Press Release Archives

Group for the East End: Protect Plum Island as a National Wildlife Refuge

Group for the East End President, Bob DeLuca, submitted extensive comments to the General Services Administration last week, supporting the protection of the undeveloped portion (80%) of Plum Island as a National Wildlife Refuge and identifying several important considerations in the face of the potential for a private sale.

Though it most famously contains the National Laboratory, Plum Island’s greatest asset is its rich natural resources. With limited natural habitat remaining for rare and threatened wildlife throughout the region, Plum Island provides habitat for many important wildlife species. “Nearly 200 types of birds use the island’s open space for breeding and as a safe stopover during migration,” said DeLuca, “and the island is known as the largest seal haul-out site in New England.”

Protection of the island’s undeveloped lands (about 80% of its 840-acres) would sustain the valuable natural features of the island, while allowing for future public educational and recreational use. In the event of a private sale, these opportunities would be lost and a national treasure that has been in the public domain since the 1800s could be destroyed by development.

Group for the East End’s history with Plum Island spans back to 2004, when DeLuca first visited the island and began advocating for additional public outreach and security at the laboratory. Since that time, significant progress has been made, millions of dollars have been invested in improving safety and security, and public meetings are now scheduled a few times each year to report progress to the wider East End community.

“Abandoning and moving the laboratory at this point, after such a significant recent investment, would be a waste of public funding,” said DeLuca, “not to mention the risk of relocating the study site of the most infectious bovine disease into the heart of cattle country.” (He referred to one of the primary relocation targets for a new laboratory to replace the one on Plum Island – Manhattan, Kansas.)

DeLuca also pointed out the local economic impact of moving the laboratory and selling the island. “The Plum Island Laboratory provides hundreds of jobs to people who live in Eastern Long Island and Connecticut. Closing the laboratory would result in a loss of these viable jobs in our region,” he said.

Contact:

Kate Fullam, Director of Community Outreach
631-765-6450, ext. 208 • kfullam@eastendenvironment.org

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Group Hosts Holiday Party Open House and Art Show

Meet Artist Anne Seelbach and Group Staff on Saturday, December 1st

October 17, 2012 – Group for the East End is kicking off the holiday season with an open house and reception for a new show of paintings by Sag Harbor artist Anne Seelbach.

The Group is welcoming its supporters and the general public to its Southold office on Saturday, December 1st, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m, to view the paintings, toast the holiday season, meet the artist and chat with Group for the East End staff members. The address is 54895 Route 25, Southold, NY (next to Ace Hardware and across from Bridgehampton National Bank). Refreshments will be served.

According to Seelbach, Troubled Waters: Awareness and Solutions is about the pollution that is in many of our water systems. “The paintings reflect a conflict between the laws of nature and our artificial attempts to control the environment,” she said.

The Group’s Director of Development, Judy Christrup, commented, “The East End community has shown remarkable support for our work to protect and restore local groundwater, bays and harbors. My hope is that this reception will inspire new conversations as we work together on long-term solutions to our troubled waters.”

In Seelbach’s paintings, stencils of gaskets and other mechanical shapes are incorporated into the work to represent human presence, pesticides, herbicides and other chemical waste. Debris crowds the waters. Fish mutate into imaginary forms. A change is taking place as nature reacts to this disruption.

Seelbach is interested in the intersection of representational and abstract painting: perspective drawing collides with expressive free-form washes, geometric shapes meld into atmospheric color fields. She uses these oppositions to create a tension between three-dimensional illusion and a flattening of space. Gestural brushwork and rich colors are dominant. Layered paint creates subtle colors and textures.

Seelbach commented, “Awareness is the beginning of solutions to a problem. I am very pleased to be able to exhibit my work with the Group for the East End in conjunction with their campaign to improve ground and surface waters on both the North and South Forks of eastern Long Island.” The show continues through Friday, December 21st (Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM). Group for the East End will receive 30% of any art sales.

