2021 NYSACC 50th Anniversary Conference on the Environment

New York State Association of Conservation Commission’s 50th Anniversary Conference on the Environment:

Climate Resilience Through Community Action

October 21-24, 2021


Dear Conservation Advisory Commission, Sustainability Committee and Environmental Management Council Members,

Please join us at this year’s COE! Not only will we be presenting a conference directed at your issues, giving you actionable items to take home, we will also be celebrating NYACC’s 50th anniversary! And in order to make this a special event, we did something totally different this year.

There is no cost to attend this innovative, immersive virtual conference. We’re convening on Gather Town (, an interactive platform, in which you’ll be able to move your avatar among conference & exhibition rooms, listen to speakers, and meet with others in various settings via instant video chat—all from the comfort of your couch! The platform simulates an in-person conference, is highly intuitive, requires no software download, and we will supply both pre-conference and on-site technical support throughout.

Visit to learn more and register. We are limited to 450 attendees, so reserve now!

At the COE, you’ll also find downloadable resources on the topics you care about in the COE’s Sponsor, Nonprofit and CAC/Sustainability Committee/EMC rooms. We invite your municipal or county group to freely set up a virtual table to share your accomplishments, challenges and documents to connect with other committees from around the state; just indicate your interest on the registration form. For more info on tabling, click here.

Thursday Afternoon and Evening

We’ve set aside the day before the conference to allow you to explore and learn to navigate Gather Town, visit with our vendors and see other CAC/Sustainability/EMC tables, and as the main draw of the evening, we are sponsoring a Legislature Round Table to include top elected officials in the state and other governments to take questions from the audience.

Friday and Saturday Workshops will align on four topics (and breakfast thrown in for free):

Energy. New York’s CLCPA; clean energy homes; improving municipal energy efficiency; and EVs and municipal fleets

Environmental Justice. Challenges and solutions; education; and successful local campaigns, initiatives and strategies

Land & Water. Conservation of land and water resources; roles of CACs, especially with regard to SEQRA and Climate Resiliency; health of the urban forest; and biodiversity

Waste. Food scrap, composting and recycling programs; incineration issues and concerns; capturing textile waste; Repair Cafés and resource recovery centers

Our Breakfast Table Topics will occur prior to the start of the conference on both days (Friday and Saturday) in the Lounge to discuss additional issues not set forth above, such as the impact of cryptocurrency mining. We invite you to suggest any topics you are interested in—just email us.

Sunday Morning

Covid permitting, the morning will be set aside for those who are in the Westchester area to attend in-person tours of environmental site that make our county a state front-runner in environmental work.

New York’s CLCPA made New York State a global climate change leader. Our state cannot reach its aggressive targets without the assistance of all of us and the communities we represent. We need to bring together those in the energy and land use fields when, in times like this with the stakes so high, it’s more important than ever we work together.

We look forward to seeing and speaking with you at NYSACC’s interactive virtual COE!


The NYSACC COE 2021 Team


NYSACC’S Newly Upgraded Website


We thank the New York State Association of Environmental Management Council’s generous donation to NYSACC, which has allowed us to create an even better, easier to navigate website that provides an archive of information ranging in use for those who want to start a CAC to those searching for information that can be helpful to their active CAC. Go to it now and see what we’ve been doing.


Past NYSACC President Joy Squires Honored by her Town


We don’t do what we do for the glory. The aggravation we sometimes go through seems endless! We certainly don’t do it for the pay! So, what do we do it for? Spoken over and over again by members of CACs throughout NYS, we do what we do for the “passion”. Joy Squires, past president of NYSACC for 30 years (1989 to 2019), the Conservation Board chair of her home town, Huntington, Long Island, since 1979, and chair of the Huntington Open Space and Park Review Board, which during her tenure raised over $60,000,000 for the acquisition and maintenance of town parks, never asked for recognition. On the contrary, in the countless “President Messages” she wrote for the NYSACC News, her point was to share her passion with her fellow CAC members that bettering their local environment is what they do this for. It is only fitting that Huntington on Earth Day 2021 has re-named one of the parks she was instrumental in creating THE SQUIRES NATURE PARK and designated its main loop trail as the JOY TRAIL for their home town’s long-time conservationist. What a fitting tribute!

