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Westchester Environment Dedicated to environmental planning and education in Westchester County

Published by Federated Conservationists of Westchester County, Inc. Vol. 2010 No.3

Printed on recycled paper

Summer 2010

FCWC 45th Annual Meeting Was Especially Inspiring


hose attending FCWC’s Annual Meeting on June 1st found it unusually inspiring, because the event’s honorees (and many of those present) were student environmentalists: two high school students

and Yonkers. Awardees received a framed certificate of FCWC’s Edith G. Read Award and a native plant (bee balm) for their school. FCWC originated our Read award in 2006 in memory of the remarkable Westchester County conservationist, also a long time FCWC Board member, who was involved in countless Westchester environmental issues, groups, and victories during her lifetime.

The student honorees included Sierra Bangari of Riverside High School in Yonkers. Sierra has been an initiator and leader in promoting recycling at the school, writing on green issues for the student From L to R: Bob Iovino (of Briarcliff Middle School); Sierra Bangari, Honoree (from newspaper, participating in the Yonkers), Noah Kamen and Danny Dworkin,Honorees (of Briarcliff MS), Sharon Yonkers Green Policy Task Pickett (of FCWC); Adiel Gavish (of FCWC); Mason Curtis (of Rye HS) Honoree; Sam Dorn and Elizabeth Burns of Rye HS and Steven J. Levy (of FCWC) Force (YGPTF) and other groups such as CELF (the Childrens and their respective school clubs and one Environmental Literacy Foundation). Sierra, middle school environmental club represented in her acceptance remarks, thanked many by two students and their faculty advisor. The who have helped her in her development as a honorees were from Briarcliff Manor, Rye, concerned environmentalist and promoter of

sustainability, including her parents, and Anne Mastropolo, a teacher at Riverside H.S. and member of the YGPTF. Mason Curtis of Rye High School (RHS) and the Natural Environment Club that he founded and leads was the second honoree. The Club has worked to discourage and replace individual plastic water bottles with reusable ones, enacted increased school wide recycling, instituted “walk to school days,” and has built a wildlife habitat to meet National Wildlife Federation requirements on the RHS campus. They have participated in the Westchester Student Association for the Environment and CELF expo. Mason was accompanied by two members of the club: Sam Dorn and Elizabeth Burns, as well as his parents whom he also thanked for their support and encouragement in things green. Accepting the award for the Briarcliff Manor Middle School Greenhouse Club were Noah Kamen, Danny Dworkin, and faculty advisor Bob Iovino. The Briarcliff Club was See “Meeting” on Page 3

Farmers Markets and Community Gardens Bloom


e believe that more vegetable gardens are growing in Westchester this summer as part of people’s efforts to go green, reduce their shopping carbon footprint, as well as better protect themselves and their children from pesticides in their food. We applaud the fact that many FCWC Board members, organizations, and individual members are gardening this summer. And the number of Farmer’s Markets available to shoppers in the County has also increased. The Journal News ran a listing of such markets in their June 16, Life&Style section that counted over forty now running in the Rockland, Westchester and Putnam County area. In Westchester alone we

By Staff are aware of over 25. You will find these markets in Bronxville, Croton-on Hudson, Elmsford, Hartsdale, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington, Larchmont, Mount Kisco, (Armonk), New Rochelle, North Castle, Ossining, Peekskill, Pleasantvill, Pound Ridge, Rye, Scarsdale, Somers, South Salem, Tarrytown, Tuckahoe, White Plains, Yonkers, and Yorktown Heights. These markets provide fresh, and often organic, produce weekly to municipalities, but you must learn which day they are in your community. The Journal News listing notes the day of the week, location and contact number or email for the Markets. Several new markets were noted such as at PepsiCo on Anderson Hill Road in Purchase on Tuesdays.

Visit us on the web at

We have listed several new community gardens and the described the vertical urban garden demonstration on the Science Barge (See “Events” on page 4). We are aware that a number of the area colleges have also started food gardens. We would like to learn of others that we can publicize. We will use our monthly ENEWS to let you know of events that teach gardening techniques and will provide other useful information to all vegetable gardeners.

