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GWUSA New Orleans
Groundwork Hudson Valley and the Groundwork USA Green Team in New Orleans
Groundwork Hudson Valley Newsletter
December-January, 2009-2010
In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Volunteer Opportunities
Quick Links
BioBlitz Website
Saw Mill River Coalition website
Join our list
Join Our Mailing List

Groundwork Hudson Valley wishes you all happy, healthy holidays and a joyful New Year! We are incredibly grateful to be able to involve so many wonderful people and thank you for the support and interest you have shown for our growing organization.

We look forward to an exciting and productive 2010. With each new year, the role of on-the-ground community projects in sustainability, education, neighborhood greening, and job training
become increasingly vital and we couldn't do any of it without the support and participation of our neighbors, partnering organizations, local and state governments, and individual supporters.

The Groundwork Hudson Valley Staff: Rick, Ann-Marie, Vernon, Anne, Curt, Emily, Rhea, Devon, Lynn, Lucy, and Bob
Groundwork News

Canoe TripGroundwork USA Assembly, New Orleans

On Friday, November 13th, 17 Groundwork Trusts from around the country met in New Orleans for the annual Youth Summit and to participate in the EPA Brownfields Conference. After getting a view of Louisiana's incredible natural habitat on a canoe ride through the Cane Bayou out to Lake Pontchartrain, students and Groundwork Staff got an introduction to its dynamic urban habitat with a tour of the remaining destruction from Hurricane Katrina as well as the inspiring restoration sites such as the Make It Right Homes in the 9th Ward and the Holly Grove Market & Farm. After being exposed to these contemporary issues, the group got acquainted the rich history of the city on a walking tour through the Historic French Quarter.

Before leaving, the youth summit helped with a restoration project at Andrew Wilson Elementary School, organized by the Broadmoor Improvement Association,  Students helped landscape the exterior of the school by planting trees, laying sod, and grating the soil to better accommodate flooding and heavy rains. At the restoration project, the group met with EPA representatives, the architect who designed the new school, and members of the National Parks Service.

After the youth left, Groundwork USA had a highly successful three days participating in the EPA Brownfield Conference. Read more...

Science Barge Had An Awesome Season
A note from Bob Walters, Science Barge Director
Captain Bob Walters
The Science Barge seems quiet and cold (brrr) after the hustle and bustle of our first year on the Yonkers waterfront. The Barge was a huge success and had visitors from all over the world including media from Japan, Canada, Antigua, Germany and the Netherlands. It was a great day when Dan Rather, formerly of 60 minutes, showed up with his news crew to do a show on sustainable agriculture. Read more...

Saw Mill River Daylighting Update: American EelAmerican Eel --
A tricky critter to accommodate in Yonkers Daylighting!
From Ann-Marie Mitroff, Director of River Programs
Who'd have thought that the American eel could reach 7 miles up the Saw Mill River ABOVE the Woodlands Lake dam with everything it has to go through now-entering the river underneath the train station, swimming under Larkin Plaza for 1 mile in the dark, then up over a flow station, through concrete channels, and up a 20-foot dam! Studies completed by Robert Schmidt of Hudsonia for the Saw Mill River Coalition in the spring of 2008 found the American eel ABOVE THE DAM! These creatures slithered up vegetation to make it beyond the dam. The tricky part now for the eel with the Yonkers' daylighting project, is to be sure that  when engineers bring two new sections of river back to the daylight, their design will allow species of fish to make it upstream, and down again. Read more...

Now Hiring New High School Interns for Science Harvesting lettuceBarge Under American Honda Foundation Grant

The Science Barge will be hiring five new "Honda Interns" to work on the Barge twice a week, learning about the Science Barge systems in depth, and being trained to give Barge tours on the weekends. If you are an interested student who attends school in Yonkers and are above the age of 16, contact Devon Spencer at or 914-375-2151 to schedule an interview. For more information about the program click here. 

Saw Mill River Fish Study Completed!Fish Study Crew
Saunders High School students who have been working with the Saw Mill River Coalition on a comprehensive study of fish species in the Saw Mill conducted their last survey in September, as part of the Saw Mill River BioBlitz. This proved a satisfying end to a successful year-long study which involved over 30 Saunders High School students and monitored eight different species at six sites in the river. The study concludes with a Protocol for Future Fish Studies, drafted this month, that can be used to guide future efforts.  Read More and view the final report and Protocol for Future Fish Studies.

Want The Science Barge to Visit Your School?
Dev Teaching
While the Science Barge is closed for the winter, we will be making classroom visits, giving an introduction to Science Barge curriculum and leading students in hands-on activities, engaging with concepts such as "food miles," composting, nutrition, food webs, and of course sustainable agriculture. For more information, please contact Devon Spencer, Director of Science Barge Education at (914) 375-2151 or

Groundwork at Riverside High School

Riverside Class
Groundwork begins a new year of its Educational Outreach program at Riverside High School. Thanks to a grant through the Westchester County Youth Bureau, Groundwork is able to partner with a high school teacher to enrich one of his lab periods with real-world examples of environmental work in their neighborhood. Read More...

