Every year on April 22, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. GOSA contributed to this legendary movement locally by forming the Environmental Education Committee (EEC), headed by the University of Connecticut Professor David McKain and GOSA’s President, Sidney F. Van Zandt, to establish educational environmental awareness programs for the local community.
On April 15, 1970, the EEC organized the first Earth Day event in Groton attended by more than 800 people arriving by boat, bike, vehicle, and foot. The event included boat rides from Avery Point to Pine Island for tours and shore lectures with naturalist Robert C. Dewire. Lectures covered the demise of local Osprey due to DDT, an insecticide used in agriculture until banned by the US Government in 1972, zero population group, and opposition to the Jetport Industrial City proposed for the northeast corner of CT near Pachaug State Park.
EEC efforts continued with the development of the first recycling program in Groton and educational environmental and ecology guides for Groton Public Schools. In 1976, the EEC dissolved and turned its assets over to the care of GOSA. For additional information on the EEC and the history of GOSA and their environmental activism in Southeastern CT, visit the Groton Public Library History Room.