GWHV letterhead

Groundwork Hudson Valley Newsletter                Summer & Fall, 2012
Green Team members at sunrise in Fire Island, energized after a productive summer.
Hello Friends,

This summer was full of fantastic projects, heat, hard work, and plenty of fun. And fall has been just as productive and exciting, minus the heat. We hope that you, too, are enjoying the season, as it colorfully unfolds. Please take a moment to read about what we've been up to (with help from many of you!) and what is planned. And check out recent news coverage and videos.

The Groundwork Hudson Valley Staff:
Rick, Anne, Ann-Marie, Andrew, Bob, Chanyz, Curt, Holly, Jamie, Jennifer, Kathy, Latisha, Leila, Lynn, Myrna, Rhea, and Vernon

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In This Issue
Daylighting Opens with Fanfare
Green Team's Epic Summer
Science Barge Season Highlights
Party-Time for Barge Volunteers
A Haunted Science Barge
Look What Popped Up at Lenoir
Farmer's Market First
Free-a-Tree for National Make a Difference Day!
Seeking Saw Mill River Guardians
Environmental Food Team Fall Schedule
Our Folks is Here for You
Keep it Fresh! Join the Winter CSA!
In Favor of Birds & Bees
Groundwork In The News
Groundwork Videos
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.


Newly Daylighted Saw Mill Now Teeming with Life in Downtown Yonkers Park

Riverfest on September 8 marked the public opening of a beautiful new river park in Downtown Yonkers. Officially named Van der Donck Park, this is the grand result of a long road that started in 2001, when Groundwork first began to provide support for the idea of daylighting the Saw Mill River with the City of Yonkers and Scenic Hudson. The interpretive signs on display in the park are the result of a collaboration between Groundwork and the City of Yonkers, Yonkers Riverfront Library, Friends of Philipse Manor Hall, and the Yonkers Historical Society. Signs cover the history of the Saw Mill River and the Yonkers railway system, as well as fascinating details of the park's re-engineering and the biodiversity supported by the new river park.

Our American Eel Outdoor Classroom is a key feature of the daylighting park, showcasing an intricate 9x16-foot mosaic of the eel's migration, made by local artist Haifa Bint-Kadi and local high school interns, a sign with a 6-foot carved eel, and split-log benches.
This project was funded by grants from the Hudson River Foundation and the US EPA.  
2012 Groundwork Green Team

Green Team 2012 at Bear Mountain
This summer, thanks to generous grants from the Westchester County Youth Bureau and the Thursday Club, Groundwork Hudson Valley hired 10 more youth than in previous years for our summer youth employment program, the Green Team. This powerful team of 26 gained invaluable work experience completing a variety of environmental restoration and sustainable food projects in Yonkers, Bear Mountain State Park, Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge, and Fire Island National Sea Shore.

The Sustainable Food Green Team, comprised of 11 youth, ran our Farmer's Market, prepared recipes to hand out using fresh farm produce, worked on improvement projects in our community gardens, and worked in the Science Barge greenhouse. This team also visited local farms to learn about models of sustainable agriculture.

Clearing the way for the new pond.
The Habitat Restoration Green Team of 15
youth built a new riparian habitat for birds and dragonflies at Lenoir Nature Preserve. The team worked tirelessly through heat and rain
to build this pond and boardwalk. 

Both Green Teams got together for camping trips, including service projects with professionalsfrom the US Fish & Wildlife Department, New York/New Jersey Trail Conference, Appalachian Trail Conservancy,  and the National Parks Service. 
Wrapping Up a "Best of Westchester" Season on the Science Barge! 
A season-ending update from Education Director Jennifer Sloan

Another successful Science Barge season comes to a close on November 2nd. As a first-timer to hydroponics and the Science Barge, I was excited at every turn to see how the growing season would progress and how students would react and relate to the programming we presented. I never could have imagined how far-reaching our mission would be, and how many amazing partnerships we would forge in just a single year!   

From April 2012 to present, the Science Barge has hosted 86 school groups and
27 camp groups--reaching over 2,825 youth in total!


Over the weekends, thousands of public visitors toured the barge, led by our trained intern  docents, many of them local high school students. The well-attended Art and Science Sundays program gave children ages 4-10 an opportunity to learn about alternative energy, botany, river ecology, and more through fun crafts, experiments, and the ever- popular Blue Crab Blitz! 


