Milford Conservation Commission honors 4

MILFORD >> The Conservation Commission recently honored two Girl Scout troops, a business and an individual for their dedication to conservation, including a Girl Scout troop that educates the public on the hazards of feeding waterfowl.

The Conservation Service Awards, brought back after several years of absence, were awarded in the form of mayoral proclamations to: Girl Scout Troop 30347, Girl Scout Troop 38305, Milford Garden Club member Cheryl Cappiali and Subway.

Steven K. Johnson, the city’s open space and natural resource agent, said such community involvement is important because the projects beautify the community and keep a connection between the young, the community and the natural environment while educating the community.

Honorees’ accomplishments

• Girl Scout Troop 30347, for educating the community about the problems of people feeding waterfowl.

The girls placed boxes with educational information by the popular duck ponds where many people toss bread, to explain why the feeding is unhealthful for the birds and the Wepawaug River water quality.

They also showed up in person on occasion to speak with the public directly, and raised money to fund the project.

• Girl Scout Troop 38305, for developing and sustaining native plant gardens “that nurture wildlife and enhance beauty for many years,” according to a proclamation from Mayor Benjamin G. Blake.

The troop created pollinator gardens for Milford Earth Day at Wilcox Park, the Milford Historical Society, and the Connecticut Audubon Society Coastal Center at Milford Point.

The girls also raised money through benefits, donations and MEPI grants to create the gardens.

• Cheryl Cappiali, of the Milford Garden Club, for designing, nurturing and sustaining native plant gardens across the city. Cappiali, as part of the club’s civic committee, helped care for the gardens at the Milford Library and the historical society’s 18th-century garden.

The proclamation reads in part: “Cheryl and other members of the Milford Garden Club were vital to the successful planting of the Milford Earth Day Gardens at Wilcox Park.”

In addition, Cappiali took care of the Parsons rain garden and the Audubon Society’s pollinator garden.

• Subway, for cleaning and enhancing a 1.1-mile walking trail at Mondo Ponds next to the company’s Bic Drive world headquarters.

The walking trail around the largest of the five ponds is for use by the public as well as Subway employees. The city bought the site from the Regional Water Authority.


When the newly restored trail at Subway was dedicated in July, Blake cited how the project improved the trail and “promotes healthy outdoor exercise and a deeper appreciation of nature.”

Subway headquarters’ Senior Manager of Business Services Dina Sabo and property maintenance manager John Paul Savoie accepted the award on the company’s behalf, according to a press release from Subway.

Sabo said the Mondo Ponds project was a partnership between Subway and the city, and the idea came from the company’s maintenance team.

The creation of the ponds began when Rocco Mondo, owner of Rocco Mondo and Sons Excavating, dug gravel from the site beginning just after World War II, creating the ponds.

In the 1950s, much of that excavated material was used to build schools in Milford, including John F. Kennedy School, which borders the trail, as well as to construct portions of Interstate 95.

Joseph Mondo, son of Rocco Mondo, said at the July dedication that the area, owned by the water company, just came to be known as Mondo Ponds because of his family’s work there.

Joseph Mondo, who worked there for his father, has said when they first excavated there was some water in the bed because it had once been a reservoir. When the area, no longer used as a reservoir, was dug, they opened the dams and the ponds filled.

The ponds are home to nearly 180 species of birds and much wildlife, Johnson said.