|Groundwork Hudson Valley Newsletter Spring, 2012|
Spring breezed in very early this year, and we were ready with our shovels, rakes, paintbrushes, seeds, and loppers! Volunteers have been busy cutting vines and beautifying the River, high school students are working with us to make their neighborhoods more livable, Green Team members learned to identify and remove invasives at a nearby wildlife refuge, the Saw Mill River Coalition is working nonstop to help complete the new Daylighting Park in Larkin Plaza by this summer, and we have a full roster of events to engage you!
|High School students bird watching at Liberty State Park, Green Team Environmental Excursion.|
Happy Spring Everyone!
Sincerely, The Groundwork Hudson Valley Staff: Rick, Anjali, Anne, Ann-Marie, Andrew, Bob, Curt, Emily, Jennifer, Latisha, Lucy, Lynn, Rhea, and Vernon
| 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.
Science Barge Opening Ceremony 2012
Thanks so much to all who came out and made the Science Barge opening a rousing success last weekend! The Nepperhan Community Center Drum Corps provided a perfect opening, wowing everyone with their joyful beats. After a ceremonial knot untying, a crowd of over one hundred people boarded the Barge and enjoyed tasty snacks, creative crafts, and tours of the Barge. Our recently renovated resource room did a brisk business in sales of toys, hats, and books. The Barge was sparkling clean, freshly painted, and cheerfully sprouting both inside and outside the greenhouse. At one point, Captain Bob Walters led a group over to his favorite eel-mop spot, where he produced 4 baby glass eels and one 7-incher to the delight of the crowd.
We look forward to another great season of sustainably grown food, workshops, events, and fun. We hope to see you all on board!
The Barge is now open for weekday educational programs and field trips for schools, camps, and other groups. Programs range from 1-3 hours and cost $125-$400. We are currently scheduling field trips for the spring and summer. Call 914-375-2151 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in booking. Download the brochure and registration form!
Weekend Walk-Ons (April 14th-November):
$3 suggested donation. Free for children 10 years old and younger.Saturdays & Sundays 12-6pm
*Tours for groups of ten or more must be scheduled in advance. Please contact Bob Walters at Bob@groundworkhv.org or 914-513-7354 for reservations and pricing.
We have also planned a series of fun, educational workshops for kids and adults. Visit our blog for the calendar of events: http://thesciencebarge.tumblr.com/
The Thursday Club Selects Groundwork Hudson Valley as the Beneficiary of its Annual Gala Event
Groundwork is very pleased to announce that The Thursday Club selected Groundwork Hudson Valley to receive the proceeds of its annual Gala. Only one area nonprofit is selected for this award each year, making this a tremendously prestigious honor.
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 Gala proceeds 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 privileged to have been chosen by this esteemed group. Gala proceeds will help us fulfill long-standing needs and bolster our efforts to offer Yonkers youth with opportunities for growth, success, and leadership.
Groundwork Green Team: Summer employment, leadership training, skill building, and fun!
Daylight Yonkers Update: Interpretive Signage & Outdoor Classroom
In preparation for the this summer's planned opening of the new River Park in Larkin Plaza, Groundwork is working hard with its partners to develop a series of beautifully designed and signs and exhibits that will make the new park will be a wonderful place to visit, relax, and learn. Exhibits will relay the rich history of the Saw Mill River and the Yonkers Railway system as well as interesting details of the parks re-engineering and the biodiversity supported by the new river park, and more. The City of Yonkers, The Yonkers Riverfront Public Library, Philipse Manor Hall, and the Yonkers Historical Society collaborated with us on the new exhibits.
The Hudson River Foundation awarded Groundwork Hudson Valley a grant to fund the creation of the American Eel Outdoor Classroom. This area of the park will be devoted to education and will feature a large mosaic depicting the American Eel's journey from the Sargasso Sea to the Saw Mill River. Benches will accommodate story hours and other fun events facilitated by the Yonkers Riverfront Library, Groundwork, and other community partners. Yonkers artist, resident, and long time collaborator with GWHV, Haifa Bindt-Kadi is working on the mosaic design and will assemble it with high school an college interns.
Talks among community partners are also planned to schedule Park programming for this summer. Get ready for a fun, new place to hang out this summer!
