NEWS OF THE MONTH FROM THE TARRYTOWN ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL

AUGUST 2022
WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT
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Welcome, August! We’re taking a summertime break from our monthly meetings but will be back in September. In the meantime, don’t let the garbage pile up! Annie has some great tips for reducing waste. Dean’s ideas for reducing your gas consumption will help save you money, and Mai Mai’s encouraging everyone to plant milkweed. We love your tales from the garden (thanks, Jacob!). A vegan salsa is super-simple to make, and why not try the free Bee-line Bus and see where it takes you this summer? 

LOVE YOUR VILLAGE
NO AUGUST MEETING FOR TEAC (BUT PARTICIPATING IN TEAC IS STILL EASY!)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.Our monthly meeting WILL NOT BE HELD IN AUGUST — a summertime break — but our next meeting will be held via Zoom, Thursday, September 1, at 7pm.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!Zoom Link: Click Here!

WASTE NOT:
MORE SUMMER TIPS FOR REDUCING WASTE
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By Annie Kravet, TEAC Volunteer

Food Storage on the go: Stop packing school/camp/picnic lunches in plastic baggies and switch to reusable options! Reuse glass jars with lids to store snacks, or use tupperware, etc. Other ideas: carrot sticks and other non-messy snacks can be wrapped in a cloth napkin. 

Food storage at home: Save money and stop buying single use items like tin foil and plastic wrap, and switch to reusable items like glass jars or tupperware. Cover food in the fridge by placing a plate on top of a bowl, and save and wash your old pasta sauce jars for food storage. 

Say goodbye to paper towels: Use your kitchen towels instead, and/or cut up old t-shirts, and have a stack of small rags ready to go in a basket on the counter. These can easily be rinsed out, hung to dry, or tossed in with the laundry and reused. 

Make iced tea using loose leaf tea instead of buying from the store or using a tea bag, which are often are made with plastic. To make a cold-brew iced tea, combine tea and cool water in a pitcher (ratio of about 1.5 ounces of tea to 16 cups of water, but you can play around with the amount to get a flavor you like best). Cover the pitcher and let it sit in the fridge overnight (or for around 8 hours). Strain out the tea leaves using a tea strainer or a cheese cloth, and pour over ice to enjoy a refreshing cup of tea! 

Make your own popsicles with reusable molds or wooden sticks! You can freeze home squeezed juice, lemonade, or even smoothies into delicious frozen treats. Making your own at home cuts down on wasteful packaging. 

And of course, shop at the TaSH to support local farmers! Did you know the TaSH has gone “zero waste”? That means all prepared food vendors have compostable packaging (or are actively transitioning). Make sure you throw food, untreated paper, and compostable cups from market vendors into the compost bins at the market. Some of the compostable cups look a lot like plastic, but are marked compostable, and can’t be recycled. Make sure these go into the compost containers at the market. Ready to start collecting food scraps at home? You can bring your household compost down to the bins in the train station parking lot.

Food scraps collection starter kits are available for sale at the Warner Library, Tarrytown Village Hall, Tarrytown Senior Center, Tarrytown Rec Center and the Sleepy Hollow Village Hall.

COOL PROJECT:
TARRYTOWN TO PARTICIPATE IN CLIMATE-ADAPTIVE DESIGN STUDIO
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By Dean Gallea, TEAC Co-chair

The Village of Tarrytown will be serving as the host community for Cornell University’s 2022 Climate-adaptive Design studio!

The semester-long Phase I studio will last from September through December. The Village of Tarrytown was selected from among seven applicants to be a host for the studio, as a result of a competitive application process that was open to all waterfront communities on the tidal Hudson River.

Shen Hope Poughkeepsie NBSection

Student Design of a sustainable shoreline in Poughkeepsie – by Shen Hope from CaD 2021

The Climate-adaptive Design (CaD) Studio is a program led by Professor Josh Cerra, Cornell University Landscape Architecture Department, in partnership with the NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program. The CaD Studio is the first step in a three-phase process to inspire, advance, and implement climate adaptation and resiliency projects in Hudson Riverfront communities.

