NEWS OF THE MONTH FROM THE TARRYTOWN ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL

NOVEMBER 2020
WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT
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This month, the birds are passing through — and staying in — Tarrytown: a new community solar project is cutting the ribbon, Dean gives you tips on keeping your home warm, and James helps you whip up a vegetable stock. Plant a tree, recycle your pumpkin, and come to our (Zoom) meeting. It’s tonight! (See the end for the link.)

KEEP TARRYTOWN BEAUTIFUL:
Birds to Watch For in the Neighborhood
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Passing through, and hanging around.

If you feed birds, you know the species that stay here -the chickadees, titmice, cardinals, song sparrows, woodpeckers.

All the beautiful neotropical songbirds have left – the warblers, vireos, orioles – and now is the time for the snowbirds – winter ducks and winter songbirds.  The Tarrytown Lakes Park is a great place to see these birds.  Winter ducks have started to arrive, so go up to the lakes and see if you can find the following:

    
Buffleheads (female on left)             Hooded merganser (female on left)


Ruddy duck

Other species that can be seen in the winter on the lakes are the Common Merganser, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Gadwall and, rarely, Canvasback, Redhead and Pintail.

But for the winter songbirds, this year is special.  Shortage of food across Canada’s boreal forest has caused several species of birds that usually stay in the north, to push south in amazing numbers. Be on the lookout for the following birds, at your feeders, or in the woods at the lakes or other woody areas:


Pine Siskin


Purple Finch

Red-breasted nuthatch


And -for the jackpot– Evening Grosbeaks 

(Coccothraustes vespertinus)

ASK DEAN:
KEEP THE HEAT IN
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Make the house feel warmer this winter, without spending a fortune. 

By Dean Gallea

Q: What can I do to save energy and money, make my house feel warmer this winter, and not pay an arm and a leg?

A: Here are some tips and techniques that really work, are easy to do, and don’t cost much of anything, or at least less than what they save you.

  1. Turn it down: Steven Wright quipped “It doesn’t matter what temperature the room is, it’s always room temperature!” Unless you have poor circulation or another ailment that makes you chilly, try setting your thermostat to 68 degrees or lower, and at night to 65 or less. If you don’t like heavy bedclothes, an electric blanket or underpad uses very little energy.

  2. Put it on: A sweater or fleece can be a cozy addition to your daily wear, even in the house, allowing you to drop the temp a couple more degrees without noticing.

  3. Seal it up: Time to take out the windows air conditioners and check older windows for leaky gaps around the edges: Cold air coming in means your costly heat is leaking out! There’s a great product called Mortite that’s been around for ages. Just press the pliable cord onto the gaps around windows you don’t plan to open for the season. In the spring, you just pull it away leaving no residue. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Mortite-19-oz-x-90-ft-Grey-Weatherstrip-and-Caulking-Cord-B2/100152937

  4. Close it in: Your exterior door(s) should have a “storm door” as well, which helps stop drafts around the edges on windy days. But many storm doors don’t close properly, defeating their purpose, so make sure yours closes snugly. Check the weather stripping on the main door as well, feeling for gaps that let cold air in. There are lots of options to re-strip a door, as well as the threshold seal.

  5. Shut it off: Lights, TVs and computers are pretty useless if nobody’s in the room. Newer computers can be put to “sleep” and reawaken almost instantly these days. And, you have surely replaced any incandescent light bulbs with LEDs, haven’t you? Con Ed supplies very nice LEDs at less than a dollar each! https://marketplace.coned.com/lightbulbs/164986809-TCP-A199W-enervee-score 

Did you know? Pollen, nectar and scent can be lost in the cultivation process of modern hybrids. Choose heirloom varieties instead! Your pollinators will thank you.

Do you have a garden that’s designed to help our pollinators? Let us know, and we’ll feature it in our newsletter! tarrytownenviro@gmail.com

KEEP TARRYTOWN BEAUTIFUL:
SEND YOUR PUMPKIN OFF IN STYLE
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Let’s Recycle Those Halloween Pumpkins!

