Residents invited to workshops on pruning, composting and energy-efficient lighting

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Jon Klar, (l.) outreach coordinator for the Office of Recycling Outreach & Education, describes items that are and are not recyclable through the city's Sanitation program. Photo by Christina Santucci
Maspeth resident Anihya Miranda, 2, tries chest compressions during a workshop for adults to learn resuscitation techniques. Photo by Christina Santucci
Anihya Miranda, 2, gets a closer look at a bearded dragon from the Alley Pond Environmental Center. Photo by Christina Santucci
Rev. Sarah Geddada and her daughter Hephzibah Penumaka represent St. Paul's International Church in Bellerose. Photo by Christina Santucci
Rev. Sarah Geddada and her daughter Hephzibah Penumaka represent St. Paul's International Church in Bellerose. Photo by Christina Santucci
College Point resident Kathryn Cervino (c.), co-founder of the Coastal Preservation Network, describes ways to recycle items not accepted by the city's recycling program during the Going Green in Queens symposium. Photo by Christina Santucci
Gina Baldwin, project coordinator for NYC compost Project in Queens, holds worms. Photo by Christina Santucci
Meng Meng Chin (r.) from the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Taiwan shows off different items made from recycled parts of plastic bottles to shopper Jennifer Tang of Forest Hills. Photo by Christina Santucci
Angelica Urgilez from Elmhurst takes a photo of Monim Abdullah from Jackson Heights holding a hissing cockroach. Photo by Christina Santucci
The Williams family - 9-year-old Brianna, Wallace and Millie - look at a presentation about alternative energy created by students from St. Francis Preparatory. Photo by Christina Santucci
Mabel Castillo (c.) and her sons Christopher and Alex Pisfil look at animal skins. Photo by Christina Santucci

A founder and key player in Queens’ annual Going Green event said this year it was sure to deliver the same kinds of eco-friendly messages while also offering more opportunities for visitors to engage in workshops.

Fred Kress, a borough environmentalist, said the Going Green in Queens conference will take place March 23 at Flushing’s Al Oerter Recreation Center and will feature different workshops scattered throughout the day, which should encourage those in attendance to settle in and stay a while.

“In previous years, our workshops sort of competed against each other,” Kress said. “This time we want to have some individual workshops at different times so everyone can get the full experience.”

That experience, Kress said, will involve anything and everything that is sustainable. The conference runs from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and workshops will begin at 11 a.m. and continue throughout the day.

The Going Green in Queens 2013 Conference, in partnership with the Queens Civic Congress, the Queens Coalition for Parks, the Partnerships for Parks and TimesLedger Newspapers, has become a staple borough trade show of sorts at which more than 60 tables and exhibits show residents how and why they should put some more green into their lives.

As part of the several different exhibits and lessons in environmentalism, Kress said visitors would have the opportunity to learn a thing or two about pruning, and why it is so important in one of the city’s greener boroughs. There will also be displays on discarding batteries, how to compost, what types of lighting are most energy efficient and how common household items can be recycled and reused.

Kress actually spoke from experience as he helps oversee a group of more than 100 volunteer citizen tree pruners in Queens, who get their hands dirty for the love of the end result. Even Kress keeps his own pruning tools in the trunk of his car at all times, he said.

“When you pass by a tree that’s really bad, I’ll go out and prune it myself,” Kress said. “Waiting for the city is not worth the time.”

Kress said he and his fellow borough pruners all hold licenses that last up to four years to do the work, which requires a four-week, two-hour night course. The entire process, he said, is designed to strip trees of unwanted branches while still protecting their vital parts like the stem or trunk. The pruning, Kress said, allows trees to heal better after traumatic events such as storms or droughts.

For more info on the conference, email

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Posted 7:01 pm, March 19, 2013
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