President’s Message

What a spring, 2020 has been! First, and seemingly never ending, the pandemic, which besides all the suffering it’s caused, has dried up local and state funding, the lifeblood of CAC’s. Then the weather, that never really became springish, with cold wet days (at least here in the southern portion of the state) that never turned to the renewal part of our annual cycle.  And now, as I write this, protests across America, once again (oh no, not once again!) showing how we as a nation still haven’t learned to respect and show dignity to every American.

The year started so promising, with members of CACs and other environmental organizations from Westchester County meeting in January and February to start planning for the Fall NYSACC “Conference on the Environment”, to then have to make the incredibly painful decision in March to cancel the conference this year, due to uncertainty where the state will be in the Fall. We are working with the NYS DEC to duplicate the successful DEC Update that we sponsored last year sometime this fall. More on that in our summer newsletter.

So, what message can I write about? My original idea was to dedicate this newsletter to “Local Food Sourcing” (which will still be covered), and how you as a CAC can help your municipality become more self-sufficient in the coming years ahead. The message was to promote growing food, not imported from across the country or across the world, but to have your municipalities support your local farmers and to use our public lands to establish community gardens, as well as stimulating home gardening. But that doesn’t seem enough now. What is it that gnaws within me? What needs to be said at this moment of time? Certainly, the pandemic has made it clear how fragile we humans are. Stripped of our technologies, we stay locked inside (except by those front-line medical and essential service heroes that continue to make our lives possible), attacked by a non-living particle hard to see with the best microscopes. When all things around you seem to be at their lowest, what always springs to my mind is love. Love your family and keep them safe. Love your neighbor and assist them living the life they want. Love your planet, for it is the source of all life. Because if you take away all the rhetoric and power point presentations, love is what really motivates CAC members to do the unheralded work of preserving a livable world to pass onto our following generations.

So, let’s get back on our feet, with renewed spirit, and take the science that gives us the knowledge to understand the world around us, and mix in love to give us our moral compass, and make the place we live in better than the way we found it. I hope you find this newsletter filled with information you can use. Sorry, for the late Spring delivery. As I said, what a spring, 2020 has been!

Stay well.

Simon Skolnik





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.