Borough recognizes Gouveia as Earth Day Mayor

Naugatuck resident Vaneza Gouveia addresses the crowd during a ceremony on Earth Day, April 20, in front of Town Hall. Gouveia was honored as Naugatuck’s Earth Day Mayor of the Day. –LUKE MARSHALL


NAUGATUCK — On a sunny morning, the Naugatuck Cultural Council honored Vaneza Gouveia as Naugatuck’s Earth Day Mayor of the Day.

Gouveia, who was recognized on Earth Day during a ceremony in front of Town Hall, has been working towards a greener Naugatuck since a young age.

As a Girl Scout with Troop 4043, Gouveia got involved with the Committee for a Cultural/Environmental Center — Gunntown Road. Gouveia was at the heart of efforts to preserve the land as passive open space.

After a long struggle between those who wanted the Gunntown property to become athletic fields, Gouveia’s work paid off when in early 2011 the land became Gunntown Passive Park and Land Preserve.

“Over many years, Ms. Gouveia advocated and worked tirelessly for the preservation of Gunntown as passive open space due to the unique ecosystem and historical significance of the property,” Mayor Robert Mezzo wrote on his blog.

During a brief speech, Gouveia told the gathered audience that everyone has to do their part to help the environment, even if it is just picking up trash they see lying around.

Gouveia has remained involved in the Gunntown park leading girl scouts on a project to create trails there and is now chair of the Committee for a Cultural/Environmental Center – Gunntown Road.

“As the Gunntown property was recently opened as a passive park and nature preserve, many in the CCEC and Naugatuck environmental community recognize Ms. Gouveia for playing a crucial role in the process,” Mezzo wrote.

Borough and state delegates alike turned out to honor Gouveia last Friday, as state senators Joseph Crisco (D-17) and Joan Hartley (D-15) presented her with a proclamation.