Sustainable Landscaping

Village of Irvington | Green Policy Task Force


March 2023 

Welcome to GPTF News

One of the biggest ways we can have an ecological impact, as Irvington residents, is in how we manage our landscapes and gardens. Common practices adversely affect soil, water and wildlife, while contributing to CO2  emissions. Habitat loss is a challenge for virtually all species, as humans convert natural habitats to other land uses, disrupt the balance, and introduce chemicals and invasive species that kill or outcompete native species to the point of extinction. Sustainable practices, on the other hand, bolster a healthy biodiverse ecosystem, support food security and sustained livelihoods, mitigate the impacts of extreme weather and sequester carbon.

60% of our Sustainability Survey participants said they wanted to contribute to climate action with sustainable garden upgrades and maintenance. Here is how you can do that.

Sustainable Landscaping: Best Practices offers guidance on everything from leaf mulching, native and invasive species, tree stewardship, water conservation and lawn care. A handy overview  pamphlet can be found at the Town Hall, or at the Farmers Market soon.  

Work with your landscapers to follow best practices. offers helpful guidance on interviewing landscapers,  a checklist of discussion points and resources for landscaper support (associations, education, native nurseries and materials in English and Spanish). 

Healthy Yards has compiled a list of landscapers who offer sustainable services. We are collecting recommendations from residents for companies who use electric equipment and follow sustainable practices in the community. Please note: we cannot vet claims made by landscaping companies. It is important that you discuss their practices with them directly. 

Leaf Blower Ban

On November 3, 2020, the village passed Local Law #8 2020 banning gas powered leaf blowers from December 16, 2023. The ban will be enforced with financial penalties for the violators and property owners. So make sure to talk to your landscapers now. 

Gas-powered leaf blowers pollute the environment in 3 ways: exhaust emissions, noise, and particulates/dust blown into the air. Per the Department of Environmental Conservation website: "Emissions from gas-powered leaf blowers are substantial. The amount of CO (carbon monoxide) emitted from a typical backpack leaf blower for just 1 hour is equal to CO coming from the tailpipe of a current year automobile operating for over 8 hours. For the other pollutants, the amounts are even greater." Click here to learn more about a state bill prohibiting gas-powered leaf and lawn blowers.

The village has already converted 90% of its gas powered leaf blower and mower equipment to electric, with the remaining 10% of  gas powered machines retained as backup for extreme circumstances.

Great Landscaping News on the School Campus!

Last August, Superintendent Kristopher Harrison told the board  that the school district landscape would work toward becoming a model of sustainability. In the fall, a Sustainable Landscaping Committee was formed. 

Members include: 

Peter Strom: horticulturist, Tree Officer for Sleepy Hollow and Consultant to the Parks Department

Suzanne Nolan: landscape architect and consultant to the Village 

CJ Reilly: educational and horticultural developer for the Parks Department & O’Hara Nature Center

Chet Kerr: of the Irvington Pollinator Pathway Project and Greater Irvington Land Trust

Several community members and members of the Green Policy Task Force, 

Students and a teacher from the HS Environmental Club, a school board member and District Administration including Head of Facilities

Already, the school has: 

1- Bought all native trees to replace the trees that were removed for the capital project on the High School campus. 

2- Identified areas where the leaves can be left to encourage pollinator habitat and nourish the soil.

3- Launched plans for a rain and pollinator garden on the high school campus, led by the Environmental Club. 

4- Begun explorations to bring back the Dows Lane garden. 

5- Purchased emission-free electric leaf blowers

And student Joanna Paul, the GPTF Student Liaison, organized Fun Run for a More Sustainable  Irvington on October 16, 2022, raising funds that will be used for planting and maintenance of the future native gardens at IMS/IHS campus. 

The Irvington School District, Recreation and Parks Department and O’Hara Nature Center staff are partnering on several programs, including vocational training, landscape management and horticulture. Scroll down to Irvington Woods to learn more.

Interested in helping to maintain school gardens in the summer? 

Reach out to Irvington Sustainability Director Charlotte Binns at

Irvington Woods

The Parks Department's CJ Reilly has led numerous significant stewardship projects in the Irvington Woods and O'Hara Nature Center including:

For an overview of O'Hara Nature Center Activities (2022 - 2023) click here

Linking Habitat Development to Educational Programming and Stewardship click here

Harvard Research Projects in the Irvington Woods click here

2022 DEC Tree Planting Project and Greater Irvington Land Trust (GILT) Deer Exclosure Grant click here

Cornell Long-Term Pollinator Research Project at the ONC click here

Vocational Independence Program—Partnership between the Village of Irvington Rec. and Parks and the Irvington School District click here 


The Parks department regularly hosts invasive species removal days of service in the woods. It is a fun activity for the whole family with pizza, donuts and hot chocolate. You can stay up on volunteer opportunities by signing up through the Parks Department portal here.


We love Bedford 2030 Forums. The Power of Trees offers an impressive immersion into the world of trees. Learn from the experts March 25, 9am-1pm, Fox Lane HS. Register at

Share Your Eco Story or Event

We want to hear what environmental actions you or your kids are taking. Please share stories and any events to Charlotte Binns

Click here to sign up for all GPTF news 

(choose “GPTF”)

Sustainability Survey Results

Feb 7, 2023


Create a high level overview of the issues to:


Residents were asked to  share what they deemed to be a priority for the village across the categories of Climate, Biodiversity and Waste, and a bit about how they might like to take action. 5 stars is the biggest priority.

140 residents responded, with nearly 100 offering to participate in some way!

The number one polled priority is Stewardship of our Parks and Woods. The Parks department and C.J. Reilly at the O’Hara Nature Center are currently running and rolling out numerous stewardship programs which are effectively saving the Irvington Woods. But they depend on community volunteers. We will share more about this work in the coming months. In the meantime, you can stay up on volunteer opportunities by signing up through the Parks Department portal here.

Offers to participate were primarily focused on: 

1- Composting. We are looking into expanding compost collection offerings.  Find information on current food scrap solutions here and backyard composting here.  

2- Sustainable garden upgrades and maintenance. Landscapers are strongly encouraged to participate in a free and catered workshop including electric equipment demos:  February 15, 2023 from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Fire House in Nyack, NY. Learn more at New York - State of the Industry Symposium Final_Rev-2  Visit to register. Space is limited and selling out. 

Topic Priorities