GWHV letterhead
Our Folks Training
The Riverside High School Our Folks team after a training session with Groundwork Staff.
Groundwork Hudson Valley Newsletter
February-March, 2010
In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Volunteer Opportunities
Read about our upcoming volunteer opportunities if you want to get involved. For more information, contact our Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator, Emily Eder.
Want to volunteer but don't have time? Please take a moment to donate to our organization. Any amount is helpful and greatly appreciated!
Quick Links
Join our list
Join Our Mailing List

Dear Readers,

Please take a moment to catch up with Groundwork Hudson Valley's projects and opportunities. We hope that everyone's winter is going well and that the new year has taken off with a good start.

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

Groundwork News

New Groundwork Websites
Please check out our new Groundwork USA and Saw Mill River Coalition websites! We are very pleased with the new designs and hope that you will find the sites user-friendly and informative. Let us know if you have any comments or suggestions.

ConEd Supports 12 Science Barge Classroom Visits

  Food Miles
Thanks to a grant from ConEdison, Devon Spencer, the current Director of Science Barge Education, will make 12 classroom visits while the Barge is closed for winter. So far she has made 8 of 12 scheduled visits to four Yonkers Middle Schools. In each school the entire third grade class will be given three lessons that relate to different aspects of sustainable agriculture. The lessons cover biodiversity, carbon footprint, and food waste and culminate in fun hands-on projects such as Food Web Twister, How Many Miles On My Menu, and Worm Observation. For more information on this program click here.    

The Our Folks Group is Trained and Ready to Winterize
Our Folks is an intergenerational program in which Groundwork trains local high school students to make repairs in the homes of older adults in the community to help them stay in their homes or "age in place." Students and seniors get to know each other, sharing experiences and ideas, developing understanding and partnerships between the generations.

This winter, the growing Our Folks group at Riverside High School learned useful winterization techniques such as how to insulate windows and pipes, identify drafts, caulk and instal fixtures onto the bottom of doors to prevent drafts. Next week, during the group's mid-winter break, the students will visit several older adults' homes, who have signed up for these services, and make the needed repairs. This will help seniors stay warmer and pay less for heating, which is also more energy efficient! If you live in Yonkers, are over 55 years of age, and could use some help in your home, please contact Emily Eder at (914) 375-2151 or

Staff Changes- New Director of Science Barge Education Dev teaching
After helping make the Science Barge's first year in Yonkers a huge success, Devon Spencer (The current Director of Science Barge Education) , will be moving with her husband back to Austin, Texas where they met. We are sad to see her go and wish her great happiness and success in her new home.

We are pleased to have hired Gwen Hill, a former Education Intern on the Science Barge, as our new Education Director. Gwen has experience in environmental education and managing sustainability programs.

Stormwater Roundtables - 58 municipal decision-makers-hard at work!
The January 23rd Stormwater Roundtable was well-received by the 58 municipal decision-makers in attendance. The -day workshop focused on practical ways that our Saw Mill River watershed villages and towns can address pollution in the river that comes from rain water rushing through our streets and driveways directly into the river.
The session keynote speaker was Sandeep Mehrotra, PE, Vice President of Hazen & Sawyer, who presented "Low Impact Development/Better Site Design Principles & Techniques-What they are, Why they matter in flooding and water quality." The officials then were able to apply the principles learned on a site plan for a commercial parking area and a residential home. The break-out roundtables were primarily organized by village and town so that planning board officials and conservation advisory board members as well as trustees and supervisors could work together on the plans.
We are fortunate to have a wonderful partner in this work-the Greenburgh Environmental Forum, coordinated by the Greenburgh Nature Center. The next Roundtable is tentatively planned for June,  2010. For information, please contact P. Lynn Oliva, River Associate at Groundwork, (914) 375-2151, We will be launching a stormwater webpage in the late spring of 2010 with all of the presentations and handouts from the sessions.  

Another New Employee!
Michael skiinig
We are very happy to have just hired our newest employee, Michael Singoro, as part of an "externship program" through an organization called EarthCorps in Seattle. He is here on a year-long environmental training visa from Kenya, and we are thankful for the skills and international perspective that he brings to our organization! Michael was brought up on a small rural farm in Bungoma, Kenya where daily chores included taking care of cattle and plants in the fields. Michael earned his BA in Community Development from Kenyatta University in Nairobi and worked for an organization called Forest Action Network Kenya where he trained poor rural farmers around the country on participatory forest management, working to help communities living close to forests benefit from them in a sustainable way. For more information click here.

