Each year members of Leadership Rockland spend several days learning about different parts of the county.
There are days when a group of about 25 of so people hear about the county’s history, along with days learning about economics, arts, public safety and more. On Thursday, a group of 17 Leadership Rockland members participated in the organization’s environmental day. It was organized by the Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland County, who have organized environmental day for the group the past three years.
The members were told about sustainability and took in presentations on the Mid-Hudson Regional Sustainability Plan, waste and recycling, land use, reviving and sustaining the local foodshed, water sustainability and green innovation.
To learn about green innovation, the group took a field trip to Rockland BOCES in West Nyack, where Director of Facilities Ed Gray talked to them about what BOCES has done in terms of green technology, as well as giving a tour around campus.
“Last year we had Ed Gray come in and give a presentation, and he was so passionate about everything,” said Paul Trader, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland County and a board member for Leadership Rockland. “His presentation last year generated so much enthusiasm we knew we had to speak with him again.”
Gray talked about BOCES’ use of green technology. He said the school always advocates to its staff to look for what’s next, and right now, they think that’s green technology. Part of the reason for that is because BOCES isn’t home to any single school district.
“If we’re not on the cutting edge, if we’re not looking ahead, what makes it appealing for students to come here?” asked Rockland BOCES Career and Technical Education Center Principal Kim Bell.
The tour ended with a stop at a student-built house on campus that has solar shingles on the roof, along with solar panels, geothermal heating, compost heating, and radiant floor heating. The campus also has a 40-foot high small wind turbine. It is Rockland County’s first energy-producing windmill, the energy produced is monitored by science classes at BOCES.
In addition to the green technology used on campus, the organizers thought BOCES would make for a good stop on the tour because the students on campus are learning how to use such technology.
“The BOCES students are the ones being trained and educated on how to use all of this,” said Kerri Scales, an educator with the Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority. “They’re the ones who are going to be on the cutting edge of green technology. There aren’t many other places in Rockland to learn about green technology yet.”