2015 Catskill Center Achievements!
This year we opened the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center (MDHCIC), a project three decades in the making, with thousands of visitors, and thousands more expected to arrive who will engage with the natural and cultural history of our region for years to come.
We welcomed Governor Cuomo to the MDHCIC where he announced an ambitious $5 million package for promotion of our region to the state, the country and the world, part of a $50M tourism promotion package for New York State.
We secured a historic line item in the DEC Aid to Localities budget, a first of its kind for the Catskill Park and Forest Preserve, which we expect to grow in the years ahead through our leadership of the Catskill Park Coalition, which we co-founded in 2013.
The Center has begun an ambitious new project to protect and restore riparian buffers throughout the Catskill region, beginning in the Schoharie Watershed in 2016, operated out of our soon to be newest office in Tannersville, NY, ultimately making our region more flood-resilient and sustainable, against more regularly occurring flooding events.
We are continuing our innovative project to develop a biocontrol to protect the hemlocks of the Catskills and the northeastern US, an ambitious project that will protect the physical backbone of our region for the century ahead.
We wished Alan White the best in his retirement as Executive Director and welcomed Jeff Senterman as the Executive Director of the Catskill Center. Staff changes also included the hiring of Kali Bird as the Associate Director.
In 2015 we welcomed our first Catskill Center Fellow, a new program supporting a rising student at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry who joins us for a season long fellowship working closely with the Executive Director. Fellows support the day to day work of the Center learning first hand management best practices and supporting program work in education, outreach, advocacy and policy work. Fellows gain valuable experience working in environmental stewardship and conservation as well as non-profit management.
We continued our work developing a riparian management plan and best practices suite at the Thorn Preserve, working to directly mitigate the impacts of flooding along the Sawkill, through support from the Land Trust Alliance. This work will provide a community based best practice to reduce the impacts of ever increasing flooding events, protecting communities throughout the Catskill region.
Goals for 2016
The Catskill Center recently new Associate Director will be working closely with our new riparian management program, we expect to grow this program as we begin its launch and roll out in 2016.
We hope to raise the profile of the Catskill Center throughout the entire region with more events welcoming the public to our headquarters, the Erpf Center, as well as the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center, providing educational resources and fun events for the wider public; all the while continuing our ongoing support for educational programming throughout the region with programs like Streamwatch, for elementary school students, and our Sense of Place curriculum, available to schools throughout the Catskills.
We aim to enhance our advocacy work, building on our recent successes, to secure significant funding not only for tourism and promotion of the region, but for the necessary stewardship of our public lands as we expect tourism to our region to grow significantly with the increase in visitors from the Governor's recently announced promotional support for Catskills.
The Center will begin plans for our 50th Anniversary as an organization (2019) as well as the 20th anniversary of our Artist in Residence program at the Platte Clove preserve (2017), aiming to expand the exposure of our AIR program which brings contemporary artist firsthand experience working in the environment that nurtured the Hudson River School of artists, which ultimately developed the country's first domestic sense of self as a nation.
Thank you for a great 2015!