SUNY ESC Celebrates Earth Week and Arbor Day at Centers Across the State

By Sadie Ross

May 10, 2011

Central New York

Earth Week Central New York Center (CNYC) in East Syracuse hosted its second annual Bring Your Child to Work Day on April 21 with a celebration of Earth Week. Children, faculty and staff were treated to a reading of “Compost Stew” by mentor Yvonne Murphy and mentor Peggy Lynn conducted nature-related sing-a-long. Children also created musical instruments, including kazoos and drums, out of recycled paper towel rolls and oatmeal containers. The day ended with a parade where the children played their instruments as faculty and staff cheered them along.

To celebrate Arbor Day, the CNYC community volunteered to pick up litter on April 29.

Pictured, a visiting youngster sends a message, loud and clear, about her hope for the event.

Genesee Valley

The Canandaigua Unit celebrated Earth Week on April 30. Mentor Lorraine Lander challenged alumni and members of the Canandaigua Unit to create the most useful and most attractive objects for the garden out of recycled materials. Attendees were judges and the winners received recycled-material trophies. Also at the event were presentations about gardening on topics including heirloom varieties and how to grow fruit and berry plants. As a bonus, all attendees went home with hanging salad planters, as well as free fruit and berry plants.

Long Island

Arbor DayA big team effort, shown in photo, yielded great changes at the Long Island Center in Old Westbury. Baraka Corley, Jack Dempsey, Ken Feldman, Regina Hardy, Samantha James, Meg O'Hara, Viktoria Popova-Gonci, Clara Murnyack, David Quay, Michael Spitzer and Mildred VanBergen worked to improve the landscape by installing native plants around Trainor House. Clara Murnyack, assistant to the dean, initiated the project and organized the work day. “We wanted to restore some professionalism to the appearance of the Old Westbury Unit building,” she said. “These native plants not only provide curb appeal but also provide a sense of pride for our students as they walk up to our doors.” Murnyack consulted with Sadie Ross, director of Environmental Sustainability, to choose low-maintenance native trees, shrubs and perennials that provide color, character and wildlife habitat. Jeffrey Ellenbogen, director of Real Estate, worked with the facilities director at SUNY Old Westbury, who will donate plant materials, mulch the beds and perform continued maintenance of the new gardens.

Saratoga Springs

“Arbor Day is a time to reflect on all the positive attributes of our urban trees,” said Director of Sustainability Ross. “Trees filter air pollutants, absorb carbon dioxide, provide shade, soak up storm water runoff and enhance Saratoga’s public spaces. Street trees are an integral part of our community and lives.”

Sustainable Saratoga, a nonprofit organization in Saratoga Springs, is seeking volunteers to help conduct a street tree survey of downtown Saratoga Springs. Following a brief training on how to identify local trees and the use of GPS technology, teams of two will fan out across the city to document the urban forest. Local experts will compile the data in a report for the city council and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Once complete, this report will fulfill the city’s grant requirements with the DEC, resulting in$20,000 in street tree grant funding for the city.

“Volunteer your time, learn how to identify trees and help your community by joining in on the workday, Sunday, May 15, 10 a.m.- 2 p.m., urges Ross. “We will meet at the carousel in Congress Park. All skill levels are welcome!” For more information or to R.S.V.P., e-mail

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