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Community Garden Celebration and Donations Needed for Grad Bag

gardenclub1Ten years ago, a small but determined band of Scarsdale High School students broke through the first layers of sod and formed a vegetable bed. They visited Yale and explored their garden, and hoped one day to have a pizza oven and picnic tables just like them. Well, they have picnic tables now, a much larger garden...and plenty of good will, sustainability ethics, and devotion to duty.

The main mission of the Scarsdale High School Garden Club, lead by teacher Mrs. Favretti, has remained the same all these years: to provide healthy organic food to local soup kitchens and food pantries (this year, Grace Church and Eastchester Community Action Program). Each year since 2011, they have achieved their goal of at least 1500 pounds of food donated.

At the same time, the garden is an outdoor classroom and gathering place. At least one teacher in each department (and in some departments many more) uses the garden for instruction. gardenclub2Whether it's observing, measuring, labelling, photographing, harvesting, investigating, testing, working, problem solving- students are the beneficiaries. The gardeners are learning a whole host of skills beyond being able to produce a large quantity of food with nothing but seeds, soil, water and sun, and everyone enjoys the picnic tables and benches on pleasant days.

The club would like to invite the whole community to consider volunteering in the garden in the summer months. They have had volunteers ages 5 to 95, and many in between. The summer months can be tough for the garden, but with volunteer help the club can get through and not waste food that can be donated. They need weeders and harvester/donators!

Everyone is also welcome to enjoy the Annual Volunteer Appreciation Potluck Picnic and Work Day, May 20 from 10-3 at the SHS Garden and room 2N5. Sign up by contacting Maggie Favretti, mfavretti@scarsdaleschools.org, 914-721-2567. If you are a Yale alum, please also register through Yale Day of Service online!
Grad Bag is looking for donations!

gradbag2Grad Bag is a green initiative to re-use dorm supplies. They collect, clean, package and re-distribute dorm room items to soon-to-be college students who don't have the means to buy these things on their own.

Grad Bag is collecting used dorm room items and college graduation is around the corner. Do you know a college senior (or any student) who is moving out of a dorm room? Don't throw those XL bed sheets away!

They collect directly at colleges in addition to local efforts. Grad Bag is currently looking for gently used linens, storage boxes, lamps, etc. They will take used camp bed linens and blankets as well.

For more information please contact: liz@gradbag.org or tara@gradbag.org and check out their website, www.gradbag.org.

Reclaiming South Fox Meadow Brook

arborday1April 29, 2017Harwood Park wetland, Scarsdale – It's a project that brings out residents across generations. On a warm spring day Scarsdale families, Village officials and staff came to the Harwood Park wetland adjacent to Brewster Road near the High School to take part in the third annual community planting day. Over the course of the day, more than 100 volunteers planted over 300 young native trees and shrubs donated to the Village by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) as part of its "Trees for Tribs" program. The contributed inventory of native plants included White Oak, Beach Plum, Cranberry shrubs, Silver Maple and Sandbar Willow.

The "trib" that is the focal point of this planting effort is South Fox Meadow Brook which is a tributary of the Bronx River. The brook runs through the Harwood Park wetland. Prior to initiating the reclamation program three years ago, the Harwood wetlands area had been used as a site for piling snow cleared from Village roads during the winter and was otherwise generally notable for the benign neglect with which grass, shrubs and trees on the site grew, decayed and fell. Harwood Park is neglected no longer. Three years ago, using the South Fox Meadow Brook as a focal point, an initial effort was made to reclaim the banks of the brook and the surrounding wetland by planting hundreds of trees and shrubs donated by NYDEC.
Mayor Dan Hochvert and Luckner Metellus Scarsdale Parks  Rec1

The results of that first effort are clearly visible in the growth of the plantings from 2014. NYDEC has been enthusiastic about Scarsdale's planting effort and according to Madelaine Eppenstein of Friends of Scarsdale Parks, NYDEC contacted the FOSP this year to see if Scarsdale was interested in doing additional plantings. The answer was an equally enthusiastic "yes" and organizing today's event was undertaken by Brian Gray, Superintendent of the Scarsdale Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation.

Mayor Dan Hochvert, long a FOSP supporter, and Trustees Finger, Pekarek, Ross, Samwick and Veron participated in the planting at various times during the day joining the more than 100 resident volunteers and Village staff who toiled in the balmy April air for the benefit of the Village.

Article and photos by former Scarsdale Mayor Jon Mark

Earth Day Giveaways: Free Food Scrap Compost and Rain Barrels!

