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

Official Website

Quality Quest News Page 2005

Quality Quest To Host Senior Citizen Backpacker - 2005
   Quality Quest Coalition will host guest speaker Ellen Gibson who will tell of her "senior citizen" backpacking on the Appalachian trail over six seasons, from Georgia to the edge of Maine, at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 31, 2005 at the Nike Base, 3278 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island. She has slides: sunsets, flowers, birds, bear, moose, storms, etc. Ellen Gibson is the retired UB law library director and is active in the Adirondack Mountain Club. The public is invited.

Quality Quest To Host Speaker On Waterfront Center - 2004
   Quality Quest Coalition will host guest speaker Gordon Fraser, director of the SUCB Great Lakes Lab, at a meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, November 18 at Eco Island on Staley Road west. His presentation is in regard to a new Waterfront Center under the auspices of SUCB - to include a research and a boat building facility plus a K-12 environmental education pavilion. (Please note change of venue from Nike Base)
To read more about the speaker, click
Gordon Fraser.

Annual Beach Sweep September 18, 2004
   Quality Quest and Riverside Salem United Church of Christ will sponsor the Grand Island portion of the 18th Annual Great Lakes Beach Sweep/International Coastal Cleanup, the world's largest volunteer environmental effort. Last year, volunteers removed 7.55 million pounds of trash from waterways around the world.
   The event will take place Saturday, September 18, 2004 at the Riverside Salem U.C.C., 3449 West River Road, Grand Island. All interested participants should arrive at 9:30 a.m. The event will start at 10 a.m. and end at noon. Participants are asked to dress appropriately and wear sturdy gloves.
   In the past, scores of volunteers have picked up thousands of pounds of trash along the shores of Grand Island. Organizers hope that many volunteers will come out and help in this worthy cause.
   "This year, organizers hope to enlist the support of more youth and water-oriented groups," a QQ member said this week. Scouting, school, church, service, athletic, boating, and scuba-diving organizations are encouraged to participate. Those interested are asked to call William O'Connor at 773-7621 or Sharen Trembath at 549-4330.
   Last year, local corporate sponsors included John's Pizza and Subs, Tops Markets, and Modern Disposal. Continued support from community minded local sponsors is most appreciated.
   Participants will work in groups of two to four people. One person in each group will record each piece of debris found. The recorder is a necessary part of the sweep, but great physical fitness (the ability to climb, bend, and pick up) on their part is not required. Everyone is welcome.

QQ Presents Program On Environmental Crime - 2004
   Michael Phelps, an Environmental Conservation Police Office with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, will present a program on environmental crime at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 29, 2004 at Eco Island on Staley Road near West River, Grand Island. The program is sponsored by Quality Quest Coalition, a Grand Island environmental group, and is free and open to the public. A question-and-answer period will follow the presentation. among the topics to be covered are dumping, illegal hunting, open burning, and building on wetlands. Refreshments will be served.

Quality Quest Coalition Offers Spring Wildflower Slide Show - March 2004
   Island photographer Linc Nutting will show slides of Grand Island's spring wildflowers at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 25, 2004 when the Quality Quest Coalition meets at the Nike Base recreation center, 3278 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island. "Soon the coltsfoot will be in bloom, followed by trillium, adders' tongue, toothwort, Dutchmen's breeches, etc.," a spokesman for the group said this week. "The public is welcome," she said.

Town Engineer To Speak On Respect For Town's Waterways - January 2004
   John Whitney, Town of Grand Island engineer, will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, January 29, 2004 in the Nike Base Community Center, 3278 Whitehaven Road concerning how residents can slow and filter stormwater runoff so lawn pesticides, pet leavings etc. don't enter the town's streams. The public information night is being sponsored by Quality Quest.

Quality Quest Sponsors Land Protection Speaker - October 2003
   Amy Holt, land protection manager for the Western NY Land Conservancy, will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 23, 2003 at the Nike Base, 3278 Whitehaven Rd. Her topic is: "How Land Owners Can Protect Their Land With A Conservation Easement" - some tax abatement is possible if criteria are met. The speaker is being sponsored by Quality Quest and the public is invited.

Quality Quest Presents Spin-a-Story Storytellers - 2003
   The Quality Quest Coalition will sponsor Spin-a-Story Storytellers Diane Evans and Reba Gruen who will take you on an environmental journey at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 2, 2003 in the Nike Base Community Center. Families are welcome.

Annual Beach Sweep September 20, 2003
   Quality Quest and Riverside Salem United Church of Christ will sponsor the Grand Island portion of the Great Lakes Beach Sweep/International Coastal Cleanup, the world's largest volunteer environmental effort.
   The event is set for Saturday, September 20, 2003 at the Riverside Salem U.C.C., 3449 West River Road. All interested participants, dressed appropriately and wearing sturdy gloves, should arrive at 9:30 a.m. The event will start at 10 a.m. and end at noon.
   In the past, scores of volunteers have picked up thousands of pounds of trash along the shores of Grand Island. Organizers hope that many volunteers will come out and help in this worthy cause.
   "This year, organizers hope to enlist the support of more youth and water-oriented groups," QQ member William O'Connor said this week. "Scouting, school, church, service, athletic, boating, and scuba-diving organizations are encouraged to participate," he said. Those interested are asked to call O'Connor at 773-7621 or Sharen Trembath at 549-4330.

