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Rye YMCA's Togetherhood Holds Planting Project At Nature Center

Togetherhood of the Rye YMCA at the Rye Nature Center, preparing to plant seedlings.
Togetherhood of the Rye YMCA at the Rye Nature Center, preparing to plant seedlings. Photo Credit: Contributed

RYE, N.Y. -- Twenty-two Rye YMCA volunteers hiked into the woods at Rye Nature Center recently to repair the damage left by last winter's storms.

Led by Taro Letaka, the Nature Center’s director of Conversation and Land Stewardship, the group included teenage girls, families with children, and adults, who spent the afternoon of May 9 planting seedlings.

After a brief lesson by Letaka about successful tree planting techniques, the Togetherhood volunteers split into pairs or threes and headed in different directions, each carrying a shovel, work gloves and a slender seedling.

Within two hours, they had planted, watered and deer-proofed nearly 50 witch-hazel, speckled alder, white spruce and white pine shrubs and trees, which will replace trees that were felled by high winds and snow.

Lindsey Kim, a senior at Blind Brook High School, is fulfilling her Senior Options internship at the Rye Y. Inspired by a Y meeting she attended about school gardens, she brought her sister along to the Nature Center.

“The Togetherhood project was great,” Kim said. “It was really fun planting baby seedlings and meeting new people. It also felt very gratifying knowing that what we were doing was helping the environment.”

Togetherhood is a national YMCA social responsibility initiative that engages Y members in community service. Since its formation in May 2014, the Rye Y Togetherhood Committee has organized four projects, including the Rye Nature Center event.

Co-chaired by Rye resident Kat Doyle and Mamaroneck resident Edison Blanco, the Togetherhood committee is currently working with the Rye Arts Center and Don Bosco Community Center on a project that will take place over the summer.

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