NYSACC News, Winter 2020

President’s Message

For 30 years, Joy Squires has served as the President of NYSACC.  She has been the driving force behind this organization in its fulfillment of a daunting state-wide mission of environmental education and advocacy.  Under her transformative leadership, NYSACC has grown stronger as it has strived to keep pace with the changing times.  It is because of her remarkable dedication to environmental stewardship, as well as her infectious energy and optimism, that NYSACC has consistently attracted a motivated team of volunteer Directors, boasts an outstanding website and newsletter, has hosted dozens of successful environmental conferences over the last three decades, and in recent years became a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.  We all owe Joy a great debt of gratitude.  

At the October 25, 2019 NYSACC Board of Directors meeting, Joy announced that she was stepping down as President to make way for a new wave of leadership.  In her place, I am pleased and grateful to announce that I was elected President, after having had the good fortune to serve as Joy’s Vice President for the past 25 years.  Thankfully, the ever-youthful and exuberant Joy has agreed to remain involved in NYSACC under a new title: President Emeritus.  She is certain to maintain a constant presence in the years ahead, continuing her role as mentor to our association and its member organizations. 

As NYSACC celebrates its 49th anniversary (1971 to 2020), I intend to advance efforts that align with our founding mission: “To coordinate local government-led conservation and environmental programs and to encourage municipal governments throughout New York State to establish Conservation Advisory Commissions (CACs) and Conservation Boards (CBs) pursuant to New York State General Municipal Law Article 12-F, Section 239-x and Section 239-y.”  I look forward to working with all of you as we carry out this mission.

For starters, we are seeking ways to improve our outreach.  For example, in the current edition of NYSACC News, we’ve added two new features: (1) “Ask NYSACC,” in which we will answer questions members have recently asked about local concerns, which could very possibly be relevant to your area; and (2) “Focus on Nature Centers Around the State,” where we will publish articles from nature educational centers from each of the DEC Regions.  

Also in this edition, we focus on Teatown Reservation, a nature preserve and educational center located in Westchester County (DEC Region 3), that also sponsors Environmental Leaders Learning Alliance (ELLA), an organization dedicated to providing technical support and expertise to area municipal conservation advisory councils and conservation boards.  We have included as a link a current listing of all nature educational preserves throughout the state for your reference (look for those “Reference” signs).  

We all know we live in “interesting” times.  NYSACC will continue to be here for you and assist your needs as we move forward into the 2020s.  

Wishing you all a healthy and conservation active New Year!




Simon Skolnik
President, NYSACC

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.