Contact:
Kate Fullam, Director of Community Outreach
631-765-6450, ext. 208 • kfullam@eastendenvironment.org

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East End Wildlife Sightings Indicate Success in Environmental Protection

October 8, 2012 (Eastern Long Island, New York) – Good news! A recent resurgence of wildlife species that had been extirpated from eastern Long Island – including the Bald Eagle, Beaver, and River Otter – may indicate an improvement in the ecological health of our region.

Restoring a healthy environment does not happen automatically or overnight. For 40 years, Group for the East End has been a key player in combining the strength of many voices and many hands to protect eastern Long Island’s most fragile natural resources.

From leading land preservation initiatives, to repairing osprey nesting platforms and installing native plants, to providing school teachers with nature-based lessons and helping public officials plan a sustainable future for local communities, Group for the East End’s environmental educators and advocates work for the best interests of a membership of about 2,500 individuals, families and community groups.

As 2012 winds to a close, Group for the East End is in need of support to continue its important environmental education and advocacy programs and ensure the future health and beauty of eastern Long Island’s habitats and the species that live here.

The organization is asking for donations to help:

  • Expand its osprey, plover and tern nesting programs to protect more birds and train more stewards in coastal neighborhoods.
  • Overhaul the East End’s water quality programs and standards, which have not been updated in decades. As the budgets of Suffolk County and local governments continue to shrink, we must take the reins to ensure that our bays, harbors and drinking water are clean.
  • Save the East End’s largest unprotected wetlands and woodlands. Preserving land is critical to protecting our coastal environment. The Group is fighting to protect Plum Island from a proposed sale that could devastate hundreds of acres of critical habitat for rare birds and protected seals.

Our region’s wildlife is a reflection of the health of our environment, which in turn supports our local economy and our exceptional quality of life here on the East End. To learn more or make a gift in support of Group for the East End, visit www.GroupfortheEastEnd.org or call 631-765-6450, ext. 215 or 216.

Contact:
Kate Fullam, Director of Community Outreach
631-765-6450, ext. 208 • kfullam@eastendenvironment.org

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Group for the East End, Clean Ocean Action Host Breakfast Rally for Final Leg of “Tour the Shore” Kayaking

On Thursday, August 23 at 7:30AM, ocean-lovers and early risers in the Hampton Bays area are invited to a rally celebrating the final leg of kayaking on the “Tour the Shore” journey. Join us at Shinnecock Inlet County Park (East End of Dune Road, Hampton Bays). Enjoy breakfast, cheer on the paddlers, and walk the beach with Group for the East End to learn more about local marine life.

Experienced paddlers can sign up to paddle alongside Margo Pellegrino, traveling all or a portion of the 32 miles from Hampton Bays to Montauk. Pellegrino is an outrigger canoeist that has paddled from Miami to Maine to raise awareness of water quality issues. Follow her blog at www.miami2maine.com.

Hundreds of Long Islanders have already turned out to support Clean Ocean Action’s “Tour the Shore,” a two-week adventure along the coast of Cape May, New Jersey, to Montauk, New York, to raise awareness of ocean pollution issues and the need for a Clean Ocean Zone.

Facing threats from ocean blasting for oil and gas development, pollution, and reckless development, the Clean Ocean Zone initiative was created by concerned citizens along the New York and New Jersey coastlines to lock out harmful pollution and industrial activities off the coast while locking in permanent protection for future generations. The ultimate goal is for the citizen-drafted federal law to be enacted.

“The Peconic Estuary and other East End waters are dependent on a healthy Ocean, which is why we are supporting the Clean Ocean Zone,” said Kate Fullam, Director of Community Outreach at Group for the East End. “We must all work together to protect natural resources, locally and globally. ‘Tour the Shore’ proves that everyone can play a part!”

“Tour the Shore” will conclude in Montauk, NY on Friday, August 24, with a celebration at Montauk Point State Park from 12-4PM. The event is open to the public and will be held at the picnic area adjacent to the lower parking lot. Environmental organizations from New York and New Jersey will be on hand to show their support for a clean ocean and environment. Free food, Hunterdon Beer, and Barefoot Wine will be provided to celebrate the conclusion of this ambitious 14-day event.

For details about the dates and locations of the Tour, visit www.cleanoceanzone.org or call Clean Ocean Action at 732-872-0111.

