This Thursday, April 19 at 7 p.m., Rose Harvey, commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, will talk with John Cronin, the Hudson Riverkeeper for 17 years and one of its most distinguished environmentalists, at the Beacon Institute’s Center for Environmental Innovation, located at 199 Dennings Avenue in Beacon. The talk is free, although registration is recommended; visit www.bire.org/events.
Harvey, who was appointed by Governor Cuomo in January 2011, began her career as a community organizer at the Trust for Public Land (TPL), rising to become the TPL’s national director of urban programs. While director of the Mid-Atlantic Region, she oversaw the purchase of approximately $75 million of conservation lands, developed 300 urban parks, gardens and playgrounds and was instrumental in creating or enhancing 500 large parks, such as Sterling Forest. She has lectured at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and received numerous awards.
Harvey noted the important service that parks provide to urban communities and the foresight of master builders of the past to meet this need. She also identified the need – which has become more pronounced, thanks to the destruction caused by sprawl – to protect small wildernesses near cities. “Wildernesslike lands close to a metropolitan area, as well as parks right in the cities, service those who might not have access to or be able to afford a visit to the great outdoors,” she said, noting that New York has the second-most-visited park system in the nation and hence serves as a model.
Harvey’s talk kicks off the Beacon Institute’s spring season of events, which include a series of monthly Thursday-evening lectures on water and the environment (presenters include composer and author David Rothenberg and New York Times blogger Andrew Revkin); a series of nature walks and talks at Denning’s Point on Saturday mornings; and a Sunday-afternoon author series, with David Turner featured on April 29 at 4 p.m. All events are free, and the Denning’s Point trails are now open. For details and a list of the Beacon Institute’s great spring programming, call (845) 838-1600 or log on to www.bire.org/events.