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!
A Note From Jennifer Sloan: The Science Barge's New Education Director!
I grew up in the lush suburbs of Long Island, and summer was always may favorite season. But ever since I started gardening in 2004 and farming in 2009, Spring has been giving Summer a run for her money. It is such a hopeful time of year for plants, wildlife and those who admire them, alike. This year, I find myself in a new, propitious role as Director of Education at the Science Barge.
I look forward to drawing upon my six years of experience in naturalist education between the Catskill Outdoor Education Corps, The Greenburgh Nature Center, and Sheldrake Environmental Center to breathe new life and creativity into the signage and educational programming on the Barge this year and for many more. With such a solid foundation provided by the Groundwork Hudson Valley team, there is so much we can achieve! After spending last year on a 15-acre organic vegetable farm in Port Jervis, New York, I am thrilled to have an opportunity to share my passion for plants by teaching sustainable urban agriculture to the youth of the Tri-State area! Look out for some more eye-catching, interactive activities and exhibits in the months to come.
|Spring Cleaning on The Science Barge
Science Barge staff have taken advantage of the warm and sunny weather to get a head start on prepping the Barge for spring. The greenhouse floors have a fresh coat of paint, and the deck and office are in the process. We have even decorated our new composting restroom facilities.
We are also excited to announce the opening of the Science Barge Gift Store & Resource Center! We converted a portion of the shipping container into a lovely space where visitors can browse through books, T-shirts, hats, and gifts, and take away information on energy efficincy and sustainable agriculture. Brochures and maps will also lead visitors to other great destinations in Yonkers.
The Resource Center was made possible by a generous grant from ???
Visit The Science Barge Facebook Page!
|Green Team Environmental Excursions
We are really excited about our new Environmental Excursion program. This series of free, day-long field trips are concentrated Green Team experiences designed to engage students to engage in our several substantive youth programs. Each month we take over 20 Yonkers high school students on environmental outings. Each trip focuses on different themes, such as trail restoration, invasive vines, or local agriculture. In February we went bird watching at Liberty State Park, explored the totally dark Touch Tunnel at Liberty Science Center, and went for a hike in Palisades State Park where the group got a view of Yonkers from across the Hudson. We discussed the value of being aware of our surroundings and using all of our senses to perceive the world around us.
March's trip revolved around careers in agriculture and horticulture. We brought a group to the Bronx Botanical Garden's world famous Orchid Show and discussed the billion dollar orchid industry. We followed this with lunch on Arthur Avenue, the historic Little Italy of the Bronx, and a quick tour of the Hunts Point Terminal Market, the largest food distribution Center in the world (which City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is pushing to increase the amount of local produce supplied to Hunts Point, now only 2% of the total). We ended the day at our Science Barge, a floating urban farm (a prototype rooftop farm) in Yonkers.
Our most recent trip brought a crew of 25 to the US Fish and Wildlife's (USFW) Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge in Sussex, New Jersey. Groundwork and USFW partners taught the youth how to perform statistical sampling of invasives plants using hand-held GPS devices. The data collected will be used in an invasive irradiation project that the Green Team will be completing at the refuge this summer. USFW Staff also spoke to the group about the job opportunities available in the department and in related fields.
|Westchester County Youth Bureau Grant Doubles Groundwork Green Team!
Thanks to a generous grant from the Westchester County Youth Bureau, nearly twice as many Yonkers Youth will be receiving paychecks from Groundwork Hudson Valley this summer! With the additional funding, we will hire 10 youth to form a Sustainable Urban Agriculture (SUAT) Team, in addition to the existing 16 member Green Team. This elite team of future environmental leaders will learn how to run our farmer's market, work in our community gardens, give tours of and work in the Science Barge greenhouse, prepare foods with fresh produce, and run our community supported agriculture (CSA) program. The SUAT Team will also visit local farms that contribute to our Farmer's Market and learn about models of non-profit and for profit sustainable agriculture.
