(Syracuse) The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) presented the 2005 Sol Feinstone Environmental awards to Peggy Shepard, executive director of the West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc. and Linda Dickerson Hartsock, executive director of the Cortland County Business Development Corporation, at the annual awards banquet Friday, April 1, 2005 at the Country Club of Syracuse.
Also on April 1st, the college presented the honorary Feinstone Environmental award to Governor George E. Pataki because of his great dedication to protecting and enhancing New York State’s natural resources.
Shepard is a leader in the revitalization of her community of West Harlem. In 1988 she co-founded WE ACT (West Harlem Environmental Action) to battle problems with a New York City sewage treatment plant. Building on this foundation, WE ACT has become nationally recognized for creative community mobilization tactics to raise public awareness and build a collaborative process to find solutions to community issues.
George R. Stafford, director of the NY Division of Coastal Resources, wrote in his nomination letter, “Ms. Shepard’s leadership in WE ACT and her ability to create and sustain critical partnerships with diverse interests has led to positive and continuing changes in northern Manhattan. She has helped the community find a voice, act on its convictions, and achieve results.”
WE ACT is partnering with the NY Department of State’s Division of Coastal Resources for the Harlem on the River project, which will reconnect the residents of Harlem to the Hudson River.
Ms. Shepard received an award of $1000.
Runner-up Linda Dickerson Hartsock, executive director of the Cortland County Business Development Corporation was recognized for developing new job opportunities while protecting resources and improving the area’s quality of life.
Particularly noteworthy is Hartsock’s supervision of the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program for all 11 Cortland County municipalities along the Tioughnioga River (city of Cortland; towns of Cortlandville, Cuyler, Homer, Lapeer, Marathon, Preble, Truxton, and Virgil; and the villages of Homer and Marathon).
The Local Waterfront Revitalization Program focuses on protecting natural resources, developing a 65-mile long blueway trail along the Tioughnioga River, and spurring economic development in the waterfront villages and hamlets throughout the corridor.
Hartsock received an award of $500.
Sol Feinstone, a widely known historian and author who was a graduate of SUNY-ESF, established the awards program in 1976. His goal was to reward people and organizations that exemplified his belief that the best insurance for a free society lay in people’s desire to do voluntarily the things that need to be done for the good of all.
The program recognizes leaders who care for the environment, encourage volunteerism and add to society’s understanding of environmental issues and their solutions. The Feinstone program has made more than 100 awards, honoring people from across the United States for their significant contributions to protecting the environment, and promoting the spirit of volunteerism.
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