Rye YMCA to Highlight Environmental Initiatives in Schools at Conference

The Rye YMCA, in partnership with Jay Heritage Center, will hold a half-day conference on environmental initiatives in schools as part of its three-pronged focus on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Titled “Green Schools, Green Futures”, the conference will be held on Thursday, March 28 from 8:30 am-1:30 pm at the Jay Heritage Center Carriage House.

The agenda will include panel discussions on gardens, zero waste, and teaching sustainability with presenters coming from schools districts, municipalities and organizations across southern Westchester County and western CT. Mamaroneck Avenue School fifth graders Ella Apfaltrer and Nola Coady will open the conference with remarks about their work to reduce and recycle waste in their school. A full list of speakers is attached.

Green Schools, Green Futures is free and open to all. Registration is required; anyone interested in attending may register at www.ryeymca.org. For additional information, contact Denise Woodin at denise@ryeymca.org or 914-967-6363, ext. 101.


 Opening Remarks:

  • Gregg Howells,   Executive Director, Rye YMCA
  • Suzanne Clary, President, Jay Heritage Center
  • Ella Apfaltrer and Nola Coady,   Student activists, Mamaroneck Avenue School


  • Allison Silverman,  Family and Consumer Sciences teacher, Port Chester Middle School
  • Betty Comerford,  Family and Consumer Sciences teacher, Hommocks Middle School, Mamaroneck
  • Lucy Berkoff,  Parent volunteer, Midland Elementary School, Rye
  • Carolyn Ramsey* (To be confirmed),  Master Gardener, volunteer, Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • Moderator: Amy Benerofe,  Founder and President, Our New Way Garden, White Plains

Zero Waste

  • Tammy Thornton,  Chairperson, Zero Waste Schools Coalition/Board member, Wilton Go Green (CT)        
  • Anna McDonald, Student activist, Mamaroneck High School
  • Kerry Linderoth,  Director of Sustainability, science teacher, Rye Country Day School
  • Karen Khor, Parent volunteer, Hommocks Middle School Sustainability Committee/member, Town of Mamaroneck Sustainability Collaborative
  • Moderator: Melissa Grieco,  Chairperson, Rye Sustainability Committee

Teaching Sustainability

  • Amanda Sackey, Science teacher, Rye Country Day School
  • Jeanne-Marie Castiello,   Social Studies teacher, Scarsdale Middle School/member, Scarsdale Conservation Advisory Council
  • AJ Johnson,  Director of Strategic Initiatives, Rye Nature Center
  • John Borchert,  Science teacher, Rye Middle School
  • Moderator: Pam Miner,   Special Projects, Greenburgh Nature Center