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Solstice Reflections--Our First Year

Solstice is a time for gathering, for appreciation, and for celebrating the ways we are revitalized by the ancient rhythms of life. We are so grateful for our relationship with DPNC. Thank you, Kim and Jess for hosting another magical Alliance moment. We love the Peace Sanctuary. It is a powerful place. You could feel the energy from the sun that the trees and plants have stored in the ground, nourishing the life at the roots, recharging and gathering itself for the flourishing of spring.

Here are some of the spoken reflections from the Solstice Gathering:

This is a moment of regeneration, like decomposition taking death and turning it into life. I love the cycle of life.

Solstice fills me with hope because I know the days can only get longer now.

This energy we feel, this gathering up and storing and nourishing the energy the sun has provided right here beneath our feet...this is being alive.

This feeling of connectedness is how we know that Mother Earth still loves us. We are inseparable.

The sunrise on this cold morning felt like a kiss.

This experience makes me want to care for life in this place even more now.

This is the year of regeneration.

Solstice is a time to renew. To collect our thoughts and our energy, look at our footprints behind and prepare to step into the lengthening days with courage and and a shared sense of purpose. Here is what we saw when we looked back, organized according to the goals within our Mission of working together across 4 Towns and 2 Tribal Nations to care for and protect life in the (CT) Mystic River Watershed:

Solstice was our 5th educational gathering. In the month of January, we will facilitate a third Planners' Convening to firm up the horizon points toward which we can navigate together (none of which would be possible to get to alone). This will frame the backbone of our Mystic River Watershed Resilience Action Plan. At the same time, we will be assisting Stonington to plan for resilience through their Zoning Regs updates, coordinating the Plans of Conservation and Development 3:4 towns are updating, and working toward environmental justice regarding access to clean water and federal grants. We are deepening our relationships and honing our skills as conveners and creators of safe spaces for courageous collaborations and outrageous ideas.

Longer range next year, we are helping to bring alewife back to their natural spawning grounds in the deep ponds near the headwaters, and to protect those fragile ecosystems from hydrilla and other aggressive invasive species. We are co-creating a Youth Climate Summit, a Resilient Business Working Group, and Community Learning Sessions on Climate Change, on Community Co-design for Resilience, and on Regenerative Design and Development (which works with nature to replenish and restore the host environments).

We are only as resilient as our relationships are strong. We know we can achieve together what no town or Tribal Nation or person can do alone. To scaffold and coordinate our collective efforts, we are building the Mystic River Watershed Resilience Action Plan. This will include: Part I, a living Atlas-- a comprehensive and accessible repository of data of all kinds--our way of learning what the rest of our family here in the watershed is trying to tell us. Part II, an Ecological Health Plan and measurable commitments, and Part III, a Climate and Community Resilience Plan.

We could never have done as much as we did without the support of our organizational allies and our individual friends and contributors. We are an all-volunteer organization with big plans...and we need your help. There is still time to make your tax-deductible contribution count. This is the year of regeneration, and you can be a part of the movement. Help the fish find their way home!

With our gratitude for you, and warmest Soul-stice wishes for the holidays to come,

Your Alliance Board of Directors, Maggie Favretti, Ethan King, Brenda Geer, Beth Greenleaf, Rahiem Eleazer, Lynne Marshall, Tara King Clark, and Betsy Graham.

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