You can see the ceremony here:


Regional and Local Meetings on Gather Town


Our Gather Town site will be giving and giving for years to come. As part of Gather’s program for all their customers, any site developed on their platform is that organization’s site forever at no additional cost. And there is no charge paid to Gather if you use the site for 25 or fewer people. Over 25 people and you need to contact Gather so that their site can be modified to take in the added individuals.

So, what does that mean?

It means, that NYSACC can hold virtual conferences on the regional level during the year, and only pay for those who attend. The cost of designing and building the site has already been paid for as part of this year’s conference cost. We have wanted to do this for years, and never had the means to hold in-person conferences across the state. Now, we have the way.

It means, that your CAC can hold an event on NYSACC’s Gather space, if you pick up the charges (assuming over 25 people will be attending). If you like this year’s conference and the way that it was handled on Gather Town, consider using our site as a present from NYSACC to you.


Ordinance Archive


We all face it eventually. Our CAC wants to draft an environmental ordinance, and we start looking at models. But what we really want to see is how other municipalities like ours have created their ordinances. But that means going through dozens of municipal websites to see if that city, town or village has adopted the ordinance we’re interested in reviewing.

But suppose, there was one central clearing house for environmental ordinances passed in New York State at both the municipal and county levels.

NYSACC can offer you that, providing you help us. Send to your environmental ordinances (preferably in Word), and we’ll create an ordinance library on our website that is easily searchable.

“Where do I find samples of tree ordinances?” you might ask. “ Oh, yeah I just have to go to”

You can make that happen.


Environmental Justice NYSACC Google Group Launch


As part of the 2021 Conference on the Environment, NYSACC has launched a google group solely centered on environmental justice. This group is here to further the exchange of ideas and information regarding Environmental Justice between CAC members and other folks in New York State who are interested in EJ. We will also use this forum to discuss possible topics and speakers for our EJ track of the 2021 Conference on the Environment in October, being organized by NYSACC and sister organizations.

We are still looking for a few more panelists for the EJ track at our upcoming Conference on the Environment. Any suggestions/contact will be most welcome. Our greatest need is for someone to talk about suburban EJ challenges and issues, and any CAC member who can report on successful efforts or useful strategies to address EJ issues in their area. Specific areas of interest also include “Green Gentrification”, and ways to address EJ issues within the SEQRA process.

What are your key concerns regarding Environmental Justice in New York State?



Environmental Justice NYSACC

Google Groups

This group is here to further the exchange of ideas and information regarding Environmental Justice between CAC members and other folks in New York State who are interested in EJ. We will also use this forum to discuss possible topics and speakers for our EJ track of the 2021 Conference on the Environment in October, being organized by NYSACC and sister organizations. What do you think? What are your key concerns regarding Environmental Justice in New York State? Many thanks, John Rhodes (Mount Kisco CAC), Janet Monahan (Croton-on-Hudson CAC), and Paul Presendieu (Sustainable Westchester)

Google Groups allows you to create and participate in online forums and email-based groups with a rich community experience. You can also use your Group to share documents, pictures, calendars, invitations, and other resources. Learn more.

If you do not wish to be a member of this group you can send an email to or follow this unsubscribe link. If you believe this group may contain spam, you can also report the group for abuse. For additional information see our help center.


Change in NYSACC’s Contact Emails


In order to maintain a distinct identification, NYSACC has changed our email contacts for our president, Simon Skolnik, and our Office Manager, Alexandra (Alex) Pappas, as follows: and We will monitor the old addresses for the short-term, so not to worry if you use them.

Join NYSACC as a Member


NYSACC is an association made up of all the state’s CACs. We don’t differentiate in how we treat you, whether you are paying us your annual dues or not. But we have grand ideas for the future, which will take some money. We receive no funding (other than donations) from two sources: your $75 annual dues, and any profits we make from our annual conference (and we’ve taken losses in the past!). To be clear, the State of New York doesn’t provide us with a dime! So, consider supporting an association whose purpose is to solely to assist you! Please assist us! Thank you.

Become a NYSACC member.

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.

Related Posts