New Rochelle and Yonkers are recipients of a $25,000 grant to foster residential on-site leaf mulching.
The grants are from the Urban Sustainability Directors Network and the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. The grant will be matched by the Westchester Community Foundation, pending board approval.
The $50,000 will be used to present information sessions and materials for residents and landscapers explaining the benefits of leaf mulching as well as instruction in the proper techniques to employ.
The leaf mulching programs will be developed with the Greenburgh Nature Center and can also be adopted by other Westchester municipalities.
Deborah Newborn, New Rochelle’s Sustainability Coordinator, said the organic material that most people throw away can be beneficial to their lawns.
“Mulching the leaves enriches the soil and enhances lawns and flowers,” she said. “The technique is easy to do and is a cost-saver as well.”
Recent 2013 budget discussions by the City Council had $250,000 for leaf collection on the chopping block. Ultimately, a majority on the council voted to restore the funding.
Mayor Noam Bramson, who, along with Councilwoman Shari Rackman (D-District 6), voted to cut the funding, said the city was delighted to work with the Westchester Community Foundation on the initiative.
"Everyone benefits from green practices that improve our environment while also cutting costs,” he said.
Other cities receiving the funding were St. Louis, MO; Providence, RI; Portland, OR; Milwaukee, WI, and Binghamton, NY.