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New Print Ad Campaign for Group for the East End: “If you love it out here, join us.”

What did you do this summer? What do you love most about the East End? Those questions are great ones to ask yourself and your kids. What’s the most important charity on the East End? That’s a tough question to answer, but if you ask blumenfeld + fleming, the design firm behind Group for the East End’s new print ad campaign, they’ll tell you the Group should be on your very short list.

“Without the Group, the East End would be overdeveloped,” says Jill Fleming, a former NYC art director. “They’re one of the main reasons the water out here is safe for drinking and swimming,” says Lynn Blumenfeld, co-founder of the firm.

The team at bluemenfeld + fleming says after developing a new website and tagline for Group for the East End, they urged the Group to run print ads to reach people who don’t understand their work to protect the local environment. “We feel like many people don’t know how much the Group does out here. If you love the nature of the East End of Long Island, maybe it’s time to get invovled,” they added.

According to Group for the East End President, Bob DeLuca, “With more than 15 years of research now before us, it’s clear that our precious water resources are becoming increasingly polluted, and that the long term costs and consequences of this pollution will have an impact on us all.” Mr. DeLuca continued, “We are hoping that people will see this campaign, get involved, and support our efforts to keep the East End beautiful and preserve our precious resources.”

Artwork available upon request.

Contact:
Kate Fullam, Director of Community Outreach
631-765-6450, ext. 208 • kfullam@eastendenvironment.org

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Coalition Formed to Help Protect & Restore North Fork Waters

Citing research conducted by both the Suffolk County Department of Health and Stony Brook University, which shows a steady decline in water quality due to excessive nitrogen, environmental groups and citizen advocates have joined together to help clean up local waters.

North Fork Clean Water Action (NFCWA) is a collaborative effort of Group for the East End, North Fork Environmental Council, North Fork Audubon Society, the Peconic Baykeeper, and Peconic Green Growth, Inc.

Although there are other contributing sources, research has proven that a major contributor to excessive nitrogen in our ground and surface waters (creeks and estuaries) is human waste.

“Management of our sewage waste is a huge ecological, human health and financial issue, one that planners, politicians, engineers and environmentalists on Long Island have grappled with – awkwardly and unsuccessfully – for five decades. Raw sewage from the thousands of residential cesspools is directly responsible for the vast number of polluted water bodies. We must act decisively and without further delay to overhaul outdated sewage regulations to ensure that our local bays remain the healthy centerpiece of life on the East End,” said Kevin McAllister, the Peconic Baykeeper.

Despite the dire findings, there are solutions, and members of the coalition are hopeful that the public, once informed, will take action to help solve the problem.

NFCWA will sponsor panel discussions throughout the North Fork which will include leading environmental experts and advocates.  The community forums will take place on August 15 at the Mattituck-Laurel Library, August 22 at the Floyd Memorial Library in Greenport and on August 29 at the Riverhead Free Library.  All programs will run from 6:00 to 8:00PM.

According to Bob DeLuca, President of Group for the East End, “With more than 15 years of research now before us, it’s clear that our precious water resources are increasingly polluted, and that the long term costs and consequences of this pollution will have an impact on us all. We are pleased to be part of this regional effort to raise water awareness and foster an informed discussion about the short and long-term solutions we will need to protect and restore our waters for the future.” Mr. DeLuca continued, “Every significant cultural change starts with education, and that is focus of these important community discussions.”

Contact:
Kate Fullam, Director of Community Outreach
631-765-6450, ext. 208 • kfullam@eastendenvironment.org

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Special Thanks to Ann Colley, Louis Bacon

Ann Colley is the Executive Director of The Moore Charitable Foundation (MCF), which was established by Louis Bacon, one of Group for the East End’s most enduring and generous supporters.

For nearly a decade, Ann served as a key member of Group for the East End’s Board of Directors and her involvement as a volunteer leader within in the organization extends nearly 20 years. During her tenure on the Board, she served as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, a member of the Executive Committee, Chair of the Nominating Committee, and devoted Chair and longstanding member of our Annual Benefit Committee.

