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, November 3, 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 OCTOBER
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TEAC thanks all our volunteers for their work in October. Last month, we:

  • hosted our annual Eco Fair at the TaSH

  • planted over 150 native shrubs on cleared land at the lakes in collaboration with the village and DEC to help protect our wildlife, reduce erosion and keep invasives from overtaking the area

  • attended the village Planning Board meeting

  • maintained public gardens and planters (ongoing), and 

  • gave away hundreds of native seeds and shared information at the TaSH farmers market.

REFORESTING TARRYTOWN
TEAMING UP TO PLANT A FOREST
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By Suzy Allman, TEAC member

A lakeside patch of land, once covered with invasive plants, offered the perfect opportunity to re-plant with native species.


A weedy patch of invasive ailanthus, bittersweet, poison ivy and more is now bristling with native trees and shrubs in protective sleeves (foreground), safe from the Tarrytown deer herd.

In spring 2022, a quarter-acre patch of lakeshore invasives was cleared by the village, making way for a promising new project. Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council (TEAC) recommended a reforesting of the shoreline, and the Village applied for assistance from Trees for Tribs, a program of New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary Program.

With trees and plant design secured, volunteers recruited and hole-digging muscle and mulch provided by the Village DPW, TEAC volunteers and Trees for Tribs leaders “installed” a living forest at the edge of this once-forgotten patch of pretty Upper Lake shoreline.

Shoreline trees and shrubs are vital to the health of a lake, as their roots filter out chemical run-off from nearby roads and lawns and stabilize sediment that might otherwise fall into the lake. For the Tarrytown Lakes — products of unnatural damming that affects a balanced hydrology — this is all the more important.

An aerial view of the lake at planting time reveals the extent to which green algae grows just below the lake’s surface. The new plantings will help filter and contain sediment and chemical run-off from surrounding roads and lawns in the watershed.

Digging, planting, staking and mulching all 200 plants was the work of a weekend (here’s a little video). The shrubs and trees will take a few years to grow to the point where the plastic tubes — protection from hungry deer — can come off. TEAC will monitor the plants and make periodic adjustments to the tubes, while the village DPW will make sure the plants are watered through the summer growing season.


Volunteers plant, stake and mulch the new forest.

The new forest is an interesting community of oak, dogwood, serviceberry, spicebush, highbush cranberry and more. But I am most enthusiastic about the beach plum plantings. I first tasted beach plum along the Riverwalk in Croton, where they’ve been planted in abundance and consistently bear fruit in the late summer. These plums are small and very flavorful, tasting exactly like their larger supermarket counterparts.

Beach plums thrive in sandy, nutrient-poor soil, perfect for the little patch we’ve planted by the lake.


Beach Plum

Volunteer!

If you’re in the area and are curious, park in the small gravel lot at the corner of Tower Hill Road and Neperan Road, and carefully cross the street to the new “forest”. Each tube is labeled with the name of the plant it’s protecting.

TEAC depends on volunteers to keep an eye on this project. We appreciate any help in keeping the area clean of litter, especially fishing line.

If you’re interested in planting trees for the Trees for Tribs program, check out this link and scroll down to “Volunteer Opportunities” for other Tribs planting projects and join in. Plantings take place in spring and fall. There are also opportunities to provide maintenance work for these projects.

The Tarrytown team. TEAC extends a special note of thanks to Tarrytown Village Deputy Clerk Alissa Fasman (left), who worked to secure the Trees for Tribs grant and dug in on the day!

Let it Rot: 
PRESERVE THE MULCH YOUR GARDEN OFFERS
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by Mai Mai Margules, TEAC member

Recently a friend related a story from her early gardening days.

She had spent spring and summer installing a large perennial garden at her new home and as fall approached she knew that she needed to mulch her beds. Visiting friends in Queens she noticed numerous neatly stacked bags of leaves by the curb. She had a eureka moment, realizing that here was free mulch for the taking and convinced her husband to load the entire car with the leaf bags and proceeded to drive them back to Westchester!

A northern cardinal forages among dried leaves.

Fallen leaves, either whole or shredded, make a great natural mulch free of chemicals and dyes. They protect and nurture the soil, adding nutrients as they decay, acting as a natural fertilizer and protecting the soil from erosion. As noted on the USDA website, microorganisms are the life of the soil and they need food and nutrients constantly. The more leaves you leave in your garden the healthier the soil. 

Mulch Mow – Don’t Blow

For your lawn area, mulch-mow the leaves that fall there. To mulch-mow leaves, just shred the leaves with your lawn mower. Set the mower at a high setting (around 4”) and mow. The leaves will blend nicely into your turf adding nutrients and helping the soil resin moisture. You are saving money and time and doing your part to reduce greenhouse gasses which are created when leaves are blown and carted away to landfills. In the spring you will be rewarded with a healthier lawn and garden. 

