NEWS OF THE MONTH FROM THE TARRYTOWN ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL

LOVE YOUR VILLAGE
PARTICIPATING IN TEAC IS 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 be held in person at the Village Hall. It’s this Thursday, December 1, at 7pm. We will also try to 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!

WHAT WE DID:
TEAC IN NOVEMBER
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TEAC thanks all our volunteers for their work in November. And it was a busy month! Our volunteers worked on multiple ongoing projects, but here are some of our November activities, where we:

  • organized a household and clothing swap at the Neighborhood House;

  • were “waste warriors” at the TaSH to help shoppers separate resources from waste;

  • dismantled the scarecrows which were decorating downtown, to recycle the textiles (clothing, shoes, belts and burlap sacks) and use the straw in gardens, compost bins and send to the organics yard;

  • visited CompostEd at the county Materials Recovery center in Valhalla;

  • collected native seeds from the public gardens and planters throughout the village;

  • helped clear out the community garden and prepare the beds for winter;

  • pruned and winterized TEAC demonstration gardens throughout the Village  and plantings on Broadway; 

  • consulted with the new Morse School eco club to advise on native garden beds and kids activities; and

  • attended a dedication by the Town Supervisor of Greenburgh for 2 new pollinator gardens at Anthony F. Veteran Park and Hartsbrook Park, both in Hartsdale, for which TEAC volunteers collaborated. See article in Examiner.

FROM THE HACKLEY LAKE KEEPERS:
MISSION: CLEAN ECOSYSTEM
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By Mason Lee, Lake Keepers Organizer


Hackley Lake Keepers cleaning trash from the Tarrytown Lakes park, near the soccer field.

Why is trash bad for the environment? Aside from disturbing nature’s aesthetics and obviously making everything ugly, it spreads bacteria and pollutes our environment. Trash also inevitably makes its way into the water and can be toxic to the fragile aquatic ecosystem and native habitat of species in the surrounding area.

Recently, on November 13th, Hackley Lake Keepers held another cleanup and focused primarily on an area north of the soccer fields off the trails. A typically beautiful area beside the water with benches was strewn with cigarette butts, broken alcohol bottles, beer cans, plastic soda bottles, vape cartridges, and plastic bags. While we managed to pick up eight bags of trash, there was some trash that made its way onto the water’s edge and into the water that we could not reach.

The Tarrytown lakes and its surrounding parklands are technically an environmentally protected area by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) whose mission is:

“To conserve, improve and protect New York’s natural resources and environment and to prevent, abate and control water, land and air pollution, in order to enhance the health, safety, and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic and social well-being.”

Bottom line— littering is against the law! Littering is a sign of laziness, carelessness, and utter lack of concern or respect for our planet. And when people see litter already there, they think it is okay to add more. We urge everyone to be mindful of their trash and use the proper receptacles placed around the trails. Please help keep the parklands clean so everyone can enjoy their beauty for years to come.

The Hackley Lake Keepers’ mission is: to give back to the Tarrytown community by partnering with the Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council (TEAC) in order to monitor the ecosystem around the Tarrytown Lakes Parkland and keep its surrounding waters/Trailways clean. We host cleanups throughout the year and recruit volunteers to pick up refuse around the lakes.

Please check out our Instagram @HackleyLakeKeepers for information on upcoming cleanups in the spring!

FOUR MONTHS, FROM FOOD WASTE TO EARTH:
COMPOST EDUCATION IN VALHALLA
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By Rachel Tieger, TEAC Co-Chair

Learning about aerated static pile composting at a county compost demonstration site.


Aleks Jagiello explains the processes used to optimize decomposition at the county’s Compost Education site in Valhalla.

The TEAC Zero Waste Committee was joined by SHEAC members and some interested residents, on a visit to the Westchester County Compost Education (CompostEd) site at the County’s Household Materials Recovery Site at the Grasslands campus in Valhalla.