Louis Bacon, Ann Colley and MCF have profoundly advanced the cause of conservation throughout eastern Long Island. In addition to supporting the daily environmental advocacy and education work at the Group, MCF has lent critical support to some of the most important and successful land and water conservation campaigns. These regional campaigns have led to the preservation of thousands of acres of fragile undeveloped land and historic farms that were threatened with development.

Ann and MCF were also instrumental in funding and supporting the Group’s 35th anniversary campaign to expand the reach of our conservation programs throughout the five towns that comprise the East End of Long Island. As part of this campaign, the Group restored and opened a community office on the North Fork (to supplement our South Fork presence) in the historic homestead of Capt. Benjamin Wells.

For these reasons and so many more, Group for the East End is deeply and forever thankful for Ann’s leadership and commitment to our local environment. Her tremendous energy, focus, insight and deep personal concern for our region have truly shaped the future of the organization and greatly expanded our capacity to protect the East End environment and instill a passion in others to do the same.

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Eileen Fisher, Roman Roth, and Group for the East End Kick Off the Weekend on Friday the 13th

Trade your nightmare on Elm Street this Friday the 13th (of July!) for wine, cheese, and shopping at 26 Newtown Lane in East Hampton. Eileen Fisher will be donating 10% of their daily sales to benefit Group for the East End, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring eastern Long Island’s environment. To cap off the collaboration, the two organizations will host a complementary wine and cheese reception from 6:00PM to 7:00PM – stop by for a taste of Grapes of Roth wine poured by winemaker Roman Roth, or cheese from Cavaniola’s (Sag Harbor).

“Group for the East End’s Coastal Partners Program gives local businesses the chance to show they support conservation on eastern Long Island. Our other donors can check our website to find brands that are in line with their values,” said Kate Fullam, Director of Community Outreach at Group for the East End. “We are delighted to receive such generous support from Eileen Fisher, and looking forward to a fun event on Friday evening!”

“We are excited to support Group for the East End through this first-time charity shopping event and reception. Eileen Fisher has been a donor to the Group for years, and our products are very much in line with the sustainability movement,” said the East Hampton Eileen Fisher Store Manager, Jacquie Gettling.

Linda Platt, also an employee of the East Hampton store, noted, “Eileen Fisher is committed to social consciousness on many levels including wellbeing, environment, woman and girls, human rights, and community.” She went on to show off the new bluesign® certification, which ensures each piece of fabric for the clothing has been dyed without hazardous chemicals and uses minimal water. Many of the fabrics are also created using organic cotton.

In addition to reducing environmental impact through textiles, Eileen Fisher helped build two Iowa wind farms in partnership with NativeEnergy. “Crops grow up to the base of the turbine; the energy produced creates zero carbon emissions, unlike coal which powers approximately 50 percent of the American electrical grid.” You can elect to contribute $2 toward this effort while shopping in the store on Friday.

Please visit EileenFisher.com/ampersand to learn more about the company’s sustainability initiatives.

Local businesses are invited to support Group for the East End and help protect the local environment by becoming a member of the Coastal Partners Program. Join and learn more at GroupfortheEastEnd.org.

Contact:
Kate Fullam, Director of Community Outreach
631-255-4590
kfullam@eastendenvironment.org

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Community Groups Clean Up Goldsmith Inlet

Group for the East End, North Fork Junior R.O.T.C., Group to Save Goldsmith Inlet, Peconic Bay shores, Town of Southold, and Suffolk County are ready to come together once again in an effort to restore the natural beauty of Goldsmith Inlet in Peconic!

Goldsmith Inlet Beach Cleanup
Saturday, June 16, 2012
(Rain date: Sunday June 17)
9:00AM – 12:00PM

Over the last several years, Group for the East End has worked with the very supportive surrounding community to clear debris from Goldsmith Inlet. Previous cleanups have attracted 50+ people, and two years ago volunteers filled a 20-yard dumpster with trash collected from the LI Sound Beach and inlet pond.