Check Out Our Updated Environmental Directory At Our Website


hose who have recently gone onto our newly redesigned website: www. have undoubtedly found its many new features. But we are particularly delighted that our Westchester Environmental Directory has been undergoing updating by several interns (see article on page 1). We ask you, our readers, to check out the information on any organization you are connected with for accuracy and completeness. And, if an environmental group that you are aware of is not listed, and it would like to be, please let us know. Either call the office: 914-422-4053 or email us at

Send Us News Of Your Green Actions FCWC wants to encourage the greening of the County by publicizing new local initiatives. Tell us what your organization, municipality and/or you as an individual are doing to advance this critical effort. Email us at

Westchester Environment is published by Federated Conservationists of Westchester County, Inc. E House ~ 78 North Broadway White Plains, NY 10603 (914) 422-4053 Adiel Gavish – Program Director Board of Directors Steven Levy and Sharon Pickett – Co-Presidents Jason Klein - Vice President Judith Martin – Vice President Robert Carroll – Secretary Laurence O’Connell and Carolyn Cunningham Co-Treasurers Jan Blaire, Lisa Copeland, Herbert Fox, Robert Funicello, Carole Griffiths, Cesare Manfredi, Maureen Morgan, Oreon Sandler, Nortrud W. Spero, Frederick W. Turner WE Newsletter Staff: Carolyn Cunningham Jeff Green, Production and Website Federated Conservationists of Westchester County, Inc. is a coalition of environmental organizations and individuals. Represented in it is a diversity of opinions. The FCWC Board of Directors takes positions on some environmental issues. Signed articles appearing in Westchester Environment are the views of the authors and not necessarily those of the FCWC Board.

FCWC Supports New Rochelle’s Draft Sustainability Plan


By Co-Presidents Steven J. Levy and Sharon Pickett n testimony before the New Rochelle City Council in May of this year, FCWC presented the following testimony (excerpted here).supporting their draft plan:

Through the years, the FCWC Board, staff, and its members have informed the public about critical environmental issues, and worked closely with local elected officials to preserve our valuable land, air, and water resources. The vocabulary has changed, but our efforts continue to be the same: promoting sustainability, that is, policies that satisfy short term needs without compromising long term living standards. This is also the primary goal of your “New Rochelle Sustainability Plan 2010-2030”. We salute the initiative and commend the City for developing such an excellent plan for the next twenty years. We hope that all of our cities and towns will develop such plans - to meet the critical needs of our localities and the world to cut air emissions, save energy, reduce waste, conserve resources and utilize the principles of sustainable design as an underlying ethic that guides all decision making. The New Rochelle Draft Plan specifies action in the areas of Transportation, Smart Growth, Energy and Climate (to name but a few) that we in FCWC have long promoted. It is a well developed practical guide to progress and a call to individuals, businesses, as well as schools and governmental agencies for actions that together can lead to important results, such as reducing flooding and deforestation, preserving New Rochelle’s natural beauty, and increasing its economic prosperity. Many of the initiatives will save the City money, e.g., in the “greening” of its buildings, as well as create new jobs in these areas. The Plan also wisely proposes to begin with those actions that can be privately funded through grants or implemented without a large impact on municipal finances during this time of economic strain. It recommends implementing the least expensive actions now, phasing in others later - and changing the plan as needed as time goes by. Some of FCWC’s most recent efforts include our healthy air campaign, which promotes anti-idling legislation, use of mass transit, and reduction of single occupant vehicles, encouraging walking, biking, reducing use of leaf blowers, our promotion of green buildings and improving building codes to require greening going forward, and our recent concerns with drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale areas that can jeopardize our drinking water. They are all examples of action which is proposed in your “Sustainability Plan.” FCWC strongly urges the City Council to adopt the draft plan and begin the initiatives contained in it. The Plan provides an excellent model for other municipalities to follow, while we all strive to achieve its important environmental, economic and social goals. We congratulate New Rochelle for its leadership in seeing sustainability as an opportunity for true value and long term growth. We look forward to working with you to help achieve the Plan’s goals. [The Sustainability Plan is undergoing review by the City Council as of this writing.]