The CaD Studio links Cornell University graduate students in landscape architecture with high flood-risk Hudson Riverfront communities. Together, they explore design alternatives for more climate-resilient and connected waterfront areas. Community stakeholders – including TEAC – are engaged throughout the studio to help inform the design process and support more usable results for the municipality that the student design teams are partnered with. We look forward to working with the Cornell team towards the betterment of Tarrytown’s climate resiliency!

WORKING TOGETHER:
RE-FORESTING THE SHORELINE
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By Suzy Allman, TEAC memberBeth Roessler, Hudson Estuary Coordinator for New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Trees for Tribs program, visits Tarrytown Lakes to plan a tree planting of an area along the western shore of the larger lake. The project, anticipated to begin in September, will include small tree and shrub saplings.Growth of the new plantings will create a lakeside buffer, filtering run-off from the roadside, stabilizing the shoreline, out-competing invasive tree species, and providing needed shelter for wildlife, as well as fishing access points.

This area, on the western shore of the larger of Tarrytown Lakes and opposite County House Road, will be replanted with native trees and shrubs in the fall.

DID YOU KNOW?:
TIPS TO HELP YOUR BUDGET AND THE ENVIRONMENT
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By Dean Gallea, TEAC Co-Chair

Advocacy group Coltura reports on the concept of gasoline superusers, encompassing the one in 10 United States drivers that burn 32% of gasoline used in U.S. light-duty vehicles. The group has said these superusers consume more gasoline than the bottom 60% of U.S. drivers combined. Short of getting a hybrid or EV, TEAC suggests some tips to reduce your car’s gas-guzzling, helping both your budget AND the environment:

  • Don’t idle! We see so many people parked in idling cars while using their mobile devices. Even if it’s hot outside, you can shut off the engine, keep the blower going for a few minutes of semi-cool air, and your car will cool quickly once you restart it to move on.

  • Go easy on the GO pedal! Accelerating smoothly, rather than pedal-to-the-metal, can save fuel in most instances, as full-throttle starts spray more fuel into the cylinders than can be burned efficiently. And, certainly, laying rubber hurts the environment even more in several ways! Also, if you anticipate your stops by taking your foot off the gas earlier, you’ll save fuel there as well.

  • Slow down! Above 40 MPH or so, the main drag on a car is due to air friction, and that friction goes up by the CUBE of the speed increase. Your car’s MPG sweet spot is likely below 60, so be aware you may save time, but not fuel, if you go faster.

  • Check your tire pressure! Underinflated tires increase their resistance to rolling, which wastes fuel, as well as heating up and wearing out the tires faster. If you want to save even more fuel, you can inflate them a few PSI (say, 10%) higher than the car manufacturer’s “recommended” pressure, but be sure to stay well below the “Max inflation” PSI shown on the side of the tire. Check tire pressure when the tires are cold (or after only a short drive), and readjust the pressure for winter months versus summer ones.

  • Take a load off! If you habitually carry around heavy items in your car, consider alternatives. The heavier a car is, the more energy it takes to accelerate to speed, and the more tires and brakes wear. Also, know that roof-mounted storage bins and even racks interfere with the aerodynamics of your car and cause poorer mileage.

Here are some more gas-saving tips from the U.S. DOE: https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/driveHabits.jsp

IN THE GARDEN:
SAVE MONARCHS, PLANT MILKWEED
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By Mai Mai Margules

Last week we received the jarring news that the beloved monarch butterfly has officially been categorized as an endangered species. 

That’s two steps from extinction in the wild, by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Habitat loss, pesticide use and climate change are all decimating the numbers of monarchs and other pollinators.  

Rather than mourn the plight of the monarch, take action today to turn things around. If you have a yard, a garden, or outdoor pots on a porch or deck you can help monarchs by planting milkweed. Milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars eat and monarchs only lay their eggs on milkweed. Without milkweed there can be no monarchs. Milkweed in the wild has been eradicated by farmers and homeowners who viewed it as a weed, or choked out by invasive species.

