Quality Quest News Page
P. O. Box 1174 Grand Island, NY 14072

Acting President William O'Connor
Board Members: Patricia Akinbami, Roger Cook, Jim Tomkins, Tom Burke, and Dorothy Westhafer


Quality Quest - "Project Wild"
   Quality Quest has scheduled a meeting 9 a.m. Saturday, April 7 at Riverside Salem Church, 3449 West River Road. The Quality Quest board will introduce a new project, "Project Wild," consisting of an award winning, free three-hour educational workshop sponsored by the NYS DEC. The goal of the program is to help environmental facilitators prepare students from kindergarten through 12th grade to develop problem-solving skills in exploring responsible human actions toward wildlife and the environment. Training will be done primarily outdoors, weather permitting. Participants will receive user friendly activity guides for all subjects covered. The program stresses teaching students how to think, not what to thing about wildlife and the environment by evaluating choices and consequences. Reservations are required in advance by contact Jim Tomkins, 773-5258. Those attending are requested to bring a bag lunch. Beverages will be provided.



Quality Quest pledges $500 to Wilson Farms opponents


Joan Kilmer (left) and Quality Quest President Bill O'Connor (2nd from right) are shown with guest speakers Dana Bobincheck and Albert Festaiuti.
       Barbi Lare photo

By William O'Connor
   
The Quality Quest Coalition of Grand Island voted unanimously to set aside up to $500.00 of its treasury to support the Citizens Group Against Wilson Farms/Gas Station (at the corner of Ransom and Stony Point roads) equal to no more than 1/2 of their costs for legal expenses and/or public relations efforts including advertising, printing costs, postage, etc. Thirty-five people attended the Thursday, February 22 meeting in the Nike Base Recreation Center.
   The citizens group was represented by Joan Arki of Ransom Road and Jennifer Dzielski of Stony Point Road. "Numbers do count," said Arki, as she urged the audience to attend the March 5 Town Board Meeting and voice concerns about the proposal. The citizens group produced a flier urging the town to consider the project more thoroughly due to concerns about pedestrian and traffic safety; potential environmental damage from petroleum spills and runoff; and the project's incompatibility with the town's Master Plan.
   Albert Festaiuti, President of Organic Lawn & Garden Supply Company and Dana Bobincheck, Erie Chapter Director of the New York League of Conservation Voters also met with those in attendance to discuss coordinating efforts to phase out or "Sunset" the use of toxic pesticides on town property.
   Locally sunset ordinances have passed in Buffalo and West Seneca and will likely soon be passed in Lancaster and Amherst. Bobincheck explained that chemical pesticides are rated in levels of danger from 1-4 (one being most toxic). Sunset ordinances are structured to phase the number ones first. She advised the audience to rid their homes of all their number ones on a hazardous waste drop-off day.
   Festaiuti outlined his efforts to persuade the town to use organic solutions to its landscaping needs and his educational efforts in Western New York.
   Robert Funk of Funk Lawn Care commented that due to state and Federal regulations, pesticide applicators are not allowed to use home remedies, even when they may be the safest, most effective method. He criticized municipal workers for their lack of training compared to certified applicators in his business.
   An audience member noted that New York City workers who sprayed pesticides to kill mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus have sued the city, because they were not properly trained to do so. According to the National Audobon Society and other organizations, spraying may have been more harmful than the virus.
   Bobincheck also spoke and left literature about the County Pesticide Neighbor Notification Law, enacted in Albany on August 21, 2000 and requiring schools and day care centers to provide notification before and after certain pesticides are applied. The law, which allows for a civil penalty of up to $10,000 for commercial violators and up to $250 for residential offenders for second and third violations respectively, has not been adopted by Erie County.
   Everyone at the meeting agreed that education is the key to solving pest problems the safest way. Festaiuti will be offering a course in organic gardening for the home owner this spring. For more information call 626-3286.
   "Quality Quest is committed to preservation of the quality and rural character of Island life by protecting our natural resources through controlled and responsible growth." For more information contact William O'Connor, 773-7621 or mail Quality Quest, P.O. Box 1174, Grand Island, NY 14072.