GreenBinsTo celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, April 22, 2017, the Village of Scarsdale is making high quality Food Scrap Compost and Rain Barrels available to all residents for FREE on a first come, first served basis! Simply bring a pail, bucket, or other receptacle to the Scarsdale Recycling Center, 110 Secor Road, from 8:00 AM until 3:00 PM on Saturday and take some compost home!

High quality food scrap compost material is being provided pursuant to the successful Village of Scarsdale residential Food Scrap Recycling program, which now has over 400 participants that have recycled over 21,000 pounds, or roughly 10.5 tons, of food waste since the beginning of the program in January 2017. New program participants are strongly encouraged, and additional program information can be accessed here:

The food scrap compost can be used in one's vegetable garden, flower beds, or to enrich turf in place of chemical fertilizers. As noted above, FREE rain barrels will also be available for anyone who is interested.

The Village of Scarsdale Food Scrap Recycling program was formed through community collaboration, with program implementation guided by the Committee on Food Scrap Recycling, comprised of the following members: Benedict Salanitro, Public Works Superintendent; Ron Schulhof, resident volunteer; Tyler Seifert, Assistant to the Public Works Superintendent; and Michelle Sterling, resident volunteer.

As a reminder to Food Scrap Recycling program participants, refills of the 3-gallon compostable bags (for your countertop bin) are available for $2/roll at the Recycling Center office. What's NEW is that larger 13-gallon bags (for your larger green bin) are also available for $5/roll. Please remember that the office can only accept checks.

Food Scraps to Free Compost

Free CompostIn a successful Earth Day display of a lo-tech solution (compost) to a high class problem (food waste), five cubic yards (about two tons) of compost made from food scraps were made available to residents today – for free at the Scarsdale Recycling Center at 110 Secor Road. As residents helped themselves to the compost – some called it "black gold" – residents Ron Schulhof and Michelle Sterling who spearheaded getting a pilot recycling program started, noted that 90 days ago, the compost was food scraps.

The compost give-away was a tangible, beneficial return from the food scraps recycling pilot program that began in January 2017. Under the voluntary program, participating residents collect food scraps at home in small plastic buckets. The collected food scraps are then taken by the residents to the Secor Road Recycling Center to be dumped into large bins designated for the purpose. A contractor picks up the food scraps from the Recycling Center and carts them to a composter out of town. The compost given away today was the product of that process. Reception of the program has been strong with hundreds of residents now participating and depositing more than a ton of food scraps at the Recycling Center per week. The response to Saturday's free compost was also enthusiastic. The Recycling Center opened at 8:00 am with a line of cars waiting to pick up compost. By 10:00 am more than half the compost had been picked up to be spread by residents on home gardens and lawns.

Residents not yet participating in the food scraps recycling program and who wish to do so, can purchase a home collection kit for $20 (cost) at the recycling center. More information about the food scraps recycling program can be found here.

This article was contributed by former Scarsdale Mayor Jon Mark. During his tenure, Scarsdale enacted Westchester County's first food scrap recycling program.

Unique Internship Program Brings Teens and Seniors Together

DorotInternsIt is often easy to lose sight of the 1.5 million seniors in New York City. DOROT's Summer Teen Internship program at the Riverdale Y exposes students to the issues surrounding aging and connects them with seniors as they develop professional skills and leadership experience.

Each year 40 high school students are selected to intern at DOROT, a nonprofit that connects volunteers with programs that help the elderly. This year, DOROT is expanding its Summer Teen Internship Program to the Riverdale Y, where interns will lead intergenerational discussion groups, among other activities, keeping older adults engaged, present, and valued in our changing society.

This internship enriches the lives of seniors while giving interns informative perspectives on issues in the field of elder care. "In terms of advocating against ageism, it's a lot more personal than I thought," says Lily B., a summer 2016 Intern. "I was actually with the people who were affected by ageism, which created this personal connection to the cause. I felt like I was doing more than just giving back to the community."

Interns are exposed to a variety of professional skills as part of the internship, including filmmaking. The short documentaries that interns produce teach interns valuable skills and foster personal connections as a means of combatting social isolation among older adults, bringing the generations together to learn from one another.

There are two internship sessions available at dorot2DOROT's Manhattan office, and one at the Riverdale Y Senior Center. Applications are currently being accepted on a rolling basis until May 1st, but interested students are encouraged to apply early. To apply click here or reach out to Evita Sokol at ESokol@dorotusa.org.

This story is sponsored content from Dorot USA.