NEWS OF THE MONTH FROM THE TARRYTOWN ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL

MARCH 2021
WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT
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This month, we’re celebrating a ban on those pernicious packing peanuts, a win for the pollinators in Tarrytown, and a real step forward for greenhouse gas emission reduction. We’re seriously looking forward to a River Sweep this year, ‘cuz it’s out on the water! Cook up a warm and comforting lemon soup, then grab a glass of wine and come to our (Zoom) meeting. It’s Thursday night! (See the end for the link.)

GOOD BUSINESS:
GET CERTIFIED AS A BIKE-FRIENDLY NEW YORK BUSINESS
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Polystyrene Foam Ban


Photo credit: Sierra Club

In 2020, New York State adopted the nation’s strongest statewide ban of expanded polystyrene, single-use foam food containers, and polystyrene packaging materials known as packing peanuts.

Polystyrene is a concern for the environment, as well as human health and safety.

It is difficult to recycle and one of the top 10 contributors of environmental litter, causing negative impacts to wildlife, waterways, and other natural resources, as well as littering communities and natural areas.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Toxicology Program has listed styrene, a chemical found in expanded polystyrene foam, as a reasonably anticipated human carcinogen that can be transferred from expanded polystyrene foam containers into food and beverages that people consume.

CLEAN NEW YORK:
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REDUCING GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS IN NEW YORK


Efforts over the past decade to reduce emissions from the power sector have made New York’s electricity some of the cleanest in the nation, and now transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York.

The State is also working to reduce GHG emissions (including methane and hydrofluorocarbons) from buildings, food waste and agriculture.

And the State has huge aspirations for future improvements…

  • Limit statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 40% of 1990 levels by 2030 and 85% by 2050

  • A plan to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across New York State’s economy

  • 70% renewable electricity by 2030

  • 100% zero emission electricity by 2040

Read more @ https://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/99223.html

POLLINATOR PATHWAYS
UPDATE: A NEW GARDEN AT THE WARNER LIBRARY 

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By Mai Mai Margules

In April, TEAC in collaboration with Friends of the Library and dedicated volunteers will break ground on a 15’ x 10’ native plant garden.

This demonstration garden will benefit pollinators and residents alike. For our pollinators it will create much needed habitat and food sources. For our residents it will bring joy and awareness of the vital role that pollinators play within our ecosystem.

If you haven’t already contributed, please join our crowdfunding to support pollinators at Warner Library and throughout the Village. Thanks to everyone’s huge generosity we are more than halfway there.

We now have a generous matching program through a sponsorship from Rey Insurance, so your donation goes further!

rey insurance logo

ROLL ME OVER IN THE…
CLOVER POWER

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By Mai Mai Margules

This month, in honor of St. Patty’s Day and pollinators, we are celebrating clover!

Clover has been the unofficial national flower of Ireland for centuries. The Druids were said to revere three leaf clovers because the number three was considered mystical and a source of power. Later in the fourth century St. Patrick used the three leaves of the clover to explain and convert the inhabitants of Ireland to Christianity.

Today we recognize clover’s power, but for different reasons.

The clover plant is an ecological powerhouse, restoring our soil and feeding pollinators, all the while creating a lush green, low maintenance lawn for us.                        

 

  • Clover Feeds Pollinators: Early emerging pollinators such as native bees coming out of hibernation need food sources. Clover provides nourishment to bees when other plants are not yet in bloom. Dandelions and violets are also favorite food sources. Without these early season plants many pollinators cannot survive. Studies have linked bee decline to the eradication of clover, dandelions and other flowering “weeds”. So let’s rethink our lawn concept and allow these beneficial early bloomers to be a part of a bee friendly lawn. Allow your clover to flower and feed a hungry bee!

  • Free Fertilizer:  Clover improves soil health by fixing nitrogen in the soil. As a legume crop like beans and peas, it transforms soil nitrogen into organic fertilizer,enriching the soil and all surrounding plants. Clover has a deep root system that aerates the soil and deters weeds. This makes it great for erosion control on slopes and difficult areas. It also serves as a living green mulch that cools the soil and can be interspersed in garden beds.

  • Lush Low Maintenance Lawn: If you want a lush green lawn from early spring into winter clover is the magic ingredient to add. White clover is drought tolerant and hardy, standing up well to heavy foot traffic, especially when mixed with grasses. It’s easy and affordable to grow ($10 per lb which covers 1000 sq ft). It doesn’t require added fertilizer and co-exists nicely with grass.

