NEWS OF THE MONTH FROM THE TARRYTOWN ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL

JULY 2022
WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT
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Welcome, July! Do you know what the Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council does? If not, check out the (long!) list of what we accomplished in the month of June. Gardens are growing, nourishing in more ways than one. Follow our suggestions for a Plastic-Free July, places to go to enjoy the outdoors, and learn what Tarrytown is up to. Try a yummy summer vegan lunch. And why not try the free Bee-line Bus and see where it takes you this summer?  Oh, and join our online meeting Thursday evening, July 7 at 7:00pm! Details are below.

LOVE YOUR VILLAGE
PARTICIPATING IN TEAC IS EASY… JUST COME TO A MEETING!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 next meeting will be held via Zoom, Thursday, July 7, 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!

SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPING:
SHAMES JCC LEADS THE WAY
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By Mai Mai Margules       

Planting a bed of pollinator-friendly herbs and flowers — including this yellow coreopsis — at Shames JCC on the Hudson.

June was National Pollinators Month and on June 11th, fifty families joined together to plant over 200 native American wildflowers on the campus of the Shames JCC on the Hudson in Tarrytown.

Previously, only turf had existed in that location, and now flowering native wildflowers will sustain pollinators and beautify the premises for years to come. So how did this come about?

In early March TEAC presented a new program, Green Landscape Champion (GLC),  to local business leaders attending the Tarrytown/ Sleepy Hollow Chamber of Commerce monthly meeting. We asked that local businesses and organizations lead the way in implementing eco-friendly landscaping practices by planting indigenous American wildflowers, forgoing pesticides and leaving some leaves in the fall to provide pollinator habitat on their properties.


Recognizing a Champion: Adam Weiss (center) with landscape plaque; Kerstin Erdbrink (left) and Mai Mai Margules, TEAC’s pollinator-championing volunteers.

Adam Weiss, CEO of Shames JCC on the Hudson, immediately stepped forward to sign on to the initiative and proposed landscaping the entire perimeter of the JCC with native plants that would be installed by children and member families.

 When asked what prompted his enthusiasm for the plan, Adam stated: “ The JCC nurtures community and nurturing plants is a good way to nurture community, it’s a good fit…  Aesthetics impacts experience and being close to nature is so important.”
Over the following three months, the TEAC Landscape Committee worked with the JCC staff to source reasonably priced plants and create a plan that would allow kids and their families to do the planting using a simple design concept.

Plants were color coded with stickers that matched popsicle sticks marked with stickers which were placed around the building’s foundation. This way shade plants were installed in certain areas while sun lovers were in others. Taller plants were in specific areas whereas shorter ones were placed to the front of the beds.

On Family Day children of all ages participated and had a great time choosing their plants and installing them. Afterward they painted river rocks to set near their plants. The result is a wonderful mix of nature and creative art that enlivens the landscape with color and life. Bees and butterflies are already visiting the young plants and the children can watch their plantings grow and thrive over time whenever they visit. 

We applaud the JCC and our other GLC participants for taking action today to ensure a sustainable future for our children. These community leaders are demonstrating true leadership and showing that simple changes can have an immediate and large scale positive impact.

As Adam put it, “ We’ve come a long way in a short time”. That’s wonderful news!

 

If your organization or business would like help in getting started with a sustainable landscaping project we are here to assist. Please reach out at https://tarrytownenvironmental.org/glc/  participants receive a certificate signed by the Village Administrator and a landscape plaque upon request.

VOLUNTEER EXCELLENCE:
MAXWEL LEE DAY
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The Village of Tarrytown declared June 22, 2022 as Maxwel Lee day to honor our dedicated TEAC student volunteer for his years of service to the Tarrytown Lakes.

He collected data, conducted scientific analyses, conducted a senior project about algae bloom at the Lakes, and organized clean-up days.

He co-founded Lake Keepers, an environment group at Hackley whose mission is to preserve the Tarrytown Lakes.

Maxwel just graduated from Hackley School and will be starting at Princeton in the Fall.

