NEWS OF THE MONTH FROM THE TARRYTOWN ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL
FEBRUARY 2021 WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT _____________________
This month, we say good-bye to a long-time, dedicated TEAC volunteer. Take an e-bike ride on a country road — wait ’til the snow thaws — and watch Tarrytown become even more bike-friendly. Look forward to a Springtime with our pollinating friends. Cook up a yummy spin on an old standby. And come to our (Zoom) meeting. It’s Thursday night! (See the end for the link.)
A THANK-YOU, AND A BON VOYAGE: Carole Griffiths _____________________
We would like to express our deepest gratitude to Carole Griffiths, who has dedicated herself to the environment and the Village of Tarrytown for decades (over 4 to be more specific…but who’s counting?!). After many years of being Chairperson to TEAC, she continued on as a council member and gave much needed guidance with patience and grace. Carole has fought tirelessly to improve the quality of life for all in Tarrytown and Westchester and we would like to raise a glass to her!
Unfortunately for us, Carole will be moving out of the area to be closer to her family, but she promises to stay in touch.
Thank you Carole, you will be missed.
— Rachel Tieger and Dean Gallea, on behalf of TEAC
(At right is the Proclamation by Mayor Butler recognizing Carole’s monumental contribution.)
GOOD BUSINESS: GET CERTIFIED AS A BIKE-FRIENDLY NEW YORK BUSINESS
Bicyclists are good business, especially in Empire State Trail Towns.
Now that the Tarrytown has both the Shared-Use Path across the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge* and the state-spanning Empire State Trail — not to mention the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, the spur trails around the lakes area and the Riverwalk — it’s a pretty compelling argument: Tarrytown is a genuine hub for bicycle tourism.
Parks & Trails New York is rewarding and certifying businesses that offer accommodations to bicyclists, from bike racks out front to healthy, locally-sourced food. Certified bike-friendly businesses, per the website, value their cyclist customers and strive to provide the kinds of services they need.
The “Bike-Friendly” designation has been awarded along the Erie Canalway, but is now open to other businesses across the state. TEAC would love to see certified Bike-Friendly decals in many of the windows of Tarrytown’s Main Street-Broadway businesses. We already know we’re “bike-friendly”!
From the Parks & Trails website:
“How to Get Certified:
Review program requirements
Fulfill required criteria and bike friendly amenities or services for your business category
Your application will be reviewed and you may be contacted with further questions
Receive your certification packet, and put up your BFNY decal (and optional signage)
There is no cost to participate in the BFNY program. Certification is good for three years. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
All BFNY-certified businesses will receive a window decal and have the option to purchase durable exterior signage. Certified businesses will be highlighted in a number of ways, including being listed on CycletheErieCanal.com.”
“Bike ‘friendliness’ is a not a yes or no matter. Businesses don’t have to offer every amenity or make expensive additions to be certified – a business may already be bike friendly and not even know it! There are small, incremental modifications and ways to better welcome bicyclists to an establishment.”
*it will always be the Tappan Zee to me. :0)
QUIETING THE ROAR GENERAL MOTORS, ELECTRIFIED.
CARBON-NEUTRAL BY 2040
Fond of the roaring diesel sound of your GMC Sierra 1500 truck, and hope to replace it with another a few years down the road? You might want to rearrange your priorities: General Motors has announced that they are phasing out petroleum-fueled cars and trucks. Sometime before 2035, those big, carbon-fueled vehicles will be redesigned with all-electric drivetrains and the latest battery technology.
According to the NY Times, G.M. said its decision to switch to electric cars was part of a broader plan to become carbon neutral by 2040. “General Motors is joining governments and companies around the globe working to establish a safer, greener and better world,” Mary T. Barra, G.M.’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. “We encourage others to follow suit and make a significant impact on our industry and on the economy as a whole.”
We know from the success of brands like Tesla that there is no compromise in power, speed, or driving range with well-designed electric vehicles. The build-out of quick-charging stations is accelerating. With industry cooperation, gas and diesel-powered cars and trucks will soon follow coal-fired power plants into the dustbin of history.
