About our cover photo:  Fluff on winter cattails in a northern Westchester Superfund site. Could cattail fluff replace goosedown -- harvested from millions of birds each year -- in our jackets and pillows? A company in Finland is exploring the idea.

PARTICIPATING IN TEAC IS EASY (and our meeting day has changed)!

The Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council (TEAC) relies on volunteers to keep things moving. We're a fun and engaging group of like-minded citizens working to make Tarrytown's air, land, lakes and river healthier and cleaner.

The time and day of our monthly meeting is now the second Monday of the month at 7:30 pm. So that's THIS Monday, February 12 at 7:30pm. It's held in person at Village Hall. We will also have a Zoom option: Click Here!

If any of our committee topics interest you, or if you just want to learn more about what we do, please feel free to join us!
We need concerned, engaged residents like you to join us! Some areas of involvement - Tarrytown Lakes, Vine Squad, Landscaping Committee, Energy Committee, Community Outreach, Zero Waste and more. Contact Tarrytownenviro@gmail.com to learn more and express interest.


By Mai Mai Margules, TEAC Member

During last month’s cold snap many of us were in our yards refilling bird feeders to help  overwintering birds survive those harsh winter days. Feeders are important to supplement birds’ diets, but the most important thing we can do is to create year round healthy habitat. 

Plant Native Trees - Feed Baby Birds 

Did you know that baby birds can only eat insects? Without a sufficient amount of insects they will starve. A single pair of breeding chickadees must find 6000-9000 caterpillars to rear one clutch of young, according to Doug Tallamy, a professor of entomology.

The best thing you can do is to plant native or preserve native keystone trees such as oaks, willows, birches, cherries  and maples. Native trees are our powerhouse plants. Oak trees host over 500 species of caterpillars and moths. There’s lots of variety within native species.  For anyone with a small property, bear oak is a diminutive oak ranging between 3’ and 12’ and is a great oak option. Here is a good article with a shortlist of native trees and beneficial shrubs.



Shrubs - Safety and Sustenance

Native shrubs provide cover and nesting sites for birds and are beautiful additions to our gardens. They help re-create the natural layers found in nature. In the forests, canopy trees have shrubs of various heights growing beneath them followed by groundcover and leaf litter on the forest floor.Birds utilize all of these layers for different purposes.

Shrubs provide dense cover from predators and are good nesting sites. Their fruits and berries are a source of food throughout the year. In our yards bird friendly shrubs provide a beautiful height transition and add visual interest.

Try replacing some bare lawn space or a non native bush with one of these native shrubs. .https://www.ecolandscaping.org/05/designing-ecological-landscapes/native-plants/native-shrubs-to-consider-for-ecological-landscapes-in-the-northeast/

Perennials Provide a Year Round Buffet

In summer the goldfinches compete with the bumblebees for spots on the sunflowers and echinacea in my yard. While the bees dine on nectar and pollen the birds extract seeds. Hummingbirds love the coral honeysuckle, anise hyssop and bee balm, flitting from flower to flower from morning till dusk.

As the seasons change and flowers go dormant, standing stalks with seed heads of joe pye weed, goldenrod, asters and bee balm provide a trove of seeds for hungry birds throughout fall and winter. Switchgrass, little bluestem, prairie dropseed and other native grasses offer plentiful seeds and nesting materials for a variety of birds. (Here’s a good article on native grasses from Eco Beneficial: Grow Your Own Bird Seed: https://www.ecobeneficial.com/2013/03/native-grasses-for-wild-birds/)

It is key to leave your perennials and native grasses standing till mid spring to provide food and shelter for birds and other pollinators in the difficult winter months and lean times of early spring. Also, leave those fallen leaves in your beds and borders, they host numerous caterpillars that will feed the baby birds come spring.

“Lazy gardening “ creates habitat for birds and wildlife. So put down those clippers and watch the birds and squirrels enjoy your garden this winter!


By Dean Gallea, TEAC Co-Chair