The Sacrifice Zone

An exclusive free preview screening of a 30 min. documentary on environmental justice called The Sacrifice Zone is being offered on January 21st at 7:00 PM EST to the members of all NY and NJ environmental and conservation commissions. A post-screening discussion will follow: Environmental Justice – Moving from an Extractive to a Regenerative Economy. Filmmaker Julie Winokur and NY/NJ environmental activists and experts will lead the discussion.  To register for this screening, go to this link:

Maria Lopez-Nuñez
Deputy Director, Organizing and Advocacy for the Ironbound Community Corporation
Photo by Kristin Reimer

The Ironbound district in Newark, NJ, is one of the most toxic neighborhoods in America.  It also has one of the most effective social justice organizations in the country, which recently pushed to enact the strongest environmental justice law in the United States. The Sacrifice Zone follows frontline activist Maria Lopez-Nuñez as she fights to hold polluters accountable and creates a just, vibrant, and sustainable community.

2021 Annual Membership

As the new year begins, NYSACC asks that you continue your annual membership, or if you are not presently a member, consider joining.  Here’s a link to our membership page on our website:  NYSACC Membership – NYSACC | New York State Association of Conservation Commissions.  Membership is also open to NGO’s, students, individuals, and for-profit companies.

2021 NYSACC 50th Anniversary Conference on the Environment

The 2021 Conference on the Environment will be hosted by the CACs and county government of Westchester County, located in the lower Hudson Valley.  Due to the continuing uncertainty of the effects of the pandemic this coming year, no decision has yet been made whether this will be an in-person conference or virtual. 

While there is no substitute for meeting in person as networking is one of the most important assets of conferences, if we go virtual, we promise you an imaginative and informative conference using the most engrossing software available.  For a peek at a possible virtual conference provider, use this link to see a demo of a conference site called Gathertown:  Demo – Conference.  Use your arrow keys to move your avatar around the conference rooms.  You can go into meeting rooms for presentations, and when your avatar is in close proximity to another avatar, you can have private video conversations.  A brave new world!

Contributors to NYSACC News

We would like to get articles about what your CAC’s/CB’s are doing, opinion pieces, environmental cartoons (especially related to CAC/CB activities), links to organizations that would be of interest to our members, suggestions to how better to serve you, questions about your local issues, and any other matters that could be added to our newsletter. Please contact with you input.

2020 NYS DEC Update

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation is happy to share the presentations from the Environmental Informational webinar that took place on December 15, 2020. To access the video presentations, please use the link below.   Control and click to follow the link and hit the play arrow to begin the presentation.  

 2020 NYSACC Annual Meeting

Here’s the link to the recording of the NYSACC annual meeting held on December 15th The business part of the meeting at the very beginning was unfortunately not recorded, but the content was.

How To Solar Now” Upcoming How-To Webinar

We have featured this Solar Siting Tool in this NYSACC News edition.  Although it was designed by Scenic Hudson, it has provisions in it so that it can  be used throughout New York State, and beyond.  A webinar is sc

We have featured this Solar Siting Tool in this edition of NYSACC News.   Although it was designed by Scenic Hudson, it has provisions in it so that it can  be used throughout New York State, and beyond.  Join Scenic Hudson to learn how you can be a force for siting new solar energy developments responsibly – maximizing benefits while conserving what matters to your communities. Whether you’re a community leader updating a comprehensive plan or zoning, or a solar developer looking to design a project that will be welcomed by a local community, Scenic Hudson’s new Solar Mapping Tool can help make sense of the factors to consider for smart solar land-use planning.  Presenters will provide an overview of the Solar Mapping Tool, and teach you how to navigate it for some common planning uses. The virtual conference will include interactive break-out discussions.  We welcome all to join us towards ensuring a responsible renewable energy future for New York State!