Maxwel’s younger brother Mason, will be taking over the baton on TEAC and as co-chair of Lake Keepers. Welcome, Mason Lee!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
A GARDEN OF HOPE
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By Barbara Goodman-Barnett, TEAC


Elevated raised beds in the Garden of Hope, Suffern. The beds are easy to access for those in wheelchairs.

Creating a community garden can be a rewarding and challenging undertaking. If planned efficiently it can help solve the diverse needs of communities including food insecurities and mental health. 

The Garden of Hope, located in Suffern NY, was designed to be a therapeutic, edible garden as a resource to supplement the food pantries in Rockland County.

The concept for this inspirational garden was created in 2011 at a time when the food pantries in Rockland County were experiencing budget cuts. The Catholic Community Services of Rockland along with Good Samaritan Hospital initiated this project that would benefit the community in many ways.

A commitment was made to create an oasis of plants and vegetation for the community that would booster the local food pantries and offer therapeutic support to the patients and staff of Good Samaritan Hospital. They brought their vision to the community and staff of Good Samaritan Hospital and the Garden of Hope was established.


Anne Meore, licensed master social worker and registered horticulture therapist, works with a client at The Garden of Hope.

Ann Meier, Horticultural Therapist and Garden Projects Coordinator at Good Samaritan Hospital believed that the garden would be beneficial to their community. “The garden’s value is not only in growing the perfect tomatoes but also in the process of getting there. We don’t just grow food; we grow relationships. We grow people,” says Ann Meier.

The Garden of Hope at Good Samaritan Hospital is a 32′ x 40′ growing space, which is tended to and maintained by the generous donation of time and effort of volunteers.  The garden features a fully-irrigated planting system, as well as a wheel-chair accessible planting bed and vertical growing walls. In addition to supplying fresh produce to local food pantries the Garden of Hope offers horticultural therapy, wellness and health programming.

Read more:

https://www.advancingcarehv.com/planting-a-seed-feeding-a-community/

http://www.planthropy.com/contact.html

OUR COMMUNITY GARDEN:
A SALVE FOR THE MODERN WORLD
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By Lynne Lori Sylvan 

The author, in her community garden plot.

I’m hurtling forward, dodging bullets while clinging to the top of a tank. 

I roll off my futon, pajamas wet with sweat, and nuzzle my dog, trying to shake off my nightmare.  

The Ukrainian tweens and teens, whom I teach three times a week on zoom, haven’t spoken much about the war (nor have I asked), but their trauma has sunk into  my bones and muscles.

One of the best ways for me to decompress is to go to my garden plot and water.  I never use the long hose against the school wall.  I relish the changing sound of my watering can as it goes from empty to full.

Carrying a bucket of water in one hand and a watering can in the other, I inch towards my plot. Watching the soil quaff down the water I offer it, my troubles sink down into the earth with the water.

I grab a few leaves of purslane and pop them into my mouth.  Tastier than fish oil and free.  Chewing a rosemary needle till I can’t take the resinous taste anymore, I collect a few lavender leaves to smell later on.  I harvest some bok choy and lemongrass to stir fry.

The fireflies give me my cue to leave.  A deer watches me pad out of the garden.

Lynne Lori Sylvan is an English teacher, screenwriter, actor and Tarrytown resident who grows food.

It takes a Village…
JUNE TEAC HIGHLIGHTS
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By Rachel Tieger, TEAC Co-Chair

Thanks to all of our dedicated volunteers, TEAC achieved much this past month!

In June:

  • We co-hosted a clothing and household swap with Cari Newton from The Future Vintage on 6/18 at the TaSH farmers market in Patriots Park. Thousands of items were exchanged and went to loving homes, which kept them out of the waste stream.