Science Barge Collaboration with Columbia University's Architecture School

Gold fish
On February 1st, Science Barge staff met with two faculty members from Columbia University's Architecture School. Janette Kim is the director of the Urban Landscape Lab, a research group dedicated to ecology and the built environment. She is teaching an innovative course called Life Support in collaboration with another staff member who specializes in fabrication. In this course, students will build small-scale aquaponics structures (where plants are grown in water instead of soil and nourished by fish waste) using vacuformed plastic and rotational molding. The idea of the course is to look at innovative and playful ways in which we can create relationships between humans, plants, and fish.

Janette contacted us to see if The Science Barge could be a collaborative partner in this exciting project. We are looking forward to seeing what the students design. It is possible that one of their projects will be used on the Science Barge as another example of recirculating hydroponics designed for urban living and a sustainable future. At the end of the semester we will hold an opening reception on the Science Barge. Stay tuned for dates, you won't want to miss this fun, inspiring, and educational event!

Attention Artists and Environmentalists!Floating sculpture We are now accepting submissions for the 2010 Science Barge Floating Sculpture Exhibition! Click this link for full information.

The Second Annual Floating Sculpture Exhibition will be held on
June 12th - 13th, 2010
If you want to submit artwork for this event YOU MUST REGISTER BY MAY, 28th. Click here for the application.
The 2009 Floating Sculpture Exhibition was a great success, drawing many members of the community together to celebrate the majestic Hudson River, local artistic talent, and the Science Barge as a space for neighborhood gatherings.

Groundwork Hudson Valley is seeking artists to create floatable art to be installed in a semi-sheltered section of the river adjacent our Science Barge. Our water sculpture celebration is a two day event building upon our work in this community. The event begins on Saturday morning with the installation. The event continues later that day with a reception for the artists and music, and an opportunity for the judges to review the art. There are also boxes for the guests to vote on their favorite art. All Saturday and Sunday the sculptures will be available for viewing by the general public.
Upcoming Events

Science Barge will be a Presenting Partner at theIntrepid Educator Open House at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum!
If you are an educator interested in marine science and water conservation, come to the Intrepid on March 4th at 5pm to peruse demonstration tables and exhibits from several local educational institutions. At 5:30, welcoming remarks by the Museum's education department and a  presentation by the Education Director of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection will begin. Refreshments will be provided. TO REGISTER for this free event, contact the Intrepid Museum's Education Administrative Assistant  at 646-381-5176 or by Friday, Feb. 26th.

Free-A-Tree Invasive Vine-Cutting
Trash Picker-uppers Vine Cutting
  • Saturday, March 13th
    Rain Date: Saturday, March 20th
  • Sunday, April 11th
    Rain Date: Sunday, April 18th
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.

Environmental Food Team
All events begin at 3:00 p.m. and will be held at Philipse Manor Hall (29 Warburton Avenue Yonkers, NY 10701) unless otherwise noted.
16 - Food and Love: From Gifts of Chocolate to Deadly Fish
23 - Beyond Wood: The Edible Tree - a survey of trees and what they're used for
2 - The Spices of Life: The ingredients that mobilized a world
9 - How Food Influenced Art: A slide show on food art from still life to soup cans
16 - FILM SHOWING: The Garden (Award winning documentary on community gardens)
23 - VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY (at Riverside H.S.). Rethinking Food With Youth (10:22 - 11:09 a.m.)
30 - Marketing and Food: How Park Avenue and Wall Street shaped what we eat.

Save the Date:
  • Saturday, April 24, 2010: Science Barge Grand Opening!
  • Saturday, May 15, 2010: The Great Saw Mill River Clean-Up (We will need lots of volunteers for this. Contact for more information)
  • Saturday & Sunday, June 12th & 13th, 2010: Science Barge Floating Sculpture Exhibition

Volunteer Opportunities

Science Barge SundaysRick with Cucumber
Sundays from 10am-4pm
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 that 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:

Free-A-Tree Invasive Vine-Cutting
Vine Cutting
  • Saturday, March 13th
    Rain Date: Saturday, March 20th
  • 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.