It’s critical that all of us plant milkweed on our property so that monarchs and other pollinators can survive.

Early fall is an ideal time to plant milkweed and other native plants that sustain pollinators.

Below are four types of milkweed local to our region. Aim to plant in groups of three along the edge or to the front of your garden or in multiple pots where the plants will be easily visible to monarchs. Pollinators gravitate toward groups rather than a solitary plant.

Above all, please do not use pesticides (including organic) on your garden or lawn; all pesticides kill pollinators.

Rose/ Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata):  This is a perfect plant for the home garden. Swamp milkweed has clusters of lilac pink flowers that bloom from mid to late summer providing sustenance to an array of beneficial insects.  Monarchs, swallowtails and bumble bees have been constant visitors to this milkweed in my garden since mid June. Four feet tall by two feet wide, rose milkweed is a well behaved perennial that stays in place and doesn’t spread within the garden. It pairs beautifully with purple coneflowers, anise hyssop, joe pye weed and purple asters, all favorites with native pollinators. This milkweed needs full to part sun and average moisture.

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa): Butterfly weed is a wonderful front of the garden plant. It reaches only 2’ in height but is a focal point with vivid orange flowers that bloom all summer and host Monarchs, Grey Hairstreaks and Queen butterflies and other pollinators. Butterfly weed needs full sun and well drained soil. It is very drought resistant but doesn’t like to be moved once planted due to its deep taproot. Visually it makes a dramatic contrast to purple plants such as purple coneflowers, verbena or salvias. Yellow and orange natives such as coreopsis, gaillardia, and oxeye sunflowers are good pairings as well.

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca): Common milkweed is a superfood for insects; over 450 insects are known to feed on common milkweed! This is the milkweed that we see most frequently in our wild areas, growing along roadsides and in fields. Common milkweed has large round pink flower clusters and grows from 3’ to 6’, blooming all summer. Its flowers have a sweet honey scent that lingers in the summer air. Common milkweed is a survivor and can be an aggressive spreader in the garden due to its rhizomes (underground roots). This can be controlled by planting it with other densely planted natives, the rhizomes have nowhere to spread. Or plant it in an area where it ‘s spreading tendency is not a problem. Full sun and any well drained soil will suit this drought tolerant plant.

Poke Milkweed (Asclepias exaltata): This is a shade loving milkweed found along the edge of forests. It likes part shade with rich organic soil with average to dry moisture conditions and is deer resistant. Growing 2’ to 6’ tall it has weeping white flower umbels that resemble fading fireworks. Besides hosting monarchs it is a great nectar plant for native bees, pearl crescents, tiger swallowtails, fritillaries and others.  Poke milkweed is unique in being a shade tolerant milkweed and a great addition to any shade garden.

Milkweed Sources

  • Locally, mature milkweed plants are available at Rosedale Nursery, 51 Saw Mill River Rd in Hawthorne. Also  on Sept. 10 -11 Westchester Community College will hold their Native Plant Weekend at Rosedale with numerous native plants for sale along with personal shoppers and free native plant workshops.

  • Zoe’s Plants in Dobbs Ferry has milkweed plant plugs for sale at very reasonable prices. You can also place a bulk order (20 plants) for plants not in stock. Contact Mickey at mickey@zoesplants.com for more information and a list of available plants.

  • Call your local nursery and ask if they sell milkweed plants. Early fall is the perfect time to plant, monarchs are migrating and the plants will have plenty of time to establish deep roots before winter. 

  • We at TEAC have a limited number of rose milkweed plants to share. If you would like one please contact us at tarrytownenviro.org.  We also have milkweed seeds available for fall planting. We are here to answer any questions that you might have regarding planting.

Whatever route you take, please plant some milkweed this fall and refrain from using pesticides.  If all of us take action we can make a meaningful difference in helping monarchs and other pollinators survive for years to come.  