  • We hosted a table at the TaSH on 6/18 during the swap to share environment tips and distributed 100 butterfly friendly orange cosmos seedlings along with free garden advice.
  • Our Waste Warriors were hard at work helping shoppers make informed decisions about which bin to deposit their unwanted items, to ensure things were properly recycled and composted. Volunteers needed!
  • We attended the Federation Conservationist of Westchester County (FCWC) Annual Meeting at Untermyer Gardens
  • In collaboration with the Village Parks Dept., Black eyed Susan, butterfly weed and aromatic aster seedlings were planted at the Tarrytown Recreation Center to form the foundation for a low maintenance native perimeter garden.
  • Our Landscaping Committee worked with several Tarrytown businesses to install pollinator plantings on their premises as part of our Green Landscaping Champion program. Tarrytown/ Sleepy Hollow Chamber of Commerce, Hair on the Hudson, Horsefeathers, Tarrytown Community Opportunity Center and Transom Bookshop planted pollinator friendly planters on their properties. Beautiful new native gardens now welcome clients and pollinators alike at Rey Insurance and KeyBank!
  • The Tarrytown Parks Dept in consultation with the TEAC Landscaping committee planted a new native shade garden grounded by clethra and red twig dogwood shrubs, at the Hamilton entrance of Neperan Park. 

  • Throughout the growing season we are maintaining our public gardens and planters around town. If anyone is interested in volunteering to help with the gardens or anything we do, please contact tarrytownenviro@gmail.com 

GREEN LANDSCAPING:
Village Gets More Electrified
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Tarrytown has received a $5000 grant from NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Communities program, an incentive program for municipalities to take actions that further the State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. The grant was awarded in response to the Village’s success in promoting Sustainable Westchester’s EnergySmart Homes community campaign to homeowners. Enough of us responded – by switching from gas- or oil-fired heat to electric heat pumps, or by adding significant energy-efficient upgrades to their homes – to qualify for the grant. The money is being used to purchase electric-powered landscape-maintenance equipment for the Village Dept of Parks and Recreation. According to Parks Foreman Anthony Ross, the Village will buy two commercial-grade electric lawn mowers, along with several high-power electric leaf blowers, plus additional equipment including extra batteries and chargers.

Anthony also mentioned an ambitious, if tentative plan to build, somewhere on public property, a storage shed with a solar roof and batteries. That would allow charging landscape equipment without the need for connection to grid power, using a mini version of a DC microgrid. Microgrids are a concept that will become more useful as the build-out of distributed renewable power generation gains momentum. The energy storage within a microgrid will let communities ride out failures of the main power grid, as well as increase the overall efficiency of renewable energy distribution.

RECYCLE, AND RECYCLE:
SAYING GOOD-BYE TO SINGLE-USE PLASTICS
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Why bother reducing the amount of plastic that makes its way into your recycling bin each week?

Although preferable to sending your plastics to the landfill, it turns out that plastic isn’t the easiest material to recycle. It takes a lot of energy and water to recycle plastics.

Additionally, many single-use plastics many of us go through on a daily basis (snack wrappers, plastic straws, plastic lined paper coffee cups, etc.) are not able to be recycled at most facilities.

Reducing and even eliminating these single use items from your life is a powerful way to say no to the wasteful and toxic stream of plastic waste that is polluting our earth and oceans. It may not always be convenient or possible to avoid single use plastics, but it can be fun and empowering to try!

Here are five easy ways to get started: 

  1.  Make a “zero waste kit” to take with you before heading out for the day. This can include things you have around the house: A fork and spoon wrapped in a cloth napkin, a reusable to-go cup for coffee or tea (a mason jar works great for iced or hot drinks), a water bottle, and a tote bag. Leave your kit in the car or by the front door so you remember to grab it on your way out. 

  1.  Switch to bar soap – for hands, body, hair, and dishes!  That’s four items you no longer need to buy in a plastic container. 

  1.  Store your food without plastic wrap. There are many ways to get creative for this one: store leftovers in glass containers (save your pasta sauce jars!), simply place a plate over a bowl of food you wish to cover, or you can purchase beeswax coated cloth or reusable bowl covers.

  1.  Try loose leaf tea. Tea bags often come wrapped in plastic, and most tea bags are made with plastic, which unfortunately breaks down when placed in boiling water. Try making your tea with a tea strainer and loose leaf tea. It’s better for you, and the planet! 

