GWHV letterhead

Groundwork Hudson Valley Newsletter                                    May/June 2011
Crew with Joanne
The Our Folks Crew with Joanne Robinson after weeding, planting flowers, and sharing a snack.
Hello Everyone,
After a successful and busy spring full of teaching, hands-on projects, environmental stewardship, and working with our partners in the Yonkers community- summer programs are on the horizon! We are now reviewing applications for 2011 Summer Green Team, preparing for the Green Team's week-long trip to Virginia in July, organizing a new farmers market, beginning a new landscape job-training program, and much more!

Come visit us at The Science Barge this summer and check out our upcoming events for kids and adults.

The Groundwork Hudson Valley Staff: Rick, Anjali, Anne, Ann-Marie, Bob, Curt, Emily, Gwen, Lynn, Lucy, Rhea, and Vernon
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In This Issue
Saw Mill River Daylighting Update
"Urban Waters"-A Joint Project with the US EPA and River Network
2nd Hitachi Volunteer Day
Growing School Gardens
Steppin' Up Yonkers!
2nd Annual Great Saw Mill River Clean-Up & Rain Date
Our Folks Work Rewarded with Greenie & Grant Renewal
Thank-You To Our Interns
Community Garden Up & Running
Cub Scout Clean-Up
Gas-Powered Leaf Blower Ban in Effect!
Art & Science on The Science Barge
Sip N' Learn on The Science Barge
Compost Bin & Rain Barrel Sale
Green Infrastructure Tour
Science Barge Sundays
Start a Clean-Up Team
Participate In Our Folks!
Volunteer Positions
Do you like what you see when you read our newsletters, volunteer with us, or visit the Science Barge?

If you do, please consider a gift to Groundwork. 

Your contributions support paid internships for Yonkers high school students, new community gardens, river and habitat restoration, the Science Barge, and myriad educational programs around food and nutrition, urban ecology, community service, and climate change.

Follow the link below to make your secure donation.  Each and every gift makes a difference, and each and every gift is greatly appreciated.


Groundwork News

"Daylight Yonkers" Update 

Written By Lindsey Shapiro, graduating senior 2011, Irvington High School

Daylighting 5-11  

 For as long as most Yonkers natives can remember, Larkin Plaza has served as a convenient parking lot for Main Street pedestrians, DMV customers and Metro-North riders. However, if you've been by the plaza within the last 6 months, the parking lot has become the construction site for an enormous project that will transform and revitalize downtown Yonkers. Although the finished product is expected to be magnificent, most people have been experiencing a lot of noise, dust, and traffic!  Groundwork Hudson Valley is working with several local high school students who will be bringing you more information on what is happening behind the dusty walls-so that you can be excited and dream of the future!  These updates will have certain repeating sections, like Engineering, History, Ecology. We hope you enjoy them.


"Urban Waters"-A Joint Project with the US EPA and River Network

Written By Ann-Marie Mitroff, Director of River Programs


Groundwork USA, which is located in our Yonkers office, was a joint recipient, along with River Network, of a US EPA Targeted Watersheds Grant to assist urban areas in reviving the rivers, lakes and waterways that go through their communities. Groundwork USA and River Network reviewed grant applications from dozens of communities across the country. Five communities were awarded with grants that will support their goals to transform their threatened urban waterways into revitalization engines and environmental jewels. An additional five communities will receive technical assistance from the GW USA and River Network team. For more information contact Ann-Marie Mitroff, River Program Director, Groundwork Hudson Valley/Groundwork USA,


2nd Hitachi Volunteer Day

Hitachi 2011


Groundwork was honored to be chosen again to sponsor Hitachi America's Day of Service. This spring, a group of volunteers from Hitachi, including their CEO, worked along the Saw Mill River repairing the damage that our rain garden at Farragut Avenue sustained this winter, planting new trees to replace those that were lost in winter storms, and filled the rain garden with flowers, and shrubs. The volunteers also cleared piles of invasive vines, removing large root systems with weed wrenches lent to us by the county. The sweat equity that these volunteers put in to dig out those root systems will save trees by preventing the return of these invasive plants. 


