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Schenectady County Environmental Advisory Council

The Schenectady County Environmental Advisory Council is a coalition of Schenectady County residents who share a strong commitment to preserving and enhancing the county's rich environmental resources. The Council consists of 12 at-large members selected by the County Manager and appointed by the Schenectady County Legislature, plus members representing local environmental conservation commissions and ex-officio members.                                                                                                                                      

Role & Responsibilities of the Environmental Advisory Council

  1. Advises the Legislature on matters affecting the preservation, development, and use of the environment within the county.
  2. Studies activities, projects, and operations that affect the county environment to determine where major threats to environmental quality exist and recommend remedial policies and procedures.
  3. Informs the public by developing and conducting informational programs that foster an increased understanding of the environment and an appreciation of the considerable efforts that are required to solve them. 
  4. Promote coordination among County, state, and federal agencies involving themselves with environmental matters. This also extends to various private organizations and local environmental councils concerned with the quality of the County’s natural resources.
  5. Maintain an inventory of those open spaces, natural areas, marshlands, swamps, wetlands, water resources, and other natural or scenic features that are of a County or regional significance.
  6. Call and conduct public hearings on issues having significant environmental impact, and prepare a public brief documenting the council's observations and recommendations concerning the matter. 

Meeting Information

Meetings are generally held on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 5:00PM, with some exceptions.  Meetings are open to the public and anyone can speak at Privilege of the Floor.

Upcoming Meetings

Recent Accomplishments

photo of new addition and back lawn of the Schenectady County Library Central Branch

Passed a resolution with the Schenectady County Legislature that phased out the use of pesticides and herbicides at County-owned properties, starting with the County’s 9 libraries.

Solar panels in a green field

Active participants in the County’s Climate Smart Communities Task Force. Assisted the County with earning its Bronze Certification.

Advised Schenectady County on the creation of the Wolf Hollow Trail in the Town of Glenville.

Legs of person hiking on a trail with brown low rise hiking boots

Installed a Boot Brush Station and Educational Display at the Sanders Preserve. This helps to prevent the spread of invasive plants into and out of preserves.

Photo of garlic mustard, Green sharp shaped leaf with small white flowers

Removed 12 large bags of invasive garlic mustards from the Indian Kill Preserve.

Partnered with the HeatSmart Capital Region campaign to connect residents with local heating and cooling experts who offer the latest in energy-efficient technology

Current Council Members

  • Heather Ipsen, Co-Chair
  • Portia Zwicker, Co-Chair 
  • Dan Carrigan
  • Sharon Carter
  • Donna Esposito
  • Jack Hagerty
  • Shaina Hogan
  • Alexander Lykins
  • Jasenya McCauley
  • Rhonda O'Brien
  • Ashok Ramasubram
  • Ryan Szepek
  • Kathy Fisher, Town of Rotterdam Liaison
  • Chelsea Rattner, Town of Niskayuna Liaison
  • Bob Titus, Town of Glenville Liaison
  • Grace Stearns, Union College Liaison


Do you want to learn more about the Environmental Advisory Council, attend a meeting, or check out our upcoming projects? 


Schenectady County Environmental Advisory Council Meeting Minutes