2023 is set to be a critical year for implementing New York State’s landmark Climate Law, which Mountainkeeper has fought for alongside countless other allies. On June 8, we hosted a virtual informational session to bring you up to speed on upcoming regulations and programs--like Cap & Invest--that will make our Climate Law a reality.
Magic in the Mountains podcast is for nature enthusiasts, environmentalists, and everyone in between who wants to learn about the environment, food systems, sustainable farming and agriculture, and more. Hosts Eugene Thalmann and Taylor Jaffe–two young farmers based in different parts of the Catskills–are connected through their respective roles as Mountainkeeper’s Agricultural Program Coordinator and Environmental Justice Coordinator. Each week they get together to discuss a different aspect of life on their farms, and how it relates to environmental justice, ecosystem sustainability, local and global food systems, and more. You can listen to these engaging conversations on Spotify or Anchor!
During our ‘Cosmos in the Catskills’ webinar, night sky experts and Catskill Astronomy Club members Irene Pease and John Kocijanski shared tips for identifying constellations in the night sky, and showed participants how even basic stargazing can change the way we understand our place in the cosmos. Irene and John also walked participants through how to use important gear, what to consider when investing in a telescope, shared a number of great locations for night sky viewing in Sullivan County, and provided information on how to connect with local stargazing clubs in our region.
On Wednesday, October 19th Mountainkeeper hosted a webinar all about informal trail networks in our region and how they damage local ecosystems. We were thrilled to see nearly 170 individuals tune in for this great conversation, and if you missed it you can watch a full recorded version. We heard from experts in the field, including researchers at the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the New York Natural Heritage Program, and the United States Geological Survey, as they discussed the state of trailless peaks in the Catskills, and visitor use management plans to address them. Informal trails made by hikers put considerable strain on the health and wellbeing of native wildlife and plants, causing harmful impacts like loss of native vegetation, soil compaction, erosion, forest fragmentation, and introduction of invasive species into interior forest habitats. Want to know more about informal trails and their impact? Visit the DEC’s webpage for more information.
On Tuesday, June 28th, we partnered with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York State Energy and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to hold a Disadvantaged Communities Information Session via Zoom. During this webinar, Mountainkeeper’s own Environmental Justice Coordinator, Taylor Jaffe, discussed the ins and outs of the DAC criteria with panelists Adriana Espinoza, DEC’s Deputy Commissioner for Equity and Justice, Tyler Picard, a Project Manager at NYSERDA, and Christopher Coll, Director of Energy Affordability and Equity Program at NYSERDA.
A crucial part of Mountainkeeper’s work is upholding environmental justice and protecting people from a variety of environmental hazards–like tainted drinking water, polluted air, and waste contamination, among others–that pose serious risks to the health and safety of our communities. These hazards are endemic in underserved, low-income communities, reflecting the ongoing racial and socioeconomic injustice in our society; identifying DACs is a core component of addressing and correcting these injustices.
If you missed this important webinar, you can watch a full recording here.