Growing School Gardens at Enrico Fermi School & School 29

Fermi salad 2011
Enrico Fermi 7th grader proud of the healthy snack that she helped harvest and grow! 

It has been a productive Spring at the Enrico Fermi School and School 29 School gardens! Groundwork's Director of Land Programs and gardener extraordinaire, Anne Megaro visited each school on a weekly basis, working with four 7th Grade classes at Fermi and six special ed classes and two pre-K classes at School 29. Students got their hands dirty growing strawberries, lettuce, beans, and many other crops; tending the vermiculture (worm) composting bin; and pulling a tremendous amount of weeds!  


The gardens are looking great with radishes, lettuce, and strawberries ready to harvest, and beans, tomatoes and beets on their way up. Students learned about the life of a worm and the value of decomposers to our ecosystem and how to plan a healthy raised bed garden. They also were surprised to find a friendly garden snake! 

Steppin' Up Yonkers!
Written by Vernon Brinkley, Director of Community Development

Cottage movie night

Steppin' Up Yonkers! in conjunction with the Municipal Housing Authority of the City of Yonkers (MHACY) has been working with the older adults living in Municipal Housing. Our program at Cottage Gardens has really taken root with the seniors taking a leading role in the program. We currently run a game and bingo night, a  dinner and a movie night along planning with group excursions around the tri-state area.


We attended the play Pinnochio in White Plains and last week attended the Big Apple Circus in Stamford Connecticut.....a great time was had by all!! In future articles we will feature pics from the different Municipal Housing sites, the programs, the people and the interaction between the different sites as we continue to bring them together for fun, conversation and fellowship!!

 2nd Annual Great Saw Mill River Clean-Up & Rain Date A Success!  Lawrence girls


Thanks to all who participated! The rain date, following the cancelled 2nd day of the Clean-Up was also a great success! It was hot and sunny, but we had a good turn-out at Lawrence Street. Volunteers cleared a large area of trees along the South County Trailway of invasive vines and removed as much trash as they could see. Some trash was buried beneath the spring over-growth and is waiting for us to claim it next fall.  


** Note: A light green Klean Kanteen water bottle was lost during this clean-up. If you were there and found it, please  call Emily at (914) 375-2151. 


Our Folks Work Rewarded With Grant Renewal & A Greenie Award!


The Our FoOur Folks Plantinglks team has been hard at work all year, weatherizing homes and completing landscaping projects in the homes of older adults in Yonkers. Through continued effort and the dedication of the students and older adults, this program has grown and its effectiveness has deepened.

We are happy to announce that the value of this program has not gone unnoticed! The Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation and the United Way have both renewed funding for the program for another year and we are thankful to them for allowing us to keep the momentum going. Greenies 2011

The Our Folks crew was also honored with a Greenie Award by the Yonkers Green Policy Task Force for their work greening Yonkers through weatherization and insulation of old homes and sustainable landscaping.

Thank-You To Our Interns 
andrew talking
  Andrew Boyd (center) helps lead a discussion at our Invasive Vine Action Workshop, which he helped organize. 

Groundwork is very lucky to have worked with so many great interns this year! High school and college students as well as recent grads and community members have reached out to us and used their skills and energy to help us forward our environmental restoration and community building programs.


We are glad that our work on a broad range of community programs provides meaningful learning opportunities for our student interns as well as for our many volunteers. At the same time Groundwork benefits from the hard-working hands and great minds of these committed interns and volunteers. Small, community-based non-profits like ours could not thrive without this support.   


Thanks to our interns Shourou Li, Eli Ben-Yaacov, Andrew Boyd, Stephen Malina, Lindsay Shapiro, Becca Bortz, Meghan Horn, Lars Hoeger, and to all of the wonderful volunteers who have pitched in to make a difference (you know who you are!).   

Community Gardens Up & Running!

african art plot
School Street Garden

We built three new boxes at the Simmons Garden on Willow St. and Warbuton Ave. for participants in the Family Service Society of Yonkers GranPower Program to use and enjoy. This community garden is very popular, and the waiting list is growing almost as fast as the tomatoes! We thank the garden members for keeping it a beautiful, thriving, and safe space.