The Science Barge also hosted multiple teacher development workshops and in-depth tours. In addition to the many times we were featured in news stories, including winning Westchester Magazine's "Best of Westchester 2012," here is a snapshot of some of the film crews and VIP's who came aboard this season:

  • Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for a press conference announcing Groundwork's USDA grant
  • Japanese Film Crew for a tsunami retrospective on sustainability   
  • Cooking Channel for "Quest for the Fresh" special with Claire Robinson (aired on 10/7) 
  • Manon Boucher, Economic Affairs Director for Quebec  for Foods of Quebec research
  • French Film Crew  for a TV special on sustainable agriculture   


The Science Barge is currently booking educational programs and field trips for schools, camps, and other groups for spring 2013. Programs range from 1-3 hours and cost $125-$400. Call 914-375-2151 or e-mail if you are interested in booking a trip.


For information about more fun, educational workshops for kids and adults on the Barge, visit our blog:

OCTOBER 28 -- 2-6pm 
Please join us in honoring our terrific volunteers and have some frightening
fun to end the 2012 season on the Science Barge

Come help us as we turn pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns!  
For additional information contact Bob Walters at (914) 513-7354
~ Wear a costume, bring a dish, if you wish ~ 

Wednesday, October 31  
2-4pm -- Trick or Treating, Face Painting, Crafts (Ages 3-8) 
4-6pm -- Scavenger Hunt, Costume Contest, Crafts & Games (Ages 6-10)
$5 Suggested Donation

Look What Popped Up at Lenoir Preserve!

We thought Sarah Lawrence College's Pop-Up Adventure Playground would be a wonderful way to draw community awareness for the new Bird & Dragonfly pond built this summer by Groundwork's Green Team at Lenoir Nature Preserve in Yonkers. And it certainly did! On the crisp afternoon of October 20, nearly 200 children and parents descended upon Lenoir ready to let their imaginations run wild. Using found materials like cardboard boxes, string, and fabric, they built cars, robots, and elaborately furnished houses. When they came up for air, they ran around and explored the park. Many parents were surprised to learn that this pristine 40-acre County Park is right in their midst, with hiking trails, a butterfly garden, nature center, and, now, a habitat with observation deck for watching birds and dragonflies.

Many thanks to the crew from Sarah Lawrence's Child Development Institute for bringing the fun, and to Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick and Green Policy Task Force Coordinator Laura Fahrenthold-Pittman for arranging to bring the kids, with special help from Yonkers schools' AnnaMarie Sollozzo and Lisa Bekesy and from Academy Bus Company.

Visit our Facebook page for more delightful photos.
The Saw Mill Farmer's Market Winding Down

The Saw Mill Farmer's Market's first full season of operation will come to a close at the end of October. Each week our Farmers' Market provides the Yonkers community with fresh produce from local farms and from the Science Barge. For seven weeks this summer the Market was run almost entirely by the Green Team teens, giving them terrific business experience. A steady stream of Yonkers' residents stops by to purchase fruits and vegetables often picked that morning and samples tastings prepared with the day's featured produce. The Farmer's Market is now accepting WIC checks and SNAP food stamps.
"Free-A-Tree" for National Make a Difference Day!

October 27th is National Make a Difference Day, and we thought it would be the perfect day to restart our vine-cutting excursions.  Please join the on-going battle against the vines that are killing native trees and taking over the river habitat!

October 27, 10am-1pm -- Farragut Ave. restoration site 

Hastings-on-Hudson (Ardsley side)  

From Saw Mill River Parkway going NORTH, Exit 13, Farragut Avenue. Turn Right into South County Trailway parking lot.
From Saw Mill River Parkway going SOUTH, Exit 11, Tompkins Avenue. Left onto Saw Mill River Road. Go to the traffic light at Farragut Ave., turn left, then turn left immediately into the South County Trailway parking lot.
We will meet on the South County Trailway, a 3 minute walk north of the parking lot.

Please dress warmly and bring water. Volunteers under 16 years of age must be supervised by an adult. Training, tools, and refreshments will be provided.

Hope to see you there! Please contact Andrew Boyd at or at 914-375-2151 with any questions or if you are interested in organizing an additional date for your group.


