GWHV letterhead

Groundwork Hudson Valley Newsletter                                             Fall, 2011
The Environmental Food Team joins High School Students from Yonkers for Field Trip to Farm.
Hello All,
Hope you all are enjoying this unusually prolonged fall (our East Coast readers at least) and that you had a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving. We  would like to express our sincere thanks to all of you who have volunteered with us over the years, supported us and helped us grow, and expressed interest in our mission. We could not thrive as an organization without you. We are thankful to be doing the work that we do and for the communities that we work with.

The Groundwork Hudson Valley Staff: Rick, Anjali, Anne, Ann-Marie, Andrew, Bob, Curt, Emily, Lucy, Lynn, Rhea, and Vernon
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In This Issue
Daylight Yonkers Update
Thursday Club Selects Groundwork as Charity of Choice
GWUSA National Assembly in Denver
Science Barge Season Wrap Up
EPA Funds Comprehensive Study of Science Barge Educational Program
Farmer's Market Was A Success
Aquefest 2011
Invasive Vine Task Force
Bon Voyage to Gwen Hil
Art & Science on The Science Barge
Environmental Food Team
Winter CSA: Register NOW!
Winter Volunteer Hours on The Science Barge
Start a Clean-Up Team
Participate In Our Folks!
Free-A-Tree Invasive Vine Cutting
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


At long last, a river runs through Larkin Plaza! The construction crew has been working steadfastly through a cold winter and hot summer to bring the Saw Mill River back to the light of day in downtown Yonkers. It is hard to imagine, since Larkin Plaza was a large parking lot for so many years, but this site was for centuries an historic harbor that helped to make Yonkers the city it is today, the fourth largest in New York State.

After more than a decade of planning and deliberating, the City of Yonkers, with the guidance and support of environmental advocates, including Groundwork Hudson Valley, has made the 17 million dollar dream of the opened river a reality. This project is well on its way to transforming an asphalt lot into a place where people gather, linger, and relax; where businesses thrive; and where plant and animal life flourishes.

(For those of you wondering, "but where will we park?" there is parking available at the large garage on Main and Hawthorne-called the Buena Vista Garage. Another large metered parking garage on Warburton and Wells will be completed in 2012.)

Though the park is not slated for completion until spring 2012, a major milestone has been reached with the re-introduction of the river to the light of day. The diversion chamber diverts water from the old underground path through a flow gate at the top of the park and a rushing river can now be heard tumbling over rocky riffles on its way to meet the Hudson River. The Alaskan steep-pass fish ladder and rock structures (riffles) that will help fish migrate up the Saw Mill have been completed along with beautiful stone retention walls. By restoring the river on this site, we have re-created 13,775 square-feet of aquatic habitat, including a tidal pool and two freshwater pools.

Still to come are plantings along the bank that will attract birds and butterflies as well as beneficial bugs that will feed the American Eels and Hudson River fish. The site has great instructional value for visitors. Informational exhibits will highlight breeding habitat, nutrient recycling, and the nature of estuaries; and we are applying for funds to support art installations and an outdoor classroom.  


Groundwork Hudson Valley has been working on this project for over 10 years, thanks in part to an early grant from the Hudson River Foundation, which funded the first stakeholder charrettes to envision the project. The New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program habitat restoration planning grant, awarded to Groundwork Hudson Valley in 2008, was critical in making this engineering project an environmental project as well. Groundwork continued to receive other state and federal grants, along with support from the Westchester Community Foundation, allowing us to work on other elements of the daylighting, including habitat planning, park design and programming, stewardship, and ecological education. 


Visit our Facebook page for a history of the Daylighting in pictures. 


For more information about the project and to download the newest park design, click here.    


Read a recent editorial published in The New York Times about the Daylighting in Yonkers! 


Groundwork is Chosen for Prestigious Thursday Club Sponsorship! 


Groundwork is very pleased to announce that The Thursday Club selected Groundwork Hudson Valley, from among a group of outstanding local nonprofits, to receie the proceeds of their annual Gala. 


The Thursday Club, founded in 1921, is a group of women who are committed to their community, to each other, and to the belief that friends working together with focus and compassion can improve the world around them. 


