I LOVE NEW YORK is pleased to announce the 2011 winner of the Greenest NYer title, Erik Baard. Erik was honored today at Escapemaker.com’s Green Getaways Local Food & Travel Expo in Brooklyn, NY.
In the coming weeks, please keep an eye out for a personal message from Erik as well as many more posts to come!
Here is a bit about Erik, pulled from his contest submission:
“I’m a native New Yorker, the grandchild of immigrants, and I love New York. One of my greatest joys is exploring my home’s natural splendor and food heritages, and finding ways to preserve and share those gifts as a volunteer.
I founded the LIC Community Boathouse, which provides free paddle tours on the East River to thousands of people, arranges beach cleanups, and advocates for marine ecology. I also started what grew into City of Water Day, our harbor’s biggest annual gathering of paddlers, rowers, and conservationists. To promote local eco-tourism, I conceived of the MetroBoat and worked with the MTA and Folbot to execute it.
Where I can’t kayak, I bike. I’m a founding member of the Queens Volunteer Committee of Transportation Alternatives. Each year I marshal several public rides and work continually with the committee to improve transit, bike, and pedestrian options. I also founded the Newtown Pippin Restoration and Celebration, which donates hundreds of heirloom apple saplings (especially NY varieties) to public spaces throughout NYC each year. We’re also working with UN diplomats to save the ancestral Kazakh apple forest.
As a writer, I advocate for NY’s environment through my Nature Calendar blog, professional articles, and pro bono contributions. Another aspect of my green work has been professional management, overseeing programs, grants, and volunteers for Earth Day New York and Citizens Committee for NYC. I’d be grateful to augment my happy work as the Greenest New Yorker!”
We are very happy and proud to welcome Erik as Ambassador to the Green Heart NY program, and though Kaity’s enthusiasm and passion will be missed, we believe Erik will succesfully fill the big shoes she leaves behind!
To the dear people of New York and beyond:
It is with much sadness – and perhaps a hint of envy – that I abdicate my throne as I LOVE NEW YORK’s 2010 Greenest New Yorker to the reigning champion for 2011.
I will be relinquishing many of my powers, which include writing for this exquisite blog, but it is with deep gratitude and pride that the actions of my successors will preserve the local tradition of benefiting all the citizens of the commonwealth that is New York State. Starting next month, the next Greenest New Yorker will have picked up where I am leaving off here, guiding you through green adventures in NYS.
I have been fortunate enough to write about my travels through the kingdom, including the Adirondacks and Capital-Saratoga regions, by way of a contraption known as “Amtrak.” From there, I’ve been able to praise our natural treasures and our farmers, and consume the fruits of their labor like apple cider, apple butter and apple pie, as well as many other concoctions from NYS’s bountiful harvests. These green gems bring forth a new definition of what it really means to emerald a state such as ours, for New York has a certain cachet that I have yet to see elsewhere…
On the wings of sustainable tourism which are the envy to many, New York has become a destination for ecologically minded travelers and nomads from all over the world, eager to practice a life of smaller carbon footprints. I believe it’s very much a pleasant coincidence that two loves — New York and Sustainability — are becoming equally popular. My point, of course, is that none of this progress would have been possible without you.
And so, to you, the people, I thank you for gracing me with your presence and allowing me to preside over New York State with you. I hope I have met and perhaps exceeded your great expectations for being the Greenest New Yorker. Please know that no matter what I say or write, my appreciation will always be greater than my words.
Forever and always,
So kids AND parents, what does it mean to be green? How green are you? Why and how did you become green?
It all started for me as a kid watching the cartoon show Captain Planet in the 90s. What made the show popular was its ability to create relatable characters who worked together as a team to battle pollution and other environmental challenges with help from Captain Planet, who reminded viewers like myself of the big picture with his catchphrase, “The power is yours!”
With April considered as Earth Month, there are a number of ways for kids and parents to be greener in New York State. If you have a backyard, maybe spend some time together tending a home vegetable garden or caring for a newly planted tree – either way, both spaces can always use some compost, as mentioned in the latest issue of Conservationist for Kids (featuring me!), the nature and environment magazine for kids that is distributed, free of charge, to all public school fourth-grade classes in New York State. Teachers can also find magazine supplements here.
Other green activities could include a visit to the Macy’s Flower Show: Tower of Flowers at Herald Square (through April 10th) which brings the outside in by showcasing spectacular “live flowers, plants, and trees from around the globe,” or attending the Green Schools Alliance’s 4th Annual Spring Conference & Resource Fair, which invites schools, NGOs, environmental groups, and green businesses to share best sustainable practices at the Martin Luther King Jr. Education Campus in the Upper West Side, where Majora Carter is slated to speak as their Keynote Speaker.
For additional advice, the NYTimes provides encouragement in their “How to Green Your Parents” article, and Time Out New York Kids describes a greener family urban life here.
If I could be a kid again, my first few stops would be to the Henry Luce Nature Observatory at Belvedere Castle, the Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History (through May 30th), and of course the Greenmarkets so I could ask farmers a zillion questions, which you can’t exactly pull off once you’re a grown-up.