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Benefits of Organic Landscape Management to Protect Public Health, Safety and Environment

Scarsdale Forum Recommends

Organic Landscape Practices For All Village Properties

Sustainability and Municipal Services Committees

Release Joint Report on Benefits of Organic Landscape Management to Protect Public Health, Safety and Environment

SCARSDALE, NY (10/9/18) -- The Scarsdale Forum Sustainability and Municipal Services Committees have released a joint report recommending that Scarsdale Village discontinue the use of toxic chemicals on all village properties and adopt an official organic landscape management policy. This supports the committees' finding that the use of toxic pesticides in our landscape can lead to significant, harmful health and environmental consequences.

For many years, the Village of Scarsdale has maintained an organic program for most of its properties; the committees recommend that these practices now should be extended to the few remaining locations where toxic chemicals continue to be used. These chemicals may include insecticides, rodenticides, herbicides, fungicides and synthetic fertilizers.

Committee members learned that, since 2009, Scarsdale has, at times, worked with Osborne Organics, which specializes in organic landscape management, to provide customized programs for village properties. While village staff and landscaping contractors largely have implemented these programs, they occasionally have applied certain hazardous chemicals in localized areas. One notable example is the Scarsdale pool complex, where such chemicals are used to treat flowering clover to discourage bees. When using the pool facility, many residents, particularly children, touch grass with bare feet and hands, increasing their exposure to these substances. In their report, committee members endorse a non-toxic method to eradicate clover and suggest organic alternatives to harmful chemicals used elsewhere.

Specifically, the report states that:

  • The use of toxic chemicals at the pool complex and any other village properties should be discontinued; and

  • The elimination of this practice should be codified, along with a requirement to implement organic landscape management practices on all village properties.

According to Municipal Services Committee Chair Madelaine Eppenstein, "Scarsdale is fortunate that, over the years, current and prior park superintendents and staff have understood the importance and effectiveness of organic landscape management. Thanks to them, public properties have thrived. It is now time to codify this practice villagewide to further ensure the health and safety of our residents, pets, wildlife and environment."

The report also recommends that Scarsdale should encourage residents to learn more about organic landscaping practices and promote more sustainable options for residential properties. "The toxic products that many residents and their landscapers apply to their individual properties affect neighbors, local wildlife and local waterways," said Michelle Sterling, co-chair of the Sustainability Committee. "The village should encourage the use of organic landscape management as a benefit to the entire community."

Darlene LeFrancois-Haber, Sustainability Committee co-chair, stated, "Scarsdale has a commendable history of following organic landscape practices for most of its properties; we encourage the village to build on its success by expanding its efforts to include all village parks, recreation fields and green spaces."

A copy of the full report is available here.

Scarsdale Forum

The Scarsdale Forum is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to community education through discussion and analysis of issues relevant to Scarsdale residents. Since 1904, it has contributed meaningfully to Scarsdale Village affairs through its written reports, public speaker events, and committee discussions. Membership is available to all Scarsdale and Mamaroneck Strip residents, regardless of citizenship status.

Media Contacts:

Timothy Foley

Communications Committee Chair

Michelle Sterling

Sustainability Committee Co-Chair

Darlene LeFrancois-Haber

Sustainability Co-Chair

Madelaine Eppenstein

Municipal Services Committee Chair

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