POLLINATOR PATHWAYS A NEW GARDEN AT THE WARNER LIBRARY
By Mai Mai Margules
On the snow-covered slope of Warner Library’s lawn facing Wildey Street, a few bright pink garden ties herald the site of an exciting new addition to Warner Library — a pollinator garden.
In April, TEAC in collaboration with Friends of the Library and dedicated volunteers will break ground on a 15’ x 10’ native plant garden. This demonstration garden will benefit pollinators and residents alike. For our pollinators it will create much needed habitat and food sources. For our residents it will bring joy and awareness of the vital role that pollinators play within our ecosystem.
Warner Library is an ideal location for this endeavor. As a vital and dynamic part of the Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow Villages, Warner is on the vanguard in educating our community and bringing awareness to important issues. The Library engages residents of all ages and walks of life with its wonderful array of resources. The new garden will allow learning to begin even before entering the building.
The creation of the garden will serve as a live learning experience for visitors. The garden will contain host plants such as milkweeds, wild petunia and red twig dogwood that provide vital sustenance to caterpillars. Mountain mint, hyssop and echinacea will deliver additional nectar and pollen to visiting pollinators. A background of native grasses will shelter insects and birds and bring year round visual interest.
Signage will identify the plants and the role that each plays in the local ecosystem. Warner’s extensive seed library will have pollinator friendly seeds available to those who want to create their own pollinator gardens. Informational links and resources will be readily available so that all of us can “connect the dots” both in planting pollinator gardens and in spreading the word as to their importance.
As a demonstration garden we will be championing many aspects of environmentally friendly gardening. Garden soil will be amended with compost from TEAC’s food scrap recycling program. We will use shredded leaves mixed with compost to make a terrific mulch that is cost effective and doesn’t contain harmful chemicals. No pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers will be used. After summer blooms have faded, perennial stalks and grasses will be left standing to provide habitat for insects and overwintering birds. The garden will thus support the living world year round.
We need your help to successfully launch this project! TEAC and Friends of Warner Library will kick off a Go Fund Me campaign this week titled Bees and Books — Warner Library’s Pollinator Garden. Please donate what you can and share the link with friends. This is an incredible opportunity to showcase important environmental issues to a large audience in the heart of our Village. We have a committed group of volunteers who will plant and maintain the garden but we must raise money for necessary supplies and plants. Please help us save our endangered pollinators and start a call to action so that pollinator gardens become the norm rather than the novelty. We thank you in advance for your support.
TEAC Congratulates Nina Orville.
Sustainable Westchester, the powerhouse county-wide consortium that provides collaborative programs for solar power installations, energy conservation, and electrification, has a new executive director starting in late February: Nina Orville has been named to the top position, stepping up from her prior role shepherding Solarize Westchester, Heat Smart, and the growing Community Solar program.
Tarrytown residents may remember Nina from her 2015-16 work in assisting the Village with our Solarize Tarrytown project that provided 29 homes with new solar power installations at a very low, negotiated group rate. TEAC thanks Nina for those amazing efforts.
More recently, Tarrytown’s Community Solar project, one of the first in ConEd’s territory, was brought on line to serve homes that did not – or could not – have their own solar with offsite solar electricity at a 10% savings over their usual rate. The Community Solar program is now flourishing in the County largely through Nina’s work in promoting it to both energy producers and consumers. To see how you can join, visit https://sustainablewestchester.org/solar/
Nina will now widen her focus towards the expansion of Sustainable Westchester’s role in facilitating County and local cooperation towards the lofty goals of the State’s 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), which promises to have 70% of the electricity in the State produced by renewable sources by 2030, as well as fostering climate justice and job creation.
Kudos to Nina Orville in her new role! We in Tarrytown look forward to more beneficial interaction with Sustainable Westchester as we move into a new, green energy future.
GET OUTSIDE: WHERE CAN I RIDE MY ELECTRIC BIKE? _____________________
If you’ve recently decided to take the plunge for an electric bike for commuting, you may have also discovered the joy of riding an e-bike for pure recreational pleasure.
