About Us - Norwalk River Watershed Association

NRWA Mission and NRWA Board Bios

NRWA Mission

The Norwalk River Watershed Association, incorporated in 1996, is a not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is to improve the water quality and fish and wildlife habitats of the 40,000-acre Norwalk River watershed; to restore the riverbanks, meadows and forests through invasive plant abatement and promotion of native species; to encourage recreational use of the river, the surrounding open space and its trails; and to promote research, legislative advocacy, education, cooperation, and action on the part of the stakeholders in the seven watershed towns in CT (Ridgefield, Redding, Wilton, New Canaan, Weston, and Norwalk) and NY (Lewisboro).

We are working to help implement the Norwalk River Watershed Action Plan. 

To view the NRWA Newsletter, click here.

NRWA 2018 Report Card: What We Did This Year 

  • Hosted 37 programs including library talks, guided walks, volunteer events like cleanups & pollinator pathway planning and implementing events such as plantings and invasive plant removals
  • Engaged over 1200 watershed residents who participated in these events
  • Planted  21 trees; 30 shrubs; 557 perennial plants, 30 pounds seed along the Pollinator Pathway restoring wildlife habitat and riverbanks 
  • Cleared 1050 square feet of riverbank, forest, or meadow of invasive plant species  
  • Collected 85 bags of trash weighing about 1800 pounds from the Norwalk River

 

NRWA Board Members

James Bartley, Treasurer, a former member of the Stamford Harbor Commission lives in Norwalk, serves on the Norwalk Mayor’s Water Quality Committee, and manages Women’s Healthcare of New England. He also teaches at Sacred Heart University.

Sarah Breznan, Secretary

David Havens, Vice President, has been a lifelong resident of Connecticut, splitting his time between Norwalk, Stamford and New Canaan and serves as the Vice President of NRWA.  After growing up along the Norwalk River, Dave spent six years conducting full-time environmental fieldwork from 1971 to 1977, while also working for the Stamford Museum and Nature Center. Since 1977 Dave has worked as a science teacher for Pre-K students to Graduate Studies. He has been an active voice for environmental issues locally and nationally, working with several organizations such as Greenpeace, Earth First!, Audubon, Green Schools Alliance and NRWA. Along the way Dave earned two BS degrees and three graduate degrees in science as he continued to conduct research on a number of issues: Invasive Species, Open Space, Habitat Destruction, Breeding Bird Census and much more. Over the last few years, he designed and built a raised outdoor classroom and boardwalk through his school’s wetlands, developed a plan to eliminate 14 species of invasive plants that gained a strong foot hold on the property and taken his passion of teaching and environmental work to an international level with the Green Schools Alliance. In 2012, David and his students were selected as state finalist in “Siemens We Can Change the World High School Challenge, sponsored by Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), and the College Board”, for their efforts to selectively and safely exterminate invasive plants along the Norwalk River.

Kristin Quell-Garguilo grew up in Westchester County to a family of tree nurserymen and has always been fascinated with the balance of nature and environmental systems. She has a Master’s of Science in Sustainable Systems, a Bachelors of Science  in Geology and one in Environmental Science, and Certifications in Ecosystems Services, Plant Based Nutrition, and Hazardous Waste Material. She has been teaching as Professor of Energy Systems since 2008. After moving to Ridgefield, she began volunteering for environmental causes in and around the area.  This led her to joining the Board of the Norwalk River Watershed Association where she is excited to combine her scientific expertise and her passion for environmental conservation.  “I enjoy spending time in the outdoors with my husband and two daughters. With my background and understanding of the integral nature of water as a key abiotic factor, I want to help preserve and improve the natural ecosystem of southwestern Connecticut.”

Kitsey Snow has served on the Board for seven years and on the Ridgefield Conservation Commission Board for eight where she helps to oversee the many miles of hiking trails for the RCC.  A 25-year resident of Ridgefield, she is raising three sons and has been an active member of the PTA, serving in several positions.  She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Ridgefield Garden Club and enjoys hiking and kayaking.  She graduated from Wheaton College with a BA in psychology and worked in operations for Bankers Trust Co. in New York for seven years before moving to Connecticut.

Cathy Smith, secretary, has lived in Wilton since 2002. She and her husband were initially attracted to Wilton and continue to reside there because of the enormous natural and historic beauty of the area. She joined NRWA in 2017 after volunteering to help clear invasives and plant native wildflowers and shrubs along the NRVT. She graduated with an MA from the University of Toronto and worked in advertising and financial services for many years. She now teaches yoga, gardens, and takes frequent hikes and walks in the woods throughout the Norwalk River watershed area.

Louise Washer, president, has lived in the Silvermine area, both in Wilton and Norwalk, for over 25 years and has been a member of the NRWA board since 2010, served as president since 2016, and has helped create, and serves on the steering committee of, the Pollinator Pathway which now connects over 90 towns in CT and NY. Louise also serves on the Norwalk Mayor’s Water Quality Committee and the steering committee for the Hudson to Housatonic Conservation Partnership (H2H). Louise got involved in NRWA after volunteering for the river study program at Cider Mill School in Wilton when her children were students there. She graduated from Smith College and has worked in magazine publishing in New York.