Press Release Archives

Group for the East End Planting Grant

(Southold, New York… June 2017) Group for the East End (groupfortheeastend.org) recently completed the Building Stronger Neighborhoods Program through a grant from Long Island Community Foundation. This grant allowed Group staff to develop and implement three native planting projects in low-income communities on the East End to facilitate awareness about the local natural environment. Through this project, for which planning began in November 2016, they successfully completed a native beach grass planting at Sagg Main Beach in Southampton, a pollinator garden at Greenport School, and a garden at Remsenburg School.

Throughout May 2017, 88 students and teachers from Greenport School, as well as Group staff and volunteers, planted a pollinator garden adjacent to the school’s newly established vegetable garden. With funds from the grant, the Group purchased native plants from Glover Perennials, and plan to help with future plantings at the school in the future. The school garden will be an on-going project for the students and teachers.

“Now more than any other time in history, it has become essential to provide our young people with hands-on learning opportunities to experience the world around them. The addition of 60 native pollinator plants through a grant from Group for the East End has added the missing piece to the recently expanded Greenport Community School Garden,” says Greenport Science Technology Engineer Art and Math (STEAM) teacher Brady Wilkins. “This is a wonderful example of how local organizations such as Group for the East End can work in partnership with local communities and encourage young people to become stewards of their own environment. We must continue working together to help them love the environment before we can ask them to help save it.”

The project in Remsenburg involved 21 students and was part invasive species removal of mugwort and stinging nettle that was replaced with a vegetable garden and native plant border. The Group lead the planting efforts for the native plant border.

The Sagg Main Beach planting, which took place on April 5, 2017, included approximately 80 participants from Bridgehampton School, Southampton Intermediate, including several members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, Ross School, and Surfrider Foundation took part. First Coastal donated more than 5,000 beach grass plugs, which not only allowed the Group to restore several sections of recently eroded beach dune, but provided the opportunity to purchase additional plants for the other two projects.

Contact: Rachel Bosworth
media@eastendenvironment.org | 631.220.1220.

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Wildlife Sculptures Unveiled at Group for the East End’s Annual Swing Into Summer Benefit

(June 2017…Bridgehampton, NY) Group for the East End (groupfortheeastend.org) is celebrating 45 years of protecting the environment at their annual Swing Into Summer Benefit on Saturday, June 17 from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. at The Bridge in Bridgehampton. An exhibit of whimsical wildlife sculptures crafted entirely from marine debris will be unveiled, including a life-size osprey, a giant jellyfish with eight-foot tentacles and a Rastafarian angelfish. Volunteers made the sculptures from the trash they collected during a series of beach cleanups sponsored by Group for the East End. The exhibit raises awareness about the harmful impact of pollution on wildlife and marine life.  During cocktails, guests will be invited to get their creative on and add bottle caps, fishing line, and plastic straws to complete a sculpture in progress, which will be added to the collection and displayed at Downs Farm Preserve in Cutchogue.

“Over the past year, we have made substantial progress in cleaning up our region’s waters, protecting critical habitats, and educating our children about the beautiful and fragile East End environment,” says Group for the East End president, Bob DeLuca. “But none of these achievements would be possible without the generous support of our dedicated members who come together each year to raise nearly 50% of our annual budget at our exceptional summer gala.”

The benefit, hosted by Stéphane Samuel and Robert M. Rubin, will feature cocktails, dinner, dancing, an auction led by comedic actor Richard Kind, and the most spectacular sunset water view on the East End.

New this year is the introduction of the Ceres Award, which will be presented to Joey Wölffer. “In Roman mythology, Ceres is the Goddess of the Environment, and we couldn’t think of a better first recipient for this award than Joey Wölffer,” says Group for the East End’s chairman, Katherine Leahy Birch. “Joey has been a longtime supporter of the Group, as was her late father Christian. Her family’s vineyard is one of the few Long Island vineyards certified as sustainable by Long Island Sustainable Winemaking. Through Joey’s guidance, the winery employs sustainable practices to reduce soil erosion, water-recycling methods to reduce pesticide use, and more. We’re proud to honor her this year.”

