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A New Definition of BYOB: “Bring Your Own Bag”


From The Pelhams – PLUS

PMHS senior Megan Ploch, head of PMHS Enviro Club, created the poster below emphasizing a new definition of BYOB—Bring Your Own Bag (A Reuseable Bag, Rather Than a Plastic Bag).

The PMHS Enviro Club was among the sponsors of a free screening of “A Plastic Ocean” at The Picture House on Earth Day (April 22). More than 100 people of all ages attended the screening of the documentary which chronicles the effects of plastic in the ocean. The film showed animals mistaking plastic for food and dying as a result or eaten by sea animals that make their way into the food chain—and into humans. From beautiful images of blue whales swimming to devastating stories of oceanfront communities living in washed-up plastic waste to natural ways to clean plastic from waterways, the documentary informed as well as tugged on the audience’s emotions.

EcoPel, in conjunction with Meridian Risk, Joan Solimine Real Estate, and the PMHS Enviro Club, handed out free reusable totes to highlight the simple way that Pelhamites can make a difference by shunning single use plastic bags and replacing them with reusable ones. EcoPel thanks The Picture House, The PMHS Enviro Club, and ConEd for co-sponsoring the screening.

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Ice Hockey’s Natty Heintz Talks Up EcoPel as Con Edison Athlete of the Week

He reflects back and thanks mentors like coach Ed Witz and his dad for getting him where he is today.

Name: Nathaniel Heintz

School: Pelham High School

Class: Senior

Sport: Hockey

Athletic accomplishment: Heintz had 30 goals and 30 assists for 63 points in 26 games to help the Pelicans lead to the programs first ever state championship. During the final four weekend, Heintz had two goals and an assist in the state semifinals 6-0 win. He garnered second team all-state and was named to the final four all tournament team. He also garnered all-league and all section honors. He was the tournament MVP of the Beektown tournament earlier in the season. He was the USPHL (US Premier Hockey League) player of the week during the season. Heintz was the captain of the hockey team this past season. He’s been a member of the lacrosse team for the last three years.

Academic accomplishment: Heintz has a 95.06 GPA. He’s undecided as to where he’s going to school next year and what he’ll study. He’s a member of the National, Math, Italian, Science and English honor societies, and Rho Kappa Honor Society. After school, Heintz is a member of the Italian Club and the EcoPel Program (Environmental Safety Club). In the community, Heintz has volunteered his time with Room to Read, a USA Hokey Level 2 Referee, Coast to Coast, and Relay for Life. Heintz has a summer internship at Rockefeller University. In his spare time, Heintz kayaks, plays golf and tennis, does Yoga, and reads.

Getting to know Nathaniel Heintz

The Journal News: A few weeks removed now has it sunk in yet that you and your teammates won the first state title in program history?

Nathaniel Heintz: It started to sink in a little more over the past few days you know once we got back to Pelham and everybody said congrats. Now we’re getting into lacrosse season, we’re working towards hopefully winning a section title this year. It’s awesome, we’ve been talking with coach and there’s been a lot of talk amongst ourselves and it’s starting to sink in a little more, I’m not sure if it’s fully sunk in yet though.

TJN: Is there anything you can take from your experience during the hockey season and transfer it into the upcoming lacrosse season?

NH: A lot of the dedication that goes into it is the same. Both of them are team sports and there are a lot of guys who play both so it’s important for both teams that we got to be close knit and that was a big part of our success — the way everyone backed each other up.

TJN: Describe the moment you knew the team was going to win and the moment when the horn blew and the win became official.

NH: I think once Stef (Stefan Miklakos) scored that second goal and we sort of got out in front, that was a pretty big one to get but once we got that fourth goal, with like 10 minutes to go, I think that’s when I thought we had it. When the buzzer sounded, it was unbelievable. All the hard work we put in our whole lives is incredible to do it especially for coach Witz. He dedicated most of his life to the program, building it up. All the fans came up – there were probably 100 kids up in Buffalo, our families, and all our teammates that worked so hard together to get where we were and no matter how much anyone played, they gave it their all. It was awesome to see everyone’s hard work mean something.

