Updated: Conservation Board Names Green Award Winners [Photos]

The awards were presented at the May 1 town board meeting.

Thanks to the Conservation Board for sharing this news.

The Town of Bedford Conservation Board has developed a new “Green Award” program to recognize individuals, not for profit organizations, schools, municipal agencies and departments, community based groups, and businesses for outstanding environmental contributions to our town. 

The awards are for projects, programs, and initiatives which contribute to the protection and preservation of the environment, which includes our natural resources, open space, native landscapes, and biodiversity of local and regional habitats, as well as the promotion of recycling, conservation of energy, and protection of historic landmarks and districts.

We are presenting our first Green Award event on Tuesday, May 1st at 8 p.m. at the Town of Bedford Town Hall, located at 321 Bedford Road, Bedford Hills, New York to the following individuals and groups:

Eastern Bluebird preservation and educational project that has 26 nesting boxes situated throughout the golf course where nearly 1000 bluebirds have been fledged and released since the program’s inception in 2002.  Golf Course Superintendent Ken Benoit, along with a local bluebird expert and Bedford resident, Tom Myer, monitor and record the nesting boxes and audit the number of bluebirds which fledge.

Thomas H. Meyer
Tom Myer is a 42 year resident of Bedford Hills who began his work with the Eastern Bluebird population in the 1970’s by helping neighbors and others who contacted him to establish bluebird nesting boxes to help reduce the loss of nesting habitat for this native species.  He has been interviewed for NY Times articles and has become a source of expertise for our region and beyond.  He worked with Grant Gregory, one of the owners of GlenArbor to establish the bluebird project on the GlenArbor course, making it a model for environmental stewardship and preservation. This one project is approaching one thousand bluebirds fledged in Bedford.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners and residents of Bedford have established a website and are spreading the message about the many advantages of mulching leaves on properties rather than raking, blowing, bagging and dumping this perfect fertilizer. The organization has provided educational workshops for landscapers about the benefits of mulching leaves and the best practices for mulching. Massive leaf piles create safety hazards, washes into surface water, clog storm drains and cause flooding and maintenance issues. The organization has been established for one and a half years, and also educates homeowners and municipalities in Bedford on these best practices.

Lisa and Mark Schwartz have established a land conservation and agricultural preservation program on their property since arriving in the community.  Lisa and Mark had a vision to bring the property back to its origins as a working farm, and currently their dream has been realized. Since 2002, Rainbeau Ridge has been raising a wide range of livestock and produce.  Rainbeau Ridge has been committed to the principle that farming can be an important part of the social, cultural, educational and commercial activity that ties a local community together. As a community resource, it has taken the approach to help others “try this at home”.  Known for its award winning goat cheese, the farm importantly offers a variety of educational programs for children and adults which teach families about where their food comes from, introducing them to other local sources, helping households eat healthier 

Bedford Village Elementary School Brownie Troop #1047“Kids for Caps” program
he troop leaders are working with 18 brownies and on a program for collection and recycling of plastic bottle tops, which when attached to the bottle can not be recycled.  Only 10% of these caps are recycled correctly and the rest wind up as litter and migrate into rivers and oceans or are left in landfills.  Thousands of caps have been collected by the students from their homes and school which will be used to create a mural at the school to incorporate the idea of saving our oceans, conserving water and resource conservation.  Leftover caps will be sent to a retailer such as Aveda or Whole Foods, which have programs to recycle this waste into new products.  

The Perennial Gardens, in business for 45 years in Bedford, has consistently offered quality nursery and landscaping products to the community.  In addition, they have been ahead of the curve on researching and identifying native plants for use in our local gardens and landscape projects.  The manager, Myles Brown, has collaborated for three years with the Native Plant Center in Westchester to feature speakers and offer a variety of native plants, where a percentage of sales have been donated to the Native Plant Center.  The native plants are identified throughout the nursery with an  “N” marker and lists of trees and shrubs are provided to residents who seek to plant natives in their gardens.  The use of pesticides on plantings has been virtually eliminated and on-site plantings are treated with organic fertilizers and treatments.  The lighting was upgraded for energy conservation prior to any technical assistance from local energy providers, and a recycling program for plant pots was initiated at this garden center long before any business in the Westchester area.  This program is now in full recycle capability, and many residents utilize the recycled pots for their own plants.

One Earth Club,
The One Earth Club has been in existence for over 4 years, with 12 or more students developing programs, projects and outreach to the school and home community.  Included in their efforts are an outreach to the 1000 students on sustainability, and a power point delivered in district.  The students in the Club “Green Team” collect all bottles and cans once a week and get them recycled. The Club has encouraged students to use water fountains rather than disposable plastic bottles and raised funds to install a new Fillable Fountain in the cafeteria where students can refill water bottles.  A water tasting competition, and a Low-Impact week celebration of Earth Day this year brings new projects such as farm-to-table eating, transportation, water waste, the paper blizzard and reducing electricity use. Each morning, students and staff hear announcements with tips for actions and the efforts of the day towards sustainability.

Fifty student leaders who are fourth and fifth graders at KES work with the Assistant Principal on a variety of initiatives including cafeteria composting and classroom snack composting to reduce the more than 30% of school waste generated in the cafeteria. They have provided education, signage, and worked with the school custodian staff and art teachers to incorporate the project at minimal cost, while saving energy and using some of the compost comprised of fruits, vegetables and paper on the school’s edible garden. There are 440 students in the building who participate and support this project, which is the first of its kind, as a pilot project of the District’s Sustainability Committee. This innovative plan was launched in October 2011 and all compostable materials from the cafeteria are carted away for recycling and processing to compost by an area carting company.   Not only has this project saved energy, but garbage waste from the cafeteria has been reduced by more than 60%.

Don Pachner May 01, 2012 at 12:59 PM
I think the conservation committee could have done a more thoughtful job with these awards in a way that recognized intellectual leadership on important environmental issues. In the few conservation board meetings I attended, the board seemed more interested in discussing an upcoming tour of GlenArbor than the issues themselves (a prescription for Greenwashing?) While I applaud the type of stewardship recognized by the Conservation Board, I think they should not be confused with the type of strong and intellectually honest leadership shown by some of the environmental movers in our community.


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