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The ever-crafty Sue Seitz loves nature as much as she does Rye. Six years ago she came up with the idea of building birdhouses modeled after venerated locales. The City was happy to install them at the Five Points intersection across from Kelly’s, where they’ve benefitted the birds and beautified a corner of town.

In the intervening years, trees have grown and covered some of those birdhouses and residents of all ages, a number of them Midland School students, have asked Sue to remodel them — and build more!

Earlier this month, DPW workers installed four new ones: The Smoke Shop (in memory), the Square House (based on the original design), Playland (complete with a solar-powered Ferris wheel), and Chicken Joe’s, the newest of local icons.

Photos courtesy of Sue Seitz

Chicken Joe’s before its elevation

DPW workers Pat Lemon (in hard hat) and Drew Ferris installing Sue Seitz’s birdhouse modeled after the old Smoke Shop.

The Square House going up

 Playland model

The Square House model up close

On June 11, 2017, School of the Holy Child held its 107th Commencement Exercises.

The Hon. Janet DiFiore, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and of the State of New York, was invited to share words of inspiration with the 46 graduates. “Each of you should take enormous pride in your graduation, and in all the hard work — and the perseverance — that has brought you to this special day. And I know you realize — for certain — that there is a great future and boundless opportunities ahead for every single one of you,” said Judge DiFiore.

In her first Commencement as Head of School, Melissa Dan remarked, “Graduation is not the end of your years as a Holy Child girl. This is a permanent designation! Throughout the year, I have met alumnae from the past five decades, and I can attest that you never stop being a Holy Child girl. Your stage just gets bigger. Your voice just gets stronger.”

The opening prayer was delivered by Kathryn Ann McSherry, President of Campus Ministry. Seniors Megan Carragher, Mary Katherine Cunningham, Tara Irwin, Katherine McCarthy, Catherine McSorley, and Emma Michelini sang the National Anthem. Grace Doern, President of Student Government, and Samantha Boyd Drew, President of the Senior Class, both addressed the graduating class.

In addition to conferring 46 diplomas, the following awards were presented at the ceremony:

Holy Child Award for Academic Achievement, based on the highest average for four years: Christine Altomare 

Cornelia Connelly Award for outstanding service and leadership in school and community: Grace Doern

Sister Mary Basil Award, given by the graduating class to one among them who has consistently shown Christ-like compassion, generosity, and concern for others: Amalia Guillod

Dede Ross Award, granted to the senior who has enriched the life of all at Holy Child through her honesty, humility, quiet perseverance, and sense of humor: Grace Ryan

<<The Class of 2017>>

Christine Theresa Altomare
Fiona Skye Aronson
Erin Elizabeth Ballengee
Olivia Faith Bonner
Charlotte Claire Brosnan
Mariah Margaret Brown
Caroline Rae Bryceland
Megan Elizabeth Carragher
Maria Claire Carroll
Cheryl Chen
Amanda Kathleen Cummins
Mary Katherine Cunningham
Gianna Amalia DeVita
Grace Doern
Samantha Boyd Drew
Amanda Elimian
Maya Graciela Flemister
Kathryn Grace Friedel
Julia Rose Gaffney
Agustina Garate-Griot
Izania Marie Gonzalez
Amalia Michelle Guillod
Tara Elizabeth Irwin
Eliza Frances LaRock
Zivonee Laviscount
Madison Joan Lyons
Alena Victoria Maiolo
Cira Belle Mancuso
Reilly Michelle Marzen
Katherine Drumm McCarthy
Kathryn Ann McSherry
Catherine Anna McSorley
Emma Grace Michelini
Claire Sonia Monahan
Emily Nicole Mueller
Ruthie O’Driscoll
Caroline Pace
Victoria Hope Pagan
Lila Barbara Pfohl
Isabelle Reed Robinson
Grace Cecelia Ryan
Bridget Teresa Stanton
Noelle Hope Summo
Charlotte Ray Wertimer
Katherine Elizabeth Zampolin
Catriona Marie Zaniewski

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<<College Choices>>

 

American University (2)
Binghamton University
Boston College (2)
Colgate University
College of Holy Cross (2)
Cornell University
Duke University
Elon University
Fairfield University (2)
Georgetown University (3)
Harvard University
Hobart and William Smith Colleges (3)
Ithaca College (2)
Loyola Marymount University
Lynn University

McGill University

Pace University
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
The New School
Tulane University (2)
University of Miami (2)
University of Michigan (2)
University of Notre Dame
University of Pennsylvania
University of San Diego
University of Southern California
University of Texas, Austin
University of Vermont
University of Virginia
Villanova University (3)
Wake Forest University (2)

Photos by ryesportsphotos.com

Rye High School Class of 2017

The weather held last Saturday, June 17, allowing the traditional procession of Rye High School seniors to Nugent Field for the 86th Annual Graduation ceremonies, while the school band played on.

