SC minutes 2/17/2021

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EEAC Meeting     February 17, 2021    Wed 5:30 pm – 7 pm    Online Zoom Meeting

Fran Agnon
Isa Del Bello
River DiLeo
E. Shig Matsukawa
Bonnie McGuire
Mary Most
Sarah Pigeon
Ray Pultinas
Andy Stone
Robert Wallace
Mike Zamm
Yamina Nater-Otero (Environmental Educator Audobon Society of New York) guest

Committee Reports and Updates

Previous meeting minutes were approved pending updates by Mary Most and are now uploaded on website (Thank you Shig for your patience guiding me through this procedure – next time may stick 🙂

Program Committee

(Fran acting program chair)

Virtual program idea: Tech Tools Share-Out to be held Tuesday, February 23rd 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Discussion of event to take place in 6 days.  The idea for this event came from the steering committee – why not share virtual tools we work with?  How did we make room and build capacity for the shift to remote.  A subsequent planning meeting was scheduled for Friday, February 19, at 5:30

In general, contributors will to be asked to:

  • Identify a specific low-cost or no-cost tool used in your program and how it was used. 
  • Share a story about the impact of the program and tech tool… how has it helped build community? 
  • Comment on any limitations to the tool you would want to make others aware of and how others can use it. 


Deborah Carlin from City Parks Foundation

Purl Feldman from Public Lab

Hannah Jaris from NY Sunworks

Lynn Cole from The Queens Public Library

Following is a link to subsequent planning session notes and details of participation

Tech Share-Out Program document

Communication Committee

Rebranding/Logo Redesign

Sarah will be liaison between students who will work on design and EEAC.  

This is a good time at the end of the year portfolio projects and it is generally agreed that the best projects are ones that are real. Bonnie M reported that the results of recent Communications Committee survey will help us move towards our new “brand” identity.        

Website and Database Updates:

Website budget for 2021: approved last meeting, $155.00 with 9-yr domain name renewal to be done this month, February; and web hosting renewal in August: 

Website Budget 2021

New website (switched on, 1/13/2021).

Survey (on website and newsletter) sent out 2/16/2021 (by Bonnie M.)  Survey deadline 2/28/2021 (Sunday).

Shig shared screen to show us the internal section of the website:

SC members still to be given access

If anyone needs Instructions and/or zoom guide to using the new internal section (set zoom appointment with Shig or those who know how to access).

Website plan – upcoming:

Redesign of the website based on the Adaptive Plan – will follow the rebranding/logo redesign phase.

Membership system (pushed to March-April) – will be tested in our permanent testing site at

No updates on Database except ongoing efforts – reaching out to Colgate and Fordham

Follow up on 2 requests via the website’s contact form, to subscribe to the listserv.

In subsequent Communications Meeting held on February 18, regarding Logo and rebranding, consideration was given to file types, scalable designs,  consistency across media platforms, focus on inclusivity.  Adaptive Plan Strategies Months 7-12 were reviewed and annotated.  A suggestion was made to produce Quarterly Reports instead of newsletters.  Bonnie will look into possible formats and models.  A second survey around May 1 may focus on Member benefits and affiliate memberships with NYSOEA and NAAEE and involving STEM Teachers NYC.   It was also noted that NYC departments were placing more restrictions on getting into Google – a preference was expressed for using One Note as a bypass.  An EEAC retreat was proposed, possibly at James Baldwin Outdoor Learning Center in May or June.  An all day or 3-4 hour Member Field Day.  This might coincide as an after party for EE EXPO.  

EEAC and NYSOEA Partnership

NYSOEA has a virtual event on 2/23/2021 at 7PM led by the Equity, Access and Inclusion committee, it will center around using music in environmental education and as a tool to reframe narratives.

Info and registration:

(See also NYSOEA’s Equity, Access and Inclusion Committee.)

2021 Conference will be a hybrid virtual/in-person

Christina did report a stagnant membership and that affiliate membership levels have dropped off.  Winter weekend that would normally be held in February was cancelled due to Covid.

Projects Forum

Mike shared that the report describing in detail Forum Workshop V, held on January 14, 2021, has been completed and is available on the EEAC website (  It was recommended that notice be sent to anyone who attended that report has been completed and is available.  Mary Most recommended that Mike summarize report using bulleted points to intrigue people.  River will send to those on Eventbrite lists.  

The most significant recommendations for future projects which emerged from the workshop are:

*Develop a NYC biodiversity/climate change tour coordinated by a passbook system with an initial visit to the Hall of Biodiversity of the Museum of Natural History followed by trips to select community gardens and their neighborhoods to examine food systems and other climate related services. Students would have each page of their book indicating a specific site stamped by a representative of the local area they have visited.

*Prepare a pamphlet or booklet on how electric cars and related energy support systems work.

*Create an initiative to foster skill sharing workshops for non-formal educators – worth mentioning that this initiative has been followed through by Program Committee, see item above regarding Tech Tools Share-Out to be held Tuesday, February 23rd 4:00pm to 5:00pm

*Enshrine “The Right to Learn How Nature Works” as a human right in one or more formal New York State or New York City documents.

