A tree grows in Glen Cove

Celebrating Earth Day with an arboreal theme


At a tree-planting ceremony in Morgan Park on April 22, U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, a former Glen Cove mayor, recalled walking with his children in the woods of the Welwyn Preserve and seeing a red-tailed hawk fly by, and then watching an osprey dive into Long Island Sound to scoop up a fish.

When he was a child in Glen Cove, Suozzi said, “Those birds weren’t here. They were all killed off by DDT” — a pesticide commonly used in the 1950s and ’60s before it was banned in 1972. “Those birds didn’t come back in five years, 10 years, 15 years or 20 years,” Suozzi continued, “but they did come back.”

Gesturing to the white oak sapling that was to be planted this Earth Day in honor of his mother, Marguerite Suozzi, a former first lady of Glen Cove and an active member of the Trustees of Morgan Memorial Park, who died in September, Tom Suozzi noted that the tree would one day grow as tall and mighty as the other trees in the park, which towered above the crowd, their boughs still leafless but on the verge of budding after a late-ending winter. Several attendees and officials noted the beautiful weather, one of the first warm, sunny days the area has seen in recent weeks.

The tree planting was just one of several Earth Day events held at Morgan Park that day. Down the hill at the beach, Girl Scouts from Troop 1420 and their friends combed the sand with black garbage bags and trash-grabbers in tow, gathering refuse left there.

“We found a vodka bottle,” one 9-year-old girl said, adding, “It’s full.” She dug her gloved hand into a trash bag and produced a miniature bottle of liquor, unopened. Other items in the bag included an aluminum takeout container speckled with leftover quinoa, fragments of driftwood, and plastic bags and utensils. The girls had tried to grab a piece of plastic floating in the water with a long stick, but it was too far offshore.

Suozzi and Mayor Tim Tenke thanked the dozens of volunteers who had come to the park for the beach cleanup. “This is probably one of the bigger turnouts we’ve seen,” Tenke said.

Tenke gave a “Green Briefing” at the park’s gazebo about the many environmental efforts the city was undertaking. Earlier that day, at one of Glen Cove’s twice-a-year e-waste disposal events — where residents can throw out old TVs, VCRs, computer monitors and the like — an attendee had mentioned that it would be nice if there were more frequent opportunities to get rid of old electronics. Now Tenke announced that starting in May, residents would be able to call the city’s Department of Public Works to request that these items be picked up at the curb.

He also mentioned the solar panels that help power both the Glen Cove Fire Department and the city’s senior center, and the electric vehicle charging station in the Pulaski Street parking garage downtown.

According to Stephanie Soter, a city employee who is managing several of its green projects, 50 vehicles had used the charging station, offsetting the equivalent carbon emissions of about 230 gallons of gas. As for the solar panels, the Fire Department’s system prevented the equivalent of 10 passenger cars being driven for a year, and the senior center offset the equivalent of planting 3,000 trees.