High School River WatchFish Study
 In January, The Saw Mill River Coalition will launch its new pollution prevention program, called High School River Watch. High school students within the Saw Mill River watershed will be invited to form River Watch Stewardship Groups in which they will work consistently on the portion of the river nearest to their school. Activities will include storm drain marking, trash pick-ups, surveys of the trash in the river, invasive vine-cuttings, and participation in The Great River Clean-Up, an event currently scheduled for late May of 2010. With stewardship groups all throughout the watershed taking action in their communities, we can create great improvements in the health and beauty of our river! Please contact Emily Eder at (914) 375-2151 or if you are interested in getting involved.

Perfect Tree-hugger & River-hugger Gifts!
  ...for the Tree-hugger-invasive vine cutting equipment!
Here's what we use:
  • Loppers (try NOT to get the ones that you have to open wide in order to clip a branch-your arms will get tired opening them up so wide all the time. Simple action ones are great like Vigoro bypass or Corona bypass.)
  • Garden clippers-bypass ones (curved blade).
  • Curve handle saw (to cut the larger vines that loppers can't handle). This is a half moon handle with a saw between the two ends.
  • Leather gloves (To protect from thorny multi-flora rose!)
  • Hard hat-if you are working large trees with large vines-this is important. Many vines come down on heads!
...for the River-hugger-to reduce trash in our streams!

Umbrellas for Sale!Umbrella
Here comes the rain and the snow! Protect yourself from nasty weather while supporting healthy rivers and streams. Umbrellas with pollution prevention messages on them are being distributed to high schools and middle schools throughout the watershed. They are $8 each and all of the profits from the sales will go towards the school. Contact us to find out about participating schools, or if you are a teacher or student interested in getting involved. You can also buy them through our office, or order them online, and we will distribute the proceeds to one of the local schools.
Our Office Is Moving!
6 WellsGroundwork Hudson Valley is moving! In January, Groundwork will be moving its office from 6 Wells Avenue to a larger office just a couple blocks away. The new office will be located at 22 Main Street, 2nd Floor, Yonkers, NY 10701. We are very excited about this new location, as added space means room for growth (and more space)! Stay tuned for possible volunteer activities before, during, and after the move!

Upcoming Events

Free-A-Tree Invasive Vine-CuttingTrash Picker-uppers Vine Cutting
Saturday 1/9/10 (rain date 1/16/10)
9:30am-12:30pm, Farragut Avenue site
Come help us rid the Saw Mill River banks of the invasive vines that are crowding out native plants and wildlife. We will provide all of the needed materials. For more information go to:our website. We will schedule February-April dates later this month.

Stormwater Roundtable
January 23, 2010 (Snow Date January 30, 2010)
8:30 am-12:00 noon, Irvington Library: 12 Astor St. Irvington, NY 10533
The purpose of this roundtable is to provide an understanding of low impact development/better site design principles and techniques applicable to our area and how they can be incorporated into the review of local development projects and site plans.Planning Boards, Zoning Boards of Appeals, Conservation Boards, Village Administrators, Mayors and Elected Officials will engage in roundtable discussions with their particular village or town and participate in a better site design planning exercise. Sandeep Mehrotra, Chair of the Hastings Environmental Commission and Vice President of Hazen & Sawyer P.C., Environmental Engineers and Scientists, will give the keynote on Low Impact Development/Better Site Design Principles & Techniques - What they are and Why they matter in flooding and water quality.
If you are interested in attending, please contact

Volunteer Opportunities

Science Barge SundaysRick with Cucumber
Sundays from 10am-4pm, excluding Christmas and New Years weekends
Come help Bob, the Director of the Science Barge, with maintenance and repair projects on the Science Barge while it is closed during the winter. We will keep you warm with the Clean Burn, our heater which runs off pure veggie oil (This is the only time the Science Barge will ever smell like a fast food restaurant!) Contact Bob for more details:

BioBlitz Data Entry
We could still use volunteer help with entering, sorting through, and publicizing data about the species found in the Saw Mill River that was generated by over 50 scientists in our recent BioBlitz. This will be a great opportunity to learn how to use a scientific database and become familiar with BioBlitz findings. Become an expert on Saw Mill River biodiversity! Please contact emily@groundworkhv.orgor (914) 375-2151 if you are interested! We hope to hear from you!

Free-A-Tree Invasive Vine-Cutting
Vine Cutting
  • Saturday, January 9th 9:30-12:30, Farragut Avenue Site
  • Details under "Upcoming Events."

Groundwork Hudson Valley is an environmental non-profit that works with communities to improve their physical and social environment. This is done by collaborating on projects, among them: turning dangerous vacant lots into community gardens, planting trees, replacing graffiti with murals, and forming alliances within the community. Some of these projects are done through school programs and many of them are intergenerational. We are dedicated to environmental stewardship and community empowerment. All of our projects engage local residents in hands-on projects, from design to planting.