Pumpkin recycling is in full swing in Tarrytown. Bring them to the Food Scrap Drop-off site near Parking lot “F”, toward Losee Park on the west side of the train tracks. Please put them on the ground to the right side of the collection bins or include them with your yard waste or leaf pil

You can also drop your pumpkin into the garden and let it decompose naturally. The seeds will sprout in the spring, and if you tend your vine, you’ll be carving the offspring of this year’s pumpkin for Halloween 2021!

Let us know if you have annual seeds to donate; we’ll be sowing them in Tarrytown on Earth Day 2021: tarrytownenviro@gmail.com

DON’T FORGET:
THE BAN IS HERE.
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NY DEC started enforcing New York’s plastic bag ban on October 19, 2020. 

The plastic bag ban, which went into effect on March 1, was not enforced per an agreement between the parties in a lawsuit brought by Poly-Pak Industries, Inc., et al, in New York State Supreme Court. 

For more information about the plastic bag ban, reusable bags, or to file a complaint about entities using plastic carryout bags, visit DEC’s website, email plasticbags@dec.ny.gov, or call (518) 402-8706.

Kudos to some of the nearby stores and businesses who offered alternatives to plastic bags although the bag ban was not being enforced: CVS, Walgreens, C- Town, River View Wines. This is not a comprehensive list.

Collection sites for plastic bags and film:

  • Stop and Shop on 119 have a collection bin next to the garbage can in front of the store. 

  • C-Town has a bin for plastic bags inside the store on the exit aisle past the cashiers. 

  • Home Depot has a recycling center for plastic bags/films, CFl bulbs, lead acid battery cores, rechargeable batteries, and cardboard.. The plastic bags/films are sold to Trex to be made into wood-alternative products.

COOKING MEAT-FREE
VEGETABLE STOCK FOR THE COLDER MONTHS!

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BY JAMES CARSEY

Whether you are an experienced home chef or just learning the how-to’s of cooking, there are certain essentials that every kitchen should always have on hand: A good chef’s knife, a paring knife, a solid cutting board, a selection of various oils and vinegars, flour, sugar, salt, pepper, and basic spices, for starters. But now that the summer is gone and the cold months are upon us, it’s soup season! You may want to add vegetable stock to your list of essentials. It can be frozen for later or used in soups, dressings, gravy, pastas, casseroles, pilafs, and cooking grains.

Besides its versatility, vegetable stock has essential vitamins and minerals that are good for health and wellness and supporting your immune system during the cold and flu season.

Instead of buying it at the grocery store, try making it at home. It has less sodium and preservatives and its extremely easy to make. There are many different vegetable stock recipes to choose from online or your favorite cook book. Below is a basic recipe that uses vegetables with neutral but savory flavors.

RECIPE: 

1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 large onion
2 stalks of celery (some leaves are okay)
2 large carrots
1 bunch green onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
8 sprigs of fresh parsley
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of salt
2 quarts of water

STEPS:

  • Scrub vegetables 
  • Cut vegetables into large pieces and set aside 
  • Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot and add the onion, celery, carrots, scallions, garlic, parsley, thyme, and bay leaves. Cook over high heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Ensure that you brown the vegetables and do not burn them. You may have to do this step in two stages depending on the size of your pot. 
  • Add the water and salt and bring to a boil. When stock reaches a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Make sure the pot is uncovered. 
  • Remove the larges pieces of vegetables with tongs and set them aside. Strain the remaining liquid into quart containers or small bowls, and allow to cool. Quart containers are great for storing the stock; you can freeze or keep in the refrigerator. 


Some Final Thoughts
Like most things in the culinary arts there are many ways and techniques to do a single task. It’s based on tradition, habit, and how your grandmother thought you as a child. Some stock aficionados will tell you never cut the vegetables, while others say cut the produce into small pieces. Some stock experts will tell you not to use a bay leaf while others swear buy it.  Stocks are user friendly and, unlike baking and other types of cooking, they are not an exact science. Feel free to do whatever works for you. Change a technique or ingredient based on your own perception or the feedback you receive.

You can also use the stock in other dishes. Comb the internet for some ways to incorporate it into other recipes.

