Since 2018 is Residents Forward’s 50th anniversary, it seems fitting that they were chosen to be the Grand Marshals of the Pride in Port Parade on Sept. 29. Residents Forward chairman Curt Trinko and co-presidents Rick Krainin and Laurie Courage discuss what it means to them for Residents Forward to be named Grand Marshal and look back on the organization’s greatest achievements.
Why do you feel Residents Forward was chosen to be this year’s Pride in Port Grand Marshal?
Trinko: The title “Grand Marshal” honors a group or individual that has contributed greatly to the enhancement of the ever changing, but firmly-grounded, culture, character and unity of our close-knit community. Residents Forward started 50 years ago (as Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington) as a reflection of the national awakening to the need to preserve and protect our natural resources and environment, both locally and nationally. Residents Forward was chosen for its history of leadership in protecting and improving the community’s surroundings for the past 50 years, while aspiring to continue to make a difference as we move forward to maintain the Port community that we all love as our home for the next 50 years.
Krainin: Through the vision of Myron Blumenfeld, Residents Forward’s founder who passed earlier this year, and the passionate hard work of many who have served since, Residents Forward has been a catalyst for beautification, environmental education, and quality of life initiatives on the Peninsula. Residents Forward has planted hundreds of trees, beautified and maintained numerous gardens including at the post office, the train station and Town Dock, was a catalyst for visioning on our peninsula, fought the incinerator, was a founding member of the Citizen Advisory Committee monitoring the landfills and formed a peninsula aquifer committee comprised of officials from all levels of government and local water districts to engage the U.S. Geological Service to create the models that allow us to understand the impact of water pumpage on the aquifer system, which is the sole source of water for Long Island. This committee has now expanded to include all of western Nassau County and is coordinating with the State to understand the impact that NYC’s application to be able to pump water from the aquifer could have on the ability of Long Island to ensure the long term viability of our drinking water. Today, Residents provides environmental education in all of the Port Washington public elementary schools. We have over 700 Green Team Leaders who serve as role models to their classmates and families in taking positive steps in their daily lives to conserve resources.
What does it mean to you and Residents Forward to be chosen?
Trinko: Being selected as Grand Marshall is a confirmation that the thousands of volunteer hours devoted by the individuals comprising Residents Forward over the past 50 years has been well spent, and is being recognized for its positive impact and a feeling of love and
pride that we all possess in our community’s history, in our activities today and in our work together as we move forward.
Krainin: It is a great honor for our organization to be recognized by Pride in Port. We are very proud to be a part of the fabric of this community and look forward to celebrating this wonderful community as part of the Pride in Port parade.
What will be your role during Pride in Port?
Courage: Residents Forward looks forward to actively participating in all of the festivities that comprise Pride in Port, including the parade, the game, the luncheon, and the dinner. We look forward to connecting with our roots as we march. We will continue our
celebration by hosting Party In The Park (our 21st year) for young families at the Blumenfeld Family Park on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 30 where we will plant a tree in honor of our founder Myron Blumenfeld who passed earlier this year.
What would you say have been Residents Forward’s three biggest achievements within the Port community this year?
Trinko: Under the leadership of our executive director, Mindy Germain, and with the support of local, county and state officials, we championed the formation of the Western Nassau Water Coalition to spotlight the importance of protecting our aquifer, which led to the Governor pledging $6 million dollars to monitor and study Long Island’s aquifer.
Krainin: This year we organized Long Island’s first ever Youth Climate Summit for 100 students in grades 8-12. We were honored to have Dr. John Byrne, Distinguished Professor of Energy and Climate Policy at the University of Delaware and member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for their work on climate change, give the keynote address at our Summit. The students are now actively engaged in projects that will have a meaningfully positive climate impact in the areas of water, waste and food. We are thrilled that our board member Margaret Galbraith, a documentarian, filmed the Summit and is filming the student projects throughout the year.
Courage: The Climate Action Projects underway include paddle board clean-ups of our beaches and waterways, campaigns to encourage local residents and businesses to reduce use of single use plastics, and raise awareness of low carbon Foodprint options by creating a Square Foot Climate Awareness garden at the high school and offering food choices with more vegetables and less meat, more locally sourced options and reducing food waste. Our students are the future stewards of our environment and are already making a difference in reducing Port’s carbon footprint.
Trinko: Residents Forward’s active involvement in advocacy projects focused upon the future access to and enhancement of Port’s shoreline resources, as well as projects seeking to enhance the aesthetics and walkability of our Main Street, including our second mural depicting those who served and paid the ultimate sacrifice near the train station.