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Notes from Nyack’s Green Desk

by Marcy Denker, Sustainability Coordinator, Village of Nyack


This apartment building in Portland, Oregon, is among the 6 acres (24,300 m2) of green roofs in the city, as of 2007. (Photo Credit: Portland Bureau of Environmental Services via

Clean air. Renewable energy. Greenhouse gas reduction. Low Impact Development. Green buildings. Water quality. Biodiversity. We want all this, and many of us take steps to shore up and advance the path towards these goals each day. But with so much to do and so little time we want more to be done, to see more results and even want to do more ourselves, but we’re not sure where to put the effort. Well, Nyack has some good news!

The new Green Desk in Nyack Village Hall is planning and coordinating a set of practical and powerful actions for a better environment. The village leadership and community have been making strides in water quality protection and green infrastructure, and now a whole new to-do list is in the works. Community members will have a big role to play.

For the past several months the village has been checking off items on a hefty set of recommendations in its Green Infrastructure Report, completed in June 2013. An innovative sustainability code will add incentives for greener construction. A comprehensive urban forestry program will protect and enhance the tree resources throughout the village. An eco-landscaping program will help property owners make landscape choices for better water and soil health and wildlife habitat. We’ll need the whole village to help to plan, support and participate in these efforts.

And what about Climate Change? Nyack has adopted the pledge to become a Climate Smart Community and is working with NYSERDA’s EDGE Program and the New York Power Authority to identify ways to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in the village, starting with all municipally owned properties and then tackling reductions for private commercial and residential properties. Lot’s to do, and community participation will make all the difference.

Marcy Denker, Nyack Green Desk 201402So little time? At the Green Desk in Nyack Village Hall, small efforts will be magnified and participants will have support. With a new grant in hand from the Hudson River Valley Greenway, the Green Desk will create a Green Policy Task Force and develop a Green Village Action Plan by the end of the year. The Task Force and Action Plan will position Nyack to get more financial and technical support going forward to really get things done.

As Sustainability Coordinator, I’ll work with local citizens and leaders in the river villages, Orangetown, Clarkstown and Rockland County to align Nyack’s efforts with regional and statewide initiatives in ways that recognize the connections between environmental protection, economic vitality, and the quality of life in our historic village.

To be most successful the Green Policy Task Force will need collaboration and diverse perspectives and skills. We’ll need the input and support of concerned residents and business owners, schools, churches, government, health care providers and environmental organizations. Consider participating. Spread the word!

Marcy Denker, ASLA, is a professional Landscape Designer and the Sustainability Coordinator for the Village of Nyack. To volunteer or obtain more information, email Marcy at

See also:


Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.

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