The Walnut Avenue Community Garden, along the OCA Trail off Yonkers Ave. is now open! Thanks to Danny and Nicole Matera for helping to make it happen! The Groundwork Green Team built the garden last summer, and it is now ready to be cultivated. All the plots are full! Please contact Emily at (914) 375-2151 if you live in the area and are interested in adoptiong a plot (for free!) and we will put you on a waiting list.

The garden and art space at the School Street Municipal Housing Complex is also looking for members who live at School Street. This art-themed community garden and sanctuary, with each raised bed constructed and painted to represent a famous work of art, is a great place to relax, interact a bit with art history, and grow your own food!

Cub Scout Group Clean-Upcub scout clean-up   


Groundwork would like to thank Cub Scout Pack 3 for organizing it's own clean-up at the Lawrence Street Site along the Saw Mill River! Groundwork happily leant the Pack all of the tools and supplies needed, and they were on their way. They had a great time and got a lot of work done. Easy as pie!  


It is this kind of initiative that will make our stewardship project sustainable and long-lasting. Consider scheduling a couple of clean-ups and vine-cuttings for the fall and spring 2011/2012.  


Keep us in mind when your group is setting its schedule for the next year! Groundwork can provide support and lend out tools to any group of six or more who wants to clean-up a site in the Saw Mill River watershed. Let's take action against trash and invasive vines! You don't need to wait for Groundwork to organize a date. If there is a day that works for you, call us up (914-375-2151), and we will help you set up your own clean-up at any site in the Watershed!



June 1 through October 1, 2011   

Supportersno blower

New York State American Lung Association 


The New York State American Academy  

of Pediatrics


Chief of Pediatric Pulmonology, Maria Fareri Children's Hospital


Director of The Asthma Program, St. John's Riverside Hospital


President and CEO, Saint Joseph's  

Medical Center


Chief Medical Officer, Hudson Health Plan


Physicians of the Mount Sinai Pediatric Environmental Health Unit


Chairman, Mount Sinai Department of Community and Preventive Medicine


Municipalities with Blower Ordinances

Yonkers, Bronxville, Tuckahoe, White Plains, New Rochelle, Scarsdale, Larchmont, Pelham Village, Pelham Manor, Hastings, Bronxville, Town of Mamaroneck, Rye, Dobbs Ferry, Tarrytown, Village of Mamaroneck, Sleepy Hollow


There are many young children with asthma and seniors with lung and cardiac conditions living in our community whose conditions are exacerbated by airborne debris and concentrated exhaust in summer heat.


Be sure your lawn care company is in compliance to help all residents breathe easier each summer.

To Report Violations: Code Enforcement 377-6669, Police 377-7900

Upcoming Events

New! ART & SCIENCE SUNDAYS ON THE BARGE  columbia aqueponics 


Local Stained-Glass Artist Jamie Gail Korb will lead a series of FUN, Educational, and Creative workshops for children (ages 5-10) on The Science Barge.  Classes will be offered on Sundays from 2-4pm, July 3 through November 6, 2011. $5/per child.  RSVP to


Sunday, July  3, 2PM $5: Anatomy of Plants Explore different parts of plants that reside in the greenhouse of the Science Barge.

Sun July 10, 2PM $5: The Art of Floating on H2O Create floating sculptures for The Science Barge! Make art for all to see! 
More workshops info at


The Science Barge is Located at 99 Dock St., Yonkers, NY 10701 on the Yonkers waterfront.  

and is open to the public every Saturday and Sunday 12-6pm.

$3 Suggested Donation 



Barge sunset


The Green Mile  


$10 (Suggested Donation)

Join us for a presentation on the impacts of LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) & Solar Power on the building industry and the environment.  This talk will be followed by a sampling of local, organic wine as well as a tour of the Science Barge. 

Meet us on the 2nd floor of the Yonkers Riverfront Library for the presentation.  From there, we will take a walking tour from the library to The Science Barge. See first hand the possibilities of a sustainable life.

