BROADWAY FOR ALL - Wednesday, January 8, 7:30 pm, the Irvington Library
The first part of the meeting included a presentation called "Broadway for All: The Route 9 Active Transportation Conceptual Plan". We learned about a collaborative five-village consortium of Irvington, Dobbs Ferry, Hastings-on-Hudson, Sleepy Hollow, and Tarrytown that is working to create a modern and green corridor with bike lanes, safer crossings and expanded sidewalks. Bike paths can be used by people of all ages. The plan represents and opportunity to improve student safety for school journey and reduce school drop off traffic. Seniors and handicapped people would benefit from safer and easier pathways while monitor vehicles move efficiently and safely too. Conceptual design can be viewed at route9active.org (see the final report). We are happy to report that the Irvington Board of Trustees approved a resolution to continue to move forward on the Route 9 Corridor initiative with the surrounding Rivertowns.
INVASIVES: WHY SHOULD WE CARE? - Monday, January 13, 7 p.m., the Irvington Library
This talk was organized by the Pollinator Pathway Project in collaboration with the GPTF. It focused on invasive plants and their impact on our environment.
Dr. Linda Rohleder spoke about invasive plants and how, if left unchecked, they can aggressively undermine biodiversity and the health of our community. She talked about why certain plants are deemed “invasive”, why non-native plants, specifically invasive non-native plants, are so harmful to pollinators that depend on native plants, why invasive plants can grow so aggressively and what can be done to stop and eradicate them. Dr. Rohleder has long been an important voice in addressing how invasive species negatively impact our environment: “Plants are the basis of the food web. Most insects are adapted to eat three or fewer species of plants, and when you change those species, suddenly there are fewer insects and less food for birds and butterflies. Invading species have a ripple effect on the whole environment. If we let them run their course, it would still be green, but there would be a lot less species.”
Dr. Rohleder is the Director of Land Stewardship of the New York – New Jersey Trail Conference and the Coordinator of the Lower Hudson Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (“PRISM”). The Lower Hudson PRISM partners with a wide range of organizations and conservation groups who are actively involved in education and outreach about invasive species, management of invasive species, surveying and mapping of invasive species, and/or researching invasive species. Dr. Rohleder received her PhD in Ecology from Rutgers University, where she studied the effects of deer on forest understories. She speaks widely about the threat of invasive species and their impact on our environment.
THANK NATURE DAY
The new Invasives Removal Squad of the Irvington Green Policy Task Force (GPTF) held an event called Thank Nature Day on December 1, 2019. In collaboration with the Hastings Vine Removal Squad, the Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct (FOCA), and the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, two dozen volunteers came out on a chilly day to help remove and prune invasive plants and clean up litter along the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, between Main Street and Matthiessen Road.The group got inspired by the efforts of Diane Alden, the FOCA co-leader, who decided to celebrate National Public Lands Day with an “Invasive Species Volunteer Day” on September 28, 2019. The volunteers were removing non-native invasive species and restoring with native plants, under the guidance of the NY-NJ Trail Conference’s Invasives Strike Force. Some of the group members also attended protecting Earth’s biodiversity event at the New York Botanical Garden, where Diane gave a thought-provoking presentation, and responded to her call for action. Diane and her Croton OCA invasives force was kind to share vine cutters, gloves, safety goggles, literature and trail bars for nourishment. Haven brought cutters, safety vests and other essential material.
The Thank Nature Day event was originally planned for 2 p.m. but due to an inclement weather forecast, the GPTF Invasives Removal Squad decided to move the start time to 9 a.m. The change paid off. Many volunteers did not get deterred by the earlier hours and still came out to help.
For two and a half hours, adults and children led by Haven Colgate, Leola Specht, Nikki Coddington, and Jasena Sareil focused on removing non-native invasive vines such as English Ivy, Oriental Bittersweet and Porcelain Berry, which were strangling trees and native bushes, as well as Wineberry and Tree of Heaven. Volunteers young and old also collected 5 large bags of trash.The atmosphere was fantastic. Everyone was feeling good about being able to thank nature around Thanksgiving time by helping protect biodiversity, freeing trees of invasive vines so that they can breathe, get sunlight and keep doing the critical work of capturing carbon dioxide. Everyone got a good exercise and fresh air!
The next steps of the Invasives Removal Squad will include periodic removal events, educating the community and fundraising to rehabilitate the removal areas with native plants. We hope our efforts will nourish soil, pollinators, birds and other wildlife that are essential contributors to the healthy ecosystem upon which we all depend.
Leola Specht & Jasena Sareil
For the Invasives Removal Squad of the Irvington GPTF