Once sticking to the paved rail trails was enough, but since e-bikes effectively flatten out the hills, they open up the possibilities for rides on more challenging roads, places you might have otherwise avoided if you’re not in the best of shape, or if you simply want to ride for pleasure, minus the sweat.
Electric Bikeways designs self-guided, turn-by-turn touring routes for you and your electric bike through some of the prettiest backcountry dirt roads and byways of the Hudson Valley, Connecticut and the Catskill Mountains.
The rides are deliberately routed to stay far away from anything but the quietest roads, so you may not pass any cars at all while you’re riding.
Most routes are between 10 and 20 miles, to accommodate the range of most e-bikes out there. The routes can be downloaded onto your phone and with the RideWithGPS app, you can hear audible instructions, much like the GPS directions you use in your car.
(BTW, there’s a great selection of e-bikes at Sleek eBikes, on Main Street in Tarrytown.)
A backcountry road in the Delaware Water Gap is gated and closed, in winter months, to car traffic. But not to bikes.
RECIPE OF THE MONTH VEGGIE BREAKFAST HASH!
By James Carsey ____________________Hash is a popular dish that is normally served as a breakfast side. It’s been around for ages and traditionally consists of chopped meat, potatoes, and onions. Hash has experienced many culinary interpretations over the years, from comfort-food style with bacon, egg, and hollandaise sauce, to Mexican style with tomatoes, chilis, black bean and cheddar. Hash Interpretations are endless.For a healthier and environmentally friendly rendition of hash, lose the meat and cheese and add seasonal vegetables. Voilà, meatless and sustainable! Using seasonal vegetables is a wise choice because it reduces our carbon footprint, and tastes better because of the local source. And it’s fine to use whatever leftover vegetables you have around, giving them a new life.
2 Tablespoons cooking oil or vegan butter
1/2 Large yellow onion
2 medium potatoes (any kind will do)
1 large sweet potato
2 large carrots
1 cup of Brussels sprouts
1-2 garlic cloves peeled and sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Brussels sprouts, remove the stem, cut in half or quarter them if they are large. Try to keep the size uniform. Peel and dice all the other vegetables.
Place a large pan over medium heat. Pour 2 tablespoons of oil into the pan. If you added more vegetables or selected larger ones you can add more oil or vegan butter. This is not an exact science: You want an even coat of oil on the vegetables, but they should not be swimming in oil.
Add the diced onion, potatoes, and carrots. Sauté for 5–6 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts and garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until vegetables are nicely browned. Makes 3–4 servings.
SAVE THE DATE RIVERKEEPER RIVER SWEEP: MAY 1ST _____________________
PUT THIS ON YOUR CALENDAR: The Village of Tarrytown is looking forward to the annual Riverkeeper Sweep Cleanup on May 1st, 2021. It will be held from 9am to 12pm. More details will follow in the coming newsletter.
The Hudson River shoreline in Oscawana Island Nature Preserve in Croton-on-Hudson. The River Sweep keeps plastic bottles and other floating debris out of the river and off these beautiful shorelines.
Did you know? You can tap a Norway Maple tree for sap and make your own maple syrup, just as you would a sugar maple tree. It’s a great “urban homesteading” activity, and it puts those “weed trees” to good use!
LOVE YOUR VILLAGE JOINING TEAC IS EASY. JUST COME TO A (ZOOM) MEETING. ________________________TEAC relies on volunteers to keep things moving, and we usually meet on the 1st Thursday in Village Hall, One Depot Plaza, at 7:00 PM.In light of the pandemic, we’ve moved our monthly meetings online — Zoom-style for now — so you can still pitch in. The next regular TEAC meeting will be on THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2021. The meetings are open to all.
To join the meeting, launch your Zoom app, then use the following login credentials:
“Every emergency reveals that “impossible” things are actually doable. In this case, our society just demonstrated that it can choose to change more and faster than we ever imagined.” — MIT President Rafael Reif, reflecting on lessons of the pandemic for climate change action.