From the April 2008 Conservationist
New York Beach Cleanup
Last fall 8,400 volunteers documented and removed over 143,000 pounds of debris from 285 sites across New York. Soon, cleanup sites "at a beach near you" will be listed on the American Littoral Society's website: www.alnyc.org.
This large effort is made possible by early planning and getting the word out in magazines like Conservationist.
Mark your calendars and be at an ocean beach, sound, stream, wetland, or lake on the third Saturday in September to join a cleanup team and participate in the 2008 New York Beach Cleanup. The event is organized annually by the society as part of the International Coastal Cleanup, a worldwide effort of The Ocean Conservancy to document and remove marine debris. Litter is not only unsightly; it poses threats to humans and wildlife. Floating debris is a menace to navigation, fouling propellers and blocking intake valves. Birds become entangled in discarded fishing line and six-pack ring holders; marine mammals ingest plastics that can obstruct their intestinal tract.
You can call the Beach Cleanup Hotline at (800) 449-0790 for information. For assistance in forming a cleanup team of your own, contact Beach Cleanup Coordinator Barbara Cohen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (718)471-2166. -A. Hyatt
DEC: Get the Lead Out
DEC has announced a new initiative to switch to "green ammo" from lead-based ammunition for firearms training to help reduce the impact of lead at firing ranges.
The ammunition DEC will be using is considered "green" because it is lead-free and includes non-toxic primers. This combination greatly reduces the impact of firearms training on the environment. Lead poisoning is a serious human health risk and excessive exposure to lead, primarily from ingestion, can cause increased mortality rates in cattle, sheep and waterfowl.
DEC is currently phasing in the new ammunition with the agency's 330 environmental conservation officers and 134 forest rangers. The DEC expends over 150,000 rounds of ammunition annually, including during regional in-service training exercises, as well as at the Department's 26-week residential basic training academy.
For more information about lead in bullets, go to EPA's website at: www.epa.gov
A Legend Passes
Joan Taylor, 78, a longtime Conservationist employee who retired from the magazine eight years ago, passed away on February 21. In the April 2000 piece announcing her retirement, then-editor R.W. Groneman described Taylor as the "heart and soul" of the magazine. To say she is well-known to our readers is an understatement. Her name appeared in the Conservationist masthead for 36 years prior to her retirement from DEC-a record unlikely to ever be broken. All in all, Mrs. Taylor served the people of New York State for 42 years, and she will be missed.
Hudson River Access CD
The Hudson River Public Fishing and Boating Access CD is now available. This resource provides a variety of information on boating, fishing and other aquatic recreation within the Hudson River Estuary. Its interactive maps feature more than 90 sites along the river, from Troy to Yonkers. It includes information on each access site, including directions, hours, available facilities, wheelchair accessibility, and contact information. In addition, it describes the estuary's ecology, fish species, regulations, and fishing advisories. To obtain a copy of this CD, please send your name and address to the Hudson River Estuary Program, Region 3, 100 Hillside Avenue, Suite 1W, White Plains, NY 10603-2860 or e-mail them at Hrep@dec.ny.gov -S. Brescher Shea
Don't Move Firewood
DEC is continuing and expanding its "Don't Move Firewood" campaign this year in response to the continuing threat of invasive forest pests.
Eggs and larvae of insects such as the emerald ash borer, Asian longhorn beetle, and sirex woodwasp can travel hidden in firewood. In fact, one of the primary reasons for the spread of these insects is the transport of firewood from infested areas to previously uninfested areas. Invasive insect pests have devastated millions of acres of forests in the United States and the threat keeps growing.
Many other states, and the National Forest and National Park Systems have adopted regulations restricting movement of fi rewood, or requiring treatment to kill pests, or both. For more information, visit www.dec.ny.gov
Organic School Gardens
As schools in New York ramp up their environmental education programs, some are choosing to employ organic gardens as learning tools, with a variety of benefi ts to students and their local communities "growing" out of the projects.
Goff Middle School in East Greenbush is a great example of how such a garden can enrich students and at the same time aid a community. Goff garden staff grow and donate more than a ton of organic produce to local food pantries each year-a tangible and valuable service that fills an important need.
Built in the spring of 2003 and founded by the school's environmental officer Mark Warford, the garden is a little more than a half-acre in size. A small solar power system supplies all the power it needs. Town water comes into the barn, is metered, and then runs into six different locations in the garden.
Work in the Goff garden runs from the fi rst of April straight through the first of November. All garden work is completed by staff, students and community members who participate in the Goff Garden Club. During the summer, students lead tours for garden visitors and run an on-site farmers' market. The profit from the fall farmers' market pays for all the seeds and supplies for the following year's garden. By working in the garden, students are learning how things grow, and about sustainability and responsibility. For more information about Goff's organic garden, visit www.egcsd.org -A. Hyatt