Principal Patricia Taylor welcomed a crowd of proud family members before turning the podium over to Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Monahan.

Orations, from Latin scholars and a representative from the senior class, as well as musical interludes filled the air.

Valedictorian Keaton Mueller and Salutatorian Allison Hufford spoke volumes in their addresses.

Rye Country Day School Class of 2017

On June 9, Rye Country Day School held its 148th graduation exercises. Ninety-one seniors proceeded into the school’s athletic center to the applause of family and friends, and at the end of the event were celebrated as graduates of the Class of 2017 and Rye Country Day’s newest alumni.

The School’s highest honor, the Alumni Prize, was awarded to graduating seniors Hannes Boehning, Daniel Leva, and Kasey Luo.

The Commencement Address was delivered by Anne Sampson, Dean and Humanities teacher, who is retiring after 20 years at the school.

Captions

(Only 2)

David Velona, Class President, addressed his classmates as Class Speaker.

Anne Sampson delivering the Commencement Address.

Photos courtesy of Aurelie Graillot Studio

College Choices

American University
Amherst College (2)
Bard College
Boston College
Boston University (2)
Bowdoin College
Brown University (2)
Bucknell University
Claremont McKenna College
Colby College
Colgate University (3)
Columbia University (2)
Cornell University (6)
Dartmouth College (2)
Davidson College
Duke University
Emerson College
Franklin & Marshall College
Gordon College
Harvard University (5)
Haverford College
Iona College
Johns Hopkins University
Lafayette College
Lehigh University
New York University (4)
Northwestern University (2)
Pennsylvania State University
Pitzer College
Pomona College
Quinnipiac University
Rochester Institute of Technology
Skidmore College (2)
Stanford University (2)
Trinity College
Trinity College, Dublin (IRE)
Tufts University (3)
Tulane University
University of California, Berkeley
University of Chicago (3)
University of Michigan (2)
University of Pennsylvania (6)
University of St. Andrews (UK)
University of Southern California (3)
University of Texas, Austin
University of Virginia
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Vanderbilt University (2)
Wake Forest University
Washington & Lee University
Washington University in St. Louis
Wesleyan University
Yale University (3)

Animal Agriculture and the Air We Breathe

By Andrea Alban-Davies

Although CO2 receives the most attention, it is actually one of the least damaging of all the greenhouse gases when it comes to health. Methane, on the other hand, is a precursor to ground-level ozone (smog) – itself a greenhouse gas –, which is a toxic air pollutant that can trigger serious respiratory problems.

The air in our atmosphere is a lot like the water in our oceans. We can consider its quality on a local level, but there’s no escaping that it’s a global issue. Just as water freely mixes across ocean basins, so gases remaining in the atmosphere become well mixed. While localized air quality and pollution problems can create respiratory and other health problems in one city and not another, the problem ultimately belongs to all of us. The global nature of our air is never more clear that when we talk about the atmospheric level of greenhouse gases, which is roughly the same all over the world, regardless of where emissions originate.

Most scientists agree that the main cause of the current global warming trend is human expansion of the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect itself – the warming that results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth back into space – is not a bad thing. In fact, without it, temperatures on Earth could not reach the life-supporting average of 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Water vapor is actually the most abundant greenhouse gas. The problem for us is that greenhouse gases come in two very different varieties: those that respond physically or chemically to changes in temperature or “feedbacks”, and those gases that are long-lived, remain semi-permanently in the atmosphere, and do not respond physically or chemically to changes in temperature, or “forcing” [climate change]. In the latter category is where we find carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases. And even within the category of “forcing” gases, we discover that not all are created equal when it comes to global warming potential (GWP) over a given period of time.