Seeking Saw Mill River Guardians

Groundwork recently received a 2-year "Eyes on the River" grant from the US EPA to build a lasting stewards group among people who work and live along the Saw Mill River in the downtown Yonkers area. River Guardians will be trained in water quality testing and asked to observe the river throughout the year and help organize neighbors for river clean-ups and riverbank plantings. Groundwork is now recruiting community members as River Guardians. The target area for the program is just upstream from the daylighted river, from Ann Street, along Walsh Road around War Memorial Field, north to Tuckahoe Road.

If you are interested in becoming a River Guardian or know someone who might be, please call Anne Megaro, Vernon Brinkley, or Ann-Marie Mitroff at 914-375-2151, or email:, or

Environmental Food Team Fall Schedule

One of our most beloved programs, the Environmental Food Team offers free weekly
lectures, tours, interesting movies, and, best of all--free food tastings!
Unless otherwise noted, events are on:

Tuesdays, 3:00-4:00pm
Philipse Manor Hall, 29 Warburton Ave., Yonkers, NY
Free parking is available!

  --  Sri Lankan Food--Flavors & food beyond the Indian Subcontinent
30  --  Dia de los Muertos--Cooking for the dead, and other fascinating food traditions

6    -- Group Tour -- "The Lunch Hour." A unique exhibit at the New York Public Library.   
           Transportation, tours, and lunch provided. 10am to 3pm (Includes tour of Bryant Park)
13  -- How to Braid Bread -- Just in time for the holidays!
  -- The President's Kitchen -- History of food served at the White House and Inaugural Balls
27  -- Farmers' Markets -- Learn the socio-economics of this popular phenomenon

4   --
American Root Cellar -- How people kept their harvest edible and what they stored
11 -- Buttermilk or 2% -- Butter making and varieties of low-fat milk
18 -- Winter Spirits -- From wassail and cider to eggnog, a sobering history of holiday cheer
This program is sponsored in part through the generous support of the Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation

Need Yard Work or Weatherizing? Our Folks to the Rescue!

If you are a Yonkers resident 55 years or older and need help with yard work, 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.  Along with a Groundwork supervisor, we will send a team of high school students 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. Typically, there is a short break in the work where the youth and resident share stories, chat, and enjoy a snack (provided).

To participate, contact Andrew Boyd at 914-375-2151 or e-mail

Community Supported Agriculture Continues! Winter sun logo 
Our summer Community Supported Agriculture program, drawing to a close on November 6, was more popular than ever, with 52 members! But all of those who have enjoyed our summer CSA
need not despair. Winter Sun Farms will keep you furnished with fresh farm produce until spring!


Winter Sun Farms partners with local sustainable farms to preserve the harvest beyond the growing season. The company purchases produce from farms in the Hudson Valley region, then freezes and packages the farm fresh vegetables and berries for distribution as winter shares.


How does the program work?

  • We need 20 people to sign up by November 30 for Groundwork to be a distribution site in Yonkers. 
  • Participants will receive 1 share per month, running from December-March or December-April.
  • Cost of 5-month share: $26.40/month. (A discount from last year's price!)  
  • Distribution will take place on the second Tuesday of the month.
  • Shares include 7 individually packaged items such as frozen blueberries, corn, broccoli, tomatoes. 
  • There may be a free share available to someone who can commit to running the distribution!


How To Sign Up:  Go to and choose Yonkers as your pick-up site. Payments will also go through the Winter Sun Farms website.

* Please note: we do not have the ability to freeze your shares overnight, so you must show up on the day  

of the monthly pick-up, or send someone to pick up for you! 

In Support of the Birds and the Bees

In keeping with our mission of sustainable living and improving community access to fresh foods, Groundwork supports updating Yonkers' laws, as many other major municipalities have done, to allow for keeping backyard chickens and honey bees. This legislation is likely to go to vote in early November, and carries the support of the Yonkers Green Policy Task Force and Yonkers Planning Board. The Council Committee on Smart Growth, Environmental and Historic Preservation has held one hearing and will be recommending minor changes to the Council in response to public comment.  Please call or email your Yonkers official if you favor this legislation.

For more on this topic, visit:

~ Groundwork In The News ~
Groundwork was all over the news recently, with stories on WNBC,, News12, The Cooking Channel, to name a few. Here is a small sampling:


Check Out these Brief Groundwork Videos! 

Groundwork is very excited to premier these fabulous clips about our major programs. The videos were created by local production studio, Numeric Pictures. There is one long video that has been cut into segments for your viewing pleasure.

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