Quality Quest To Hold 4th Annual Paddle Powered Flotilla - 2003

    The Quality Quest Coalition of Grand Island invites everyone to take part in its annual paddle-powered tour around Motor Boat Island at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 14, 2003. Spokesman Bill O'Connor urges community members to, "Take your kayak, canoe, or rowboat out of the garage and bring it to the Blue Water Marina in Ferry Village." If you do not have a human-powered craft but would like to participate, call 773-7621, and Quality Quest will make every effort to get you a ride. This trip provides participants with an opportunity to enjoy one of the Niagara River's most amazing natural areas.

Beautiful Day For Bird Watch 2003

Barbi Lare Photo

Members of Quality Quest went on a Bird Watching walk at 8 a.m. Saturday morning, May 17, 2003. Buckhorn Nature Preserve was the site and Islander Tom Burke led the small group through the park, pointing out the many birds to be seen. He was ably assisted by knowleable Bill Burch and Bill O'Connor. The weather was just right for bird watching and many of the winged beauties were spotted.

Bird Hike - 2003

   Quality Quest Coalition will sponsor a bird hike led by Tom Burke at 8 a.m. May 17, 2003. The orioles have returned and may be viewed along with other birds through Tom's spotting scope. Those interested in the hike are asked to meet at the parking lot, Woods Creek, Buckhorn Park.

Quality Quest Awards Night Huge Success - 2003

Awardees front left are Charles M. Swanick, Mary Beth Bush, Liz Lutnick, Linda VanDenbergh, Dee Kohn and Karen Rider; (top) Paul Leuchner, Ken Kohn and Dave VanDenbergh.

(left) Dennis Upton, Tom DeLoughry, Kathy Pollard, Kathy DeLoughry and Tom Pollard provided musical entertainment with an environmental theme.
Barbi Lare Photo - Click photo for a larger view
   The Quality Quest Coalition is to be commended on its 10th annual Environmental Stewardship Awards program held Thursday, May 8, 2003 in Trinity Church. Honorees were recognized for their endless pursuit to educate and encourage residents to come forward and become a part of the public rejection of an international bridge site on or near Grand Island or Tonawanda. They are Charles M. Swanick, Mary Beth Bush, Liz Lutnick and Paul Leuchner and Toss Team Members Linda and Dave VanDenbergh, Ken and Dee Kohn and Karen Rider.
   Special recognition and an award were given to Isle resident Paul Leuchner for his tireless efforts in helping to keep this area environmentally sound for us all. Paul will retire from the Corp of Engineers in the near future.

Quality Quest 10th Annual Award Ceremony - 2003

   Quality Quest Coalition members will hold their 10th annual Environmental Stewardship Awards event at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 8, 2003 in Trinity Church, 2100 Whitehaven Road. The gathering will celebrate two communities' public rejection of an international bridge site on or near Grand Island or Tonawanda. The honorees were chosen for their contributions to this effort.
   At a large public hearing held at the WNED studio in Buffalo on December 7, 2002, Charles Swanick eloquently detailed the reasons why a new international bridge should be sited in Buffalo (near the present Peace Bridge or old railroad) and not in Tonawanda or Grand Island. He energized, advised, and supported the residents of both towns in their opposition to international bridge sitings which would adversely affect their communities.
   Grand Island neighbors Mary Beth Bush and Liz Lutnick recognized how detrimental the siting of an international bridge on or near the southern part of Grand Island (the Tonawanda span called the SGI-- South Grand Island --crossing) would be. They were instrumental in mobilizing Grand Island residents to attend the hearing at WNED. The result was an overwhelming vote against that alternative.
   TOSS (Tonawanda Opposed to the Sheridan Span) organized in record time the best attended (Tonawanda) Town Board meeting in a decade. They rallied on March 19, 2003 at the site of the proposed span, and on March 24 the Town Board voted 4-2 against the bridge landing in their community. That landing would have taken out their local park and waterfront amenities, and impacted neighborhoods and local business.
   Click for complete stories:
  • Chuck Swanick
  • Mary Beth Bush
  • Liz Lutnick
  • TOSS

    Plant Exchange And Sale May 18th - 2003

       Members of Quality Quest Coalition and Riverside-Salem UCC are pleased to announce their Plant Exchange and Sale on Sunday, May 18th, from 4-6 p.m. at 3449 West River Road (between Whitehaven & Bedell). Participants are asked to bring their plants by 3:30 p.m. or as early as possible. "We encourage potting your plants as soon as possible to allow them time to adjust before the 18th," a Plant Exchange spokeswoman said this week. "Pots are available between the cottage and the shed at the site at any time. Please label your pots/plants with the name of the plant and any instructions for planting," she said. Refreshments will be served. Call Dorothy Westhafer, 773-1720, for information.    Kathy Rice of Porter Farms CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)will be available at the Plant Exchange and Sale to discuss how people may participate in Porter Farms organic agriculture project. Last year 15 Grand Island families were part of Porter Farms CSA. For more information on CSA, call June Licence, 773-1426, or email

    Quality Quest Helps Beautify Vets Park

    Barbi Lare Photo - Click photo for a larger view
    (left) Councilmen Dan Robillard and Kevin Rustowicz, Supervisor McMahon, Chair of Parks and Recreation Paul Belter, Quality Quest Chair Dorothy Westhaffer, Councilmen Dick Crawford and Mary Cooke.
       Dorothy Westhaffer, chairman of Quality Quest, presented a check to the town board Monday, April 21, 2003 to be applied to the enhancement of amenities at Veterans Park on Bedell Road. Paul Belter, chairman of the Parks and Recreation Advisory was on hand for the presentation.