Board Member Carole Griffiths Honored by WMPF


CWC Board member Dr. Carole Griffiths was honored by the Westchester Municipal Planning Federation (WMPF) with their Distinguished Citizen Planner Award at their annual meeting on June 10. Dr. Griffiths, who has a Ph.D in biology, and is a professor at Long Island University's Brooklyn campus, has served for many years on the Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council (TEAC). She became chair of the TEAC in 1981 and served during the 1980s. The Committee was moribund for a few years but she again became chair in 2005, appointed by Mayor Drew Fixell. Ms. Griffiths is being honored for all the work she has done with the TEAC initiating projects such as Tarrytown’s first “natural playground” and environmental actions including (in part): revising their tree ordinance; obtaining a Coastal Zone Management Grant and developing their first Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan; working with the village to have the Tarrytown Lakes declared a Critical Environmental Area; initiating a series of educational meetings with the planning board and trustees about SEQR to ensure that the village followed SEQR regulations for development within the village; working with the village on wetland and steep slope zoning regulations; helping develop an effective recycling program in the village, including educational outreach to schools, and bilingual brochures; working with Marymount College on a survey of residents' attitudes toward development and preserving open space in the village, working on green building regulations and developing the village's program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. FCWC is proud of her many environmental achievements and this honor by WMPF.

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Vol 2010 No 3

Hydraulic Fracturing for Natural Gas - An Ongoing Concern


By staff

ydrofracking” for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale brought out highly interested crowds at recent events including the Conversation on Conservation meeting in May. FCWC’s Carolyn Cunningham moderated the meeting, which featured speakers Katherine Nadeau from Environmental Advocates, John Conrad of the John Conrad Consulting Firm in Poughkeepsie. Marian Rose of the Croton Watershed Clean Water Coalition (CWCWC) joined the panel to take questions and discuss the issues. The most frequent questions concerned the effects of that drilling on our drinking water. Ms. Nadeau laid out the many environmental concerns and concluded by stating that EA wants the following issues settled before drilling in NYS is allowed: 1) establish enforceable regulations; 2) develop systems to treat the water involved; 3) have the EIS’s focus on cumulative impacts; 4) set up a process for “no drill zones” in sensitive areas; and 5) use drilling fees to ensure adequate DEC staffing. Mr. Conrad acted as spokesperson for the drilling industries, although his consulting firm does environmental work as well. He noted that the wells were typically nearly a mile deep and that mixing of contaminated water with surface water was remote. He agreed however, that companies must have a water treatment system in place that actually treats the polluted waste water before going forward.

“Meeting” Continued from Page 1 created by students who try to educate others on sustainability and the many health benefits of growing herbs and vegetables without chemicals. Their greenhouse program was established in 2006 by a few students and quickly grew to become a working laboratory where students monitor the conditions daily. The Greenhouse Club is responsible for annual plant sales. Students grow herbs and vegetables from seed and sell them to the teachers and others in order to raise money for “charity: water.” Charity: water is an organization designed to help third world countries receive clean drinking water. The Briarcliff students built a new garden in the back of the school and are beginning to explore composting as well. Their latest project is an Outdoor Classroom being built in the middle school courtyard to be named “Academia” after the courtyard in Ancient Greece where Plato taught his lessons. The goal is to make it the center for teaching 21st century skills using sustainability as the teaching tool. The students are excited to do their part in contributing to a healthy and smarter world.

As we go to press the NYS Legislature is considering a moratorium on such drilling until the environmental effects are assessed. And the high interest in the issue resulted in a sold-out showing of the documentary film “Gasland” at the Jacob Burns Theater in Pleasantville on June 9th. Those who may have missed this performance may be happy to know that Croton Watershed Clean Water Coalition has arranged another showing of the film on October 5 at Jacob Burns, which will also feature the participation of the director Josh Fox. Steve Levy, FCWC’s co-president, is serving on the CWCWC Steering Committee that is arranging for the film. Do save the date and stay involved.

Evidence of More Westchester Greening

Conservation Advisory Council news: The Sleepy Hollow Environmental Advisory Council has been revitalized and David Bedell is now chair. On June 8 the Village Board had a public hearing on a proposed Leaf Blower Ordinance, which, if passed, will be the most stringent in the county. It would allow leaf blowers to operate for only the weeks after spring snow melt and after fall leaf drop. The Yonkers Green Policy Task Force recently noted in their newsletter that besides Yonkers 14 other Westchester municipalities now have seasonal bans on gasoline powered leaf blowers. FCWC member organization Rusticus Garden Club donated funds to” InterGenerate”, a nonprofit group, to create a new community garden at the Marsh Sanctuary in Mt. Kisco. The garden will allow dozens of families to grow their own food this summer. Food will also go to the Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry at the United Methodist Church.

