"This will be a major energy and water saver, as well as a pollutant reducer," said Brian Zimmerman, manager of the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District, a state-mandated agency that can work on both public and private property.
The district-funded project, covering 1,000 square feet and costing $23,000, will place plants in 4 feet of soil across the roof. Its main purpose is to save water, Zimmerman said.
District staff and Old Westbury students will do some of the work under the guidance of an expert contractor-trainer hired to oversee the job.
University spokesman Michael Kinane said, "This has a great educational value for our students, and we get to lead on this environmental issue."
Zimmerman disclosed the project last week at a news conference at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration site, where two dozen people including Nassau Legis. Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow), chairwoman of the environment committee, celebrated the district's 35th anniversary.
The Jericho-based district protects, preserves, restores and enhances the county's natural resources through education and technical assistance.
Jaime Van Dyke, Oyster Bay Town's representative on the district board, noted that, "where regular government agencies can't work on private property for conservation, the district may be able to do so if asked."
The county, Hempstead and North Hempstead towns and the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee, made up primarily of North Shore municipalities, also sit on the seven-member district board. There are two vacancies, Van Dyke said.