GWHV letterhead

Groundwork Hudson Valley Newsletter                          August-September 2010
Ribbon Cutting for the new Groundwork Office
Ribbon Cutting
Hello Everyone,
Groundwork enjoyed a hot and busy summer this year! We had many teams on the ground in and around Yonkers learning and doing, while getting paid for their efforts. Our Green Landscape Training Crew, Youth Green Team, and Municipal Housing Landscaping Corps all worked through the heat with Groundwork staff to complete a number of environmental stewardship and community improvement projects. Read on for more information about summer projects, upcoming events, and lots of opportunities to get involved. We hope that autumn will find you all well.
The Groundwork Hudson Valley Staff: Rick, Anne, Ann-Marie, Bob, Curt, Emily, Gwen, Lynn, Lucy, Meg, Michael, Rhea, and Vernon
In This Issue
Summer Green Team a Great Success!
GW & Municipal Housing Urban Landscaping Corps
Science Barge End of Season & Volunteer Thank-You Party
New Office Ribbon Cutting
GW USA National Assembly: Washington D.C
New Rain Garden In Ardsley
Groundwork Japan Visits The Science Barge!
Job Training Graduates Job Placements
GLOW: Fall Fundraiser on The Science Barge
Field Trip To The Farm
Science Barge Weekend Workshops for Children Begin!
Environmental Food Team Lectures & Events
Stormwater Roundtable #3
Free-A-Tree Vine-Cutting Season Begins!
Community 5k Fun Run/Walk
Open Volunteer Hours on The Science Barge
Start a Clean-Up Team
Participate In Our Folks!
Quick Links
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!

Groundwork News
Groundwork's Summer Green Team was a Great Success!
Walnut Garden box
Building raised garden beds.
This summer, Groundwork was happy to hire 16 students from Riverside, Saunders, and Yonkers High Schools for our Green Team. From June through late August these students worked 20 hours per week and went on several field trips.

Staff train Green Team members to do landscaping, small construction projects, gardening, and trail building and also provide lessons on leadership and public speaking. We keep it fun with team building activities and collaborative projects.

Bear Mountain
Trail work on The Appalachian Trail in Bear Mountain.
The team spent a lot of time outdoors in the heat and humidity.  They cleared two vacant lots; built a new community garden adjacent to the Aqueduct Trail and Walnut Street; restored an historic stone wall along the Aqueduct Trail in Dobbs Ferry; made improvements to the 9/11 Memorial Garden on the Yonkers Waterfront; and helped older adults in the neighborhood with landscaping projects around their homes.

We also spent time indoors in Groundwork's office discussing important issues in downtown Yonkers such as urban rivers and trails, trash and pollution prevention, and community building. Everyone that worked with the team, from the Appalachian Trail Crew in New York and New Hampshire to State Park Rangers, were blown away by the hard work, dedication, and strong team spirit displayed by this group all summer long. We feel confident in their abilities to become future leaders of the environmental justice movement in Yonkers and beyond.

Groundwork Begins New Landscape Training Program with Municipal Housing
Landscape CorpsThis August, Groundwork Hudson Valley, in association with the Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers (MHACY), recieved a grant to run a 20-week Landscape Training and Employment Program for Yonkers public housing residents. Sixteen residents of MHACY properties have been hired and are being trained to beautify, restore, and improve the landscape within and around MHACY sites throughout Yonkers.

Through intensive training and hands-on experience, employees will develop skills they can use for long-term employment in green landscape industries.

The landscaping projects underway are designed to build community engagement within MHACY properties through activities such as community gardens, rain gardens, play areas, murals, tree planting, etc. The crew just completed a one-of-a-kind "edible museum" at the Ross F. Calcagno Homes (formerly, known as the School Street Housing Projects), which features garden beds themed after works of art ranging from Diego Rivera to African quilts to Georgia O'Keefe. 

Click here for more photos of the garden!

Science Barge End-of-Season & Volunteer Thank-You Party
Thank-You Party
Science Barge Volunteers with Senator Stewart-Cousins.
Thanks to everyone who came out this weekend for our celebration on The Science Barge! The weather was spectacular and the potluck dishes were delicious.

The Science Barge could not be the success it is today without the help and support from volunteers, community members, and local leaders and business owners.

The Barge will be open through early or mid-November, depending on weather conditions. We will maintain Sunday volunteer hours throughout the winter for those of you who enjoy the Hudson in cold weather, or enjoy the Barge enough to bear the cold!
Click here for more photos.