As most are well aware, our consumption of fossil fuels is responsible for a huge portion of the greenhouse gas emissions attributable to global human activities. What is less well understood is the role that our food choices make. There are many estimates on the greenhouse gas emissions attributable to livestock, each taking into consideration a number of different factors in their calculations. For the purpose of this article, I’ll use the widely accepted figure of 15% from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. This figure doesn’t take into consideration all of the knock-on effects of raising livestock, but it does include some. Just to put it into perspective, that is more than the emissions attributable to the entire transportation sector.

How is it possible that livestock accounts for such a large portion of greenhouse gases? The full story behind this outsized impact is the type of greenhouse gases that the animal agriculture industry produces. Forty-four percent of livestock emissions are in the form of methane. The reason for this is enteric fermentation, or the digestion process, primarily of non-dairy cattle and dairy cows. Methane is produced as a by-product of the fermentation process, and is exhaled, belched, or expelled from these cattle. Methane is particularly potent when it comes to GWP; it is 25 to 35 times more effective at trapping heat when compared pound to pound with CO2 over a 100-year period. That’s why it’s possible for methane to comprise only 16% of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but to be responsible for anywhere from one-third to one-half of the current global warming trend. Fittingly, methane has been coined “carbon on steroids” by one prominent climate scientist.

Methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2 because it absorbs more energy and breaks down much more rapidly. It has a half-life of approximately 8.5 years, compared with many decades for CO2. As such, the shorter the time span examined, the starker the disparity between the GWP of these two gases becomes. For example, if we look at the first five years instead of the first hundred, a ton of methane causes nearly 100 times the warming of a ton of CO2. To comprehend the magnitude of this difference, consider this calculation by climate scientists: a ton of methane emitted today will exert more annual warming than a ton of CO2 emitted today until 2075; not until the year <7300> will the cumulative warming exerted by the two become equal.

It’s not all bad news, though. The upside of the role that methane plays in global warming is that it’s a good target for emissions reductions. The very same characteristics that make methane so destructive – its shorter lifetime and its energy absorption capacity – also means that atmospheric levels are much more responsive to reduction by emissions cuts. Especially because global warming can accelerate dramatically due to feedback loops, it’s most important to focus on measures that can help keep the Earth from overheating in the short-term. That buys us breathing room to work on implementing expensive, longer-term measures to control CO2 emissions (which usually requires huge infrastructure and technology investments). Immediate reductions in methane emissions can translate into a substantial slowing in warming over the next few decades. Studies have shown that reducing short-lived gases like methane, and keeping them low is the way to have the biggest impact on warming over this century.

What’s the best thing that we can do to reduce our methane emissions (which also happens to be the cheapest and can be implemented immediately? Well, the statistics tell the story best, so here they are… According to the Institute on Climate and Planets at NASA, animal agriculture is responsible for approximately 30% of global methane emissions. This is close to half of man-made emissions. To put that into context, coal and oil mining/natural gas accounts for 20% of global emissions. The breakdown puts enteric fermentation at 16%, animal waste at 5%, biomass burning (largely burning jungle to graze cattle, or grow food to feed cattle) at 8%. Therefore, eliminating or, at the very least, massively downsizing animal agriculture would be a huge – and some would argue necessary – step to combatting global warming.

As an added benefit, cutting methane emissions would also have a considerable positive impact on human health. Although CO2 receives the most attention, it is actually one of the least damaging of all the greenhouse gases when it comes to health. In contrast, methane is a precursor to ground-level ozone (smog) – itself a greenhouse gas –, which is a toxic air pollutant that can trigger serious respiratory problems.

There’s also the remainder of livestock emissions to consider when making food choices. While methane is the largest single component of emissions, the remainder is made up of almost equal parts Nitrous Oxide (N2O, 29%) and CO2 (27%). I won’t go into the same detail on N2O (the third most influential greenhouse gas), but suffice to say that it has a GWP 265-298 times that of CO2 over a hundred-year period and can have deleterious effects on human health. I won’t delve into the non-greenhouse gases emissions attributable to animal agriculture operations, but there are a good number of them. The most well known is ammonia (which comes from livestock and poultry waste), partly because of its acrid smell. When it reacts with N2O, moisture, and other compounds, it creates nitric acid vapor and related particles, which, among its other harmful effects, often causes lung tissue damage in humans.

Eschewing animal products and choosing a plant-based diet is undoubtedly a hard step for most of us to take; and, sure, it means letting go of foods that many of us hold dear. But holding onto them comes at a cost that is worth examining.

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