  1.  Shop the TaSH! This year our market vendors have gone single-use-plastics free. If you get a bite to eat at the market, it will come in a compostable container. Compost it at the market, or add it to your bag/ container of food scraps at home and bring it down to the food-scraps drop off site by the train station. When possible, bring your own refillable container instead! A cup that can be used and washed over and over again is still gentler on the planet than getting a new compostable cup each time you buy a

And one final tip: sign up for Plastic Free July! Head over to plasticfreejuly.org to find out more. It’s a great way to get inspiration and support on your plastic free journey. Follow TEAC_10591 on instagram for more tips for reducing plastic waste, find out what local business are doing, and share what changes your making by tagging #plasticfreejulytarrytown 

VEGAN RECIPE of the MONTH:
CHICKPEA SALAD SANDWICH
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By Cari NewtonThis recipe is very versatile. Keep the mayo, mustard and chickpeas as called for in the recipe, then you can omit, add, and substitute with what you have on hand for the rest. It’s fun to experiment with different ingredients and change up the recipe, and somehow it always turns out great! This is a great recipe to make ahead to have on hand in the fridge for lunches and also a crowd pleasing potluck dish.Ingredients

  • 2 cans of chickpeas – lightly mashed with a fork or a few pulses in a food processor do the trick.
  • 1 clove of garlic minced – roasted garlic is also good here, just mash with chickpeas
  • 2 carrots – shredded
  • 2 stacks of celery in thin slices
  • 1 tbsp red bell pepper – finely chopped
  • 2 – 4 tbsp red or green cabbage – thin sliced and chopped
  • 1 tbsp mustard – yellow, Dijon, stone ground, or any other fancy mustard
  • 1-1/2 tbsp chopped fresh dill or 1-1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1 cup vegan mayo – home made, Vegenaise, or even Hellman’s makes a tasty vegan mayo
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp onion – finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped dill pickles or dill relish
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions
Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix well. Serve with lettuce on bread or buns, on salad, or with chips.  Enjoy!

WATCH YOUR ENERGY USE!
WESTCHESTER POWER UPDATE
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Customers enrolled in the Westchester Power program, which delivers a fixed rate 100% renewable energy electricity supply to Con Ed customers, received notices recently explaining that all households will automatically revert to the Con Ed energy supply after June 30. The Westchester Power program consolidates energy supply customers in 29 municipalities to secure favorable energy rates at a fixed cost. The most recent two-year contract during which customers were charged 7.4 cents per kilowatt hour expired on June 30.

In this volatile energy market, Westchester Power had been seeking an extension of the contract agreement with Constellation Energy, the current supplier, in order to go out to bid for a longer term contract in what is anticipated to be a more stable market later this year, but after several attempts Westchester Power was not able to secure a new contract at the rate agreed upon rate by participating municipalities. As a result, all Westchester Power customers will automatically revert to the Con Ed energy supply which is charged at a rate that fluctuates daily. You can learn more about Con Ed rates on their website. This means that energy bills are likely going to be much different (and more than likely higher),  given the current supply market.

Westchester Power is in the process of trying to secure a longer term fixed rate contract, and if it succeeds, residents participating in the program will once again be automatically opted-in to the fixed-rate supplier unless they opt out. Residents who previously opted-out of the Westchester Power program will not see any change in their supply and will not be contacted by Westchester Power, although they always have the opportunity to opt into the program at any time. 

For more information about Westchester Power, visit their website, call their customer service representative at (914) 242-4725 or call the Village Administrator’s office at (914) 631-1785.

SAVE GAS THIS SUMMER!
Take a BUS!

 

 

GUERRILLA POLLINATING:
MILKWEEDING TARRYTOWN
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By Suzy Allman, TEAC memberOne of the benefits of TEAC involvement is learning how simple acts can make a small difference to the creatures with whom we share Tarrytown.Last year, I learned (from Mai Mai Margules, who continues to write our favorite pollinator articles for this newsletter) that only the milkweed plant can feed monarch caterpillars. Our best-known butterfly, facing steep decline because of loss of milkweed (among other things)!So in late fall, we found milkweed seeds by a lonely roadside in Millbrook, New York, and brought them back to Tarrytown to spread. We were hoping our seeds, broadcast in the cherry tree meadow north of the lakes’ causeway, would spread and grow, and maybe become the progenitors for an entire nursery of green monarch caterpillars.