    Quality Quest Meeting - March 27, 2003

       A Quality Quest Coalition meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 27, 2003 at the Nike Base, 3278 Whitehaven Road. Members of Quality Quest will present "Butterflies: Behavior, Plants They Like and How To "Shoot" Them."
       Presenters are horticulturist Marti Schrichte (host & nectar plantings), Anita Wierzba (behavior, watching for butterflies), nature photographer David Muller (showing slides, photographs, giving tips and "shooting" them).

    Quality Quest Meeting
    Quality Quest will meet 7 p.m. January 23, 2003 at the Nike Base, 3278 Whitehaven Road. Joseph DeMare of Alt Subscription Services, Alden will discuss alternative energy sources. Jim Tomkins to discuss solar/wind plans for his home. The community is invited. Call 773-1720 for further information.

    Quality Quest officers for 2001-2002 are from left: Thomas Deloughry (Connections), Roger Cook (Phone Committee), Member at Large Joan Kilmer, Member at Large Curtis Nestark, Treasurer Patricia Akinbami, President William O'Connor, Recording Secretary Dorothy Westhafer, Vice President James Tomkins, Program Chair Judy Seebauer. Not shown is Member at Large Meg Pietras. (Barbi Lare photo)

    Tonawanda Citizens Join GI Quality Quest To Combat Bridge

       The Citizens for a Green Tonawanda (CGNT) have joined forces with Quality Quest to combat the ill conceived notion of putting bridges on Grand Island or in the environmentally sensitive areas south of Grand Island. Their website contains a great deal of information so I would recommend that you consider establishing a link to their site. Here is their address:
    Citizens for a Green Tonawanda

    Beach Sweep 2002

    (left) Youngsters of all ages, including these two boys, had a good time helping out. (right) Curt Nestark, in a serious effort to clean up the shoreline, hauled a boat load of debris.

    Click the group photo for a larger view
    Barbi Lare photos
       The National Beach Sweep, carried on here on Saturday, September 21, 2002 on the shoreline of Grand Island, attracted folks of all ages. Forty or more showed up at Riverside Salem United Church on West River, received assigned areas to "sweep" and went on their ways to help clean up our waterways. Junior and Cadet Girl Scout Troops 1496 and 1497 from Clarence joined the local folks concerned with clean waterways.
       Quality Quest members manned the tables of registration and organized the event. Tops Market provided cider and Great Harvest Bread provided several loaves of specialty breads. John's Pizza delivered several pizzas of all kinds for the hungry sweepers. Modern Disposal provided a dumpster for the collection. The largest number of items found were all sorts of plastic and Styrofoam pieces. A 40 gallon drum, a chair and part of a kitchen sink were also picked up. Curt Nestark came by canoe and helped with the real close to water items.

    Quality Quest Addresses Concerns at September 2002 Meeting

    Shown are September 19, 2002 speakers Allison Dinsmore, Councilman Kevin Rustowicz and Joan Arki.
    Barbi Lare Photo
       Quality Quest held its first meeting of the season Thursday, September 19 at the Island Presbyterian Church on Huth Road. A good turnout included many residents of the Whitetail Run neighborhood who voiced their concerns on a proposed trail construction near their area.
       Some of those concerns were addressed when QQ member Joan Arki related some of the actions taken when she and members of the Concerned Citizens of Grand Island were dealing with the Tops proposal for Ransom and Stony Point roads.
       The featured speaker for the evening was Councilman Kevin Rustowicz who addressed bike/walking/jogging paths current and proposed for Grand Island. He described the proposed connection with such paths from Lewiston, Niagara Falls, and downtown Buffalo. Rustowicz also spoke on the benefits of a proposed bike path along West River Road. Another concerned area will address access to the North Bridge connecting Linear Path, along East/West River Roads and other paths on the Island.
       The third speaker was Allison Dinsmore, who worked with youth this summer through the Connections Program. Alison, who focused on educating the young people about the environment, presented photos from the Trees and Creatures program.
       Attendees at the meeting were encouraged to participate in the recent National Beach Sweep and a tour through the Scenic Woods area scheduled for October. Reservations are necessary and may be made with Quality Quest President Dorothy Westhafer, 773-1720.

    Annual Beach Sweep Is Saturday
       The annual Great Lakes Beach Sweep takes place on the Island on Saturday, September 21, 2002 with volunteers meeting at 9:30 a.m. at the Riverside Salem U.C.C., 3449 West River Road. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to noon and is sponsored by Quality Quest and Riverside Salem United Church of Christ. For more information call Sharen Trembath, 549-4330 or Bill O'Connor, 773-7621.