Quality Quest Meeting

   Organic Gardening and Wilson Farms will be the topic of the 7 p.m. Thursday, February 22, 2001 Quality Quest meeting being held at the Grand Island Nike Base Recreation Center, 3278 Whitehaven Road. Early last fall, representatives of the Erie Chapter of the New York League of Conservation Voters expressed a desire to meet with Quality Quest and discuss their efforts to phase out, or "sunset" the use of toxic pesticides on Grand Island town properties (including children's sports fields). Pesticide sunset laws have been adopted locally in Buffalo and West Seneca, and in other locations around the world.
   Quality Quest will present two guest speakers. Albert Festaiuti is president of Organic Lawn and Garden Supply Co. and A&B Landscape Service. Festaiuti is also a member of the Buffalo Pest Management Board and President of the WNY Society of Organic Horticulture. Dana Bobinchek is an Erie Chapter Director for the New York League of Conservation Voters. Both speakers have been in touch with the Town of Grand Island in an effort to reduce its use of toxic chemicals. Participants will learn gardening tips, and what they can do to reduce health risks and environmental damage associated with pesticides.
   Local residents have many concerns about the proposed Wilson Farms at the north-east corner of Ransom and Stony Point roads. At recent town meetings they have expressed concerns about pollution, traffic safety, the lack of sidewalks, the project's effect on property values, and its conflict with the "hamlet" concept of the Master Plan. Quality Quest will discuss monetary support to assist area residents in their efforts to have their concerns addressed.



Quality Quest Plans Winter Ski/hike

A winter ski or hike in the Sidway School woods is being planned by members of Quality Quest. Participants of all levels are invited to meet at 9 a.m. Saturday, February 17 in the school parking lot, 2451 Baseline Road. Beverages will be provided and skiers/hikers are asked to bring a snack to share. For more information contact Jim Tomkins, 773-5268.


Connections Grants Awarded

Winners of the Grand Island Connections Grants were announced at the December 5th Crime Prevention Meeting (see last week's crime prevention story). Five thousand dollars in grant money for the Connections Program was applied for by Connections Administrator Tom Deloughry. It was provided earlier this year from the Erie County Legislature.
The funds are being disbursed in a $100-$300 mini-grant program for organizations that make collaborative efforts with each other to benefit Grand Island's youth. Connections Programs give youth a "positive outlet" for their energy and keep them out of trouble according to Connections Member Lee Tetkowski.
Awards were presented as follows:
Youth Helping Seniors

Love Road Friends 4H group: Nancy Fusco
Troop #630 Boy Scouts of St. Stephen's Church: John Fusco
Objectives: to enhance social competencies to make positive choices and build relationships; and a positive identify through a strong sense of their own power Conduct two programs at the Riverview Nursing Home: holiday cookies and an activities quilt for Alzheimersí patients
$300 (Check payable to John and Nancy Fusco for materials for cookies and quilt materials)
Passive Nature Park

Riverside Salem UCC: Roger Cook
St. Stephens Youth Group: Mike Heftka
Youth Court: Dennis Alpert
Objective: To conduct a "hands on community service project to develop 3.7 acres of Town Property adjacent to the Riverside Salem United Church of Christ property on West River Road into a "passive" nature park. Plan and construct a park with trails, benches, plantings, signage, birdhouses, etc that is compatible with maintaining the ecosystem. $300 toward materials such as wood to edge the trails and construct benches and purchase plants
Puppetry Workshop
: High School PTSA: President Barbara Sobol; Grand Island Art Society: President Marcia Phfohl. Objectives: to enrich the creative potential of interested high school students by providing quality experience in the art of puppetry from a professional art specialist. Two workshops to be held in January for 15 high school students
$300 (Check payable to High School PTSA for materials and fee of Pamela Moran, workshop leader)
Snowmobile Safety and Activities:
Grand Island Snowmobile Association: John Ventry. Ways and Means Committee Chair.
GIFTS Program: Health Maras; Grand Island Youth Court: Dennis Alpert; St. Stephen's Youth Group: Joanne Stiller. Objectives: Teach youth boundaries, knowing what is expected of them and encouraging positive values to guide choices. Will conduct a snomobile saftey course, impove trail system and conduct a winter family weekend with a bonfire picnic. $300 toward advertising for safety course, materials for bridges and signs; and refreshments for family winter weekend
Town Commons Beautification