In addition to The Bridge, sponsors include Beach Magazine, Hero Beach Club, and Wölffer Estate Vineyard. Tickets start at $1,000 per person, and can be purchased online at groupfortheeastend.org/events/summer-benefit.

Contact: Rachel Bosworth
media@eastendenvironment.org | 631.220.1220

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Group for the East End Hosts Annual Earth Day Festival at Downs Farm Preserve

(Cutchogue, NY… April 2017) Group for the East End (groupfortheeastend.org) will host their 4th annual Earth Day Festival at Downs Farm Preserve (23800 Route 25, Cutchogue, NY 11935) on Saturday, April 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Group will be joined by other local organizations and artisans for a day featuring live animals, nature hikes, crafts, plant sale, live music, raffles and more. Sponsored by the Town of Southold, the event is free, dog friendly, and picnicking is encouraged.

Peconic Land Trust will lead a nature history hike at 11 a.m. STAR Foundation will host a live animal presentation at 12 p.m. Hikes will continue throughout the day, and guests are invited to explore the Nature Center and trails on their own as well.

Other environmental organizations include New York State Parks, Peconic Estuary Program, Turtle Rescue of the Hamptons, Atlantic Marine Conservation Society, Riverhead Foundation, and Long Island Native Plant Initiative. Learn about animals and plants from herbalist Heather Cusack, beekeeper Sarah Shepherd, Long Island Aquarium, Barefoot Gardener, and Glover Perennials. Other organizations include Hallockville Museum Farm, Lyrical Children, Southold Mother’s Club, Girl Scouts, LI Green Homes, Peconic Community School, and Moreland Upcycling. Noah’s Food Truck will be on site selling delicious bites and snacks, and musician Julia King will perform throughout the day.

Contact: Rachel Bosworth
media@eastendenvironment.org | 631.220.1220

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East End Medication Disposal Program Collects More Than 2,000 Pounds of Substances

(Southold, NY… February 2017) In a partnership with Group for the East End and seven local police departments, the East End Medication Disposal Program (groupfortheeastend.org/meds) has collected 2,149 pounds of substances from 2015 – 2016. The program, which began in October 2013 with support from Suffolk County’s Drinking Water Protection Program, encourages residents to dispose of unused medications in a Medication Drop Box permanently located at participating police stations in an effort to keep these potential pollutants out of our drinking water.

Flushing prescription and over-the-counter medications down the toilet as was previously recommended can contaminate our drinking water, as well as our bays and harbors. Proper disposal of medications also helps prevent drug misuse, abuse, and harm to children, pets, and others. By anonymously disposing of medications at local police stations, you ensure that they do not end up in the wrong hands and importantly do not end up in our environment.

According to Group for the East End President Bob DeLuca, “water quality is our top priority across the East End, and the pharmaceutical take-back program is just one of many innovative local efforts that is breaking new ground in the protection and restoration of our fragile drinking water and surface water resources.”

The recent numbers include an 85% increase from 2014. Reported numbers from the participating police stations include 610 pounds from Southampton, 560 pounds from East Hampton, 70 pounds from East Hampton Village, 294 pounds from Westhampton Beach, 160 pounds from Shelter Island, and 455 pounds from Southold. Sag Harbor Village numbers are currently not available.

“We are extremely grateful for the cooperation of our local police departments and support of Suffolk County which has been essential to the success of this program and its positive impact on water quality,” Mr. DeLuca said.

The East End Medication Disposal Program is safe and anonymous. After substances are discarded in the drop box, they are secured by the police department until an officer transports them to the Covanta Incinerator in East Northport. Covanta provides the service free of charge, as do the police departments.

“Group for the East End is grateful to all of the police departments participating in this important program,” says Group for the East End Senior Environmental Advocate and disposal program manager Jennifer Hartnagel. “The pounds of substances collected speaks volumes for the need for this type of service. Since 2013, over 4,000 pounds of substances have been kept our of our bays, harbor and drinking water.”

More information on what medications and items can be discarded and where can be found online at groupfortheeastend.org/meds.

Contact: Rachel Bosworth
media@eastendenvironment.org | 631.220.1220

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