Help Birds and Butterflies 

Fallen leaves are baby bird food!  In the non lawn areas of your property please leave the leaves whole in garden beds, perimeter areas and under trees.

Whole fallen leaves along with perennial stalks and grasses provide crucial winter habitat for pollinators, birds, and many small animals. Most of our native bees and butterflies overwinter in place; they do not migrate and need fallen leaves to survive winter. Birds forage all winter amongst fallen leaves and in the spring feed their chicks the insects and caterpillars that emerge from the leaves. Baby birds can only eat insects so it’s necessary that there be a plentiful supply when spring arrives. When we leave the leaves we are helping our native wildlife survive!

ENERGY NOTES:
POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

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By Dean Gallea, TEAC Co-ChairAt their August 15th meeting, the Board of Trustees Tarrytown resolved to join the Westchester Power Solar Credits opt-out. This new program provides guaranteed savings on electric bills for all households eligible to receive Energy Assistance from their utility. These households are normally not eligible to participate in the Community Choice Aggregation program, through which households receive a negotiated fixed rate for 100% renewable electric energy. Beginning in spring, https://sustainablewestchester.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/IMAGE07.png2023, the Solar Credits program will provide monthly savings of between 5% and 10% (estimated to be about $9/month on average) on electric bills for Energy Assistance customers! Since savings are guaranteed, the program will automatically be applied, though households are able to opt out of these savings if they wish.Also being supported in Tarrytown by a 9/6 BoT Resolution is the NY Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bonds Act, aka the “Environmental Bond Act”. This is on the “flip side” of the ballot for the Nov 8, 2022 election; early voting is also possible through Nov 6th. If passed, this multi-faceted Bond Act will prevent contamination and pollution in our drinking water, update failing water and sewer infrastructure, reduce pollution that causes climate change and preserve forests, wetlands and other wildlife habitats. At least 35% of total funds will be invested in disadvantaged communities, those most affected by pollution. TEAC encourages everyone to vote YES on this important State initiative.Con Ed’s Grid Rewards program has ended for the 2022 cooling season, having saved megawatt-hours of energy and avoided running fossil-fueled “peaker” power plants that otherwise would have come online at high-demand times. Grid Rewards uses data from your Con Ed Smart Meter, combined with an app, letting enrollees earn cash back by taking simple actions a few times per year, like raising central air conditioner set points for a couple of hours. GridRewards will notify members when these events occur. While it’s good to save electricity year-round, GridRewards events are so important that Con Ed is willing to pay you real money to reduce at peak times. During 2021, the GridRewards community prevented more than 200 tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere. That’s the same as:

  • Taking more than 11,000 homes completely off the grid during GridRewards events
  • Taking 15,000 cars off the road for a day
  • Offsetting more than 500,000 miles driven

Find out how to enroll here: https://sustainablewestchester.org/gridrewards/


A team of Tarrytown neighbors, including several TEAC members, collaborated on building a float for the Oct 29th Halloween Parade. Dubbed “The Wildey St. Swamp”, the float depicted the Headless Horseman rising from fog-shrouded “Wiley’s swamp” surrounded by craggy plants, eerie lights, creepy music, lightning flashes and swamp monsters. The float won the Neighborhood Float competition, and was towed and entirely powered by electricity from a Tesla Model Y electric car, charged by renewable power from the Westchester Power CCA. Thanks to all who contributed to this fun and rewarding project!

UPCYCLING SLAIN SCARECROWS:
FREE STRAW PICK UP
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Rachel Tieger, TEAC Co-ChairDo you have a garden or backyard composter and want free straw, or do you just want to pitch in?  This Sunday, November 6th, the TEAC Zero Waste committee will be at Parking Lot F (next to Barley on Hudson) at 1pm to deconstruct over 100 Halloween scarecrows, which have been decorating the village over the past few weeks.We will be separating the clothing from the straw to make sure the textiles are recycled and the straw is re-used or is sent the organics yard. Bring a wagon or some large recycle bins to pick up some straw or just come help out!Volunteers needed ~ Community service hours awarded. Hope you can join us!!

TREESPONSIBILITY:
RESPONSIBLE CHRISTMAS TREES 
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By Martin Hauser, Chair, Village of Tarrytown Tree Commission

Christmas is coming – and you will want to make responsible decisions about your Christmas tree (if you celebrate).

Nothing compares with a real tree, emitting that unmistakable aroma that makes Christmas Christmas. However, a cut tree (locally grown, we hope) is perhaps the least environmentally-friendly way to go, but some will want one anyway.