A webinar is scheduled for Thursday, January 21st at 5:30 PM, for those of you who would like to have it explained.  To register for this webinar use this link:  

Interested in learning more about Scenic Hudson’s Solar Mapping Tool and how it can be put to use in your community?  REGISTER NOW (Delete my contact information and use yours)

NYSACC Questionnaire

NYSACC is preparing a questionnaire to go out this spring on subjects of interest to your CAC or environmental group.  If you would like to suggest questions that you would like to see asked, please contact

New Board Members

Kristen Andersen from Larchmont’s Environmental Committee, Region 3 (Director-at-large)
Brett Johnson from Gorham’s Conservation Board, Region 8 (Director)
Julie Ruben from Putnam Valley’s Environmental Commission, Region 3 (Director-at-large)

List of Active CACs and other Environmental Groups in New York State

NYSACC will be publishing shortly on its website a list of active CACs and other environmental groups throughout NYS, that was produced by our interns Brisa and Sam over this past summer.  In it you can locate nearby CACs, if you wish to coordinate activities in your area.  We will continue to keep this list current, and welcome any updates due to membership changes, or CACs upgraded to Conservation Boards by their municipalities.  We, in particular, need a direct email contact for each group.  So, if you see in the list that we only have your municipal clerk as our contact, please make the necessary changes.

The Hudson River Estuary Program is pleased to announce our next Conservation and Land Use 101 webinar:

Natural Resource Inventories

Editor’s Note:  While this webinar is being  presented to CAC’s in the Hudson Valley, it is suitable for any other regions of our state.   It also counts for municipal planning and zoning board training credits, so please pass it along to member of your municipal regulatory boards.

Tuesday, January 26, 1:00-2:30pm (click here to register)

Natural areas including forests, wetlands, fields, and stream corridors provide numerous benefits to communities, from clean air and water and flood control to scenic beauty and opportunities for recreation. By mapping and describing a community’s natural assets, a natural resources inventory (NRI) provides a foundation for local planning and decision-making that proactively considers habitat and water resources. NRIs also provide a starting point for identifying conservation priorities and developing community plans, zoning updates, and nature-based climate adaptation strategies. Since 2015, the Hudson River Estuary Program has been providing training, technical assistance, and grants to support the development and application of NRIs in the estuary watershed. This webinar will provide an overview of approaches to creating an NRI and feature case studies from two recently completed projects in Columbia County and the City of Poughkeepsie.  


Ingrid Haeckel, DEC Hudson River Estuary Program and Cornell University; 

Christine Vanderlan, Columbia Land Conservancy;  

Jen Rubbo, Environmental Cooperative at the Vassar Barns; and 

Natalie Quinn, City of Poughkeepsie


Webinar attendees will receive an email confirming attendance, which may be submitted locally for 1.5 hours of municipal planning or zoning board training credit. You can join this WebEx event from your computer, mobile device, or phone. To download the WebEx app prior to the webinar, visit If you have difficulty joining the meeting, please visit    


About the Conservation and Land Use 101 Webinar Series

The Hudson River Estuary Conservation and Land Use Team created this webinar training series to provide a foundation in conservation and land use planning for members of Hudson River estuary watershed conservation advisory councils/boards and environmental commissions, as well as members of planning and zoning boards, elected officials, and interested citizens. Participants will learn about biodiversity, conservation principles, best practices, and tools to identify and conserve important habitat and water resources within New York’s home rule system. ​Prior webinar recordings are archived at PDFs of presentation slides are available upon request.

Simon Skolnik

Simon Skolnik is the President of NYSACC and Chair of the Town of Bedford Conservation Board. A trained civil engineer, Mr. Skolnik devoted his career to the management of public and private sector construction projects. He was first appointed to the Bedford Conservation Board in 1985 and became Chair in 1995. He joined the NYSACC Board of Directors in 1989, was elected Vice President in 1995, and elected President in 2019.

Besides their historic role in the protection of open space, Mr. Skolnik views Conservation Advisory Commissions and Boards as among the most vital and important institutions in combating climate change locally and mitigating its effects on the natural and built environments.