In addition to these hands on projects, SUAT members will learn about food justice, natural resource management, and sustainable food systems. They will also work closely with the Green Team on team building exercises and leadership workshops and will join Green Team members on camping trips to the National Fish and Wildlife Wallkill Nature Preserve in Sussex, New Jersey, Bear Mountain, and Fire Island National Sea Shore. On each of these trips, the whole 26 member crew will meet with professionals from National Fish & Wildlife, the New York New Jersey Trail Conference, The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the National Parks Service, and a private trail building company.
We are looking forward to another great Green Team summer and are delighted to be able to work with additional youth.
|Eagle Scout Project Making an Impact in Thornwood
Eagle Scout candidate from Hawthorne, Troop 1, Joe Steccato, and his team win the award for the most ironic piece of trash found along the Saw Mill River -- a No Littering sign! Unbelievable. Of course, this was not all they have removed from the river. Over the course of two work days,the scouts filled 38 garbage bags (about 50lbs each) and removed large, bulky items, such as tires, fenders, televisions, car batteries, and a even shopping cart. They also found a wallet that was stolen from a woman in town and returned it to her the next day!
Joe chose an area of the River behind the McDonalds off Marble Avenue in Thornwood. This is a site that residents have complained about in the past, so we were eager to assist him with training and tools when he asked us for support. So far, this team has logged about 80 hours of service. McDonald's has been very supportive, providing meals to the volunteers and carting away the garbage. Volunteers also been taking some car batteries so that they could be properly disposed of.
New Stewardship Team at Work in Hastings
We are so pleased by the recent initiative taken by our Invasive Vine Task Force members to galvanize working groups in their neighborhoods. Thanks to Susan Harris, Haven Colgate, Bill Crosby, Robert Montoye, and Gary Ditlow, there are more concerned citizens out on the river getting things done.
Susan and Haven have shown how motivated neighbors can band together to train friends and remove vines and trash from the areas that matter to them. These stewards have gone door-to-door and reached out to local residents through community newsletters. They also set up an information table at the Hastings Farmer's Market. With tools and supplies lent to them by our Saw Mill River Coalition, they have conducted three weekend trainings and vine-cutting/clean-ups so far. These events have been well-attended and covered by local media. Many of the residents that they rallied expressed interest continuing to rid the areas around the river of trash and destructive vines. Now they have the tools and the know-how to do it. These training sessions are reaching community members who cannot attend our monthly events and do not have the time to organize their own events.
Respond to this e-mail or call Emily at 914-375-2151 to find out more.
|Green Team Members' Great Achievements|
This year many of the students that we have worked with are moving on up to the world of higher education. We wanted to take a moment to profile just a few of the many who have achieved so much! Yonkers can be proud of many stellar students this year.
Jose was a leading member of our Summer Green Team last year. We did not know him when he applied for a Green Team slot, but his motivation, strength, and passion for making the world a better place were evident immediately. Jose's dream was to go to the United States Naval Academy, and that dream will come true this summer. Jose worked hard all year getting the necessary recommendations from state and local legislators. He will major in Systems Engineering. Jose was also admitted to UCLA with a Provost Scholarship.
Adana has been a volunteer in the Our Folks program since it began four years ago. She has consistently displayed an eagerness to engage in meaningful conversations with the older adults we work with and never hesitates to say what she thinks with with an eloquence that commands the room. For years her goal was to go to Sarah Lawrence College (my alma matter!), and this year she was accepted! She has not yet decided where she will go, but any institution will be lucky to have her join its student body.
Ruben has been to nearly every single weekly Our Folks project this year, and for that dedication we are so grateful. Always good spirited and motivated to get the job done despite any challenges, Ruben is the constant problem solver on the team. Next year he will attend William and Mary College where he plans to double major in physics and mathematics. He already intends to continue his education beyond college to seek a masters degree at MIT. He was also offered full tuition at NYU.
There are so many other incredible young people that we have had the pleasure of working with over the years who will be graduating from high school this May. We look forward to seeing some of them back on the Green Team this summer and will miss them when they're gone. Look out world, here they come!
|The Saw Mill Market Will Accept WIC!|
In our second year running the Saw Mill Farmer's Market, we are happy to announce that our application to the USDA has been approved, and we will be able to accept WIC checks when we open up again in early June! Come visit us on Tuesdays from June 5th-October 30th, between 12pm and 5pm on the lawn at Philipse Manor Hall in downtown Yonkers!
