Newly-appointed Catskill Center Executive Director Jeff Senterman says he first started hiking the Catskills, from a Greene County mountaintop family getaway, before he could even walk.
“There’s a picture of me in a backpack with my father,” he said in an interview after being named to the position at the Center’s annual Summer Gathering at the new Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center in Mount Tremper last Saturday, August 29. “My first camping trip was to Echo Lake over the line in Woodstock.”
Senterman, who joined the Catskill Center as Associate Director on July 1 and worked the summer alongside departing director Alan White, came to the organization after working for the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference as their program coordinator for the Catskill region and manager of regional trail programs. In addition to bringing non-profit, environmental planning and office management experience to his post, he has also worked over the years as an environmental planner for the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission; for the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission; and for Waterman Design Associates, as well as having served as assistant forest ranger for the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation in Greene County.
“I saw there was an open search process started and put my name in,” Senterman added this week. “I am honored and excited to lead the Catskill Center as the Executive Director. I have a deep love and appreciation for the Catskills and look forward to ensuring that the Catskill Center protects and fosters the well-being of the Catskills for everyone.”
As for how he envisions his coming term as director of the 46 year old regional institution, Senterman spoke about looking forward to strengthening the Catskill Center’s current programs including the long-planned interpretive center, a growing number of efforts to fight invasive species in the Catskills, work at improving two nature preserves, ensuring the success of a new riparian buffer partnership with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and continuing “to support arts and culture throughout the Catskills.”
“My first order of business, though, takes into account that the Catskill Center has been a bit quiet for a while now. I want to let people know what we’re doing,” the new director added. “We offer a lot of resources, ideas and opportunities to look at the region as a whole. We’ve made a real difference in how Albany treats the Catskills and we want to continue to treat ourselves as this area’s heart, its center.”
An avid hiker and outdoorsman who has spent a lot of time hiking in the Catskills, Adirondacks, and New England, Senterman holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Lyndon State College in Vermont, with a concentration in environmental science.
Mountainkeeper gets Alf award
Jim Infante, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said at the weekend’s events — where the Catskill Center’s prestigious Alf Evers award for excellence was presented to Catskill Mountainkeeper for outstanding leadership and commitment to protection of the Catskill region, and the institution’s Ginsberg Award was given to Center founding president Sherret S. Chase for his decades-long fight to get the new interpretive center built and operating — that he first got a sense of Senterman’s many attributes when the young man was still at the NY/NJ Trail Conference.
“I feel that the Center is in very good hands with Jeff as its leader,” Infante said. “I look forward to work intimately with him in the pursuit of the goals of conservation and economic development of our beloved Catskills.”
For further information on all things involving the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, call 586-2611 or see www.catskillcenter.org.