On May 23rd, State leaders, Common Ground students and staff, family, and community members gathered to dedicate a new educational wetland on Common Ground’s campus. The wetland has been created in honor of Javier Martinez, our senior lost to gun violence in December.

Common Ground students and staff worked with landscape architect Mark Papa and soil scientist David Lord to design and plant the new wetland, which will include spaces for quiet reflection, a memorial tree and plaque, a boardwalk and viewing platform for children’s and community educational programs, and more than 300 trees, shrubs, and herbaceous wetland plants. The wetland is one of the first stages of a major construction project on Common Ground’s campus, and will also become a unit of the Greater New Haven Harbor Watershed Urban Wildlife Refuge, one of the nation’s first urban wildlife refuges designated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

The ceremony will also bring attention to other efforts to honor Javier and create a more peaceful city – including student-led tree planting and community gardening efforts in Fair Haven (Javier’s home neighborhood and the location of his shooting), and policy efforts at the local, state, and national levels to reverse the tide of gun violence. Learn more about these projects.