Protecting the Health of Long Island Sound through Gardening

“Everything is connected – plants, land use and waterways…what we do matters – what we do on an individual level.”

Judy Preston, Long Island Sound Study Connecticut Outreach Coordinator
Bob Kuchta, a volunteer garden designer with Friends of Hammonasset, looks for monarch butterfly eggs on a milkweed pod. Photo by Judy Benson

Since 2013, Judy Preston, the Long Island Sound Study Connecticut Outreach Coordinator through Connecticut Sea Grant, has taught hundreds of gardeners a better way to plant for their yards and Long Island Sound. Through her Coastal Certificate program, Preston teaches how to add native plants and grasses to a garden to reduce the need to use pesticides and fertilizer, chemicals that can enter local streams, and eventually do harm to the Sound and its aquatic life. Native plants also provide habitats for birds, bees, butterflies, and other creatures.

Preston has conducted eight Coastal Certificate Programs since 2013, and as part of obtaining the certificate, her students have delivered more than 2,000 hours of volunteer community projects. Unfortunately, the final two classes of this year’s program, which was being held at Connecticut College in March, were delayed as a result of the pandemic. But you can read about some of the past work from an article that appeared in the winter 2019-2020 issue of Wrack Lines, CT Sea Grant’s magazine.

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