The Gala will be held, appropriately, on Earth Day, April 22, 2012.

All of the proceeds from this gala will be used to strengthen Groundwork's youth programs including our Green Team, Our Folks, and Science Barge internships as well as our vine cutting program. We are both grateful and honored to have been chosen by this prestigious group. The donation will allow us to fulfill many long-standing needs and bolster our efforts to provide the youth of Yonkers with avenues towards growth, success, and leadership.



Groundwork HV Brings 3 Yonkers Students to Rocky Mountain National Park
GW USA National Assembly and Youth Summit 2011 


Every year Groundwork trusts from across the country gather in a city or town where a Groundwork office is located, to discuss the year's work and plan for the future.

Currently, Groundwork offices are located in 18 locations from New York to New Mexico. Each trust runs programs specific to their community. We all focus on environmental restoration, community building, education, and empowerment.

The National Assembly and Youth Summit is a great opportunity for staff members as well as Youth Ambassadors from Green Teams across the country to share stories and advice, and learn from one another. The Executive Directors work on capacity building, and the host trust gets to take everyone on a tour of their community and program sites.

This year we got to go to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, where the Groundwork Denver Green Team works all summer on trail work, invasive plant removal, and more. What a spectacular place! We were happy to be able to bring three Green Team members from Yonkers to speak about the issues they face and get to know their peers from around the country. Click here to view photos from the Assembly.

Another Great Season on The Science Barge in Yonkers

It has been a great season on the Science Barge. We reached out to, and were visited by, people of all ages, from as close as the Charter School in Yonkers to as far away as Korea. We grew over 900 pounds of delicious fresh produce and donated it to a local food pantry. We taught thousands of visitors, through school field trips and weekend tours, about sustainable urban agriculture and renewable energy systems. We built a composting toilet. We were the temporary home of a mama duck giving birth to some baby ducklings. Barge Director Bob Walters warded off a wayward raccoon. We survived Hurricane Irene and a pre-Halloween snowstorm. ...  And we pulled up anchor and sailed around the world in forty days under the fearless leadership of Captain Bob. Ok, not really, but you can download our 2011 report here to learn more.

Yonkers artist Jamie Korb led a fun and educational weekend workshop series for kids through the summer and fall. Every Sunday afternoon, an energetic group was led in painting activities, scavenger hunts, an epic blue crab catching day, and more. Look out for more weekend fun next season!
Photo and composite by Anna Fleshler.
An active and innovative crew of volunteers organized a Sip N' Learn Workshop series, which paired workshops on environmental sustainability with tastings of local and/or organic wine! We plan to organize a great schedule of evening workshops for adults next season with the help of our new partners, Slow Food Metro North.

The Barge is closed for tours until mid-April, but Bob will be on-board every Sunday from 12-5pm, coordinating open volunteer hours. Feel free to come marvel at the Hudson River in winter and help out with Barge projects that will maintain it and prepare it for spring. Call Bob at 914-513-7354 for more information.

Visit our Facebook page for the Science Barge Season in pictures!

EPA Funds Comprehensive Study of Science Barge Educational Programs

Groundwork received funding from the EPA to develop and administer tests that will help us determine what students learn and retain through Science Barge programming. 


Several middle school classes are participating to evaluate their knowledge of environmental sustainability issues before they visit the Barge and after. Data gathered through these tests will help Science Barge staff continue to provide award winning field trips, strengthen our curriculum, and make an impact on students from all over the region. Initial testing was conducted at the end of this season, revealing a 52% improvement in the youth's understanding of sustainability and scientific modeling as a result of participating in the Science Barge program.    

Our First Farmer's Market Was A Success! Looking Forward to Next Spring

Green Team running the Market.
Groundwork had a great first season managing the new Saw Mill Farmer's Market, selling to the after-work crowd on Mondays each week. We were able to launch our first Farmers Market this summer thanks to a grant from the Westchester Community Foundation. It also would not have been the success that it was without the support of local sustainable farms  in theWestchester Land Trust's Local Land, Local Food Farmer's Network, who sold their beautiful produce to Groundwork at wholesale prices. Thanks to the grant funds, we were able to sell the produce to the Yonkers community at the same wholesale prices, making organic and fresh produce accessible and affordable for a lot of enthusiastic customers.