HOME GROWN:
A GARDENER’S TALE
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By Jacob Lyon

Gardening has become a continual meditation of gratitude and connection, and I’d love to share my journey with the TEAC community garden:

After moving to Tarrytown from NYC in the fall of 2020, I was searching for ways to forge relationships in my new home while the pandemic upended daily life. It was a quiet first year, and I bought my first house plants to nurture and to kill. Somehow this gave me the confidence and desire to start gardening!

I grew up in northwest Iowa, so I assumed my thumb was at least partially green due to geographic birthright. Kim and the other gardeners were instantly welcoming. Our little alcove next to the elementary school became a refuge of waterings and frettings over seedlings.

Slowly my seedlings became plants, and the local wildlife and I enjoyed the first harvests of lettuce, arugula, radishes, herbs, and beans.

Mid-July Deb Taft from Mobius Fields came to give us some sage and needed gardening tips. Unsurprisingly I had been watering and pruning wrong, but my plants were thriving despite my uninformed efforts.

Through all of the ups and downs (and curses at voles), it is heartening to know that plants can thrive despite obstacles thrown at them. A warm reminder for us all as we continue to grow despite adversity.

GO NATIVE:
PLANTS AND ADVICE TO CREATE YOUR NATIVE GARDEN
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VEGAN RECIPE of the MONTH:
BEAN SALSA
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By: Cari Newton

Bean Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 1 can black beans

  • 1 can kidney beans

  • 2 cans pinto beans

  • 2 cans sweet corn or about 4 cobbs fresh corn, cut off the cob

  • 2 cups salsa of your choice

  • ½ cup chopped cilantro

  • 2 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp chili powder

  • Handful of fresh diced tomatoes

  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Drain and rinse the beans then add to a large mixing bowl. Drain the corn and add to the mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Served chilled with tortilla chips, on tacos, or taco salad.

This recipe is very versatile and it’s a great one for making ahead. I swear it’s always better the next day! You can add what you have on hand: use only 1 kind of bean or use other beans, add tomatoes, olives, jalapeños, scallions. Using fresh sweet corn instead of canned is especially good here too!  You can even use taco seasoning instead of the cumin and chili powder. Topping it with avocado is delicious. 

DEEP IN THE TRASH:
A LANDFILL REMEDIATION
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By Suzy Allman, TEAC member

My job as a photographer of environmental projects has taken me to some pretty far-out places, but a current project in Broome County, New York, had me wondering just what I was standing on.

The project is landfill remediation. When this particular landfill was established in the 1960s, there was no lining at the base of the landfill, which meant that everything that rotted and drained from household trash would eventually leach out into the ground below — a hazard to health and environment.

The solution in 2022? Dig everything up and move it to a new (lined) landfill area.

It is something to stand on tons and tons of garbage buried since the ’60s and ’70s, to see matchbooks from Fay’s Drugs or toys you remember from childhood or to read newspapers from the Nixon era (no, those things don’t rot as quickly as you might think!). Landfills dug up are like canyons, with canyon walls stratified with overhanging garbage instead of millenia of sediment deposits. Sticking out of the canyon walls: a tricycle here. A bedframe. Tires — lots of tires. Wires. Grocery bags. Those pink foam curlers. A red plastic fish.

Fifty years after the landfill welcomed its first load of garbage, it still stinks, unforgettably. The leachate stinks. The crust of dirt — not soil, not even really dirt, but some clumped-up substance made of the dried-out, decomposed remains of a combination of cardboard, dinner leftovers, and whatever else was chucked out at the time — it stinks, too.

The stuff we throw away really doesn’t go away. It’s just over there. Sometimes buried, sometimes just blowing away in the wind, or in the fumes of a Wheelabrator. It’s bracing, just how much there is. I think we can do better.

Ever wonder about the consistency of a fifty-year-old landfill with the grassy top pried off? Well, now you know!

SAVE GAS THIS SUMMER!
Take a BUS!

 

 

Did you know: Switching from plastic bags to reusable bags is only 1 percent as effective as giving up meat for one year! Source: Journal of Environmental Resource Letters

“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.

– Thomas Edison, in conversation with Henry Ford and Harvy Firestone, 1931

Copyright © 2022 Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council, All rights reserved.