By Staff

Port Chester Middle School has started a new community garden on school grounds. And Mount Vernon dedicated its second community garden on Earth Day 2010.

he Town of Mamaroneck has been working for the past two years to reduce the town’s carbon footprint and has introduced biofuels to town buildings and converted some sanitation vehicles to vegetable oil.

Mount Vernon has also started a carsharing program using fuel efficient vehicles from “Go-Eco.” In the daytime certain City employees use the cars. At night and on the weekends, the cars can be rented by the general public for short term use. See

Resurrection School in Rye has begun using 123 new solar panels, making it the first school in the City of Rye to use solar power for electricity. One of the parents was integral to achieving the project, the president of Mercury Solar Systems in Port Chester. It also received a grant from the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority.

FCWC salutes these efforts and welcomes all the new gardens!! Cheers for healthy eating with a smaller carbon footprint.

We thank the students who exhibited their award winning projects at the Annual Meeting: Rye Country Day School (RCDS) students Samisha Bansal and John Kligman. Samisha’s project evaluated the feasibility of using solar power at RCDS (concluding that wind power would be economically feasible, but not realistic at their location, but that solar would be). John’s project entitled “Carbon Economic Intensity (CEI) and Carbon Emissions in the Transportation Sector” demonstrates why the CEI concept has been developed to try to compare emissions throughout the world and shows various trends.

the Hudson River. Bob Walters, Director of the Science Barge, and long time Hudson River protector in different roles, explained the Barge’s energy systems of solar panels and wind turbines, as well as the vertical urban gardens and hydroponic gardening that the Barge promotes.


In the business meeting annual elections, Board members Herbert Fox, Robert Funicello, Cesare Manfredi, Maureen Morgan, and Larry O’Connell were elected to serve for three more years. The current officers were also elected for another one year term: Co-Presidents Sharon Pickett and Steven J. Levy, Co-Vice Presidents Jason Klein and Judy Martin, CoTreasurers Carolyn Cunningham and Larry O’Connell and Secretary Robert Carroll. All were thanked for their continued service to FCWC by Nominating Committee chair Rick Turner. Those who came early for the meeting were able to tour the Science Barge moored a few blocks south of the Beczak Center on

Vol 2010 No 3


FCWC was greatly aided in putting on the Annual Meeting by two student interns from Rye Country Day School, Rachel Blumer and John Furth, who also spent several days working on updating FCWC’s Westchester Environmental Directory. They were extremely helpful and the entire Board of Directors thanks them for their efforts. As usual, special thanks is also due our Program Director Adiel Gavish for all her help and to the Board Committee for the event. Beczak Environmental Center, one of our member organizations, proved to be a fascinating and lovely location for the Annual Meeting – well worth a visit for anyone who has not been there. All present were particularly pleased to be inside when it poured rain for about 20 minutes, although the view of lightning over the Hudson was spectacular. The Board thanks Cliff Schneider, Beczak’s Executive Director, and his staff for their generous hospitality.

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Published by: Federated Conservationists of Westchester County, Inc.

Westchester Environment

Vol. 2010 No. 3


Summer 2010

E House 78 North Broadway White Plains, NY 10603 Pho: (914) 422-4053 FAX: (914) 289-0539

Inside: Hydrofracking - A Sustainable New Rochelle -

FCWC Events Calendar Saturday, June 26 11:00 am - Turtle Faces & Places at Teatown Lake Reservation. Members Free, Nonmembers $5. The Hudson Hills and Highlands is home to the greatest variety of turtle species in this part of the world. Learn why such a diversity of species is found here, how Teatown is involved in turtle research and meet a few native species. (914) 762-2912 Sunday, July 11 2:00 pm - Water Olympics! at the Greenburgh Nature Center. Cool, refreshing and fun! Join Brittany Burgio, Assistant Curator of Living Collections, in a series of fun, interactive experiments and discover more about water and all the amazing things you can do with it. Then stay for a water balloon toss! Members-$2, Non-members-$6 per person. (914) 723-3470 Sunday, July 18 2:00 pm - Storywalk at the Greenburgh Nature Center. Reading and nature walks…two of our favorite things. Join us for StoryWalk, an innovative program that combines the two. GNC Senior Naturalist John Mancuso will lead you along our woodland trail, and you’ll have an opportunity to enjoy a favorite children’s storybook along the way. Come see what it’s all about. Recommended for children aged 8 and younger. Free. (914) 723-3470 Tuesday, July 20 10 AM to Noon - Nature Walk at Bylane Farm With Tait Johansson. Join the Bedford Audubon Society on a leisurely morning walk along the newly established meadow trails at Bylane where we will focus on the butterflies and dragonflies of the area. We’ll look at wildflowers as well. Bring binoculars, insect repellent, sun hat, and plenty of water. Level of difficulty: Easy to moderate. Register with Joan E. Becker by e-mail or by telephone at (914) 232-4806. Saturday, July 24 1:00 pm - Night Flyers at Teatown Lake Reservation. The animals of the night are among the most mysterious. Learn about owls, bats and other animals that use the cover of darkness to hunt and move around. Members Free, Non-members $5. (914) 762-2912

