Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino today announced the 2014 Westchester Earth Day award recipients, recognizing leaders from government, business, community and education for their outstanding contributions in protecting and preserving the environment. The awards will be presented at the county’s annual Earth Day celebration, taking place on Sunday, May 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Croton Point Park, rain-or-shine.
“The innovative ideas and impressive results of these award winners remind us why Westchester is a leader in recycling and environmental conservation,” said Astorino. “Keeping Westchester green is a way of life for our residents, and our county’s Earth Day event is a great opportunity to celebrate that.”
Awards in various categories include the following:
· Municipalities: Rye City, Bronxville, Rye Brook, Hastings-on-Hudson, New Castle, City of White Plains and Town of Cortlandt.
· Community or school districts: Eastchester Middle School, Croton-Harmon High School, Peekskill Middle School, Hastings High School, Cross Hill Academy (Yonkers), Paideia School 15 (Yonkers), The Clear View School (Briarcliff Manor), Sloop Clearwater and Pete Seeger in memoriam, Science Barge and the Beczak Environmental Education Center, Super Kids-Super Sharing, Arc of Westchester and Operation Prom.
· Business: Stop & Shop Food Rescue Initiative, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture and White Plains Linen in partnership with Wheelabrator Westchester.
Parking and admission to the Earth Day celebration are free. The event will feature entertainment by Annie and the Natural Wonder Band and the Solar Punch Band, as well as environmental exhibits, a local farmers market, free raffles and a compost bin and rain barrel sale. Reserve your compost bin ($58) or rain barrel ($75) online in advance (no payment required to register) by Thursday, May 15 to receive a free kitchen scrap collector bucket (with every compost bin purchased) or a water conservation wheel (with every rain barrel purchased). Pick up your purchase at the event (cash or check only).
LIST OF WINNERS
· Rye City, Bronxville, Rye Brook, Hastings-on-Hudson and New Castle: For having the highest recycling rates in 2013. These municipalities outpaced all other communities in their total collection of curbside recyclables (which includes paper products, plastic, glass and metal containers). Rye City led the county with a 30 percent rate on curbside recycling, followed by Bronxville (29 percent), Rye Brook (28 percent), Hastings-on-Hudson (27 percent), and New Castle (27 percent).
· Rye City and the City of White Plains: These municipalities produced comprehensive solid waste and recycling informational material for their residents. The City of Rye provides residents with a comprehensive recycling informational packet. The City of White Plains provides residents with a comprehensive and user-friendly recycling Web site.
· Town of Cortlandt: For hosting the Northern Tier Recyclables Transfer Station since 2001, where Buchanan, Cortlandt, Croton, Ossining (town and village), Yorktown, Peekskill and Cortlandt Manor bring their paper and commingled recyclables directly rather than piecemeal to the county’s Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Yonkers, saving time, money, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Community and School Based
· Stefanie Simmons of Eastchester Middle School: Fifth grader Stefanie Simmons, under the direction of her teacher Mr. Marshall, for thought provoking research into closed landfill management and investigating process improvements to benefit Westchester County.
· Croton-Harmon High School Advanced Placement Environmental Science Class Students: Teacher Laurel Cardellicho and her students Douglas Mangano, Jesse Attias, Alana Matzkin, and Maggie Pozenel for their extensive research into closed landfill management, and their investigative work towards process improvements to benefit Westchester County.
- Peekskill Middle School Environmental Club: Advisers Elizabeth Damiano, Scott Tabone, and the Environmental Club for examining the effect development has on the Hudson River Estuary Watershed and how these activities have altered the local water quality and ecosystems.
- Hastings High School Students: Ms. Melissa Shandroff and her class for advancing and demonstrating their knowledge of five environmental topics: soils, aquatics, forestry, wildlife and current environmental issues by participating in New York State’s Envirothon, which encourages students to learn about the natural environment and to become good stewards of the land.
- In Memoriam- Pete Seeger and Sloop Clearwater: Clearwater was founded by Pete Seeger. Today, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc. and the iconic sloop Clearwater are carrying forward Pete Seeger’s legacy by partnering with Hudson Valley schools and community leaders to raise the bar of environmental education and encouraging youth to become involved as active stewards of their environment and the Hudson River.
- Bob Walters of the Science Barge and the Beczak Environmental Education Center: For dedicated leadership and service to Beczak and the Science Barge, both located in Yonkers.
- Super Kids-Super Sharing: The National Football League in collaboration with many Westchester schools and groups for promoting recycling and reuse practices and principles while helping others. The project puts books, sports equipment and school supplies into the hands of local children in need and helps promote the goal of ‘recycling’ items for new uses.
- Arc of Westchester’s Art Gallery 265: For reusing and diverting otherwise waste materials to create art, including excess materials from the NFL’s Super Bowl XLVIII. The art pieces are unique creative contributions by individuals with developmental disabilities.
- Operation Prom: For practicing waste reduction and reuse of textiles to help teenagers in the county. The program helps teens from low-income households and those who live in shelters or group homes. The Department of Social Services plays a vital role by connecting young women and men in their care. Boys submit an application for a free tuxedo waiver from the Men’s Wearhouse while Girls pick out a dress at the County Center.
Business Green Initiatives
- Stop & Shop Food Rescue Initiative: For implementing trailblazing food recovery initiatives in Westchester’s retail grocery industry. Stop & Shop has been a part of the Food Bank for Westchester’s food recovery program for several years and was one of the first major grocery retailers to sign on.
- Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture: For implementing a successful composting and educational operation, and providing locally sourced food.
- White Plains Linen in partnership with Wheelabrator Westchester: For initiating a first-of-its-kind renewable energy partnership in Peekskill, enabling the County’s largest commercial laundry operation to reduce its carbon footprint by 90 percent.
Westchester Winners of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Recycling Calendar Poster Contest
- DeAndre Banks, 1st Place, Cross Hill Academy, Yonkers
- Jeffrey Fukushima, 2nd Place, Paideia School 15, Yonkers
- Malcolm Cole, 3rd Place, The Clear View School, Briarcliff Manor
- Lavone Mott, Runner-up, Cross Hill Academy, Yonkers