EXPANSION OF THE EAST HAMPTON TOWN CPR FUND

July30a Rachel Carson once said, “In an age when man has forgotten his origins, and is blind even to his most essential needs for survival, water along with other resources has become the victim of his indifference.” Dr. Carson’s impact on the environment resonates with each tweet of a songbird. There are no silent springs because of her.

I would like to express my belief that our environment is crying so loud, it’s deafening, and until WE, collectively, have the courage to stand up for the health and healing of the environment, we will all be victims.

It has been scientifically documented that the water quality of our East Hampton watersheds is impaired. There are harmful algal blooms, low oxygen levels, and excessive bacterial contamination leading to shellfish and bathing beach closures. Relying on our county, state, and federal governments’ environmental protection policies and protocols has failed to protect the health of our environment. It is therefore our responsibility to shout as loud as we can, to voice our demands for ecological recovery. For without it, we are surely doomed.

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The East Hampton Town Board has drafted a funding plan to restore what we have harmed. Our watersheds contribute to an East End way of life that is unique and special. Taking steps to address water pollution is vital for our health, and our economy. No matter how rich you are, when you lose your health you lose everything. Knowing that all things are interconnected, that man is only a part of the greater whole, we need to realize that when we harm the environment, we are harming ourselves.

Taking 20% of the CPF Fund to restore the quality and health of our water estuaries is a measure that will protect our Town’s significant scenic vistas, water estuaries, and natural landscapes for future generations. For the last 18 years, the CPF Fund has played a pivotal role in protecting the unique character of our community. With this CPF money, the Town will be able to reduce pollution, mitigate for future pollution, and create restoration projects.

I will bookend this blog post with another insightful quote by Rachel Carson. “We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road—the one ‘less traveled by’— offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.”IMG_0118

 

GEORGICA POND

 

After two long years, we finally got to paddle Georgica Pond, a magnificent body of water that is separated from the mighty Atlantic Ocean by a 100 foot sandbar. It’s located between the Village of East Hampton and Wainscott and is managed by the East Hampton Town Trustees who are responsible for draining the pond and replenishing it with the water from the Atlantic Ocean.

Why haven’t we paddled for the last two years?

The answer lies in the fact that this spectacular, 290-acre coastal lagoon has been threatened by macro and blue-green algae blooms, fish kills, and low oxygen levels.  The blooms caused by antiquated septic systems and the overuse of excessive nutrients contained in fertilizers produce toxins that are not safe. In addition to these blooms, the shoreline invasion of Phragmites autralis, a non-native grass to East Hampton, further adds to the degradation and health of the pond.

We used to crab in the pond for Blue Claws, but not any more. Crabbing, fishing, and swimming have been prohibited. The toxins that the blue-green algae produces are dangerous and can be fatal.

So far this year, due to the diligent work of the Town Trustees and  the Friends of Georgica Pond, the water has been safe to paddle. Once the weather gets warmer, however, that might not be the case.

On Saturday, we launched our 12 foot canoes from the rest stop on Montauk Highway. It took us 50 minutes to paddle to the sandbar where we set up our beach chairs and hoisted our umbrella. There was a fog creeping in from the south, but we ate our picnic lunch and enjoyed the smell of the ocean and the sounds of the waves. Within an hour though, the fog grew thicker and we were unable to see some of the mansions that lined the eastern shoreline of the pond. It was time to head back.

As we got closer to the northern half of the pond, the fog thinned out so we decided to explore one of the coves. To our amazement, we came upon a family of Canada geese. Further into the cove, a mother swan and her newly born cygnets were resting in the sun.

The birdlife on Georgica Pond is plentiful including, but not limited to: Canada geese, swans, kingfishers, red-winged blackbirds, ospreys, giant blue herons, egrets, and a variety of ducks.

 

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We felt incredibly lucky to have been witness to the springtime arrival of the baby geese and swans. Hopefully, the solutions to keep the pond healthy will work so that generations to come will be able to enjoy the wonders of this amazing body of water.

The “Right To Read” Scholarship Fundraiser

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On the evening of May 23rd, 2016, I attended and spoke at The International Dyslexia Association’s Long Island Branch “Right To Read” Scholarship Fundraiser in Huntington, New York.

It was a great evening, filled with awesome people, great kids, and lots of fun raffle prizes. I ended up winning “The Giving Tree” that was ladened with lotto tickets.

Many of the children that attended were dyslexic. For them, receiving a first edition, signed autographed copy of Stoked – 1969, my second  young adult novel about a fourteen-year-old boy with dyslexia, was a big deal. One of the boys expressed to me how excited he was that he had finally learned to read and that he was going to read my book all by himself. For anyone who has experienced the struggles of learning how to read, or living with someone who struggles with language, this was a heartfelt, moving moment because for many of us, learning how to read changes our lives forever. It’s not about talent, but rather hard work and perseverance.

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Everyone who gathered at the event did so to help raise money for dyslexic children whose families don’t have the financial resources to provide the individualized instruction necessary for their child to learn how to read.

All contributions were and are tax deductible! So if you’d like to give a gift for this important scholarship you can contact Dr. Connie Russo at: http://www.lidyslexia.org or send checks made out to IDALIB and mail to:  IDALIB – 1488 Deer Park Avenue, North Babylon, New York 11703

The International Dyslexia Association “provides a brighter future for a child with dyslexia one reading lesson at a time.”

Remember – It’s never to late to learn how to read!!!!!!