    Quality Quest Presents Island Report
       An "Island Report" will be given at the first fall meeting of Quality Quest at 7 p.m., Thursday, September 19, 2002 in Island Presbytrian Church, 1822 Huth Rd. Councilman Kevin Rustowicz will detail the Grand Island Bike Trail Connect project. A report on the draft zoning code, now it in its final preparation stage, will be given. The Concerned Citizens group including Joan Arki and others, will discuss the status of the Stony Point-Ransom Road corner. All Grand Island residents are invited to attend.
       Quality Quest announces that a hike through Scenic Woods will be held on October 12, 2002 and led by Gary McDannell of the Army Corps of Engineers, who delineated the wetlands on this 206 acre property.

    Grand Island Quality Quest Coalition Honors Citizens

    Concerned Citizens of Grand Island members (left) Joan Arki, Jennifer Dzielski, Cliff Smith, Kim Tetreault and Eileen Cobello.

    Gary E. McDannell

       Members of the Quality Quest Coalition will hold their annual Environmental Stewardship Awards event 7 p.m. Thursday, May 2, 2002 at Trinity United Methodist Church, 2100 Whitehaven Road. Quality Quest honors members of the community for their efforts to protect Grand Island's environment and it quality of life. This year's awardees are the Concerned Citizens of Grand Island, and Gary E. McDannell, a senior biologist with the Army Corps of Engineers. The public is invited to attend.

    Concerned Citizens of Grand Island

       The Concerned Citizens of Grand Island is a group of neighbors who came together in reaction to a proposed commercial development in their neighborhood. They were concerned that the project was being rushed without proper consideration for environmental, traffic and pedestrian safety, and property value concerns.
       During the past 18 months the group garnered over 1000 signatures on their petition against the project as it was originally presented. The project will now remain on hold until the developer resubmits an environmental study for the Town's review.

    Gary E. McDannell

       Gary E. McDannell has worked fo the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer since 1986, and currently serves as a senior biologist and team leader in the Regulatory Branch. He is responsible for all permits for maintenance tasks, including dredging on the barge canal between Albany and Buffalo. He also coordinates Federal permits for state remediation of hazardous waste sites.
       Among the awards received by McDannells are Commander's Awards for outstanding work on a variety of projects, such as the wetland enhancement and restoration work at Buckhorn State Park on Grand Island, the preservation of Strawberry Island, and other major projects in Western New York. He received the Hammer Award from then Vice President Al Gore, and is a highly decorated Viet Nam veteran.
       McDannell graduated Magna Cum Laude with Bachelor of Arts degrees in biology and conservation geography from the State Univerity College at Buffalo, later specializing in fisheries biology. As a specialist at the Great Lakes Laboratory, he developed a contour map of the river bottom from the NY Power Authority's water intakes on the upper Niagara River to the brink of the rapids. He also researched topics vital to the welfare of sport fisheries in the eastern basin of Lake Erie.
       During his tenure at the Army Corps of Engineers, McDannell has distinguished himself as a valued team member both within the Corps, and working with other government and civic agencies, to benefit the environment of Western New York.

    Quality Quest Annual Flotilla to Strawberry Island
       Quality Quest members will hold their annual Flotilla to Strawberry Island on Saturday, May 18, 2002 (Rain date, June 8). The annual paddle-powered tour around Strawberry provides participants with an opportunity to enjoy one of the Niagara River's most amazing natural areas. For further information, call William O'Connor, 773-7621.

    Quality Quest Announces Stewardship Awards Presentation
       Members of Quality Quest will present their annual Stewardship Awards to deserving members of the community on Thursday, May 2, 2002 at a place and time to be announced. Quality Quest will recognize members of the community for their efforts to preserve and protect Grand Islandís environment.

    Quality Quest Hosts Master Gardener
    Quality Quest will host television personality, author and Master Gardener Sally Cunningham 7 p.m., Thursday, April 11, 2002 at Eco Island on Staley Road (west). "Learn organic gardening secrets from one of the best gardeners and communicators in WNY," QQ President William O'Connor said this week. Ms. Cunningham is the author of Great Garden Companions: A Complete Planting System for Beautiful Chemical Free Gardening. Call 773-7621 for further information.

    Wetland Assets Is Focus of Quality Quest Meeting
    Quality Quest will hold a meeting, open to the public at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 14, 2002 at the Nike Base Recreation Center. Two expert guest speakers will talk about the beauty of the natural world around us. Wetlands provide habitat and spawning grounds for thousands of species of plants and animals. Cavity nesting birds like the bluebird and wood duck are some of the most beautiful and interesting bird species to be found in this area. This event is suited to everyone, especially young people and children. Refreshments will follow.

    Zoning Issues - Laws and Enforcement
    Quality Quest will hold a meeting, open to the public at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 28, 2002 at the Nike Base Recreation Center. The focus will be on zoning laws and their enforcement and how they affect property values, quality of life, and green space. "For the past several years, Grand Island has been working to revise the zoning map and code to make it conform to the Comprehensive Master Plan. The new map and code are nearly complete," said a spokesman for Quality Quest this week. Town officials have been invited to speak with the public about what the new documents mean to the residents of Grand Island. Refreshments will follow.

    Cross Country at Beaver Island
    Quality Quest will sponsor a Beaver Island Cross Country Ski or Hike 10 a.m. January 12, 2002 when participants will meet in the golf course parking lot in Beaver Island. Call William O'Connor, 773-7621, for further information.

    "Learning From Our Youth"
    Quality Quest will present "Learning From Our Youth" at the Nike Base Recreation Center, 3278 Whitehaven Road, 7 p.m. Thursday, November 15 2001. Call William O'Connor, 773-7621, for further information.