Ribbon Cutting at Groundwork's New Office
Andrea Stewart Cousins
President of GW Board, Rob Baron; Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins; and GW ED, Rick Magder

On Thursday, September 23rd, the Yonkers Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) held a formal ribbon cutting for the new Groundwork office and our downtown neighbors, Paxos Grill, both located in the same building at 22 Main Street. Though both businesses have been up and running for a couple of months, the September opening felt right, as everyone is more settled in.

Groundwork thanks the BID for organizing the event; Mayor Amicone, Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins, City Council President Chuck Lesnick, and City Council Member Patricia McDow for speaking and particpating; and all of the neighbors and friends who came out to celebrate the rejuvenation of this long empty building and the expansion of Groundwork Hudson Valley, Groundwork USA, and Paxos!

Groundwork USA National Assembly Coming Up in Washington D.C.

Capitol BuildingOn Thursday, October 21st, Groundwork Hudson Valley, along with nearly 20 Groundwork trusts across the county, will bring representatives from their Youth Green Teams to Washington DC for the annual Groundwork USA National Summit.

This years' summit is being held in DC in honor of the EPA's 40th anniversary and will focus on the life work of Rachel Carson and Frederick Douglass -- two activists, environmental and social, who persevered in the face of adversity, and by doing so changed the world for the better. In many ways, Groundwork is a product of the work of these and other non-violent and unrelenting scientists, environmentalists, and activists. The assembly will also give youth leaders of the environmental movement across the county a chance to get to know each other and tour the nation's capital together.

New Rain Garden In Ardsley

Ardsley rain gardenThe Saw Mill River Coalition has received two grants (one from the EPA and the other from NYS DEC) that include money to fund small "green" infrastructure demonstration projects.  A collaboration and partnership with the Village of Ardsley, the Rivertowns Lions Club, and the Ardsley Garden Club resulted in the installation of a small rain garden in June.  The garden adjoins the south side of the Lion's Club bus shelter in Ardsley near the intersection of Ashford Avenue and Route 9A.
A rain garden is a planted depression that allows rainwater runoff from impervious surfaces (e.g. roofs, walkways, driveways, compacted lawn areas) to soak into the ground as opposed to flowing directly into storm drains and surface waters which can result in erosion, water pollution, and flooding. Click here to read more.

Groundwork Japan Visits The Science Barge!
GW JapanNot everyone knows that Groundwork has its origins in the UK. Groundwork began in the UK in the early 1980's and spread across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. In the 1990s, the Groundwork model was adopted by groups in the US and Japan.

In September, Groundwork Hudson Valley had the pleasure of meeting representatives from Groundwork Fukuoka, Japan who came for a tour of the Science Barge! For more information, check out Groundwork UK and Groundwork Japan

Groundwork Staff Working With Job Training Program Graduates To Find Job Placements

In August, as a follow-up to the rigorous 13-week Organic Landscaping & Dry Stone Masonry training program, Groundwork Hudson Valley hired a temporary staff member to assist in case management of the program participants, to help them gain access to the economic mainstream, and to otherwise put them on a pathway to success. Activities have included, job placement counseling and assistance, life skills counseling and assistance (e.g., providing driving instruction and driver education assistance so that eligible program participants can obtain driver's licenses),  job site visits and follow-up debriefings with both employees and employers, resume writing assistance, one-on-one mentorship, and advocacy for fair working conditions, reaching out and forging relationships with potential employers, marketing of program participants and the success of program to concerned stakeholders, e.g., the City of Yonkers.

These efforts have proven to be very effective. Of the 21 young men and women who were unemployed when they entered and completed the training program, 17 (slightly more than 80%) have gone on to secure work either in or outside of the field of training. 

Four graduates have just returned from a lengthy and rewarding job assignment working with renowned Master Dry Stone Mason, Neil Rippingale, in Baltimore, MD!

GLOW: Fall Fundraiser on the Science Barge
 Barge at NightDespite predictions of rain and heavy winds, the clouds parted for Groundwork Hudson Valley's fall fundraiser, "GLOW on the Science Barge!" Shortly after guests began to arrive, a stunning rainbow graced the Yonkers waterfront and the GLOW party.

We extend our thanks to the dozens of people who spent their Friday evening with us enjoying a huge spread of gourmet food and great wine donated by local restaurants. The money raised will help Groundwork grow and continue to run an array of environmental programs in Yonkers.

We especially want to thank the evening's honorees -- all avid environmentalists and Science Barge supporters:  Edward A. Ames -- Chairman, Hudson River Foundation; Daniel J. Murphy -- Editor in Chief, Rising Media Group; and
Anne-Marie Huber Resor -- President, West 90th Street Park Association.

