Person of the Week
Tania Abbatello: Merging Biology and a Business Background
Tania Abbatello combines her biology background and her business experience when serving on the Clinton Sustainability Committee and as an alternate for the Inland Wetlands Commission. (Photo courtesy of Tania Abbatello )
Tania Abbatello credits growing up in Northford—and early readings of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax—with her lifelong interest in environmentalism. Since then, Tania’s involvement with various organizations has increased as she seeks to improve her new hometown of Clinton as well as the state.
Tania says that she developed an appreciation for nature very quickly, growing up around the wooded areas around Northford.
“I’ve always, always, always been fascinated with walking through the woods and picking up a rock and seeing what creatures were under there and things like that,” says Tania.
In fact, when she was growing up, Tania thought she would maybe pursue a job related to nature and conservation.
“I wanted to be a vet or a marine biologist when I was like 10,” Tania recalls with a laugh.
Though she didn’t ultimately go do down that career path, Tania has become active in causes tangentially related to it.
Currently, Tania is a member of the Clinton Sustainability Committee, which works to improve the town in a myriad of ways. Sustainable CT is a program that rewards towns for taking actions that fall into categories like protecting the environment, improving planning, improving transportation, and improving infrastructure among other actions.
The program is a voluntary certification program that encourages towns to improve best practices and seek grant opportunities that help promote the quality of life of the town and its citizens. The Clinton committee looks at which actions would be best for Clinton and takes the steps needed to complete those tasks.
“It’s just a nice local way to get involved in a variety of ways,” Tania says of the committee and its wide net of issues. “The Sustainable CT model offers a really nice template of ideas to go after.”
One project that is on the horizon for the committee is helping solve the issue of disposing of household waste in a safe way.
“It’s probably the next big things we’re all going to have to deal with,” says Tania.
The Sustainability Committee isn’t the only way in which Tana is involved the town: She’s also an alternate on the Inland Wetlands Commission. As an alternate, Tania says she does get seated frequently to help make a quorum at the meetings, which Tania says she enjoys attending.
With a degree in biology, Tania says her science background can help her make informed decisions on the cases before the commission, but she says she also brings another important aspect to the commission.
“Being in a small business, I do have a perspective where I do want to help development forward,” Tania points out.
For work, Tania co-owns the Abbatello Insurance Agency in Hamden, a company her father founded. Tania says she enjoys the work, and is quick to proudly note that the company moved to a paperless format even before the pandemic hit and forced most businesses to move to remote work.
Tania says the whole Inland Wetlands Commission is on the same page about the balance of protecting the environment and helping businesses proceed with their applications.
“It’s a great group of people working together to get things done for the town,” Tania says.
When she was in college at Southern Connecticut State University, Tania helped organize a chapter of the National Organization for Women as well other social clubs but her local activism really picked up over the last five years. Motivated in part due to the hotly contested 2016 Presidential Election, Tania did research on the Green Party after seeing a post about it online. Since then, Tania has become involved with the Green Party on both the local and state level.
“I didn’t realize just how easy it is to get involved on a local level,” Tania says.
Tania is currently one of the co-chairs of the state Green Party and for a time also helped run Clinton’s Green Party before she took a step back from juggling so many obligations.
“The pandemic has made it both easier to do more, but harder to balance out my time,” Tania says.
Tania has called Clinton home for seven years and in the time has really come to love the town.
“The way it’s set up, the downtown is very walkable. I feel a debt of gratitude to the town so I’ve gotten more involved in its inner workings,” says Tania.
“I love the fact I can hear seagulls and feel the ocean air and live in probably the most beautiful part of Connecticut,” Tania says.