    New Overlook - Overlook Hike
       Quality Quest has planned a 9 a.m. hike on Saturday, November 17, 2001 to explore the NYS Parks Dept's new overlook on the north end of the West River Parkway. The overlook provides an excellent view of Navy Island and easy access to the wetland habitats on the west side of Buckhorn Park. Participants in the hike must use the West River Parkway to access the overlook. For more information, call Jim Tompkins, 773-5268 or Bill O'Connor, 773-7621.

    Quality Quest Hosts Paddles

    William O'Connor photo
    Scroll down for larger view
       Quality Quest of Grand Island is hosting two separate paddles on Saturday, October 6, 2001, one exploring the Buckhorn Marsh and the other on the Niagara River. For a relaxing morning paddle through Buckhorn Park, participants should meet at the Woods Creek parking lot at 9 a.m. Those who would like to participate in the event but do not have a canoe or kayak are asked to contact Jim Tomkins, 773-5268.
       For the more adventurous, "Roger's Big Paddle" is a trip around the entire Island. This trip, beginning at 7 a.m. will likely last all day. It is recommended only for those who feel that they are physically prepared for a big, difficult adventure. Those interested in this type of voyage are requested to call Roger Cook, 773- 1426.
       If either contact is not available, call Quality Quest President William O'Connor, 773-7621.

    Quality Quest Meeting
       A one-hour update of Quality Quest's ongoing and recent projects will take place 7 p.m. Thursday, September 27 at the Grand Island Memorial Library, 1715 Bedell Rd. The second half of the meeting will feature Associate Real Estate Broker Michael P. McDonough presenting the results of a study by a commission appointed by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. The Who Does What commission issued a report "detailing how $48,000,000 tax dollars could be saved," according to McDonough.

    Beach Sweep Results

    Beach Sweep participants stand next to the trash they cleaned off Grand Island shores. Click photo for a larger view
    By William O'Connor
       Quality Quest Coalition of Grand Island was most appreciation of the forty-five volunteers who donated their efforts to clean Grand Island's shores during the Great Lakes Beach Sweep portion of the International Coastal Cleanup. Town Board Members Michael Heftka and Mary Cooke aided in the effort as did candidates Daniel Robillard and Timothy Mordaunt. All of them brought family members to aid in the effort.
       Participants were rewarded with a party afterwards, compliments of John's Pizza and Subs and Tops Supermarket. Modern Disposal provided dumpster service and a recycling bin.
       The Sweep was a team effort with each player doing his part - some doing administrative chores, others climbing up and down the banks. This year's event was better organized than ever. Each mile of public land was covered by at least one volunteer. Participants report that the shores on Grand Island are looking better every year. It may be that the Sweep is working; that there are more people picking up and less littering. The group managed to bring back more than 1,300 pounds of trash.

    Beach Sweep
    Quality Quest and the Riverside Salem United Church of Christ will sponsor the Grand Island portion of the Great Lakes Beach Sweep/International Coastal Cleanup, the world's largest volunteer environmental effort.
       The event will take place on September 15, 2001 at the Riverside Salem U.C.C., 3449 West River Rd., Grand Island. Participants should arrive at 9:30 a.m. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to noon. Appropriate dress and sturdy gloves are recommended.
       In the past, scores of volunteers have picked up thousands of pounds of trash along the shores of Grand Island. Organizers hope that many readers will come out and help in this worthy cause. Scouting, school, church, service, athletic, boating, and scuba-diving organizations are encouraged to participate by calling William O'Connor at 773-7621 or Sharen Trembath at 549-4330.
       Last year, local corporate sponsors included John's Pizza and Subs, Tops Markets, and Modern Disposal. Continued support from community minded local sponsors is appreciated.
       Participants will work in groups of two to four people. One person in each group should record each piece of debris found.
       The purpose of the Beach Sweep is to clean the beach and document what litters our shores; compile data to devise strategies to combat pollution; increase public participation in solving the problem of pollution; and increase public awareness and appreciation of the coastal environment.
       Everyone is welcome.

    QQ's Third Annual Flotilla

    By William O'Connor
       Last Saturday, June 9, was a beautiful day for the Grand Island Quality Quest Coalition's third annual Flotilla to Motor Boat Island (also known as Frog or Pirate's Island). The paddle-powered event drew ten participants.
       The paddle is held each year to observe the explosion of life that happens during late spring in the wetland ecosystem, which is formed by Strawberry Island, Motorboat Island, and the western shore of Beaver Island State Park.
       Huge carp, some more than three feet in length and weighing more than 30 pounds, were spotted by participants on the shore of Beaver Island. Carp mate this time of year. Large females are pursued by as many as five males, who push each other out of the way, in their attempts to spawn. This happens along the shore in less than one foot of water. The carp, in their mating frenzy, remain unperturbed by the slow, quiet approach of the canoes and kayaks. Fish splash just inches from the boats as the drama unfolds right in front of the eyes of the paddlers.
       From the shores of Beaver Island, the group paddled across to see Motorboat Island, which is off-limits to those who wish to land. The island is home to colonial nesting birds including the Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, American Bittern, the Great Egret (which is considered endangered in this area), and others. The young of many of these bird species are now in the process of fledging (exercising their wings and learning how to fly for the first time).
       Several members of the group also saw a Tiger Muskellunge in deeper water. Muskellunge are considered by many fishermen to be the most exciting sport-fish anywhere. The Strawberry Island ecosystem is prized by many fishermen, because it is one of the Great Lakes' best "musky" habitats.