The facility offers free tours to school groups, kids clubs, community organizations and others. The site operator, Aleks Jagiello, is knowledgeable, passionate about composting, and generous with his time.

Piles of compost at different stages of decomposition are separated by cinderblock walls at the CompostEd site in Valhalla.

The CompostEd site is a quarter of an acre (about 10,000 sf) which contains an 8 bay Aerated Static Pile (ASP) system that can process up to 2 tons of food waste per week. For reference sake, approximately between 1 and 1.5 tons of food scraps has been dropped off weekly at drop off site for Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow Villages, combined.

The County is demonstrating that food scraps can be converted into food scraps without producing noxious odors or attracting pests, by employing aerated static systems and biofilters. Aleks informed us that it is possible to build a facility on a relatively small footprint,  approximately ¼-½ acre, that can process as much as 10 tons of food waste per week. Such a site would need to be carefully laid out by experienced engineers and would be costly to construct, but it is possible to do a lot on a small footprint. 

The general process is that one part green material (food scraps) is mixed with 3 parts brown material (ground yard waste, dead leaves, wood chips/saw dust, straw, shredded paper, paper bags) and mixed into large piles and placed into bays, where they are actively aerated using fan blowers that are controlled by timers. This process optimizes conditions inside of the compost piles by increasing oxygen levels in compost piles, thereby creating ideal conditions for aerobic bacteria to proliferate, which substantially decreases odors and greatly improves composting efficiency at industrial compost facilities. About one foot wood chips or unscreened compost is added on top, and then air is blown into the pile at set intervals from below.


The pipes of a forced-air composting system. Air is essential to microbe survival and the breakdown of compost materials.

Heat builds up in the large piles and the temperature can climb over 170 degrees. The ideal temperature is between 135 to 160 degree to properly break down the food scraps.

Steam rises off a four-week-old compost pile.


Warm and cozy in the 160-degree pile.

Aleks explained that when composting, it is important to create conditions for aerobic microbes to keep the odors away. Some other methods of food waste management include anaerobic digestion, which intentionally create  conditions with an absence of free oxygen in highly controlled environments, which then harvest methane gas for energy.  Regardless of which method is used, proper curing of the compost is required before the compost is chemically stable. The total process takes about 4 months in total to produce high quality compost which is free of pathogens, parasites and weed seeds.  

An ultimate goal, would be for each village or municipality to be able to process their own food scraps and convert them into usable compost to return to the earth. 

Eco-Club:
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION AT W.L. MORSE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
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By: Rachael Sokolowski, Eco Club Co-Chair

This fall, W.L. Morse has started a PTA-funded, parent led, Eco Club pilot program!

Eco Club was started by SHEAC volunteers and local parents Rachael Sokolowski and Gabi Bost. Currently Eco Club provides after school environmental education to 25 students in first and second grade.

Our main goals are to provide sustainable life skills to students, improve the school campus outdoor environment, and foster opportunities for children to connect to the natural world.

Our fall program started October 19th and will end December 7th. So far, our students and eco club volunteers have planted bulbs, learned the anatomy of seeds, how to find and save seeds, leaf-mulched the school’s front garden beds, removed Japanese Knotweed, engaged in a special program about pumpkins lead by the Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation, hosted a campus clean-up, and weeded all school garden beds.

We are grateful for supportive organizations such as CELF (Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation) and TEAC for enriching our programming. TEAC has provided special support in helping Eco Club create plans to improve and diversify the current garden beds with an array of native flowers.

We have consulted with Mai Mai Margules of TEAC’s landscaping committee, and she has provided us with professional guidance and recommendations. Additionally, TEAC has made a generous seed donation, and is planning on providing a special winter seeding class for our eco club students. We are excited to have TEAC’s support and look forward to working together in the future seasons!

If you are interested in donating to or partnering with Eco Club, please email rsokolowski12@gmail. We are volunteer-run and always looking for help! Additionally, we are looking for large containers for edible plants as well as native flowers for our school garden beds this Spring.

