Presidents Message



Happy 50th Birthday NYSACC!

2021 is NYSACC’s 50th Anniversary Year, and we want it to be our break-out year.

For those of you who don’t know us, the New York State Association of Conservation Commissions is an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit education organization that provides leadership in the development of vital environmental programs for cities, towns, and villages throughout the State of New York. We bring millions of people – government officials, environmentalists, students, citizens, private companies – all committed to preserving, protecting, and enhancing the built and natural environments in New York communities.

This year we want to expand our services into all parts of the state. We want to continue reaching out to the 200 active Conservation Advisory Commissions in New York and provide you with good information you can use in your home municipalities. And we want you to join NYSACC!   But we also want to contact those municipalities without CACs and ask you to consider forming a municipally appointed volunteer environmental advisory council for your city, town or village. We want to be the umbrella organization for groups like Tree Boards, Coastal Management Commissions, and Sustainability Councils, who have no statewide group that represents their interests. We hope to do this by forming special-interest groups within NYSACC that support your goals. We want to create new relationships with underserved groups in our state, such as environmental justice proponents, Native American Sovereign Nations, and County Environmental Management Councils. We want to finally bring New York City into NYSACC as a member municipality. So, let me make the case for becoming a member of NYSACC:

  1. While other organizations have wealthy sponsors, be it individuals or corporations making up the majority of their funding, NYSACC is principally a membership financed association. Even though we were founded by our state government, we receive no monies from New York. We recognize the always difficult financial conditions in your municipalities, especially after this past pandemic year, and have kept our membership dues low.
  2. Whether you are a paying member or not, NYSACC considers you part of our family. If you have an active CAC in your community, we will assist you in any way we can. If you can afford the membership fee, it would be great to help assist us in return.
  3. NYSACC is an educational clearinghouse. We rely on your input to distribute what you believe is important to your commission and pass it along to others.
  4. We sponsor statewide events that bring like-minded people and groups together, where ideas percolate back and forth. While we have had annual conferences that move around the state in years past, we want to expand that presence by organizing regional meetings, where local municipal and county advisory commissions can discuss those issues directly affecting them.
  5. But most important of all NYSACC represents a significant piece of the environmental regulatory picture within New York State. Yes, I said regulatory.
    Municipal environmental advisory commissions are the confluence of government and the people. Our association is made up of citizen volunteers, who push the envelope of their communities in establishing patterns of growth, create the guidelines of local resiliency in the face of climate change, and
    protect the biodiversity of their local habitats by addressing those issues that are creating the stresses. If NYSACC were to disappear, who would support those groups providing impartial, non-political scientific recommendations to your regulatory boards on how to manage new subdivisions? Who would
    support those groups introducing into your municipality laws to protect your environment? Who would support those groups reaching out to your fellow residents on environmental issues that affect their lives?

So, I ask those who receive this message, to redouble your efforts this coming year to make our state environmentally stronger than it was this year. To make new partners, both in your communities, and in surrounding areas, and to forge new relationships to enhance our natural world. To say, next December 31st,  “Wow! This was a good year.” And let’s do it together.


Thank you all, and I wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Simon Skolnik    

PS As an environmental organization, NYSACC couldn’t pass up wishing you a pollinator friendly new year. Enjoy the link below! We thank Janeen Sudaka-Karlsson for bringing this anonymous “treasure” to our attention.



About 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.

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