    Buffalo Audubon Society
    Conservationist of the Year Presentation

    Niagara County resident Bob Baxter, named Conservationist of the Year in 2000 by the Buffalo Audubon Society, will give a talk at Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 14. The event is co-sponsored by the Grand Island Quality Quest Coalition, a citizen's environmental group, and the Town of Grand Island Conservation Commission and is free and open to the public.
       Baxter will address several issues, including a proposed state pilot project to test the effect of closing two lanes of the Robert Moses Parkway to vehicular traffic beginning August 1. A counterproposal from the Niagara Heritage Partnership, an organization co-founded by Baxter, seeks to have the entire length of the Parkway removed between Niagara Falls and Lewiston and a natural gorge landscape restored.
       Also to be discussed is a proposal, encouraged by the Niagara Frontier Wildlife Habitat Council, another environmental organization, to establish on the Thruway median across Grand Island a no-mow area just beyond the legally required safe zone to allow wildflowers and other native flora to grow.
       Other topics include assistance to groups and communities available from the Niagara Frontier Wildlife Habitat Council.

    Audubon/Quality Quest Paddle

    William O'Connor Photo
    In the top photo Linda Rowe (center) and Betsy and Jim Tomkins glide to shore on Strawberry Island during the Saturday, May 19 Audubon/Quality Quest Paddle. (Bottom photo) Many different types of canoes and kayaks come to shore on Strawberry Island during the Saturday, May 19, Audubon/Quality Quest Paddle.

       It was a perfect day for a paddle in the Niagara River last Saturday, May 19, 2001. More than 35 people showed up for a human-powered tour of the Strawberry, Motor Boat, and Beaver Island area. The Buffalo Audubon Society and Quality Quest sponsored the event, at which time Audubon Society members did an extensive bird count.
       Quality Quest will hold a similar event, its "Third Annual Flotilla," Saturday, June 9, at 9 a.m. Paddlers will meet at the East River Marina entrance of Beaver Island (in Ferry Village).
       The organization will make every effort to accommodate those who do not have a canoe or kayak. For more information, contact William O'Connor, 773-7621.

    Stewardship Awards Presented

    Shown with their Stewardship Awards at the May 10 presentation by Quality Quest Coalition are (left) Bill Burch, Jan Farrell, Sally Goris, Sharen Trembath, Cynthia Booker, Nancy Savoy and Kim Ludwig.
    Barbi Lare Photo
       Music and the scent of lilacs filled the air at Trinity United Methodist Church, as the Quality Quest Coalition of Grand Island recognized deserving members of the community during the 11th Annual Environmental Stewardship Awards. More than 50 people, including Grand Island Council Members Michael E. Heftka and Mary S. Cooke, attended the event last Thursday, May 10.
       The organization recognized the teachers, students, and parent-volunteers who make up two after school programs at Kaegebein Elementary School - the Kaegebein Environmental Club and Math and Science Lab.
       William Burch was recognized for more than 50 years of environmental work.
       Sharen Trembath of Angola was recognized for her 13-year effort as a Regional Coordinator of the Great Lakes Beach Sweep. More information about the award winners may be found by scrolling down this page.
       QQ members Tom and Kathryn Pollard provided a musical interlude of "Earth Songs." Lilac centerpieces were arranged and donated by QQ members Joan Kilmer and Dorothy Westhafer.
       QQ also held its annual elections. The new officers are William O'Connor, President; James Tomkins, Vice President; Patricia Akinbami, Treasurer; Roger Cook, Phone Committee; Thomas Deloughry, Connections; Judy Seebauer, Program Chair; Dorothy Westhafer, Recording Secretary; and Curtis Nestark, Joan Kilmer, and Meg Pietras, At Large.

    Stewardship Award Winners

    Sharen Trembath

    Bill Burch

    Environmental Club members (Click for larger view.)

    Environmental Club advisors Kim Ludwig, Cynthia Booker and Nancy Savoy

    Math/Science Lab advisors from left are Jan Farrell, Sue Kupiec, Sally Goris, Joann Chopra, Bev Molak and Lynn Ackendorf.

    Kaegebein students enjoy a Math/Science Lab program.
    (Barbi Lare photos)