Lastly, I would like to thank our Eco Club students, the Horsemen PTA, Principle Walley of W.L. Morse, and all our parent volunteers who have made Eco Club possible! We could not have done this without you!

ENERGY NOTES:
LET’S CELEBRATE VICTORIES!
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By Dean Gallea, TEAC Co-Chair

Passage of the Environmental Bond Act

November 8th was a big win for New York State’s nature and communities, with the overwhelming passage by voters of the “Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act.” As the largest environmental bond act in state history – at $4.2 billion – and the largest on any ballot anywhere in the nation in 2022, the measure will support environmental improvements that preserve, enhance and restore New York’s natural resources and create more than 84,000 local jobs.  As reported in LoHud, the proposal includes the following:

  • $1.5 billion for climate change mitigation, including at least $500 million to electrify school buses, and $400 million for green building projects;

  • $1.1 billion for restoration and flood risk reduction, including at least $100 million on coastal rehabilitation and shoreline restoration projects, along with addressing inland flooding; 

  • $650 million toward open space land conservation and recreation, with $300 million for open space land conservation and $150 million for farmland protection;

  • $650 million for water quality improvement and resilient infrastructure, no less than $200 million of which goes toward wastewater infrastructure projects, and $250 million toward municipal stormwater projects.

COP27 tidbits

Though this month’s COP27 Conference in Egypt yielded no breakthroughs in mitigating climate change by developed countries, we were happy to see a major breakthrough in Climate Justice. The summit established a funding arrangement for loss and damage associated with climate change, recognizing that the countries least responsible for the crisis are often the most heavily impacted. And another bright spot: along with touting the emissions reductions that are possible under the Inflation Reduction Act, President Biden announced several new commitments, including new EPA rules to curtail methane emissions, doubling the U.S. pledge to the Climate Adaptation Fund, and U.S. participation in a plan to help Indonesia retire its coal plants.

E-bike Initiative

As reported in the Tarrytown Link e-letter, NYS has granted $7 Million towards Project Mover, a plan to design e-bike systems for Ossining and four other communities including Tarrytown. The project was spearheaded by Ossining where it will roll out first: The Village will install e-bike rental stations in key areas to provide additional low-cost, convenient transportation options to free up parking, traffic and reduce carbon emissions. If we learn from Ossining’s experience that it’s a good fit, Tarrytown will receive support for planning and equipment. Since e-bikes can negotiate the sometimes-steep hills in our Village, providing rentals could allow residents to reduce the number of car trips taken, a win for the environment.

A Bright Country

I spent a couple weeks touring and trekking around the recently-democratized constitutional monarchy of Bhutan, and among other amazing things I saw, I was pleasantly surprised at the initiatives its government and citizens have made in environmental sustainability.

From limiting tourism to a beneficial level, to creating new hydroelectric projects harnessing the power of rivers that drop many thousands of feet from snow-capped mountains, Bhutan is keeping its carbon footprint low while selling surplus renewable energy to countries like India that rely heavily on fossil fuels. Bhutan keeps track of the benefits of its social policies with a “Gross National Happiness” index.

Even on the mountain trails our group walked, there were collection points for recyclable plastic water bottles, which themselves used less material than I’ve seen elsewhere. Street markets sold nearly all their fresh produce without packaging, and, as Bhutanese are principally a Buddhist culture, they don’t raise livestock for meat, eliminating a large source of carbon emissions. They also pledge to keep at least 60% of their land area forested. There are some things in Bhutan from which larger, developed countries might take a cue!

Colorful Native Plants:
HOLIDAY COLOR to WARM UP THE WINTER
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by Mai Mai Margules, TEAC member

As the days shorten and the chill of winter sets in, we welcome the holidays this month with lights and color, specifically the color red. In the winter garden, red is a beautiful focal point complimenting the rich texture of dormant native plants.

Here are some small native shrubs and perennials that will warm up the winter garden for us and wildlife alike .

Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) is a semi evergreen, deer resistant shrub (5’-7’)) providing year round beauty. Bright red fall foliage is followed by red berries that sustain birds throughout  the winter. In spring white flowers provide nectar and pollen to butterflies and bees.

American Cranberrybush (Viburnum trilobum)  This 8’ tall deciduous shrub is a pollinator favorite year round. Clusters of red berries brighten fall and winter along with fiery red leaves in the fall. Spring brings lacy white flowers that sustain pollinators. Viburnum is the perfect choice to replace invasive burning bush and makes a great privacy hedge. For best berry production 2-3 shrubs is ideal. You can prune for a lower height.

Winterberry (Ilex Verticillata) This spectacular native holly produces red berries on bare branches in winter brightening the landscape.You need a male and female plant to produce berries. Birds love the berries and winterberry is the host plant for Henry’s Elfin butterfly. Plants typically grow 6’-10’ though shorter cultivars are available.

Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea) also known as Red Osier dogwood is a deer resistant shrub that is beautiful year round but stunning in winter with its dramatic red stems. Red twigs love moisture and can grow 6’-10’ and form privacy thickets. Shorter compact cultivars are readily available. In spring white flowers nourish pollinators while summer berries are loved by birds.

Little Blue Stem (Schizachyrium scoparium) This native, drought tolerant prairie grass has 3’ blue – green stems that turn burnished red in autumn and remain red all winter. Birds eat the seed heads in winter and blue stem is the host plant for several skipper butterflies. Native bees use the stems for nesting.

Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) is a glossy evergreen groundcover that loves sandy, rocky locations and poor soil. This native in the heath family is under 6” and spreads slowly. Bright red edible berries form in fall and are favorites of birds, small mammals and yes, bears. Native Americans have used this plant medicinally for centuries.

NOW CELEBRATE…
NEW TEXTILE RECYCLING BIN AT THE FOOD-SCRAPS DROP-OFF AREA
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The newest addition to Tarrytown’s bin family is here! Recycle un-usable textiles and shoes at the food-scraps drop-off area.

Cleaning out your closets in anticipation of the holiday onslaught? No need to throw old garments away… if you can’t consign them, or donate them to a re-sale shop like the Salvation Army or Goodwill, recycle them!

Tarrytown now has four textile recycling bins around the Village. The newest is located next to the food scrap recycling bins on Green Street past Losee Park. There is also one at the entrance to Trilogy Consignment Shop on Main Street, and two others hosted by the Police Benevolent Association in the Bridge Plaza parking lot at the intersection of 119 and Broadway, and one at the Clothes Doctor on the other side of the H-Bridge.

FROM THE ZERO WASTE COMMITTEE:
SWAP RECAP
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By Rachel Tieger, TEAC Co-Chair

Thanks to Cari Newton, dedicated volunteers and our friends at The Neighborhood House, we helped find new homes for thousands of items, and prevented them from being sent to the incinerator. The objects first passed through busy volunteer hands to be sorted, folded, and organized. The result was a user-friendly shopping environment which made browsing easy and enjoyable.

Clothing and accessories were separated by categories: kids, women, men, and then more specifically by classifications: casual, work, dressy. At the end of the day clothing was donated to local families and the Ossining Children’s Center. Well-worn clothing, shoes, belts, purses and linens with holes, spots and stains were sent to textile recycling to be made into rug mats and other industrial items. 

Household items were sorted by uses: toys and games, books, kitchenware, electronics, home decor and more. Delighted shoppers found new furniture, rugs, appliances, gifts and more. At the end of day items were donated to Green Drop in North White Plains on Rte 22, which works with many charitable organizations. 

For information on the next swap, please watch for announcements in our future newsletters and follow From the Future Vintage  on social media. 