We also surveyed customers to see what they wanted more or less of and to determine which additional, all-natural products they would like to see at the market. We look forward to using your feedback to expand and strengthen the market next year. Look for us in the newly daylighted Saw Mill River Park in Larkin Plaza in the spring! We hope to expand selection to include freshly baked bread, jams, and honey and to enliven the market with performances by local musicians.  

Working with Friends of The OCA Trail, Greenburgh Nature Center & REI to Plan Aquefest 2011

Groundwork was happy to partner with other local groups to organize Aquefest 2011 in Yonkers. Aquefest is an annual event led by the Friends of The Old Croton Aqueduct Trailto celebrate this historic NY State Park that extends from Croton all the way to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Groundwork has worked along this Trail in Yonkers for many years, undertaking restoration and drainage projects as well as trash removal. The Green Team also arranged an anti-trash campaign in neighborhoods along the Trail.  


This year's Aquefest featured a demonstration by the Greenburgh Nature Center, a tremendous performance by the Nepperhan Community Center's Drum Corps, a bicycle rodeo with REI Yonkers, snacks donated by Whole Foods Yonkers, and face painting by Groundwork volunteers! 

Invasive Vine Task Force Up and Running 


One of the "next steps" identified at the Invasive Vine Action Workshop last April was to convene an Invasive Vine Task Force. We are very grateful to the volunteers who have made this a reality. The Task Force includes concerned citizens and activists, arborists,  Groundwork Staff, Westchester County Parks staff, and others. 

Agenda items at Task Force meetings have included integrated approaches to invasive plant management; addressing invasive vines using a combination of chemical, biological, and manual controls (herbicides, beneficial insects, machinery, goats, and volunteers); developing an "adopt-a-tree" program through which people maintain the health of a tree in their neighborhood (we have begun outreach on this campaign already); and developing a formalized training program through which people can be certified to cut vines on their own. 
Please let us know if you would like to team up with the Task Force on any of these projects or have any items that you would like us to put on the agenda.

Additionally, if you are passionate about invasive vine management, have time to attend monthly evening meetings, and want to sink your teeth into any of these initiatives, there is room for you around the table! Just respond to this e-mail. 

Bon Voyage to Director of Education Gwen Hill


cuke harvest

Gwen led The Science Barge through another successful year in downtown Yonkers, but made the difficult decision to resign at the end of the summer to finish her master's thesis. We will miss Gwen's prowess in the greenhouse -- from teaching to pruning -- and her good company in the office.


Gwen is completing her Masters in Geography at Hunter College. The issue of feeding a growing population with limited resources is imperative, and we are glad that a bright mind like Gwen is settling down to compile information and insight on this pressing problem.  We look forward to an inspired and insightful analysis of traditional and alternative agriculture.   

Upcoming Events



Or mail a check made out to Groundwork Hudson Valley to 22 Main St., Yonkers, NY 10701. Any amount is truly appreciated and will be put toward good work! 

Environmental Food Team

Our Environmental Food Team program brings older adults together for fun seminars on the history of food, cooking lessons and demonstrations, field trips to local sustainable farms and gardens, and inter-generational events with local youth. Seminars are free and open to the public.
Pickle Making Workshop with students from local high schools.

SCHEDULE:Wednesdays, 3:30 - 4:30 PM (At GW office unless otherwise noted). Call (914) 375-2151 for the meeting location for this week.
  • December 7: Mustard. A surprisingly versatile substance that appears in more foods than you thought.  
  • December 12: The World of Olives. Learn about this ancient food and try different varieties.  
  • FIELD TRIP Saturday, December 17: Home of FDR National Historic Site & Hudson Valley Wineries. Visit FDR's home and discuss the merit of FDR's Civilian Conservation Corps.  This will be followed by a stop at two area wineries (including the oldest in the United States).  The tour will include time to sample locally grown wine (optional extra fee for this).  Tickets $25.  Depart 9:00 AM, return 4:00 PM. 

