Huntington Town Board Members host Earth Day event at Manor Farm

Huntington Town Board Members host Earth Day event at Manor Farm

On Saturday, April 22, Town of Huntington councilmembers Joan Cergol (D) and Sal Ferro(R) co-sponsored an Earth Day event at Manor Farm Park. Other elected officials in attendance included Suffolk County Legislator Stephanie Bontempi (R-Centerport), Legislator Manuel Esteban (R-Commack), Huntington Town Clerk Andrew Raia and Receiver of Taxes Jillian Guthman. 

The event featured a number of different interactive opportunities. The Volunteers for Wildlife set up a booth and had a 20-year-old, one-eyed turtle for attendees to look at. She lost her eye in a dog attack, so she could no longer live in the wild. Cornell Cooperative Extension brought a marine touch tank with clams, a horseshoe crab, mud snails and other creatures. Children excitedly gathered around the booth to pet and touch them.

The Little Shelter Animal Rescue and Adoption Center showed up to raise awareness for their not-for-profit shelter. They brought a litter of five 6-week-old kittens for attendees to play with through the bars of their cage.

There was also a beekeeping demonstration put on by local resident Joe Schwartz. He showed a large crowd of people frames from beehives, which displayed the brood in the honeycomb as well as how the bees cap their honey.

Brandon Stephan Davis, a local Huntington resident, said that the highlight of Earth Day so far for him was the beekeeping display. “I learned a lot,” Davis said. “I didn’t know so much about the details of the hive. I’m grateful that he’s doing this event.”

Schwartz said that he volunteers a lot of his resources at Manor Farm, which is run by Starflower Experiences. He keeps roughly a dozen hives on the property. “They have a farming program,” Schwartz said. “They do a sunflower maze. That’s so much pollen, so much nectar for them. It’s just an ideal place.”

Schwartz went on to say that these should be one of the best-producing hives out there, but they can still struggle due to pesticides in the area, since bees can travel up to a couple of miles to get pollen.

Schwartz said that pesticides and insecticides are bad for the environment and that alternatives like setting up bat boxes may be preferable for getting rid of ticks. He said that bees can survive modern pesticides, but they then bring tainted pollen back to the hive, and then when their larvae feed in the spring, many of them die, and the hive collapses.

Schwartz is also passionate about getting children involved in outdoor activities. In the summer, he does beekeeping classes at Manor Farm twice per month. “We need to get the kids out of the house,” Schwartz said. “I know what COVID did to the kids. It was not a help. You need to get them back outside. They need to appreciate what we have here, and this is one way to do it.”

Ferro was pleased with the results of the event. “It was great to see the large turnout at this year’s Earth Day festivities at Manor Farm Park,” he said in an email. “The event was filled with fun and educational programs for people of all ages with the shared goal to safeguard our environment.”

Ferro’s office estimated that over the course of the day 500 people had shown up for the event.