TJN: How long have you been playing hockey?

NH: My dad was a big hockey player so I think I was always around it. I started skating when I was three but I didn’t start playing till I was five. I started doing the clinic and we built a rink in my backyard. He taught me to skate and shoot out there.

TJN: When you get to college, are you going to continue playing either sport?

NH: I want to play club hockey in college because I was thinking about taking a gap year because that’s what you have to do to play college hockey but I decided I wanted to go to college and focus on my academic career. Club hockey is still pretty competitive for a lot of guys who like me take academics seriously.

TJN: Do you know where you’re going next year?

NH: No, I haven’t decided yet. I’m still waiting to hear from 10 schools. That should happen within the next nine days or so it’s going to be a pretty packed next few days. Then I’ll have the next month to decide. Wherever I’ll end up, I’ll be happy.

TJN: Do you know what you want to major in?

NH: I’m not exactly sure yet. It depends on which college I get into I guess. I was thinking engineering either mechanical or biomedical because I’ve always liked to build things for the mechanical aspect. Then I think biomedical because I’ve spent the last couple of summers working at a neuro-molecular biology lab researching Parkinson’s and that was interesting.

TJN: What was the one piece of community service work you’ve done that left you with a lasting impact?

NH: I think the EcoPel work I’ve done. My friend’s mom started it and pretty much what it’s doing is promoting a healthy lifestyle and promoting ways to create a more sustainable environment around Pelham. EcoPel stands for Environmental Coalition of the Pelhams so, we do a lot of town cleanups and yoga solstices on the summer solstice. That’s the one that affected me the most because of how important it is nowadays with all the pollution and what not to do to have a healthy environment and healthy lifestyle.

TJN: How cool is it to know you get to follow in Ben Hurd’s footsteps in winning the Con Ed award?

NH: It’s awesome that we’ve got two guys in one year. It shows how special our team was I guess. Not say we’re the two best players, we’ve got 10 guys who were huge on the team even more really. To have two winners in the same year is remarkable.


The Con Edison Athlete of the Week recognizes students in Westchester and Putnam schools who excel athletically. Academic achievements, leadership, citizenship, and school and community activities are also factors. The winner is selected each week by a panel of athletic directors and coaches who review ballots submitted by each athlete’s athletic director or coach.

Debbie Schechter; Twitter: @LoHud_Debbie

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It Falls on Deaf Ears, by Rachel Brewer

The following poem was written by Pelham Memorial High School 10th grader Rachel Brewer for her English Honors class and read by Rachel at the Pelham March for America on Mar. 5, 2017.

It Falls on Deaf Ears
By Rachel Brewer

You poison her blood, dig into her flesh

Tear her hair, slash her skin.

You’ve put a bounty on her bounty,

Drilled and dumped and fracked and dug.

She’s given warning after warning,

Warming, warming

Her blood is boiling and her skin is burning,

Her breath is hot and her eyes are aflame.

Eve bites back.

40 foot waves, islands disappearing

Mountains spitting fire and continents trembling.

You’re waist deep in waste,

Deep and deeper wells, well

It’s not the end of the world! You say

And she answers you, cackling in delirium: But it is.

When the oceans are up to your eyeballs,

And the carbon is blackening your mouth,

Maybe then you will be able to hear her.


Rachel’s Notes:

In my poem I covered the issue of environmental damage caused by humans. I find it completely nonsensical that we are so consciously and continuously destroying our home planet. Exponentially increased human activity in the past 50 years or so has had an unimaginably large effect on the environment, and not only in regards to global warming: decreased biodiversity, rising ocean levels, changes in oceanic pH, changes in weather patterns, erosion, water and air pollution, carcinogenic chemical exposure, deforestation — there is an endless laundry list of the problems human activity have caused. Unfortunately, not only is this issue low priority in the minds of many Americans, but some do not even believe an issue exists. My goal with this poem was to force my reader to think about and recognize the damage human activities do to the planet, how they contribute to these problems, and how the destruction of our planet might affect them. Fear is often a catalyst for change, and this quality can be used rightly or wrongly. I hope to capture it in a positive and constructive manner because when it comes to environmental problems of the 21st century, frankly, there is much to fear.