Trinity Youth Group: Jim Linenfelser; East Park Garden Club; Town of Grand Island. East Park Garden Club will donate two tree with a value of $200. Legislator Swanick has donated 1,000 flower bulbs with a value of $200. Town of Grand Island will provide 28 evergreens with a value of $20. Receives $500
Butterfly Gardens

Quality Quest: Nancy Barnes; St. Stephen's Youth Group: Mike Hefka; Quality Quest Coalition: Nancy Barnes. Objective: Involve people from each of these organizations in planning and developing a Butterfly Garden within the Passive Nature Park, being planned for 3.7 acres of town property and a small portion of adjacent Riverside-Salem UCC property.
Nancy Barnes, a trained workshop leader, will provide instruction to the youth participants on butterfly habitats, identification and their importance to the ecosystem. They youth will plan and plant the garden. Concepts such as "stewardship" taught in religion classes will take on deeper meaning through this project. Receives $300 will be used to purchase topsoil and plants to attract butterflies (Check payable to Quality Quest)
Youth Volunteer

GIVE: Grand Island Volunteers: Kali Mordant; Grand Island Schools: Dr. Paul Fields. Objectives: Plan and conduct three volunteer events focusing on building youth assets through volunteerism. Receives $300 to be kept in trust by the Grand Island Foundation and released as needed to fund the projects.

Quality Quest meets Audubon

(Barbi Lare photo)


By William O'Connor

The Quality Quest Coalition (QQ), Grand Island's environmental organization, met with WNY Audubon Society President Tony Wagner Thursday, November 30, at Eco Island to discuss the possibility of having a nature center on Grand Island. The National Audubon Society is one of the largest environmental groups with a half million nationwide and more than "3700 member households" in Western New York. The local chapter recently spent $650,000 to improve its Beaver Meadows facility in Java. The Society isparticipating in the national organizations "20-20" program to put a nature center within 20 minutes of every major city by the year 2020 according to Wagner.
The NYS Parks plan to revitalize and protect the "emergent wetland" on the eastern shore of Beaver Island State Park which includes a 2,000 square foot building, ideally located (less than 20 minutes drive from Buffalo or Niagara Falls) for another Audubon nature center.
Grand Island has many resources that could make the center a success: Beaver Island and Buckhorn State Parks, Strawberry and Motor Boat Island, Eco-Island, QQ, and a population "that's above average in environmental awareness" according to Wagner who once lived on Grand Island.
"There's a war going on, a war we're losing. It will determine how our grandchildren live. It's a war to save our environment." The so called "victories" in recent years like stopping the golf course in Joseph Davis State Park or preventing commercial logging in Allegany State Park, only preserved the status quo. "The Buckhorn Marsh Project only took things back to what it was like 30 years ago."
Environmentalists are fighting a costly and difficult "rear-guard action...(to) buy more time."
"The role of environmental education is critical" if any progress is to be made. "The answer lies in nature centers" and teaching young people to "make problems not occur." People must be taught "two levels of information: scientific awareness - including biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and ecology; and appreciation of the natural world - learning the beauty and aesthetics of nature through literature, art, and music. With that type of education, citizens can make educated decisions of how to "buy, vote, and live," according to Wagner.
He went on to say that he has led trips with inner-city kids who were "afraid to step out of mowed lawns into knee-high meadows,... kids who don't know what a robin is, who have never seen a red-winged blackbird." He invited the audience to "create that spark, make a mark... and make more than a mark.... Bricks and mortar is not our goal." For a nature center to happen on Grand Island people have to "get serious about programs...(and) need to get excited about local involvement." Wagner then gave several examples of Audubon's programs that "create that spark" like the June "Allegany Pilgrimage" which draws more than "700 of the nicest people you'll ever meet in your life", weekly tours through the Iroquois refuge, and a $500 environmental scholarship for high school students.
Wagner, QQ members, and the audience then spoke about ecological programs on Grand Island. NYS Park Naturalists Carol Rogers and Tim Simon talked about the Nature Center presently in Beaver Island and park tours. School teacher and Eco-Island administrator Dianne Tiede spoke about Eco-Island's contribution to the education of Grand Island's children. QQ member Tom Burke mentioned the Kaegebein Elementary School Environmental Club. QQ President Judy Seebauer spoke about their hiking, cross country skiing, and canoeing events and meetings. The effect of the meeting was to discuss and coordinate the efforts of these organizations.