Thanks to Amba Farms and Ryder Farm Cottage Industry, who agreed to be part of the application process!
Community Student Advocates Are Coming!
Steppin' Up is seeking Student Advocates for the September, 2012 school year! More information to follow. Contact Vernon Brinkley at 914-375-2151 or e-mail email@example.com if you are interested in getting involved.
|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.
25th - All Rise In Honor Of Bread: We will discuss the history of bread and sample unique varieties.
2nd - That's Greek To Me: Rhea Pliakas, a Greek-American and Groundwork employee, will talk about facts and fiction of Greek food. Find out what they really eat in Greece. Greek food samples provided.
9th - Food Fight! The Raw Food fad to the Paleo-Neanderthal diets; what people are eating and why? This talk will include a tasting of new recipes.
16th - Holy Cow, Non-Dairy Milk? A discussion of historical milk substitutes and samples of almond, rice, and coconut milk will be provided. We will also make our own rice milk.
23rd - Tomato Sorbet? Using dry-ice, we will create instant sorbets using savory, not sweet, ingredients. Learn to create wonderful treats within minutes with no fat and little sugar.
30th - A Loaf of Bread, a Jug of Wine, and Thou: The delightful mix of food and prose. The talk will focus on poetry that contains references to food, with samples to compliment the verse.
6th - Wholesome Goodness Tour: Proprietor Dorette Brown will give us a tour of her restaurant and shop, providing an overview of her food philosophy. Samples of her cuisine will be offered. Meet at 66 Main Street Yonkers, NY 10701 (914) 375-7133.
13th - Love of Limburger: Come sample a variety of unique cheese from around the world. Learn why some cheese have such pungent smell, and what's really cheese (and not just cheese substitute).
FARMER'S MARKET VOLUNTEERS:
Want to help promote healthy eating in Yonkers? Groundwork Hudson Valley is looking for volunteers to help raise awareness during our weekly Farmer's Market at Philipse Manor Hall. Hand out flyers on healthy eating, prepare and provide food samples, and help promote greater vegetable consumption. If you'd like to volunteer, please contact Curt Collier at 914-375-2151. The Markets are held on Tuesdays, 11:00 to 5:00 p.m. You can sign up for an hour or the whole day.
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. For more information, contact Curt Collier at (914) 375-2151, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yo Chick! Yo Honey! Keeping Chickens & Bees in the City!
Thursday, April 19
6:15 -7:30 pm: $7 adults, $3 kids
YOH Chick - Keeping Chickens in the City
Did you know that city-dwellers raising chickens is a trend? Now even New York City allows it! Check your municipal code and join the "urban chicken movement" for healthy, home grown eggs, quality nitrogen-rich fertilizer, pest and insect control, and companionship. Learn more at this fun forum featuring the Zander family of Somers and their feathered flock. Coop displays too. Co-sponsored by Beczak Environmental Education Center, Groundwork USA and The City of Yonkers Green Policy Task Force. Email email@example.com or call (914) 377-1900, ext. 13. Beczak, 35 Alexander St., Yonkers.
Thursday, April 26
6:15 -7:15 pm: $7 adults, $3 kids
YOH Honey - Keeping Bees in the City City-dwellers in New York City and beyond are starting to keep bees to save our crops. Learn the basics of beekeeping from Douglass Decandia of the Food Bank of Westchester. Stay on to screen "Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us," an award-winning film about the global bee decline and the philosophy of sustainable beekeeping. Co-sponsored by SlowFood Metro North, Beczak Environmental Education Center, Groundwork USA, and The City of Yonkers Green Policy Task Force. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (914) 377-1900, ext. 12. Beczak, 35 Alexander St., Yonkers.
City of Yonkers Earth Day Celebration at Yonkers Recycling Center
Students from the Foxfire School, along with the representatives from City of Yonkers, will celebrate Earth Day with a visit to the Yonkers Recycling Center, located at 735 Saw Mill River Road. The fifth grade students, who study recycling at their school, will learn firsthand about the city's efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle by touring the facility.