More Info: Tashfarmersmarket.org

RECIPE OF THE MONTH:
SPICY FRUIT COMPOTE
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By Rachel Tieger, TEAC Co-Chair

Fall is my favorite season of the year. The crisp nights and brisk mornings inspire savory soups, hot cider and cozy slippers. I love thumbing through favorite cookbooks for new comforting recipes.

Last week I stumbled upon a fruit compote recipe, which caught my eye. I’ve never made fruit compote and have only eaten it a handful of times. But looking at the ingredients, I wondered why it never occurred to me before.

  • 4 cups mixed fruits. A mix of frozen organic mango, strawberries, blueberries, peaches worked well, but you can use fresh fruits of your choice, or a combination of fresh and frozen, depending on what you have on hand. 

  • 2 tart organic apples, cored and cut into large chunks (unpeeled). 

  • ½ c dried cranberries or raisins 

  • ½ cup apple cider, other fruit juice or water

  • 2 cinnamon sticks (can substitute 1 tsp ground cinnamon)

  • 5-6 allspice berries in a spice bag or locking tea strainer. Can sub ½ tsp ground allspice or omit

  • ½  tsp whole cloves in herb bag or locking tea strainer, or ¼  tsp ground clove 

  • ½ large lemon cut in wedges (remove seeds). Note: if using whole cloves, you can stud the flesh of lemons with the cloves and skip the herb bag.

  • ½ tsp fresh grate ginger or ¼ tsp ground ginger

  • One sprig fresh rosemary or sage (optional)

  • ½ cup dessert wine, or replace with 2-3 tablespoons of jam/preserves or maple syrup or to taste

Place the frozen fruit and juice or water in a heavy bottom pan, and bring to a quick boil, then turn down to medium heat until all the fruit is fully thawed (about 5 minutes). Add the fresh fruit, spices and dessert wine, preserves or sweetener, cover and simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more liquid if fruit is sticking. When finished, all of the ingredients will be equally soft and savory, but not too mushy.  Since fruit will have different sweetness levels, depending on the ripeness when harvested, taste the finished product for sweetness and feel free to add more jam or maple if needed (1-2 tsp at a time so you don’t over do it). Remove the herb bags, cinnamon sticks, rosemary or sage and citrus wedges. Can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days and it should freeze well.

Serve over oatmeal, vegan vanilla ice cream or enjoy as is. It was a huge hit at Friendsgiving, alongside amazing vegan pumpkin cheesecake. Note: feel free to take liberties, make substitutions and be creative!

SALON-STYLE:
CLIMATE ADAPTIVE DESIGN STUDIO OPEN HOUSE
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You are invited to join the us at the Climate-adaptive Design Studio Open House to view designs for a future Tarrytown waterfront, as envisioned by Cornell University Department of Landscape Architecture students.

The student designs reflect research they conducted about the Tarrytown waterfront, as well as input and feedback from local residents, business owners, non-profit organizational staff and municipal officials. (Special thanks to everyone who interacted with the studio by attending an in-person meeting or responding to our survey.)

The Open House will be held on Monday, December 12th from 1:30 to 4:30 pm at the Tarrytown Senior Center, 240 West Main Street. The event will feature a brief informational presentation, followed by a salon-style gathering, so that attendees can view designs and talk with students in small groups. You’re invited to drop in for a visit or stay for the entire event, but advance registration is required.

Please register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cad-tarrytown-open-house-tickets-467617806447.

Feel free to share this invitation with anyone who you think may be interested in attending! For more information about the CaD studio, visit tinyurl.com/CornellCaD. For questions about the Open House, contact Lyndsey Cooper, NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program Climate Outreach Specialist at Lyndsey.Cooper@dec.ny.gov.

Did you know:

A modern glass bottle takes 4000 years or more to decompose ~ An aluminum can may be recycled ad infinitum (forever!) ~ The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years.

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” —Franklin D.

Copyright © 2022

Contact us at Tarrytownenviro@gmail.com

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1 Depot Plaza, Tarrytown, NY 10591

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Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council · One Depot Plaza · Tarrytown, NY 10591 · USA

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