2:00 PM - Pack Chat for Kids at the Wolf Conservation Center. (ages 4-8). Kids will learn about the mythology surrounding wolves, the important role of wolves in the natural world and what the summertime means to packs in the wild. July is a magical time for wolf families in North America. Wolves are out searching for prey as their young pups are making their first forays from their den sites. Guests will visit the Ambassador wolves, Kaila, Lukas and The young red wolf pups will be all ears and paws and ready to explore. Register at Adults - $12.00, Children (under 12) - $10.00 Saturday, July 31 2:30 pm - Flights of Fancy at the Greenburgh Nature Center. Butterflies seem to delight everyone. Come walk among the butterflies in our new indoor Butterfly Exhibit and have an informal chat with Travis Brady, Curator of Living Collections, who will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about these “flying flowers.” Included with Museum admission. (914) 723-3470 Thursday, August 5 5:00pm - 7:30pm - Late Afternoon Canoe Trip on Constitution Marsh, Garrison. Carpool from Bylane at 4:00 PM. Bedford Audubon Society director Arthur Green and a marsh naturalist and will lead participants through winding channels lined with marsh plants. They will identify birds and other wildlife observed in this Hudson River jewel—an Audubon New York designated Important Bird Area. No private canoes are permitted, but favorite paddles are welcome and personal life jackets are encouraged. A $20 fee applies ($5 discount for Audubon members). Register (914) 232-4806. Come on By! Ongoing summer events and exhibits: Nature Quest - Westchester Land Trust and the Bedford Audubon Society opened a new Nature Quest at Bedford Audubon’s Bylane Farm in Katonah. The Quest introduces attendees to the habits and habitats of a dozen or more birds, trees, shrubs and other animals at Bylane. Visit anytime during the day, until dusk. Call (914) 241-6346 or visit www. The Science Barge is a prototype sustainable urban farm. It is a greenhouse, floating on the

Hudson River, grows an abundance of fresh produce including tomatoes, melons, greens, and lettuce with zero net carbon emissions, zero pesticides, and zero runoff. All of the energy needed is generated by renewable energy created on site. Any weekend from 12-6 pm for a tour and demonstrations. Free 10 and under. Located on the Hudson River, just North of the Yonkers Pier. See www.GroundworkHV. org for more info. Walk Among Live Butterflies at the Greenburgh Nature Center – Runs through September 30. Enjoy close-up encounters with numerous varieties of butterflies. Learn about their importance in nature. See how adult butterflies are diverse in shape, size, and color. Price for exhibit included with general admission: $5 for children, $7 for adults. Call (914) 723-3470 or visit:

Become a Member! Individual Membership ( ) $20 Student ( ) $35 Basic ( ) $50 Contributing ( ) $100 Sustaining ( ) $250 Patron ( ) $500 Benefactor Organizational Membership ( ) $50 Not for profit (under 100 members) ( ) $100 Not for profit (over 100 members) ( ) Other Amount Membership includes Westchester Environment and Westchester Environmental Directory Name: Address: Phone: Email: Please make your Tax Deductible checks payable to FCWC and mail to: Federated Conservationists of Westchester County, Inc. E House, 78 North Broadway, White Plains, NY 10603 Upon request, you may obtain the latest FCWC Annual Report from the NYS Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10027 or from FCWC

Westchester Environment Newsletter  

Quarterly newsletter of Federated Conservationists of Westchester County

Westchester Environment Newsletter  

Quarterly newsletter of Federated Conservationists of Westchester County