Annual Go Green event returns, salutes Port Jefferson students

Annual Go Green event returns, salutes Port Jefferson students

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A view of last year’s event from the second floor of the Village Center. Photo by Dick Solo

By Naomi Solo

Port Jefferson Village’s Go Green event returns for its eighth year on Saturday, Nov. 7, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Port Jefferson Village Center overlooking the harbor. Awareness of the urgency for environmental action inspired the development of this free event eight years ago through the Humanities Institute at Stony Brook University, then directed by Dr. E. Ann Kaplan. John Lutterbie worked with co-chair Naomi Solo to get things started. With 100 percent cooperation of the Port Jefferson Village government, Go Green has now become an annual event. It is with great pride that we salute the youth of our local schools at the event this year, who have led the way in green projects.

Students at Edna Louise Spear Elementary School, led by Kari Costanza and Tom Meehan, have initiated a Repurpose and Recycle fashion show, have initiated a school cafeteria waste audit leading to district-wide recycling, have raised earthworms for the school garden and have established a lovely native plant garden to attract birds. The students have had many “Green Team” meetings with exciting guest speakers including Sue Avery from the Long Island Native Plant Initiative (LINPI). Currently, they are working on a bottle cap drive titled Caps for Love to raise funds for more projects.

The students at Port Jefferson Middle School, led by Peter Burawa, have participated in the Siemen’s “We can change the world” 2012 challenge, which addressed many environmental issues in the community. They have promoted using safe fertilizers and campaigned to stop people from dumping in the storm water drains of our Village. Titled The Grate Project, the winning slogan was “Only rain down the drain.” They continue to participate in beach cleanups, choosing the slogan “This beach is not your ashtray” after collecting and categorizing debris and work for proper disposal of food wrappers with signs posted at our local eateries. Visit their bake sale table at the event.

Earl L. Vandermeulen High School, working with The Long Island Seaport and Eco Center (LISEC), provide crucial support for the Environmental Club led by teachers Dawn Moody and Jon Muletta. They have instituted conservation projects by constructing birdhouses, selling Clean Canteens and doing away with plastic water bottles in the school. In addition they are fostering many recycling projects and beach cleanups. The students are undertaking research on harbor cleanliness and health of our local sea life, have fostered organic landscaping and native plant gardens and have made “Onya’s reusable shopping bags.” In May of this year they sponsored the Green & Clean fair. Many additional recycling and eco-friendly projects are underway, with fundraising to support the environment. Drop off small handheld electronics at their booth during the event for recycling. 

On the morning of Nov. 7, before the fair, you can witness a new initiative involving our schools when Village Gardener Caran Markson joins with Lauren Hubbard of the Maritime Explorium, the Long Island Native Plant Initiative and many school volunteers to spread mulch for a new garden project at the triangle plot near the middle school building. This work is preparation for a spring planting of indigenous flowers.

These are inspiring examples of a community working together. In celebration of these remarkable achievements, Mayor Margot Garant along with village trustees will issue proclamations to each school at 2 p.m. during the Go Green fair. This will be followed by performances by the elementary school’s Select Choir led by music teacher Jessica Pastor.

In addition to the schools, LISEC, LINPI, the Maritime Explorium and other groups will be present. Our Port Jefferson Free Library will have special fun projects for the children to create. Last but not least, do not forget the now famous “Green Elephant” table organized by Barbara Haegele. Bring your gently used items (no clothes, books or electronics please) and donate them to the table where you may take any items for free in yet another example of recycling.

The Port Jefferson Village Center is located at 101A E. Broadway, Port Jefferson. For further information, call 631-473-3549 or 631-802-2160.