We didn’t dig or plant every one of the seeds; we simply let the white fluff — the coma — carry the seeds through the meadow. This we did in late October, where the ground was too cold to force the seeds to sprout, but not yet frozen.

And here they are! Some milkweed have actually bloomed this year, while others are still in their leaf-only stage.

But leaf-only is good, too; the caterpillars eat and find shelter in the leaves.

SUMMER ACTIVITIES IN OUR AREA:
THINGS TO DO NEARBY IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS
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by Dean and RachelUntermeyer Park on Broadway in YonkersThis beautifully-restored, classic Greek-inspired garden has a lot to offer visitors, and is open to the public for free every day, 9am to 7pm. Features both native and imported plantings, fountains, amazing architectural features, and picnic areas.
945 North Broadway, Yonkers, NY 10701
https://www.untermyergardens.orgFREE Jazz on the HudsonThis annual series operated by Jazz Forum Arts features concerts by regional Jazz artists of excellence, chosen by Forum proprietors Mark Morganelli and Ellen Prior, every weekday evening, 6:30-8pm. They say “The free concerts are held at various Hudson Riverfront sites: Dobbs Ferry Waterfront Park [Wednesdays], Lyndhurst Mansion [Thursdays] & Pierson Park [Fridays] in Tarrytown, Horan’s Landing [Tuesdays in August] in Sleepy Hollow and Henry Gourdine Park [Mondays] in Ossining. Please join us!” Find out more: https://jazzforumarts.org/summer-concertsMusic in Pierson Park

If Jazz is not your cup of java, try one of the Tarrytown Recreation Department’s concerts at the bandshell in Pierson Park, Thursday evenings from 7pm-9pm through Sept 1st. Scheduled bands include Gentlemen of Soul, The Book-Ends, Tangled Vine, Juke Joint, Splashing Dominicans, Powder Finger, Bliss/Super-hero, and the Billy Frenz Group. Picnicking is encouraged, but be sure to carry out everything you bring. https://www.tarrytownny.gov/parks-and-recreation-department/news/summer-concert-series-in-pierson-park-every-thursday-starting

Tarrytown Lakes Trails

Walking trails abound along and around both of the Tarrytown Lakes. There is a paved trail going northeast beginning near the Lakes parking lot at the foot of Sunnyside Ave, connecting at the far end with the North and South County Trailway system. There’s a great unpaved walking trail going northwest from the same parking area, alongside Wilson Park, with some interesting side trails along the way towards Tower Hill Drive. The trail crosses an old rail spur bridge, and continues to Wilson Park Drive where it joins a new trail extension leading down through woods past the Sleepy Hollow HS ball fields, joining the Old Croton Aqueduct trail. Also, try the unpaved walking trail along the lake shoreline northwest from corner of the parking lot, crossing over Neperan Road before the causeway to another marked trail network between the road and the paved trail. A good map is available here: https://www.tarrytownny.gov/parks-and-recreation-department/files/tarrytown-lakes-trails-map

O’Hara Nature Center in Irvington
This beautiful environmental education center is managed by the Village of Irvington, and features a number of native gardens, swales, and demonstrations of how pollinating plantings can be adapted to different kinds of terrain. 170 Mountain Rd, Irvington. Open dawn to dusk.
https://www.theirvingtonwoods.org/ohara-nature-center/gardens

FOOD SCRAP RECYCLING:
COMPOST BIN AND RAIN BARREL SALE!
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Are you backyard composting or gathering rainwater to keep your plants and garden refreshed? Take advantage of this sale to get started!Visit Westchester.compostersale.com to see what is being offered at this community sale! Prices are listed on the website.BE QUICK! ORDERS MUST BE PLACED BY JULY 8TH!

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.

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