Spring Sunset Shadows
Spring Sunset Shadows

Next Saturday, a group of preservation-minded people are gathering at the Heron Harbor Suites at Port of Egypt in Southold for an event they hope will inspire, educate and enliven the discussion on how best to keep the North Fork the naturally beautiful place it is.

The first-ever NoFo Blue + Green Tour, organized by Peconic Green Growth, a non-profit organization that has been working extensively on finding alternatives to traditional septic systems, will feature speakers on organic gardening and landscaping, protection of waterways and on septic systems, as well as tours of projects in the works throughout the North Fork.

“There will be three tracks: landscape, wastewater and water, ending with a talk on history of oyster farming by John Holzapfel,” said Glynnis Berry, the acting executive director of Peconic Green Growth. “We’re hoping to mix education and fun.”

Prospective attendees can register in advance on Peconic Green Growth’s website. Advance tickets are $20, and tickets purchased on the day of the event will be $25. Attendees can visit the tour sites — ranging from farms to environmental installation projects to Cornell Cooperative Extension’s marine education center — between noon and 5 p.m., while a series of lectures begins at Heron Harbor’s meeting room at noon.

The full schedule of the day’s lectures is online here and the full tour schedule is online here.

“Peconic Green Growth has been doing quite a bit of research and work behind the scenes doing studies and trying to evaluate the impact of land use on nitrogen loading [in the bay],” said Ms. Berry. “We’ve mostly had our conversations with government and professional people and we want to start putting the information out to the general public to make people more aware of the choices they have. We wanted to celebrate all the things people are doing and support businesses that are trying to do things in a sustainable way.”

Port of Egypt donated the use of the space for the “Hub” where the lectures will be held.

“One of our board members knew they had created this nice room right on the bay, and we thought it would be great if people could look at the water that we’re going to protect,” she said.

From noon to 2:30 p.m., the lectures will begin with a discussion of alternative wastewater treatment options with engineers, public health officials and a representative from one alternative wastewater system company. From 3 to 5 p.m., Edwina von Gal of Perfect Earth Project will discuss healthy lawn care practices, Sheryll Jones of the Peconic Estuary Program will discuss PEP’s rain garden rebate program and Sherry Thomas will give a talk on the natural ecosystem of the North Fork.

There will be a screening of “The Marion Lake Story,” a documentary about the community’s effort to defeat the invasive phragmites that had taken over Marion Lake in East Marion, at 4:30 p.m.

Environmentally conscious companies will be displaying information about their products throughout the event.

At 5 p.m., attendees will gather for a glass of wine and reception, followed by Mr. Holzapfel’s lecture at 5:30 p.m.

“There are a couple of different parallel paths. One is about a better landscape, and a lot of the tours relate to that,” said Ms. Berry. “There are a lot of farms that are doing interesting things with composting and water conservation.”

She said the wastewater track is focused more on lectures at the Hub because of delays in Suffolk County’s installation of pilot alternative septic systems that had been slated to be on the tour.

“People can do it two ways — we’ll sell tickets at the hub, and you can also buy tickets online,” she said. “The sites are scattered from East Marion to Riverhead. People can mix and match tours and lectures.”


Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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