To the editor:
The Westport River Watershed Alliance had the recent pleasure of hosting Anita Walker, the executive director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, for a day of discussion and information gathering. The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) is a state agency that promotes excellence, access, education, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences. The MCC’s support is based on the knowledge that the Commonwealth’s non-profits improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and contribute to the economic vitality of our communities.
Since 1994, WRWA has received annual grant support from MCC for projects and programs to protect and restore the Westport River and its watershed. As a long-time grant recipient, and a MCC Cultural Investment Portfolio Partner, WRWA staff, board members, community stakeholders, and fellow MCC partner Katherine Knowles, executive director of the Zeiterion Theatre, met with Ms. Walker to discuss the various facets of WRWA’s work, and their partnership with MCC. Of special note to Ms. Walker was learning of WRWA’s 20-year commitment to the Westport Community Schools with the Watershed Education Program. In collaboration with teachers, Shelli Costa, WRWA’s education director, provides classroom and field study opportunities for all students grades K – High School.
Notable Westport people participated. Representative Paul Schmidt, Town Administrator Jack Healey, School Superintendent Carlos Colley and Conservation Commission Agent Tara Martin attended the meeting to testify to WRWA’s value to the community. Jack Healey spoke of WRWA’s role in the community. “Without the WRWA, much of what is done to protect the river and its resources would not be done. They write proposals for the town to make projects happen.”
School Superintendent Carlos Colley voiced his gratitude for the Alliance’s commitment to environmental education and emphasized the unique partnership with WRWA and Westport Schools.
“The WRWA’s commitment to the Westport Public Schools is truly remarkable,” said Walker. “It’s a perfect illustration of the role our nonprofit, cultural organizations play in enhancing learning for young people across the Commonwealth.”
At the conclusion of the afternoon, Ms. Walker toured the watershed to see why the work that WRWA does is so important.
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