Native plants and rain barrel rewards

REPORTER FILE PHOTO  Friday Night Dialogues at 7. p.m tomorrow features a program on how to preserve the beauty of the East End

REPORTER FILE PHOTO
Friday Night Dialogues at 7. p.m tomorrow features a program on how to preserve the beauty of the East End

The beauty and uniqueness of the East End is defined in large part by the bays and rivers that surround it. All are part of the Peconic Estuary, which is located between the North and South forks, beginning at the headwaters of the Peconic River and extending to Block Island Sound.

Learning how to help preserve this invaluable resource will be the topic of Friday Night Dialogues at the Library on August 7 at 7 p.m., presented by the Peconic Estuary Program (PEP).

PEP is an alliance of government agencies, environmental groups and businesses, founded in 1993 to protect and restore our waterways. But individuals can get involved, too, and be rewarded for their efforts.

Christie Pfoertner, PEP’s education and outreach staff associate, will talk about “Native Plant and Rain Barrel Reimbursement,” describing how homeowners on Shelter Island can earn up to $500 by installing rain barrels, planting rain gardens or growing native plants on their properties.

The program, open for the first time this year to all residents in the Peconic Bay watershed, not only helps improve the health of the waterways but has significant advantages for the home gardener as well. More than 30 residents on the East End are participating so far this year.

PEP is only one of 20 estuaries in the U.S. designated for its “national significance” by the Environmental Protection Agency. Its mandate to protect the bays covers 125,000 land acres and 158,000 surface water areas. Over 111 rare plants and animals can be found in the Peconic watershed, which led the Nature Conservancy to call the Peconic Estuary one of the “last great places in the Western Hemisphere.”

Find out how you can contribute to the preservation of our waterways and, in particular, participate in PEP’s Homeowners Reward Program, on Friday, August 7 in the Community Room on the library’s lower level.

Coming up: On August 14, local author Amanda Harris will discuss her recent book, “Fruits of Eden: David Fairchild & America’s Plant Hunters,” a story of the explorers who traveled the world in search of fruits and vegetables that would change America’s diet.

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