Collaborative Community-Based Program Will Foster Awareness of Natural Resource Preservation
County Executive George Latimer announced the launch of Planting Westchester. This collaborative, community-based initiative encourages and empowers Westchester residents, municipalities, schools, businesses and local organizations to promote climate solutions, restoration of natural systems and food security.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, “It’s no secret that we need to embrace sustainable practices to ensure a healthy future for Westchester County and its residents. We’ve assembled a task force of volunteer specialists from across the County to help launch Planting Westchester to establish a unique collaboration between residents, local municipalities, businesses, not-for-profits, houses of worship and schools which addresses food insecurity, climate change, heat islands, flooding and the health and well-being of our most vulnerable populations.”
Planting Westchester encourages the planting and proper management of plants and trees located on public and private land in our urban and suburban communities and will include everything from forestland to street trees to community gardens to container gardens. Additionally, via the Planting Westchester website, the County has developed and provided educational resources on the benefits and methods of planting trees and gardens for all residents.
Westchester County Director of Energy Conservation and Sustainability Peter McCartt said, “Planting Westchester applies science-based, socially equitable decision making to protect, maintain, and restore the natural resources, food systems, and climate resilience of Westchester County. Data collected will be incorporated into the Office of Energy Conservation and Sustainability update to the County Climate Action Plan.”
The project focuses on the co-benefits of native plants and trees, pollinator pathways, healthy yards and biodiverse habitats. Experts from across the county have curated the best relevant resources on best practices to plant, maintain and manage:
• Backyard Fruit Trees
• Backyard vegetables
• Community gardens
• Container gardens
• Invasive Species
• Native Plants
• Planting by Water
• Soil health
The Planting Westchester website includes links to fact-based research, how-to videos, blogs, upcoming events, demonstration projects with contact information, photos of native plants and trees, and materials on how to identify and manage common invasive plants. The site also provides real-life examples from residents of the work being done by individuals and organizations in Westchester’s cities, townships and villages.
Board of Legislators Environment, Health & Energy Chair County Legislator Erika Pierce said, “Planting Westchester will bring high level resources to the fingertips of every Westchester resident and employee, whether they are researching options for their own yard or home, planning a community garden, or a municipal employee addressing local projects. From food insecurity, to flooding mitigation and soil improvement, from urban community planners selecting trees to residents creating pollinator gardens, Planting Westchester will be a game changer for many.”
Westchester County Department of Planning Program Coordinator for Planting Westchester, Millie Magraw said, “Over 100 Westchester scientists, educators, botanists, PhD’s, and self-taught individuals generously offered their professional expertise to contribute to the Planting Westchester website. These highly knowledgeable individuals spent countless hours carefully curating the most relevant resources depicting the best practices to plant and maintain our natural environment. These resources, available on the Planting Westchester website, are now easily accessible to all. It’s a true testament to the spirit and commitment of these individuals who are devoted to addressing climate change and environmental injustices. Additionally, this project could not have happened without the diligence of Nikki Coddington, co-coordinator of Planting Westchester.”
For more information about Planting Westchester, visit www.plantingwestchester.com