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Sullivan Renaissance, Sullivan County and Empire Resorts

May 6, 2008

[LIBERTY] – Senior Girl Scout Erika Vorstadt of Troop # 702 in Barryville will receive a Sullivan Renaissance Environmental Demonstration Grant to create reusable shopping bags.  This environmental grant program is made possible through a cooperative effort that includes Sullivan Renaissance, the Sullivan County Legislature and Empire Resorts.


Entitled “Erika’s Better Bags,” the project has three components: educating community members in the Towns of Highland and Lumberland about the harmful effects of plastic shopping bags; creating 250 reusable grocery bags; and distributing the reusable shopping bags as replacements for plastic bags.  A freshman at EldredCentralSchool, Erika has been a Girl Scout for nearly 10 years and has achieved the Girl Scout Bronze and Silver Awards.  This is her Girl Scout Gold project. 


“Erika is thrilled to be receiving this grant with the GS Community and she is committed to educating her town about the environmental impact of plastic bags,” said Erika’s mom Sue Vorstadt.  “She is really looking forward to creating Erika’s Better Bags.” 


Erika’s Better Bags joins two other efforts underway in SullivanCounty to reduce the use of plastic shopping bags.  The Bashakill Area Association received an Environmental Demonstration Grant to team up with the Wurtsboro Board of Trade to replace plastic bags with reusable bags in the Village of Wurtsboro in a campaign called “ComeCleanOneVillage at a Time.”  Fifth grade teachers at Sullivan West in Jeffersonville have been working with their students for two years on a campaign to eliminate plastic bag use called “Project Earth Sack – Kick the Bag Habit.”


Seven Environmental Demonstration Grants between $500 and $2500 were previously announced on March 27 at Sullivan RenaissanceSpring Forum.  These projects will restore habitat, raise awareness about land conservation, expand recycling efforts and educate students. 


Applications for additional Environmental Demonstration Grants are still being accepted, as are applications for Seasonal Matching Grants and the Board of Realtors Sullivan Showcase Awards.

Since 2001 Sullivan Renaissance has funded hundreds of projects throughout SullivanCounty


Sullivan Renaissance is a beautification and community development program principally funded by the Gerry Foundation.  Additional funding has been secured by NYS Senator John J. Bonacic and Assemblywoman Aileen M. Gunther.  Significant sponsorships have also been provided by WSUL/WVOS for Category A projects and by Thunder 102 for Category B projects.


For more information about programs, call Sullivan Renaissance at 845-295-2445 or visit the website at       


2008 Environmental Demonstration Grants

  • “Erika’s Better Bags” in Barryville: create and distribute cloth bags to educated residents
  • Bashakill Area Association: replace plastic bags with reusable bags in Wurtsboro
  • Town of Callicoon: habitat restoration to return wildlife to streams
  • Delaware Highlands Conservancy: e ducational series about land conservation
  • Fallsburg CSD Environmental Club: establish mixed-paper recycling program
  • RJK Middle School Recycling Program: pilot a full recycling program at the school
  • Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development: energy smart students
  • Sullivan West Elementary: outdoor classroom themed gardens