Groundwork Hudson Valley will be on site to teach the kids how to keep Yonkers beautiful by planting flowers outside of the facility. In addition, they will share their essays about the importance of preserving the environment and, as a special thank you, also present their very own awards to the dedicated city employees who run the facility.
The Yonkers Recycling Center is one of the best facilities of its kind in our area and was recently issued several recycling awards by Westchester County for the greatest amount of paper, commingled, electronic and yard waste recycled in 2007.
Sunrise Blessing of The Hudson River
7:30 am: free
Come out to the Hudson when it is most beautiful, at sunrise. Lenape Native American tribal leaders and other spiritual guides gather for the annual Blessing of the Hudson River at the Beczak Environmental Education Center on the Yonkers waterfront, 35 Alexander Street. Participants are invited to share their music, poetic prose or thoughts about Earth Day following the ceremony. Refreshments served. Call Bob Walters for more information, 914-513-7354.
Invasive Plants: What They Are and What to Do:
Tuesday April 24
7:00 - 8:30 pm
As part of the Croton Conservation Advisory Council's (CCAC) Green Living Series, Meredith Taylor, the Invasive Species Partnership Coordinator at The Catskill Center for Conservation & Development, will present the Top 10 Priority Invasive Plant Species in NYS and how to manage them.
Croton Free Library, 171 Cleveland Drive, Croton-On-Hudson
Free Admission - Refreshments Will Be Served
|Pitch in for the Great Saw Mill River Clean-Up & Vine-Cutting!|
SATURDAY, MAY 12: 10am-1pm
Be part of the group of volunteers (families, civic and youth groups, businesses) to join or lead cleanup crews, bagging tons of trash from streets, parks and streams, and connecting with neighbors and the outdoors. It's fun, practical, meaningful, and easy. You gather some friends and Groundwork will help you find a site near you and provide all of the tools, supplies, and training you need. Do your cleanup, leave the bags for the local highway department, and report your cleanup results to SMRC.
To participate, contact Emily Eder at 914-375-2151 or respond to this e-mail.
Not sure where your help is needed? We can help. Check out the Online Map of Potential Cleanup Sites showing various locations throughout the watershed. You can join in at one of the spots listed or let us know where you would like to clean up.
Register by April 27th and get your group's name of the back of our event T-shirt!
The Kick-Off Event is on Wednesday, May 9, 2011 4pm-7pm on board The Science Barge in Yonkers. All are invited to meet other volunteers and enjoy a tour of the Science Barge, our floating urban farm. Team Leaders are asked to attend to pick up tools and supplies. If you are a team leader and cannot attend the Kick-Off, please contact Emily to set up a pick-up time.
|Volunteer Hours on The Science Barge |
Starting Sunday, April 15th:
Barge Director Bob Walters will be on board coordinating volunteer projects on Sunday mornings. Feel free to stop in and get involved or, for more information, call Bob at 914-513-7354 or e-mail email@example.com.
Additionally, we have volunteer weekend docent positions available. Docents are needed to help give tours on Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm-5pm. Contact us if you are interested in being trained to give tours on the Barge!
|Sign Up for the Westchester County Youth Council's Youth Action Convention|
|Participate In Our Folks! Let Us Take Care of Your Yard!|
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free-A-Tree Invasive Vine Cutting!
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.
- Sunday, 4/29/12
- Saturday, 5/12/12: 3rd Annual Great Saw Mill River Clean-Up & Vine-Cutting! (Several sites. See Registration page: http://greatsawmillrivercleanup2012.eventbrite.com
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.
Riverkeeper Hudson River Sweep
- When: June 2, 2012
- Where: Throughout the Hudson Valley map
- To Attend:Click here to register
- Click here for more info.
The Riverkeeper Sweep is a day of service for the Hudson River. Every day we benefit from living near the Hudson River - we benefit from its beauty, its wildlife, its recreational uses, its inspiration. The Riverkeeper Sweep is one day to give back. On June 2, 2012, Riverkeeper will engage volunteers throughout the Hudson River region, empowering them to organize and participate in service projects that benefit the river, from cleanups to outreach and activism.
|Groundwork newsletters written by Emily Eder.|
Groundwork Hudson Valley, 22 Main St., 2nd Floor, Yonkers, NY 10701