  • Resists Pet Urine: No more discolored lawn patches because of our best friends, clover is impervious to insult in this area. It grows quickly and can rapidly fill in bare areas.

  • Healthy and Natural: Adding clover to your lawn can negate the need for chemical fertilizers and herbicides. You can enjoy a lush lawn without adding harmful chemicals that poison the environment and put our families at risk. This fact has led to a massive PR campaign waged by agricultural chemical companies after WWII to label clover and other beneficial native plants as “weeds”. Because herbicides kill broad leaf plants it became necessary to convince the public that broad leaf plants were weeds to be eradicated. The humble clover was a threat to a billion dollar industry that needed to keep selling toxic products to make a profit. The good news is that we are wising up.

 

Anthony Ross, Tarrytown’s Parks Foreman, is a big fan of adding clover to lawn space. In a recent re-seeding project at Patriots Park he planted white clover mixed with fescue grasses to create a “forever, fast growing lawn” along the Park’s busy walkways. The Village does not use herbicides or pesticides as lawn maintenance and clover acts as a natural fertilizer.

As homeowners it’s our job to reject Madison Avenue’s hit job on clover. It’s right up there with “healthy cigarettes”.

So let’s give clover its proper respect and plant some this spring. Order some low growing white clover seeds and overseed them into your existing lawn. All you have to do is mow your grass, rake thatch away and spread your seeds evenly (you can mix with soil, sand  or compost for easier distribution). After sowing, water the planting site deeply, and keep the soil surface moist until the clover germinates (about 4-6 weeks).

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day ~ TEAC will be distributing free clover packets at the TaSH market booth on March 27 so please stop by!

GET OUTSIDE:
GO WHERE THE SNOW’S GONE: USE SNOW DEPTH MAPS
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A forest road in Brendan T. Byrne State Forest, in New Jersey, in late February. Even as Tarrytown was under a foot of snow, snow depth maps showed that South Jersey had clear ground — perfect for hiking or biking.

It’s not just COVID quarantining that can get you stir-crazy this time of year. With a couple feet of snow dumped on Westchester in the past month, it’s been a little more challenging to get out and hike and (especially) bike.

I use snow depth maps to identify places that are mostly free of snow and in good shape for hiking and biking. I’ve found the one at WeatherStreet.com, updated hourly, to be fairly accurate.

To use these maps, go to WeatherStreet.com. At the top of the page on the right-hand side, type in a city and state, plus the word “snow” (e.g., Trenton NJ snow) and hit return. In the resulting page, scroll down to the second map. Any areas on the map that are green are snow-free.

The map has led me to do some late-winter exploration that I maybe wouldn’t have done otherwise. The Pinelands in South Jersey, especially, have been so interesting to check out, and places of incredible stillness, solitude and scenery.

Of course, there will always be patches of snow in low-lying or wooded areas, especially where foot traffic has compacted the snow into ice patches. But the maps are a good indicator of where you can go, where the snow isn’t.


Snow-free Batsto Village, in Wharton State Forest, New Jersey.

RECIPE OF THE MONTH
SOUP’S ON!
By Rachel Tieger, TEAC Co-chair
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Photo credit: https://www.shanazrafiq.com/

No Recipe Required! 

There’s nothing more comforting than a big bowl of soup and a nice glass of red wine on a chilly evening.

To that end, my new favorite food is Lemon Red Lentil Soup! A friend turned me on to this last year (based on a NY Times recipe), and since I started making it in January, I have been making it at least once a week.

I use whatever veggies are in my fridge and pantry from the farmers market the week before, yet it always is delicious.

The only constant ingredients are red lentils,vegetable stock, lemon, and water. I don’t measure anything so sometimes it is thicker than others and sometimes I use lots of spices like chili peppers, curry seasonings and ginger.

This meal is easy on the wallet and kind to animals… and the environment!

 

Basic method for those who love directions😉

  • Saute onion, garlic or shallot in olive oil for a few mins until translucent

  • Add hard veggies like carrots, turnips, daikon radish with desired spices (I use curry, ginger, cayenne or red pepper flakes)

  • Add white wine or water to just cover ingredientss and stir and cook for a few minutes.