Groundwork Takes a Field Trip To The Farm
On Saturday, October 2nd, GroundworFarm visit hay ridek Hudson Valley rented a school bus and brought a group of 16 people up to Sisters Hill Farm in Stantonville, near Poughkeepsie.

Through the field trip, several members of the CSA, along with participants from Groundwork's Environmental Food Team and a couple of our high school "Our Folks" volunteers made the two hour trip to the farm and joined farm staff and their neighbors for their fall picnic. We were lucky to have incredible weather and a good time
was had by all!

Sisters Hill Farm is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Farm, sponsored by The Sisters of Mercy, NYC. CSA is a farming model in which  community members pledge support to the farm at the beginning of the season. In return, they pick up a share of the harvest every week. In this way, the growers and members provide mutual support in their food production, thereby creating a true community farm and bringing people closer to their food. For the past four years, the Sisters have been providing Groundwork with 20 shares at a discounted price so that we can provide these shares to Yonkers residents at a low cost.  Forty local residents participate in this Groundwork CSA.

Upcoming Events
Science Barge Weekend Workshops for Children!
Fermi kidsThrough our Weekend Workshops, we offer activities on the Science Barge that explore renewable energy, nutrition, carbon footprint, resource conservation, and the Hudson River Estuary.  Workshops are targeted toward children ages 5-10. Parents can get a tour of the Barge and enjoy the view while kids do fun, hands-on activities!
Join us every Sunday, through mid-November, from 2:00 to 3:30 as we build, explore, experiment, and eat! 

Registration: Recommended, but not required. Call 914-375-2151.

Cost: $5 per child ($3 for Yonkers residents) 1/2 off for families with 3 children or more!

The Science Barge is floating on the Hudson River at 99 Dock St., Yonkers, NY, just north of the Yonkers Pier.

Environmental Food Team Lectures & Events
EFT logo

The Environmental Food Team is a GW program that brings older adults together for fun seminars on the history of food, cooking lessons and demonstrations, and field trips to local sustainable farms and gardens. We also schedule intergenerational events with young people from the area.

All events are free and open to the public.

What You Get:

  • Free Weekly Lectures on "The History of Food"
  • Free Field Trips to Farms and Gardens
  • Free Tours of the Science Barge for You and Your Family
  • Free Produce from the Science Barge
  • Free T-shirts for Participating
  • Free Recipes and Preparation ideas for Locally-Grown Produce
  • Volunteer Opportunities to Teach Youth About Healthy Eating

Tuesdays, 3:30 - 4:30 (locations as noted).

Call (914) 375-2151 for inquiries.

Fall Lineup

  • October 12th: LECTURE: Beatrix Potter: The Conservationist Who Saved England's Lake District (Philipse Manor Hall -- PMH)
  • October 19th: LECTURE: The Harvest Conundrum: Food Preservation and the Economics of Eating (PMH)
  • October 26th: TOUR: New York's High Line Park and Chelsea's Jack-o-lanterns (meet at 22 Main)
  • November 2nd: LECTURE: A Double Half Caf With Half & Half Latte and Other Ways We Enjoy Coffee (PMH)
  • November 9th: FILM: King Corn (documentary on how our agriculture practices impact our world) (22 Main)
  • November 16th: FILM: Big River (follow-up documentary on the broader environmental impact of corn) (22 Main)
  • November 23rd: LECTURE: The Evolution of Thanksgiving; a Historical Look at an American Holiday (PMH)
  • November 30th: TOUR: Local African Food Markets with Michael Singoro (meet at 22 Main)
  • December 7th: LECTURE: How World War II Shaped American Culinary Traditions (PMH)
  • December 14th: PARTY: Holiday Musings While Eating Rum-Soaked Fruitcake (PMH)
The Environmental Food Team: Bringing Nutrition to Yonkers-One Vegetable At A Time

sw roundtable 1 2010
Learn about incorporating Best Management Practices in Your Community.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Greenburgh Public Library, 300 Tarrytown Road, Elmsford, NY
8:30 am -9:00 am: Registration & Continental Breakfast
9:00 am - 12:00 pm: Conference
KEYNOTE: The "Practical" Side of Incorporating LID/BSD Principles in a Comprehensive Plan, Ordinances, & Process," Thomas Madden, Commissioner, Department of Community Development & Conservation, Town of Greenburgh
     Watershed-Wide Principles On Which We Can Agree
     Defining an Effective Stormwater Implementation Worksheet
WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Planning Boards, Zoning Boards, CACS, ECBs, Village Administrators, Municipal Engineers, Mayors and Elected Officials.
Sponsored by: Groundwork Hudson Valley/Saw Mill River Coalition, Greenburgh Nature Center, Greenburgh Environmental Forum, Federated Conservationists of Westchester County.
Funding provided by:  US EPA, NYC DEC/Hudson River Estuary Program, and the Westchester Community Foundation
Volunteer Opportunities
Free-A-Tree Vine-Cutting Season Begins!
Vine-Cutting CrewAutumn is here, and we are ready to get back on the Saw Mill River and cut some vines! The native trees and wildflower meadow that we planted with volunteers over the years are growing and blossoming, but the invasive vines are creeping back onto the site.