       The annual Quality Quest Stewardship Awards will be presented to the following at 7 p.m. May 10 in Trinity United Methodist Church, 2100 Whitehaven Road.
       Sharen Trembath (Citizen Volunteer Award) has been helping to clean Lake Erie and its shoreline. She first became involved helping to stop the use of gill nets by commercial fishermen in Lake Erie. Later she helped stop the dumping of phosphates into the waterways and eventually helped pass the "Parks Protection Act" which prevents utility lines from crossing through county parks. Throughout the years, she has also coordinated the "Balloon Alert Project" which makes the public aware of the dangers of massive balloon launches.
       Sharen is best known for her work with the Center for Marine Conservation. For the past 13 years, she had recruited volunteers to clean up the 95 miles of Lake Erie Shoreline from Presque Isle, PA to Niagara Falls. To date, the "Great Lakes Beach Sweep" has over 2,000 volunteers from ages 3- 93 who help out each year on the third Saturday in September in celebration of "Coast Weeks." The International Coastal cleanup is the largest environmental volunteer group in the world. The marine debris collected during the cleanup is logged to indicate what is littering up our shores, as well as help legislature and manufacturers change packaging to a more environmentally friendly product.
       Bill Burch (Citizen Volunteer Award)
    Although most recently known for watching eagles and Peregrine Falcons, Bill Burch's volunteering has led him into a number of areas. Around 1945-50 he was active in American Youth Hostels, helping establish hostels and leading bicycle trips in western New York.
       Bill's roommate ignited his interest in bird watching in 1947 and that led to years of field trips and bird counts still continuing. He and his wife Olive took the bird identification classes at the Buffalo Museum of Science.
       Bill joined the Buffalo Audubon Society in 1948 and has led many birding trips for them. This included about a dozen Grand Island trips and 15 spring waterfowl trips to the Iroquois Wildlife Refuge. His short canoe trips on Oak Orchard Creek in that refuge attracted six to eight canoes for about six years. This spring Bill is one of 25 volunteers at the Iroquois Refuge offering to share a telescope or lead a walk Saturday afternoons from April 7 to May 26.
       One of Bill's most rewarding experiences was the job of coordinator of the Saturday morning art classes for children in 1961-63. Mrs. Hauser at Kaegebein School and Mrs. Kramer at Huth Road School gently guided young minds into making remarkable paintings with poster paint on 20x24 inch sheets of kraft paper. These teachers, paid only a nominal $2.00 per hour, must have received much satisfaction from having some 30 youngsters each applying their imaginationto paper. The only class problem was getting them to stop at noon.
       Bill followed his boys through Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting. He was on the Troop Committee and was the Institutional Representative for Troop 510 at Trinity Church. The Island had very active leaders in the 1960s and he tried to help them. He taught tree identification and was pleased to see the boys do well in contests with other troops. He helped in canoe-camping weeks at Camp Northern Lights.
       Bill joined The Buffalo Ornithological Society in 1978, this being the premier birding group locally. He became Field Trip Chairman, finally ending 15 years at the job in 1999. He is the Compiler of the January Waterfowl Count for western New York. This is part of the state-wide census for the Department of Environmental Conservation and is used in setting duck hunting bag limits.
       Bill was one of the watchers of the Peregrine nesting in the gorge at Niagara Falls, Ontario in 1998. Hundreds of Falls visitors viewed the nest activity through is telescope.
       This is the sixth year that Peregrine Falcons have chosen to nest in Buffalo. Bill helps the DEC (the responsible organization) keep track of the nesting activity. He induced his BOS group to buy a video camera for the nest box located at the top of the Statler Towers building. This $1500 installation lets passersby watch nest activity at a TV monitor in the window of the US Airways office on the Genesee Street side.
       To sum it up, Bill has had, and is still having a good time watching birds and helping others do the same.
    Kaegebein Environmental Club - Education Award
       The Kaegebein Environmental Club began seven years ago with one teacher and her class researching the waste involved in using plastic utensils in the cafeteria. That project resulted in a district wide conversion to silverware in Island school cafeterias. From that start the club has grown to a thriving student-based environmental club of over 42 students grades two through five.
       Kaegebein's Environmental Club has a strong recycling commitment and has participated in the Tops/Enviro-Bags Recycling Program for three years. The entire school has also celebrated Earth Day for the past 10 years by having every student color an earth message on a TOPS paper bag which are then give back to TOPS for the community to enjoy.
       The club also received a small grant through the "School to Work Partnership" to start paper making. The students are now very skilled in paper making from recycled materials and this is a regular part of ongoing club activities.
       In honor of Arbor Day last year the club planted 50 small trees at the district owned Eco-Island Nature Center. This fall members planted 100 daffodil bulbs to beautify their school.
       Kaegebein's Environmental Club has reached out to our larger community which in turn has embraced and supported the students' activities. "A town wide initiative "Connections" asked all families and schools to participate in pledging their efforts to enhance our Island environment. Kaegebein's pledge tree was full," a spokesman for the club said this week.
       The club's newest project is a bluebird nest box trail to be erected at Eco-Island. With financial support of community organization Quality Quest, the students will construct, erect and monitor this cavity nexting trail. They will learn about the types of birds that use such nests (ie bluebird, tree swallow), their habitat needs and stages of development.
       Quality Quest is extremely proud of Kaegebein School's budding stewards of the earth and future environmental activists.
       Cynthia Booker has served the Grand Island district for 14 years and was educated by the district as well. She has always been interested in environmental causes and feels that educating children about the earth and its precious resources plays a crucial part in securing its well being. She also serves on the Bond Lake Environmental committee, and has helped construct a nature center there for the public to enjoy.
       Kim Ludwig is the mother of three sons aged 5, 6 and 9. Last spring she helped Mrs. Booker's class plant trees at Eco Island and has been hooked ever since! This was Kim's first year with the club and she has been having as much fun as the students learning about ways to protect our environment. Kim enjoys researching fun and informative web sites for the studetns. Recently, she devised a list of conservation facts and tips for the club to share with the school during morning announcements.
       Nancy Savoy has been co-chair of Kaegebein's Environmental club for three years. Both of her daughters have been members as well. Nancy believes that environmental education is especially important with young people because they are our future naturalists and stewards of our earth. Laying the ground work now will insure that they carry these values of respect and awe of our natural world into adulthood. Nancy is also a past president of Kaegebein PTA and is Co-president of Riverside Salem Environmental Chapel.
    Kaegebein math/Science Lab - Education Award
       When Sue Kupiec first envisioned a classroom where science and math equipment could be "pooled" and used by every student at Kaegebein elementary, it was simply a teacher's fantasy that hardly seemed realistic.
       But when Sally Goris, a PTA member, was able to procure start up funding from the PTA to support the idea, it was "full steam ahead" and they never looked back.
       With a dedicated committee made up of teachers, Lynn Ackendorf and Beverly Molak and PTA members Joann Chopra and Jan Farrell, a year of hard work ensued. It became a real collaborative effort when businesses in the community were approached and Life Technologies and Chopra Lee committed dedicated funding to the project.
       In March 1996 the Math/Science Lab became a reality, and since that time, through additional funding from CEM, a grant from the Grand Island Teacher Center, and additional backing by the PTA, has been able to expand its equipment and sponsor programs.
       Since its inception, the Math/Science Lab has acted as a catalyst for environmental issues. The first general theme of the lab was "Keeping the Earth Clean," with soil, air and water testing kits, ordered for the lab.
       In 1998 the Math/Science Lab sponsored its first "Science Afternoon." All classes were suspended as the whole school attended workshops and sessions dealing with the environment. Presentations by Hawk Creek, an animal rescue and refuge center, and Earth Spirit, an environmental group dedicated to teaching children about respect and care of the earth and all living things, led many of the workshops.
       Since that time, the Math/Science Lab has sponsored the "Science Afternoon" as an annual event, and has chosen environmental topics for three out of four years. This year, presentations by Earth Spirit and Beaver Meadows, another environmental group sponsored by the Buffalo Audubon Society, presented workshops for the students of Kaegebein, dealing with such topics as Animals Adaptations, Reptiles, The Rainforest, Nature Games, Wilderness Survival, and Native American Life and Lore.

