Community Member

10,000 Hawks

New Haven, Connecticut

10,000 Hawks began in 2021 as a group of concerned citizens banding together to confront air quality emissions that would be exacerbated by a major, privately funded expansion of Tweed Airport in New Haven, Connecticut. Spurred by a recent scientific study, the group initially focused on micro-plastics generated by airport dust and their link to asthma. However, their purview quickly expanded to address wetlands destruction, traffic management, habitat destruction, long-term coastal resiliency and other environmental and public health issues. Taking their name from the prominent annual bird migrations over the airport and surrounding neighborhoods, 10,000 Hawks rallied enough support that the disappointing vote by the City Alder to grant the expansion lease was in the face of major public opposition. Undeterred, the organization is honing their expertise and expanding their outreach to push for and knowledgeably respond to a full environmental impact statement and EPA review.

Rachel Heerema – New Haven, Tweed Airport, Hurricane Elsa flooding

Initially, a single-issue organization composed of residents of New Haven, East Haven, and Fair Haven neighborhoods adjacent to Tweed airport, 10,000Hawks has expanded both its constituency and scope to encompass citizen involvement in long-term environmental planning and environmental justice in the wake of climate change. Led by Lorena Venegas and Rachel Heerema, the all-volunteer organization has coordinated professional air quality monitoring with Tufts University, collecting and analyzing airborne particulates at the airport and in nearby neighborhoods. By raising awareness of the public health implications of air quality and environmental issues in planning for climate change, 10,000 Hawks has inspired the city of New Haven to initiate its own air monitoring, especially in underserved local communities. Through self-education, and fostering alliances with graduate programs, scientists, neighborhood advocates and environmental justice organizations, 10,000 Hawks has become a respected voice for responsible community-centered environmental planning.

Residents at City Plan Commission Meeting

For more information:

Mother Nature Complicates Tweed ‘Master Plan’ – Zip 06 News, December 2023

A test of New Haven’s air could offer insight on how communities and scientists can work together – WSHU, September 2023

The Tweed airport expansion controversy – Inside Investigator, August 2023

Environmental group studying air quality around Tweed New Haven airport – New Haven Register, July 2023

Activists to Monitor Tweed Airport’s Air Quality Over Weekend – CT Examiner, June 2023

Call to action on the Tweed Airport Expansion – WPKN Community Radio, March 2023

East Haven and Airport Expansion is the most Transformative Issue for 2023 – CT Examiner, December 2022

Tweed New Haven airport neighbors, officials meet on concerns over noise, fumes, proposed remedies – New Haven Register, June 2022

As flooding in East Haven continues, town officials plan for future remediations – New Haven Register, February 2022

Will climate change have something to say about the Tweed Airport expansion? Experts think so – The CT Mirror, January 2022

A2 Staff

A2 Staff

This profile was compiled by a dedicated team of staff members who conducted interviews and gathered information from various outlets, including news articles, social media, and other sources.


Gretl Gallicchio


Social Media

Climate Impacts

Air Pollution, Flooding, Sea Level Rise

Environmental Justice Concerns

Fighting Development/Destruction of Wildlife/Extinction of Species, Port/Transit/Highway Contamination/Noise


Fighting Industrial Contamination, Halting Bad Development, Nature-Based Solutions, Policy Reform

501c3 Tax Deductible


Accepting Donations