We look forward to a very effective 2010/2011 vine-cutting season and hope that you can join us at these monthly events to help save some trees! In addition to organizing volunteer efforts, we are talking to the County Parks Department and Sven Hoeger, the local ecologist who designed the site, to come up with a management plan.

All vine-cuttings will be held from 9:30 am-12:30 pm at the Farragut Avenue Restoration site.

From Saw Mill River Parkway going NORTH, exit 13, Farragut Avenue. Turn right into parking lot.

From Saw Mill River Parkway going SOUTH, exit 11, left on Tompkins Avenue to Saw Mill River Road and turn left. Turn left on Farragut Avenue then turn left into the parking lot. Access also from Saw Mill River Road (Ardsley side).

We will meet on the Trail North of the parking lot.

Upcoming Dates:
  • Saturday, October 30th
  • Sunday, November 21st
  • Saturday, December 18th
If you are interested in organizing an additional date or need more information, please call Emily or Ann-Marie at 914-375-2151 or e-mail

Community 5k Fun Run/Walk

Come join the collaborative effort to encourage positive relationships between our children and the Yonkers Police Department.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Registration at Lennon Park: 7:30am to 8:30am

Race starts at 9:00am

Race ends at the Yonkers PAL on North Broadway. Free refreshments for all participants! Free T-shirts for first 300 children to register! IF YOU HAVE VOLUNTEERED WITH GROUNDWORK IN THE PAST AND ALREADY OWN A GROUNDWORK T-SHIRT, PLEASE WEAR THAT INSTEAD.

Click here to download a registration form.  Please fill the form out completely and have it signed by a parent or guardian. Please bring the form to the registration table in Lennon Park between 7:30 and 8:30 am to receive your runner's number.

Science Barge Volunteer Schedule Painting the Barge

Sundays, 9:30 am-5:30 pm

Every Sunday, Barge Director Bob Walters will be on board coordinating volunteer projects. Come any time between 9:30 am and 5:30 pm and stay as long as you like. For more information call 914-375-2151 or e-mail

* Please note that we will no longer be holding Thursday evening volunteer hours now that it is getting dark earlier.

Start a Clean-Up Team! Plan a Fall Clean-Up!

Clean-Up Lawrence 2Are you concerned about all of the trash you see on the streets and on our urban trails? Have you ever seen floatables or debris in the Saw Mill River and had the urge to get it out? If so, it's time to plan your Fall clean-up! If you are in a group that participated in "The Great Saw Mill River Clean-Up" last May or are interested in helping to clean-up the Saw Mill River Watershed, please contact Emily Eder at 914-375-2151 or e-mail

Let us know if you, your business, your school, or your community group would like to form a River Stewardship team and adopt a section of the Saw Mill River, a local street in the watershed, or any area along the Saw Mill River!

The Saw Mill River Coalition will help you plan your clean-up and supply all needed materials. If your group commits to doing a couple of clean-ups each year, we can give you picker-uppers and other necessary tools. If you are interested, we can also make a presentation to your group. Let's think globally and act locally by turning the Saw Mill Watershed into a trash-free zone.

We need you!

Participate In Our Folks! Let Us Take Care of Your Yard and Make Repairs in Your Home!

our folks diane pierson If you are an older adult living in Yonkers and could use help with your garden, yard, or home, please contact us! We have trained our team of young "Our Folks" volunteers to do yard work, weatherize homes, and make routine home repairs. They would love to visit you and help out!

If you sign up with us and tell us what your needs are, we will send a group of 5 youth, ages 14-17, with a Groundwork supervisor. We have a small supply budget for mulch, plants, paint, winterizing materials etc. and will bring our own tools! Groundwork staff will do a brief site assessment ahead of time if necessary.

An equally important part of this program is bringing different generations in our community together to get to know each other. so if you sign up, be ready to chat, share stories, and lunch with the team.

To participate, contact Emily Eder at 914-375-2151 or e-mail

Groundwork newsletters written by Emily Eder.
Groundwork Hudson Valley, 22 Main St., 2nd Floor, Yonkers, NY 10701