Groundwork's Office is located at 22 Main Street, 2nd Floor, Yonkers, NY 10701.


All Wednesday events and activities are free and open to all adults 55+ years. Financial assistance may be available for select field trips. To insure a seat on the bus, please sign up for the trips in advance. NOTE: IF THE DAY'S FORECAST PREDICTS MORE THAN A DUSTING OF SNOW THE TRIP IS CANCELED. For more information, contact Curt Collier at (914) 375-2151, or


Winter CSA: Register NOW! First pick-up- December, 13th! 


Winter sun logo

Groundwork is excited to partner with Winter Sun Farms to start the first Winter CSA in downtown Yonkers! Want farm fresh produce all year round? Winter Sun Farms collects produce from local, sustainable farms throughout the growing season and cans, preserves, or flash freezes it to distribute during the winter! Through Slow Food Metro North, Winter Sun reached out to us to see if there was interest in setting up a winter CSA distribution at our office in Yonkers. Sure enough, there was lots of interest! If you would like to sign up for the winter CSA there is still a little bit of time left! Click here for more information on monthly pick-ups or follow this link to register.The first pick-up day is Tuesday, December 13th so REGISTER NOW! 


Volunteer Opportunities
Vote For Groundwork! Contest ENDS December 8th! Vote Now!

Westchester Toyota is sponsoring a contest that will award a percentage of their proceeds to a local non-profit. We are about 20 votes away from first place and the contest ENDS on DECEMBER 8th! Each vote counts! Please take a moment today to vote for us. We need your support! 

 Here's how to vote:
  • Click here to go to Westchester Toyota's facebook fan page. 
  • Click on the "Give Back" tab on the left of the page.
  • Click the "Like" button to be able to vote. (We understand that you may be hesitant to do this, but we think it is a small price to pay to help us out! Hey, they make the Prius!).  
  • Vote for Groundwork!
  • Feel happy that you have done a good thing.  

Winter Volunteer Hours on The Science Barge Captain Bob Walters  
Sundays, 12pm-5pm

Barge Director Bob Walters will be on board coordinating volunteer projects while the Barge is closed for the winter. It's cold out there, but there's plenty to do! For more information call Bob at 914-513-7354 or e-mail

Start a Clean-Up Team! Plan a Clean-Up!
stewardship turtleAre you concerned about the trash you see on the streets and on local trails? Have you noticed 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 for 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!

If 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. And, 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

Free-A-Tree Invasive Vine Cutting! vine cutting november 2011

If you have ever driven down the Saw Mill Parkway or used the South County Trailway, you have seen the destruction that the invasive vines cause along our river! These vines root right next to native trees, taking water that they need to survive, and they grow up the tree, creating a shade canopy that deprives the tree of sunlight. We are these vines' only natural predator! Join us to help restore the river to health at our restoration site!



All Vine-cuttings will be held from 10am-1pm at the Farragut Avenue Restoration Site. Meet on the trail North of the parking lot. Please wear long pants and close-toed shoes. We will provide refreshments, training, and all of the necessary tools and supplies (but if you have your own, bring them along)! Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. We are planning ahead this year in hopes of getting on your calendars!  With your help we can make a huge impact in our community and the environment. Please take a look at what we have planned for the days, weeks, and months ahead.

  • Saturday 12/10/11
  • Saturday 1/14/12
  • Saturday 2/11/12
  • Saturday 3/17/12
  • Sunday, 4/22/12
  • Saturday, 5/12/12: 3rd Annual Great Saw Mill River Clean-Up!

Directions to Farragut Ave. Restoration Site:

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

From Saw Mill River Parkway going SOUTH, take exit 11, Tompkins Avenue-go left to Saw Mill River Road, turn left. Turn left at Farragut Ave., then turn left into the parking lot.

We will meet on the South County Trailway, a two minute walk north of the parking lot.

* All Vine-Cuttings will take place at the same place and same time unless otherwise noted. We would love to expand our reach. Let us know if you are interested in organizing your own vine-cutting or clean-up in your community! *


Contact Emily at 914-375-2151 with any questions.


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