  • Add about a cup of rinsed red lentils (more for a thicker soup/stew)

  • Pour in about 8-10 cups water (I use boiling water from my electric tea kettle)

  • Stir in two tablespoons or so of veggie base (I love veggie Better than Bouillon). Note you can replace the water with prepared veggie stock instead of base, or skip it all together and just use more herbs, spices and salt.

  • Add two or more lemons – cut up in chunks and seeded as best as possible

  • Cover and simmer for 5-7ish mins

  • Once the carrots are al dente add softer veggies like potatoes, sweet potato, broccoli (I like using the peeled broccoli stalk cut in chunks)

  • Simmer for another 30-40 mins (or more), until everything is nicely cooked

  • You can use an immersion blender or blender to partially blend giving the soup a creamy rich texture but leaving some nice chunks

 

Serve with crusty bread and a spicy/savory red wine…yum!!

Cheers ~ Rachel

SAVE THE DATE
CALLING ALL KAYAKERS: RIVERKEEPER RIVER SWEEP: MAY 1ST
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PUT THIS ON YOUR CALENDAR: The Village of Tarrytown is looking forward to the annual Riverkeeper Sweep Cleanup on May 1st, 2021. It will be held from 9am to 12pm. 

This year we are planning a water-bound cleanup for experienced paddlers who have access to their own boat. Please contact us at tarrytownenviro@gmail.com to register.

CHILL:
TEAC “DEEP BREATH” MOMENT
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The “Treaty Oak” in Jacksonville, Florida, is a huge Southern live-oak tree nearly 300 years old that is an ecosystem in itself. It has various mosses growing on it and limbs that extend to the ground to create other trees. The tree has a trunk over 25 feet in circumference, it rises to a height of 70 feet, and its crown spreads over 145 feet. The root system is protected from damage by a boardwalk. Arborists expect the tree to live for hundreds more years.

TO-DO LIST FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Start Celebrating Earth Day Early – 11 Ways to Restore Our Earth
________________________These ideas were adapted from a larger list posted on Earthday.org’s website: https://www.earthday.org/take-action-now/

  1. Enjoy spending time outside? Pick up trash while enjoying your outdoor activities. It is a great way to save that plastic bottle cap from the landfill while you are on your morning walk! Post photos on social media and make sure to use tag #tarrytownearthday
  2. Change your diet to fight climate change! Try participating in meatless Mondays! Check out some plant-based recipes. 
  3. Calculate your personal carbon footprint and make changes to reduce it — it’s something we can all do to help the planet.
  4. Plastic pollution is one of the most important environmental problems that we face today. Calculate your personal plastic consumption, then use our tips to help break free from single-use plastics!
  5. We’ve missed decades worth of opportunities for climate action, too. Now, we’re running out of time for mistakes. Contact your representative and tell them that the health of people and the planet should be the top priority.
  6. Fight food waste by composting! Participate in Tarrytown’s foodscrap recycling program (or look into programs in your neighbhorhod) or compost in your backyard.
  7. Convince your school district or office building to choose reusable utensils, trays, and dishes in the cafeteria.
  8. Help protect pollinators by pledging to go pesticide-free! We need pollinators to ensure the persistence of our crop yields and ensure healthy sustainable ecosystems now and in the future.
  9. Buy local food to reduce the distance from farm to fork. Buy straight from the farm, frequent your local farmers’ market, or join a local food co-op.
  10. Practice sustainable fashion! Donate your old clothes and home goods instead of throwing them out. When you need something, consider buying used items. Used does not always mean unfashionable!
  11. Always read labels! Use environmentally-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products to avoid washing toxic chemicals down the drain!

LOVE YOUR VILLAGE
JOINING TEAC IS EASY. JUST COME TO A (ZOOM) MEETING.
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TEAC relies on volunteers to keep things moving, and we usually meet on the 1st Thursday in Village Hall, One Depot Plaza, at 7:00 PM.

In light of the pandemic, we’ve moved our monthly meetings online — Zoom-style for now — so you can still pitch in. The next regular TEAC meeting will be on THURSDAY, MARCH 4, 2021. The meetings are open to all.

To join the meeting, launch your Zoom app, then use the following login credentials:

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88350148950?pwd=VmxDc1hDZFkrMVpmZFlnc2tZbUFRZz09

Meeting ID: 883 5014 8950
Passcode: 527878

“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 © 2021 Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council, All rights reserved.
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Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council

One Depot Plaza

Tarrytown, NY 10591

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