Efforts being undertaken by hundreds of local community groups amount to a groundswell of support for informed environmental planning and management in Connecticut. A new chapter is being written in the long tradition of citizen conservation that has thrived here for generations--at a time that will be pivotal in resolving issues about conservation and development, water and wetlands, forests and farmland, smart growth, environmental justice and science education.

Studies show that while such community-based environmental activism holds great promise, it comes with a risk. Too often grassroots initiatives become fragmented and inefficient. Familiar and longstanding problems--such as the lack of funding, staffing and political clout--remain as fundamental barriers that stand in the way of local groups accomplishing their missions.

If the promise of community-based environmental management in Connecticut is to be realized--when time is short and much is riding on local conservation efforts' success or failure--steps can be taken to provide for groups' fundamental needs. The emerging groundswell provides crucial opportunities that those in public service, conservation, scientific and educational segments of our communities can tap as means of accomplishing their objectives.

Connecticut Earth Network (CT EarthNet) is proposed to be a portal through which diverse segments of local communities involved with environmental issues and education may come together and explore areas where their efforts might dovetail. 

The network would serve to assist community-based groups with fundamental needs, generate awareness of groups' goals and priorities, facilitate the sharing of information, learning and experience, build political support and foster collaboration toward the accomplishment of shared objectives. It aims to benefit groups in Connecticut involved with environmental education, planning and management.