If you have food aversions or allergies, you can always swap out or add any of the following: mushrooms, eggplant, the butt-ends of the asparagus, corn cobs, fennel stalks, bell peppers, pea pods, chard trimmings, celery root parings, basil, and potato parings.

Do your best to avoid throwing away the cooked vegetables in your garbage. Remember, food waste that ends up in landfills decays and produces nitrogen pollution, which eventually causes algae blooms and dead zones. So, compost or food scrap your leftovers.

Enjoy!

THE COMMUNITY SOLAR PROJECT
YOU’RE INVITED!
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A ribbon-cutting at the new Community Solar Project.

Westchester’s Largest Community Solar Ribbon-Cutting Event is Tuesday, November 10 at 2PM, at the Tarrytown Self Storage, 63 Cortlandt St.

This is a huge Community Solar installation with hundreds of high-output panels is at last on-line and producing Megawatt-hours of carbon-free, sustainable electricity to dozens of homes every day.

The panels are on the roof of the Tarrytown Self-Storage building at the foot of Wildey St.

Though this project is fully subscribed, anyone in the ConEd area who doesn’t already have solar on their home can subscribe to another Community Solar Project, either planned or operating, and save energy dollars in the process. Go to Sustainable Westchester’s Community Solar site to find out more: https://sustainablewestchester.org/solar/#benefits 

KEEP TARRYTOWN GREEN 2020
PLANT A TREE (OR SHRUB)!

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Planting trees in your neighborhood really is one of the best things you can do for the local environment and for the planet.

It’s no secret that trees help the environment, but you may be surprised by all the benefits that planting trees can provide.

Besides producing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide and contaminants from the air, trees have many other social, economic, and environmental benefits.

Flowering shrubs, too, offer similar benefits to trees, including giving protection and food to pollinators such as bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Read more here:

A chaste tree is low maintenance, blooms beautifully and supports pollinators — especially bees and butterflies.

NOISE POLLUTION 2020
LEAF BLOWERS DRIVING YOU CRAZY?

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As more of us are working from home, we are much more aware of surrounding noise and activities in our neighborhoods. Leaf blower use in Tarrytown was temporarily suspended in the beginning of May for health reasons during the pandemic (article here https://thehudsonindependent.com/tarrytown-re-issues-ban-on-leaf-blowers-during-covid-19-pandemic/)  but they resumed again on September 16. If you are have concerns, please contact the Village Board of Trustees https://www.tarrytowngov.com/village-trustees/faq/how-do-i-contact-members-of-the-board-of-trustees

Other communities in Westchester – including Larchmont and, just this week, Irvington – are restricting leaf-blower use far beyond Tarrytown‘s hard-to-enforce summertime ban. https://thehudsonindependent.com/irvington-bans-future-use-of-gas-powered-leaf-blowers

 

    

 

CLEANING WHAT’S MESSY
Tarrytown Bustling with Cleanup Efforts in October! 
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On October 3rd, Tarrytown residents and students from Hackley “Lake Keepers” Club hosted a masked, safe cleanup project at the Tarrytown Lakes, unaffiliated with Hackley School. It was a huge success, with 19 students and 6 residents of the Village collecting about 25 bags of refuse.

On October 17th, TEAC led a local, socially-distanced project in cooperation with the Riverkeeper Sweep, cleaning up an area near the Tarrytown Metro North station and other areas along the Riverfront. With about 15 volunteers, we pulled out 20 bags of trash and recyclables, estimated at about 440 pounds, which were picked up by the Tarrytown DPW workers.

The Friends of the Riverwalk were also working on the Riverfront at Pierson Park that day.

TEAC thanks everyone for their great effort!

SUPPORT THE NATURE CENTER: 
A HOLIDAY MARKET
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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.

Since the Covid, 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, NOVEMBER 5, 2020. 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

 

“Every emergency reveals that “impossible” things are actually doable. In this case, our society just demonstrated that it can choose to change more and faster than we ever imagined.”
— MIT President Rafael Reif, reflecting on lessons of the pandemic for climate change action.

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