Quality Quest meets Audubon

(Barbi Lare photo)


By William O'Connor

The Quality Quest Coalition (QQ), Grand Island's environmental organization, met with WNY Audubon Society President Tony Wagner Thursday, November 30, at Eco Island to discuss the possibility of having a nature center on Grand Island. The National Audubon Society is one of the largest environmental groups with a half million nationwide and more than "3700 member households" in Western New York. The local chapter recently spent $650,000 to improve its Beaver Meadows facility in Java. The Society isparticipating in the national organizations "20-20" program to put a nature center within 20 minutes of every major city by the year 2020 according to Wagner.
The NYS Parks plan to revitalize and protect the "emergent wetland" on the eastern shore of Beaver Island State Park which includes a 2,000 square foot building, ideally located (less than 20 minutes drive from Buffalo or Niagara Falls) for another Audubon nature center.
Grand Island has many resources that could make the center a success: Beaver Island and Buckhorn State Parks, Strawberry and Motor Boat Island, Eco-Island, QQ, and a population "that's above average in environmental awareness" according to Wagner who once lived on Grand Island.
"There's a war going on, a war we're losing. It will determine how our grandchildren live. It's a war to save our environment." The so called "victories" in recent years like stopping the golf course in Joseph Davis State Park or preventing commercial logging in Allegany State Park, only preserved the status quo. "The Buckhorn Marsh Project only took things back to what it was like 30 years ago."
Environmentalists are fighting a costly and difficult "rear-guard action...(to) buy more time."
"The role of environmental education is critical" if any progress is to be made. "The answer lies in nature centers" and teaching young people to "make problems not occur." People must be taught "two levels of information: scientific awareness - including biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and ecology; and appreciation of the natural world - learning the beauty and aesthetics of nature through literature, art, and music. With that type of education, citizens can make educated decisions of how to "buy, vote, and live," according to Wagner.
He went on to say that he has led trips with inner-city kids who were "afraid to step out of mowed lawns into knee-high meadows,... kids who don't know what a robin is, who have never seen a red-winged blackbird." He invited the audience to "create that spark, make a mark... and make more than a mark.... Bricks and mortar is not our goal." For a nature center to happen on Grand Island people have to "get serious about programs...(and) need to get excited about local involvement." Wagner then gave several examples of Audubon's programs that "create that spark" like the June "Allegany Pilgrimage" which draws more than "700 of the nicest people you'll ever meet in your life", weekly tours through the Iroquois refuge, and a $500 environmental scholarship for high school students.
Wagner, QQ members, and the audience then spoke about ecological programs on Grand Island. NYS Park Naturalists Carol Rogers and Tim Simon talked about the Nature Center presently in Beaver Island and park tours. School teacher and Eco-Island administrator Dianne Tiede spoke about Eco-Island's contribution to the education of Grand Island's children. QQ member Tom Burke mentioned the Kaegebein Elementary School Environmental Club. QQ President Judy Seebauer spoke about their hiking, cross country skiing, and canoeing events and meetings. The effect of the meeting was to discuss and coordinate the efforts of these organizations.


If you are a member of this organization, we need your help. GIECOM.Net has partnered with the Connections program to help Grand Island as a community "Get it Together." Please visit our website G-I-Together.ORG and fill out our SURVEY. Every group on Grand Island will have its own FREE web page showing: meeting times and location, contact persons, your Mission Statement and a listing of events. We will also be linking your news events that appear in the local media and on IsledeGrande.Com, Grand Island's E-News Source, to your page, maintaining an archived journal of pictures and news. This is the perfect opportunity for your group to connect with potential new members and the community.



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