Aquarion Water Company Honors 2024 Environmental Champions

Jun 3, 2024 by Peter Fazekas Connecticut
Environmental stewards across Connecticut recognized for outstanding efforts

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (June 3, 2024) – On Saturday, June 1, Aquarion Water Company celebrated five winners of this year's Environmental Champion Awards in a special ceremony at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. Each year, Aquarion selects a large business, mid-size business, non-profit, adult, and student to be recognized for their commitment to sustainability and environmental protection. Each winner in the business, non-profit, and adult categories gets a $5,000 grant for their chosen environmental non-profit. The student winner receives a $1,000 award.

“The tireless dedication of this year's award recipients has truly made a remarkable impact on the preservation of Connecticut’s land and waterways,” said Donald Morrissey, President of Aquarion Water Company. “They have set an excellent example for their communities, and I am eager to see what they accomplish in the future.”

The winners of the 2024 Aquarion Environmental Champion Awards are:

M&T Bank, Bridgeport, CT (Large Business)
M&T Bank is a company that invests in its people, fostering prosperous and inclusive communities, and preserving our planet. In 2023, M&T made $671 million in environmental loans and investments, reduced its electricity consumption by 23%, completed 60% of its one-billion-dollar commitment to renewable energy projects, and provided $1.1 million in M&T charitable environmental contributions. M&T also launched enterprise-wide engagement initiatives for Earth Month and Energy Awareness Month. In September of last year, M&T and Trust for Public Land hosted a round table for Bridgeport-based businesses and community leaders to discuss the waterfront’s revival, resulting in a proposed 20-mile trail to make Bridgeport’s shoreline more publicly accessible. The Bank also launched an internal Sustainable Communities Speaker series to bring awareness of equality, equity, and justice for climate resilience. 

Earth Animal, Southport, CT (Mid-size Business)
Earth Animal has made tremendous strides in reducing the pet industry’s environmental impact. As a certified plastic-neutral company, Earth Animal is 95% of the way to its goal of transitioning all plastic packaging to recyclable, refillable, or compostable materials by 2025. Sustainability is one of its core and guiding values, and it’s part of their DNA.  Since 2018, the company has invested nearly $1 million toward environmental impact initiatives and donated another million in monetary and product donations to non-profit organizations. The company has also integrated sustainable sourcing standards, developed a plant-based food and treat line, and worked with local energy companies to transition each of its facilities to renewable energy sources. 

Planet New Canaan, New Canaan, CT (Non-Profit)
Established in 2016, Planet New Canaan is a non-partisan group that is committed to environmental awareness and improving the town’s sustainability. Its programs include TreeCycle and Pumpkins for Livestock, which tackle the annual issue of holiday waste by sending used Christmas trees to be mulched and old jack-o-lanterns to feed livestock. Their planting of native trees initiative and community cleanups have greatly improved the town’s parks and enhanced natural habitats while involving local youth and community groups. Additionally, Planet New Canaan’s Food Scrap Collection program receives over 800 lbs. of food scraps from New Canaan residents per week, which are collected and transported to an industrial compost site. 

Betsy Graham, Ledyard, CT (Adult)
Betsy Graham serves as a board member on the Ledyard Conservation Commission and holds leadership positions at the Alliance for the Mystic River Watershed and the Lantern Hill Valley Association, where she has been a member for over 40 years. She has also supported Save the Sound’s efforts to restore fish habitats at Long Pond and has worked with Ledyard Parks and Recreation to host educational programs for children on her own waterfront property. When she’s not advocating for watershed conservation, she pulls invasive plants from hiking trails, collects litter along waterways, and takes water samples for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). Betsy’s goal is “to keep the water as healthy as possible” and educate others about the importance of our water resources.

Nathaniel Goldschmidt, West Hartford, CT (Student)
Nathaniel Goldschmidt is a student at Hall High School in West Hartford and an Eagle Scout whose passion for environmentalism has positively impacted his community. As the president of Hall High School’s Environmental Club, he ran a small farm and compost program, as well as a can and bottle program – both of which diverted large amounts of waste from landfills. Outside of school, he organized a town-wide Environmental Night and led a project to build seating in Westmoor Park to increase accessibility and encourage public engagement in the Park’s vital conservation efforts. Nathaniel also secured a student position on West Hartford’s sustainability commission, where he is a part of the Waste Working Group which is working to cut West Hartford’s waste by over 50%.

To learn more about Aquarion’s 2024 Environmental Champion Award winners, please visit

About Aquarion Water Company

Aquarion Water Company is the public water supply company for more than 750,000 people in 72 cities and towns in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  It is the largest investor-owned water utility in New England and among the seven largest in the U.S.  Based in Bridgeport, CT, Aquarion has been in the public water supply business since 1857.  Across its operations, Aquarion strives to act as a responsible steward of the environment and to assist the communities it serves in promoting sustainable practices.  Aquarion Water Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eversource.

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