Presenter Lauren Yarmuth
is co-founder and Principal of YRG Sustainability Consultants. With over ten years of experience spearheading the sustainability industry, she is a recognized leader skilled at helping people, companies, buildings, and communities to implement and benefit from sustainability-focused solutions. An architect by training, Lauren is USGBC LEED Faculty and has led public and private sustainability-related training sessions all over the world. She also serves as faculty at both Columbia University and New York University, where she teaches green building-related curriculum. Lauren has worked with the LEED Rating System since its inception, including helping hundreds of national and international projects earn LEED certification.  Lauren has also worked as a technical consultant to USGBC.

Presenter Richard Digilio of Provitti Electrical Contracting
will be speaking on the Solar Panel Industry and the ways in which installation of these panels can help the environment. This Seminar is sponsored by The Science Barge and Scope Home Inspections LLC., "Accuracy and precision at its finest."


The Yonkers Riverfront Library is located at 1 Larkin Center, Yonkers, NY 10701

The Science Barge is located at 99 Dock St., Yonkers, NY 10701 on the Yonkers waterfront.


For more information, please contact Brian Reyes (845) 901-8817.  

Save-The-Date: Compost bin & rain barrel sale- July 9th

Great discounts that will help you improve your sustainable garden!


Register for Compost Bin & Rain Barrel Sale in White Plains, NY  on Eventbrite


Rain Barrel flier



Save-The-Date: Green Infrastructure Tour July 13th
Green Infrastructure tour

Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteer on The Science Barge
Barge volunteers

Sundays, 10am-12pm
Every Sunday, between 10am and 12pm, Barge Director Bob Walters will be on board coordinating volunteer projects before the Barge opens to the public at noon. For more information call 914-375-2151 or e-mail

Please Note: In order to launch our new Thursday evening lecture series, we will no longer hold Thursday volunteer hours.

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

clean-up signAre you concerned about the trash you see on the streets and on local trails? Have you ever seen garbage or debris in the Saw Mill River and had the urge to clean it up?
If so, it's time to plan your clean-up!

If you, your business, school, or 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, 
contact Emily Eder at 914-375-2151 or e-mail

The Saw Mill River Coalition will help you plan your clean-up and supply all necessary materials. If your group commits to doing two or more clean-ups each year, we will give you your own picker-uppers and other helpful tools. Also, if you are interested in river restoration, we would be happy to schedule 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 your help!

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

Weather strippingIf you are an older adult living in Yonkers and need help with yard maintenance, routine repairs, or weatherizing your home for the winter -- please contact us!
We have trained our team of young "Our Folks" volunteers to efficiently and responsibly complete these tasks.

Call us and let us know what your needs are.  We will send a team of high school students, along with a Groundwork supervisor, to improve your home and help you out. We will bring our own tools!

An equally important part of this program is fostering bonds and friendships across generations. 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

Volunteer Positions:

  • Public Relations/Social Media/Web Development Internship: Under the supervision of the GWHV management team, the intern will participate in the coordination of a comprehensive public and media relations strategy for GWHV. Tasks may include: Creating company blog and managing social media outreach via Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube, et al; Collecting information for company newsletter; Writing press releases; Updating/maintaining media lists; General research and office duties. Knowledge of WordPress and Constant Contact a plus.   
  • Receptionist/Office Assistant: Help answer phones, greet visitors, and order supplies. This job is flexible and could lead to involvement with other projects if there is interest. Looking for friendly, mature volunteers with good phone and organizational skills.   
  • Organize A Clean-Up: Get a few friends or neighbors together and organize a trash clean-up in your town! Help prevent trash from getting into the Saw Mill River, the Hudson River, and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean! If you organize a team of six or more, Groundwork will provide tools, training, and will help find a location for your clean-up.   
  • Organize A Green Car Wash: Are you looking for an eco-friendly way to raise money for your school group or favorite charity/non-profit? Look no further! Contact Groundwork Hudson Valley to learn about organizing an eco-friendly car wash. We can help provide supplies that will not pollute our local rivers and streams like common car washes do! Download flier.  
Call 914-375-2151 or respond to this e-mail if you are interested in any of these positions.

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