Our mission is to drive climate action. We promote sustainability and advocate on a local level for actions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and safeguard the health of our community for future generations.
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Westford Climate Action Inviting All to Celebrate Earth Day Throughout April
Westford Climate Action is holding family events throughout the month of April to celebrate Earth Day! There will be nature hikes and walks every Saturday; children’s workshops about weather forecasting, recycling, and mushroom-growing at the J.V. Fletcher Library; litter cleanups; and a family-friendly Earth Day Festival.

The Festival will take place on Friday, April 22, from 3:00 - 5:30 pm on the Westford Town Common. Music will be provided by Oh Contraire and Momentum Rocks. The knowledgeable Animal Craze Traveling Zoo will allow children to feed, brush and hold a lamb, baby goat, piglet, chicks, ducklings, and baby bunnies. Children will also be able to make posters about Earth Day starting at 2:30 or bring their own and be eligible for a free drawing for prizes. Experts on alternative energy, sustainability, recycling, solar energy, and Mass Save rebates will be there to answer questions. The Westford Museum will be displaying Native American artifacts from its collection. An array of speakers will inspire and bring us up to date on the State’s and Town’s climate goals.  

Organizations partnering with WCA all month include:  Westford’s Clean Energy and Sustainability Committee, Recycling Commission, First Parish Church United, J.V. Fletcher Library, Indivisible Westford, League of Women Voters of Westford, Mass Heat Smart Alliance, MassSave, Sustainable Westford, Westford Conservation Trust, Westford Museum and the Westford Boy Scouts. The Earth Day Festival is being partially funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council to Sustainable Westford in collaboration with Westford Climate Action.
Come join one or many events and learn how to reduce our carbon footprint and help preserve our planet. For more information, click here
Join the Westford Conservation Trust for Walks in Honor of Earth Month
Join the Westford Conservation Trust for Walks in Honor of Earth Month. Westford Climate Action and the Westford Conservation Trust are sponsoring a series of walks, guided by knowledgeable Trust members, throughout April on town-owned conservation land. The walks are free of charge, open to all, and advanced registration is not required.

Maps and write-ups of the different areas can be found on the Westford Conservation Trust website. Long pants and socks are recommended. Well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome on the Blake’s Hill walk but not at the Frances Hill Wildlife Sanctuary.

Saturday, April 16 (rain date April 17), 9-10:30am Blake's Hill/Burns Hill, Rome Drive
Rich Strazdas, Trust Director, will lead a hike on the Trust's newest long trail, constructed by Boy Scout Sean Cheng. Part of the trail overlooks a large marsh with an impressive heron rookery. Terrain is hilly. Meet at the trailhead near the cul-de-sac at the end of Rome Drive. Call Rich with questions at 978-692-2057.

Saturday, April 23 (rain date April 24), 9-10:30am Frances Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, Lowell Road 
Trust member Marian Harman will lead a nature walk on the Frances Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. Moving slowly in order to identify wild plants and birds, the walk will be easy, but not entirely flat. Some areas may be wet. Bring binoculars if available. *No dogs please. Meet at the Frances Hill Wildlife Sanctuary sign across from 107 Lowell Rd. For more information, call Marian at 603-533-4095.
Attend a Public Forum - Westford Tree and Invasive Species Inventory and Management Plan - Thursday, April 14th, 7:00 pm
The Town of Westford is developing a tree and invasive species plan to ensure environmental health and community resilience. Your input at this forum can help shape the town's goals and actions for its trees. The picture shows Oriental Bittersweet smothering trees. 

At the forum you will learn about the project, including locations for the inventory of trees and invasive species.

Also, you can share your ideas about goals and priorities for the Plan with other community members. Join the Zoom meeting using this link.
Attend the Westford Climate Roadmap Forum! Wednesday, April 27, 7:30 pm
Register for the Westford Climate Roadmap webinar to learn more about Westford's Climate Roadmap. Find out about the specific steps that Westford residents, businesses and municipal leaders can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve sustainability. The Roadmap was developed by Westford's Clean Energy and Sustainability Committee (CEASC).

