In 2011 CCFE continued its work to educate school children and the community on the importance of protecting Long Island's drinking water. This program uses a three-dimensional interactive aquifer model, created specifically to illustrate Long Island’s unique hydrological system. CCFE uses this 3-d model in presentations and talks throughout classrooms on Long Island. The model illustrates the unique properties and vulnerabilities of Long Island’s groundwater system and how pollution moves through the ground. As part of this program, CCFE staff also educates teachers to increase their understanding of Long Island’s unique groundwater system. Teachers have incorporated lessons from the aquifer model into their curricula for English, Science, and Civic classes. In 2011, CCFE gave presentations in March, April, June, and November, reaching over 4,000 of students and community members.
Davids Island is a 78-acre former Army base located less than 15 miles from Manhattan in Long Island Sound. CCFE has been working for more than a decade to ensure perpetual preservation of the Island. CCFE, along with local environmentalists, has been urging the City of New Rochelle to create a park to protect the already overstressed western Long Island Sound ecosystem and provide much needed open space and waterfront public access to residents across Westchester County. There have been several development proposals in the past, which would have destroyed the natural state of Davids Island and increased harmful pollutants to the Sound.
CCFE has educated residents of Westchester County on the importance of Davids Island and the importance of preserving it as parkland. In July of 2010 the Mayor of New Rochelle convened a task force to devise a conceptual plan for Davids Island. CCFE has actively attended these task force meetings and will continue to attend these meetings as the process moves forward. The City of New Rochelle is currently accepting community, regional, and stakeholder input to determine the vision of the Island’s future. In 2011, CCFE attended Davids Island Task Force meetings on January 12, February 16, March 16, April 13, and September 19.
CCFE released the "B.Y.O.B (Bring Your Own Bag): Reusable Bag Policies at Westchester Grocery Stores" report in June of 2011. CCFE staff analyzed and evaluated reusable bag policies of fourteen Long Island grocery store chains. Grades range from A+ to F. Topping the list were Whole Foods and Stop & Shop, both with an A+, followed Shop Rite, Deciccio’s, Trader Joe’s, and Mrs. Green’s, which earned in the B to B+ range. Stores were graded on sale and promotion of reusable bags, signage within the store and in parking lots to remind consumers to bring bags, monetary incentives, educating employees, and their willingness to engage in consumer education on reusable bags.
CCFE works to reduce the amount of plastic bags entering the environment and being used by consumers. Plastic bags mar the landscape, kill and injure aquatic wildlife, and increase exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment. As many governments across the country and around the world move to address plastic bags, CCFE has put together a plastic bag resource center to give interested citizens a clearinghouse for learning about various actions being taken to reduce plastic bag use. Additionally, CCFE has developed an educational brochure for distribution at public events about the impacts of plastic bags and alternatives.
In 2011, CCFE launched a massive public education project in Westchester County. The campaign targeted both retailers and members of the public. Retailers were educated on reusable bag benefits and helpful store policies such as providing reusable bags, educating employees to ask consumers if they want/need a bag, charging for or eliminating plastic bags in their stores, and posting signs encouraging reusable bag use. Twenty-seven retailers agreed to implement policies that would help consumers "kick the plastic bag habit." CCFE disseminated 500 BYOB educational brochures and had 300 individuals sign pledges that stated they would "kick the plastic bag habit."