LIVE TREES

If you’re thinking about a live tree, most species sold by the big box stores will work indoors with careful maintenance. Arborvitae are especially plentiful for use as Christmas trees. Decide where you want to plant it now, before the ground is frozen. Dig a hole about twice as big as you anticipate the root ball will be, and save the soil to fill in the hole when you plant your tree.


Image: Harry and David; they sell live, potted trees.

Buy the tree as close to Christmas as possible, and don’t keep it in the house longer than ten or twelve days. A cool room next to a window is the best location. Make sure the root ball is kept moist (not soggy) and, if possible, mist the tree every day.

After Christmas, move the tree to the garage and plant it on the first day that the weather permits. Fill in the hole with the soil that you saved and be generous with mulch. Water the tree thoroughly.

ARTIFICIAL TREES

Although artificial trees cannot be recycled, they may be used time and again if you have space to store them between Christmases. My living room boasts a heavily decorated artificial tree every year which a friend had found in someone’s attic and gave to me. My plan is to continue using it as long as I’m around and then bequeath it to my son for his family’s living room. I’m not entirely without the scent of evergreen, as I hang an evergreen wreath over the mantel each year. Seems to do the job. 

A FEATHER TREE?


And now for something completely different: consider a tabletop German feather tree. This is essentially a dowel with goose feathers (or cruelty-free faux feathers) inserted into it for branches. A search of the internet will provide any number of sources for new and antique feather trees, and small glass ornaments can transform it into a lovely piece of folk art for the Christmas season. Again, it can be put away and stored after Christmas, becoming a cherished part of your annual celebration. 

Best wishes to all as the holiday season begins! Celebrate responsibly.

FROM THE ZERO WASTE COMMITTEE:
SWAP ~ GIVE OR TAKE
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By Cari Newton, TEAC Volunteer

Bring your clean, good-condition, quality items to swap for something new.

Sunday, November 13th 

Donation drop off 9am-12pm

“Shopping” 10am – 2pm

Located indoors at The Neighborhood House!

43 N Washington Street, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Please bring CLEAN items in good condition: items that someone else would really love. For Clothing, nothing too faded, no rips, tears, holes, or stains. No underwear or lingerie please. For housewares, bring only CLEAN working items in good condition. Nothing in need of repair please.

We will be collecting textile recycling so feel free to bring those “unswappable” clothing, shoes, and linen items in a SEPARATE bag for quick sorting at the event. 

For more info, to volunteer and for FAQ Click here  

Lunch and snacks will be provided for volunteers!
If you plan on participating in the SWAP and volunteering, please sign up for both.

❤ We are looking forward to seeing you at the SWAP! Please feel free email any additional questions to ftfvintage@hotmail.com

RECIPE OF THE MONTH:
VEGAN TAGINE
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By Suzy Allman, TEAC Member

A tagine is a rich, deeply flavorsome Moroccan stew of somewhat spicy, savory and sweet flavors. Although a traditional tagine usually contains meat, I’ve gone vegan: my adaptation retains all the richness of a meat-bearing tagine, but is veggie-only. My family loves this, and because the root vegetable ingredients are often on hand in the crisper, I make it often in the winter months.

This recipe is simple, very satisfying and comes together in one pot. Serve it with bouncy cous cous, and I promise it will be a hit. Give it a try!

­Vegan Tagine

Ingredients:

1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1 large carrot, chopped
2 fat parsnips (or mix in a turnip), chopped
Large mushrooms, sliced thick
1 can chick peas
3 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable broth
2-3 small potatoes, cut into chunks
¾ cup Castelvetrano olives
Whole dried apricots, prunes, and almonds to add near the end.
Couscous

I like to use heaping measures of the spices.

On the bottom of a heavy cast iron pot with a lid, place the chopped onion, carrots, tomatoes, parsnip, turnip and garlic.

  1. Mix the dry spices together, then toss the mushrooms in them to coat.
  2. Arrange the mushroom pieces on top of the vegetables in the pot, and sprinkle in any remaining spices.
  3. Spoon the olive oil over everything and add the vegetable broth.
  4. Cover and bring the liquids to a boil over medium heat, then turn it to simmer for about 1 hour. Add the whole dried apricots, prunes, chickpeas and potato chunks after about 45 minutes.
  5. When the potatoes are done and softened, finish the tagine: add almonds, Castelvetrano olives and anything else you’d like. (A traditional tagine often calls for preserved lemons, but I don’t like them.)
  6. Serve over large couscous or rice.

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

“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.

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Contact us at Tarrytownenviro@gmail.com

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1 Depot Plaza, Tarrytown, NY 10591

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