All are welcome to attend the presentation, ask questions and provide feedback. This event is sponsored by the CEASC and Westford Climate Action. Register now!
Lowell Drives Electric Car Show - April 30, 12:00 - 4:00 pm
The time to go electric with your vehicle is now! Automakers have gone in big on electric vehicles and dozens of new models in every vehicle class, including SUVs, are coming to your local dealership soon. In addition to improving air quality and addressing global warming, electric cars are faster, cheaper to operate, and more fun to drive than traditional gas cars. Sales of electric vehicles doubled in Massachusetts last year - from 1% in 2017 to 2% in 2022. You can easily conclude that these are poor percentages in comparison to the 355,000 total vehicles sold last year in the state. However, sales of electric vehicles are at the beginning of wild ride down the wave of cheaper battery costs, longer ranges, and faster, more frequent charging opportunities.

Come out to the Lowell Drives Electric car show on April 30, from 12-4 pm, at Heritage Farm Ice Cream, 163 Pawtucket Blvd, in Lowell, to see over 30 plug in electric vehicles and interact with their owners. The event is part of the national Drive Electric Earth Day month and is sponsored by Plug In America, the Sierra Club, Electric Auto Association, and Normal Now. There will be test drives, demo rides, kids' games, e-bikes, clean energy vendors and of course ice cream! Ask questions of EV owners, sit in the cars, and even take a ride. Find out why you should go electric with your next car.
Switch to Heat Pumps and Save Money!
The 2022 Mass Save Heat-Pump Incentives are finally here! It’s never been a better time to ditch your old inefficient fossil fuel furnace, boiler, or water heater for the latest highly efficient cold climate heat pump technology. Do your part in helping us reach our net zero goals and save money too. Your choices make a difference.

Mass Save offers rebates up to $10,000 to replace your old inefficient oil, gas or electric furnace with a new efficient heat pump. With new cold-climate technology, a heat pump will keep you warm and comfortable through the coldest winter days and provide cool air conditioning on the hottest summer ones. Since a heat pump uses electricity and doesn’t burn fossil fuels, it will contribute to reducing our carbon emissions as our electric grid continues to add more renewable energy.

Do you need to replace your old water heater? Mass Save has instant $750 rebates on efficient heat pump water heaters. To help finance your installation, Mass Save offers interest-free HEAT Loans for eligible customers of up to $25,000 spread over seven years. 

Mass Save continues to provide no-cost energy audits and low-cost insulation upgrades to keep your home comfortable and reduce your energy costs.  

So what are you waiting for? Now is the time to upgrade your old heating and cooling systems and save money too. Be ready for whatever hot or cold weather Mother Nature has in store. For all the details visit the MassSave website 

Legislation Corner - What is The Green Future Act?

It's an Act Achieving a Green Future with Infrastructure & Workforce Investments. House Bill 3292 is state legislation that would charge companies that import fossil fuels into the Commonwealth and use the funds collected for state and local green initiatives.
To read about the Green Future Act, make your voice heard, and sign the petition to legislators, click here. You can also help spread the word by posting to social media.
At this time, the Green Future Act and other funding bills for the Massachusetts “Roadmap to Net Zero by 2050” are in the Ways and Means Committees. It is likely an “omnibus bill” will be written. MA Senate President, Karen Spilka, announced that the Senate omnibus bill should come out on Earth Day, (April 22) and it is probable that the House omnibus bill will come out after that.
Westford & Carlisle to Hire Shared Sustainability Coordinator

Westford and Carlisle have been given a state grant to hire a full-time regional Sustainability Coordinator. Awarded through the state’s Community Compact Cabinet’s Efficiency and Regionalization program, the $94,902 grant will fund the pilot position, to be shared by the towns, for fiscal year 2023. 

Assistant Town Manager Eric Heideman, with help from members of the Clean Energy and Sustainability Committee, submitted the successful grant application. The town has already advertised to hire a coordinator beginning July 1. The posting describes the coordinator’s goal as developing “programs, policies and initiatives to advance both Carlisle and Westford’s sustainability goals to be equitable, resilient and zero waste communities.” (The job posting is here.)

Establishing a municipal Sustainability Coordinator position is one of the primary goals of the Clean Energy and Sustainability Committee’s Westford Climate Roadmap. Westford Climate Action has also advocated for creating the position since our inception two years ago. Our thanks to Eric, the Clean Energy and Sustainability Committee, Town Manager Jodi Ross and the Select Board for their persistence and commitment to helping Westford reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050!

Copyright © 2022 Westford Climate Action, All rights reserved.

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