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Pelham Teens Make Film on Food Rescue Organization County Harvest

Documentary Intensive 2016 – County Harvest from The Picture House on Vimeo.

EcoPel salutes the work of five Pelham high school students who produced a short film on the local food recycling organization County Harvest as part of a week-long documentary intensive workshop offered by The Picture House in July.

The student production team included George Fuss, Zoe Landless, Jonah Kraftowitz, Jared Morel, and Jack Silverman.

The class was taught by Emily Dombroff, film production teacher and art department chair at Mamaroneck High School.

County Harvest is an all-volunteer organization that gathers surplus food from dozens of top supermarkets, restaurants, and other venues, and distributes it to soup kitchens, food pantries, and homeless shelters.

Founded in October 2009 by Pelhamite Missy Palmisciano, it serves a growing population of families, seniors, veterans, and children in our area who are not sure where their next meal will come from.



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I Am an EMF Refugee

Alison Main
Alison Main

Pelham freelance writer Alison Main describes her electro-hypersensitivity in a powerful piece called I Am an EMF Refugee that was published in Notre Dame Magazine on June 23, 2016.

EcoPel is happy to announce that Alison, whose writing focuses on environmental health issues, EMF safety, natural living, Paleo philosophies and holistic tenets, will be joining its board of directors this fall.

Read I Am an EMF Refugee here.



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Yoga Al Fresco, Courtesy of EcoPel

Under clear skies and a tall canopy of leaves, more than 60 Pelhamites took part in a blissful hour of yoga and music on the grass in front of the gazebo at the Daronco Town House.

The practice on June 21 was the annual salute to the summer solstice sponsored by the Environmental Coalition of the Pelhams, or EcoPel.

The June solstice is the longest day of the year and marks the onset of summer. In December 2014, the United Nations proclaimed June 21 as International Yoga Day to raise worldwide awareness of the many benefits of practicing the discipline of breath control, meditation, and specific bodily postures.

With the soothing sounds of vocalist Ann Casapini and guitarist Arthur Rotfeld punctuated by the periodic honking and squeaking of Metro North trains, participants warmed up with some simple breathing exercises and stretches.

They then went through a series of lunges, down dogs, planks, and other poses that make up the sequences known as sun salutations, and ended with the meditative relaxation state of “savasana.”

“Part of yoga practice every day is making the connection with the sun and Mother Earth. Doing it out in nature on the solstice is extra powerful,” said EcoPel President Sydney MacInnis, who led the yoga along with two other local instructors, Elizabeth Casario and Mayuri Gonzalez.

The event raised more than $1,200 to support the activities of EcoPel. The next solstice yoga practice will take place in December to celebrate the shortest day of the year.

(Photo by Thomas Bricker)


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EcoPel Donates Four Recycling Bins to Downtown Pelham

Posted on Friday, June 24, 2016 on The Pelhams – PLUS website

The Environmental Coalition of the Pelhams (EcoPel) is donating four recycling bins to the Village of Pelham to be paired with existing downtown garbage receptacles.

They will be located in Trotta Park, outside Wolfs Lane Deli;  outside DeCicco’s, and outside Village Vibe.

Village Administrator Rob Yamuder said existing recycle pails may be relocated around the Village as well so that there will be one in Wolfs Lane Park opposite Wolfs Lane Deli, near the train platform and the train stairs, near Gazebo Park, and at the corner of Lincoln and Fifth Avenue.



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PHOTOS: Yoga Solstice Event In Pelham

Ingalls Field was the home to the Second Annual Yoga Solstice Event beginning early in the morning on June 20. The beautiful 75 minutes yoga class was taught by Pelham yoga teachers Nora LeMorin, Karen Teller, Lisa Stiefvater and Freddie Wyndham. mothering Mother, a local cotton bag business, sponsored the event and each participant went home with a cotton tote and cotton produce bag to encourage reusable shopping. The fundraiser event aided the work of EcoPel, Pelham’s own green organization, that is working locally to enhance the quality of our environment by educating and inspiring citizens on ways to reduce the impact of everyday living on the environment. Photos by Thomas Bricker