    Motor Boat Island Flotilla
        Members of Quality Quest have planned their 3rd annual flotilla to Motor Boat Island with a 9:00 a.m. start on June 9. Participants are asked to meet at the Ferry Village East River Marina Entrance. For more information contact William OíConnor 773-7621. An effort will be made to accommodate those who would like to participate in the paddle event but do not have a canoe or kayak. Contact William OíConnor.

    Quality Quest to Award Annual Stewardship Awards - Elect Officers
       Members of Quality Quest will present their annual Stewardship Awards to deserving members of the community 7 p.m. May 10 in Trinity United Methodist Church, 2100 Whitehaven Road. Quality Quest will recognize William Burch, Sharen Trembath and the Kaegebein Environmental Club for their efforts to preserve and protect Grand Islandís environment.
       Election of Quality Quest Coalition officers will be held and the event will feature music by Tom and Kathryn Pollard. Food and refreshments will be served.

    Environmental Sabbath Celebration of Earth Day
       Quality Quest Coalition announces its Environmental Sabbath Celebration of Earth Day 2 p.m. April 22, 2001 at the Riverside Salem United Church of Christ, 3449 West River Road.
       In addition to the service, a nature trail and butterfly garden will be initiated.
       This year, participants are invited to bring rakes and shovels, and wear appropriate clothes to help build the projects which are funded by Connections grants.

    Quality Quest Announces Paddle
       The Buffalo Audubon Society will hold a Paddle 10 a.m. Saturday, May 19. Participants are to meet at the canoe launch at the southern tip of Beaver Island Park. An effort will be made to accommodate those who would like to participate in the paddle event but do not have a canoe or kayak. Contact William OíConnor.
        For more information contact the Buffalo Audubon Society 457-3228 or Mr. OíConnor 773-7621.

    Project Wild

    (Barbi Lare photo)

       In support of educational programs to protect the environment, the Quality Quest Coalition of Grand Island brought the "Project Wild" program to Riverside Salem Church last Saturday, April 7. Project Wild teaches educators ways to introduce environmental thinking to children grades K-12. Volunteer Project Facilitators Ray Wassinger and Teresa Corrigan demonstrated a sampling of techniques that illustrate the importance of ecological principles to 17 interested participants.
       "What's that habitat?" The concept of habitat was taught by having participants divide their paper into four. They then drew, colored, or pasted their sources of shelter, food, water, and space on each of the four sections. After that, participants were instructed to do the same for an animal living in its habitat. Understanding habitat is the first step toward preserving it.
       Other activities included: "Oh Deer", a cross between musical chairs and tag, which teaches the principal of "carrying capacity" for a species; "Stormy Weather," uses visualization techniques to understand the needs of wildlife; and "Quick Frozen Critters," a version of freeze-tag, which teaches the relationship between predator and prey.
       The curriculum taught by Project Wild is interdisciplinary, combining ecology with one or more of many other subjects including physical fitness, math, biology, art and English. The project is taught by volunteers and provided by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Funding for the program is provided by taxpayers, who check the "Return a Gift for Wildlife" box on their state tax forms according to Corrigan.

    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.

    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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