The annual cleanup has become a tradition, due to the natural geography and tidal activity of the area. These factors make the area extremely prone to marine debris, requiring frequent attention year after year. “The majority of what we find on the beaches are plastics and packaging materials,” said Jenn Hartnagel who is organizing the Goldsmith Inlet Cleanup on June 16. “It speaks to the need for reducing our use of these non-biodegradable materials and recycling as much as possible.”

Cleaning up beaches and other natural habitats is part of Group for the East End’s habitat restoration programs, and helps volunteers get involved to make a positive impact on the local environment. “Cleanups are feel-good community-building experiences and make a real difference, but beach cleanups especially bring to light the problems we face with waste,” said Hartnagel. “Though humans create much of the debris that lands on our shores, we can also be part of the solution.”

To join Group for the East End for the cleanup, please contact Jenn Hartnagel, Environmental Advocate, at 631-765-6450, ext. 211 or jhartnagel@eastendenvironment.org.

More information about planting and habitat restoration programs can be found at www.groupfortheeastend.org (Click on “education” and then “planting & habitat restoration”). Group for the East End is a member-supported nonprofit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible.

Contact:
Kate Fullam, Director of Community Outreach
631-765-6450, ext. 208
kfullam@eastendenvironment.org

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June 8th Reception Will Feature Photography and Talk About Fracking

Group for the East End Presents “Women Speak Out on Gas Drilling”

May 24, 2012 (Southold, NY)

Are you curious about fracking? Join us for an informative talk and journalistic photography exhibit that will give you a new perspective on this-hotly debated topic.

Group for the East End will host a wine and cheese reception on Friday, June 8th, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at its Southold Office (54895 Route 25, Southold, NY) to publicly open the exhibit “Women Speak Out on Gas Drilling” by photographer Joyce Baronio and writer Ellen Bay. In addition, Dr. Roxanne Zimmer, an Associate Professor at the College of New Rochelle, and Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE), will provide their perspectives on fracking in New York State.

During 2010, Joyce Baronio photographed 14 women farmers – young, old and middle-aged – on their land in the upper Delaware region of New York State. Ellen Bay accompanied her, and interviewed these remarkable women on the subject of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas extraction (fracking) in their communities. Some of these farmers had leased their land to gas companies, some were outspoken against the gas companies, while others were still undecided at the time of the interviews. See photographic portraits of these farmwomen, read their thoughts on fracking, and hear from Ellen Bay during the reception.

Judy Christrup, Director of Development at Group for the East End, brought this show to Southold in an effort to highlight the everyday people impacted by the energy choices we all make – both personally and as a society. “Fracking doesn’t happen here on Long Island,” said Christrup, “but we do use natural gas everyday to heat our homes, cook our food, and heat our swimming pools. The energy choices we make here affect real people, such as farm families in New York State and Pennsylvania, who live not so far away from us.”

“We need to look at what is lost when energy interests take over our land, pollute our waters and dramatically change our way of life. Hydrofracking brings changes that rob us of what is essential and what is beautiful about our communities,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, who will speak at the reception.

Dr. Roxanne Zimmer of the College of New Rochelle commented, “Enthusiastic lease promoters lure people with the promise of financial windfalls. Considerably less attention is given to the high stakes risks for individual landowners, the local community and the wider public dependent on fresh water and healthy soil.”

The geology of Long Island does not support fracking, but the potential environmental effects hit close to home earlier this year when the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation named a Suffolk County sewage treatment plant as a potential site to receive fracking wastewater. The sewage plant is located in West Babylon, on the Great South Bay, about 40 miles west of Westhampton Beach. Suffolk County legislators scrambled to introduce a bill to prevent this from ever happening. “The possibility of fracking waste coming to Suffolk County gave Long Islanders a real scare,” said Christrup.

Christrup commented, “Group for the East End has been a leading advocate for both farmland and water protection 40 years. We hope that our members and interested people in the community will attend and be inspired by the stories of the farmwomen who are featured in this show.” In addition to the reception on June 8th, the exhibit will be open to the public Tuesday – Friday, 10 am to 5 pm, until June 29th.

Contact:

Kate Fullam, Director of Community Outreach
631-765-6450 ext. 208
kfullam@eastendenvironment.org

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