A subsequent meeting was already held to discuss this last recommendation.  Present at this meeting on March 4 was Mike and Ray.  Notes from this meeting:

Do humans have enough rights already?  Should Earth, as in the case of Ecuadorian Constitution, be given rights?  However, it was also noted that even human rights and our own US Constitutional rights are lacking.  For instance, there is no federal right to an education.  The 14th Amendment guarantees equal protection and due process and equal education fits in here.  Mike has subsequently reached out to the office of his state senator with this question: ‘Do you think it is realistic to think that enshrining the “right to learn how nature works” could be included in the state’s constitution and/or the city’s charter? If not, is there another significant public document where such a human right could be included? Do you think there are other ways we could move towards obtaining more support for environmental, outdoor and nature education in the schools and in the city and state at large?

Another way of approaching this issue has precedent in Orange County Florida where 

residents voted to amend their county charter to grant rights to the Econlockhatchee and Wekiva Rivers. The Right to Clean Water Charter Amendment declares that “all Citizens of Orange County have a right to clean water” and that the county’s waterways have a “right to exist, Flow, to be protected against Pollution, and to maintain a healthy ecosystem.”

There is, meanwhile, an ongoing campaign in the Bronx to daylight a portion of Tibbet’s Brook that presently abruptly ends in Van Cortlandt Park, literally feeding the river into the NYC sewer system – Millions of Gallons of river water enters the sewer system needlessly.  Might this be a case to press for similar rights to the Brook that were granted these waterways in Florida?  

We have decided to pursue both of these possible avenues of Environmental Justice in a subsequent meeting scheduled for Monday, March 22 at 5:30 pm.  Please let us know if you would like to participate.  

Is this an issue to involve membership? 

Adaptive Plan Accountability

Review and approve “New Initiative Considerations” document

Focus on Term Limits – in our discussion Mary Most reminded us that this is an issue in every volunteer organization. She suggested that each year in a 3 year terms be distinct in an effort to differentiate roles according to each year of service.  For instance, in year 1, steering committee members might focus on grunt work – learning the ropes.  Year 2 would place the member  more  directly “in charge” and the Year 3 member would take on more of an advisory role.  

There seemed to be general agreement that constant turnover prevents burnout.  

Sarah suggested that this topic may be on the agenda for subsequent meeting to enable more time for discussion.

In a subsequent email follow up Mary elaborated:

responding to Bonnie Ralston’s suggestion: What if we said six consecutive years (the equivalent of two terms)? — That would mean any time we replaced a member midway through their term, that position would then be part of a different class? So our balance of classes would break down over time.

I’m copying the (much simpler than ours) language of the by-laws of my congregation. Maybe we can adapt this for EEAC terminology and the three-year cycle.

We still need to choose:

1) you finish the other person’s term, and then be eligible to be elected to serve your own 2 terms (this is similar to the way my congregation is set up).

OR  2) you finish the other person’s term, and then you can only be elected to serve one more term.

Excerpts from by-laws:

Section 3.1. Board Membership.

(a) The Board of Trustees, also referred to as the “Board,” shall consist of nine Members, each referred to as a “Trustee.”

(b) Each Trustee position shall have a term of three years, and the Trustee positions shall be classified so that the terms of three of them shall expire each year.

Section 3.2. Term of Office.

At each Annual Membership Meeting (as defined in Section 6.1), successors to those Trustees whose terms are expiring that year shall be elected, and the term of each outgoing Trustee shall end at the adjournment of the meeting at which their successor has been elected, provided the person elected has qualified for and accepted the position.

Section 3.3. Vacancy.

If any Trustee declines to act, resigns, dies, or is removed from the Membership Roll, that Trustee’s position shall be vacant, and the remaining Trustees may appoint an interim Trustee to serve until the next Annual Membership Meeting, at which meeting the vacancy shall be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term (unless that Trustee’s term is then expiring).

Section 3.4. Re-Election.

No Trustee shall be re-elected for consecutive terms, except that a Trustee may be elected to fill an unexpired term under Section 3.3 above and then may be elected to serve a subsequent consecutive full term.

Membership and Finance

– the following was submitted by Mary Most on this meeting’s agenda 

MM – current stats (2/17/2021)

1. Membership: No change from Jan report: about 10% of members renewed

12 Individual Members, 16 Indiv thru 3 orgs, 32 LIfetime as of 2/17/2021

(vs 2019 = 42 Indiv, 12 Student, 79 Indiv thru 29 Org, 30 Lifetime)

Note: we keep “expired” members on the roster for a year or two

2. EEAC Finances as of Jan 31, 2021

Started new year on Google sheets

Bank acct: $8,177.23

Paypal balance: $392.77

Current Balance: $8,599.17

Note: Membership receipts: $685 + $185 from Annual Meeting Eventbrite

$0 from Jan 2021 Forum

3. To do:

● update membership specifics on finance google sheet

for any sign-ups via Eventbrite since 12/7 Annual Meeting

● Create and send receipts to everyone who paid 2021 membership;

save receipts in GoogleDrive

4. For the record: Amalgamated Bank still shows Judith Hutton at NYBG as primary

contact. Check if they’ve updated signatories to Mary Most, Sarah Pidgeon (remove Jacqueline Pilati, Judith Hutton). Note our mailbox at NYU is inaccessible since Feb 2020

(if anyone has sent check to that address).

Google Group lists:
Mid December I gave Carol Franken a list of about 60 EEAC members who are NOT on Google Group in mid December. We need to invite all subscribers and Eventbrite subscribers to join EEAC.  

Respectfully submitted,

Ray Pultinas

Categorized as SC Minutes

By Raymond Pultinas

EEAC steering committee member since 2018. Founder and Director of the James Baldwin Outdoor Learning Center. Read more about Raymond Pultinas >.