Who We Are
Sustainable Saratoga is a not-for-profit organization that promotes sustainable practices and the protection of natural resources, through education, advocacy and action, for the benefit of current and future generations in the Saratoga Springs area.
Since 2008, Sustainable Saratoga has been a leader in promoting awareness of environmental issues and what we as a local community can do to minimize our ecological impact while maintaining a high quality of life. See below for a history of the organization.
Our Core Values
- A sustainable community is one that protects the benefits of natural resources, both local and global, while maintaining a strong local economy.
- Protection of ecological resources is essential to a sustainable economy.
- Smart land use and efficient urban planning practices help protect the environment and result in lower costs for public services, health care, and energy.
- By reducing waste and innovating in self-sufficiency, we can protect natural resources and keep wealth circulating in the community.
Art Holmberg, Chair
Bill Boehmke, Vice-Chair
Marian Wait Walsh, Treasurer
Kristin Cleveland, Secretary
Colin Klepetar, Chair, Housing & Urban Planning Committee
Levi Rogers, Co-Chair, Climate & Energy Committee
Margie Shepard, Co-Chair, Zero Waste Committee
Sustainable Saratoga was formed in 2008 by (then-Supervisor) Joanne Yepsen and Amy Stock, an environmental educator and writer, who hatched the idea together over a cup of coffee at Uncommon Grounds. Both had been involved in work on environmental issues in Saratoga, particularly open space, and were seeking a way to bring together people and groups interested in working more broadly on creating an environmentally sustainable local community. Along with other volunteers, they developed a grassroots “task force” to educate and engage the community about issues of environmental and economic sustainability.
The first public meeting was held in November 2008 with a large turnout, followed by a series of public meetings to develop a vision of what a sustainable community would look like. Subsequent public forums featured a monthly educational speaker series with experts who shared information on how to make changes at the personal, business and community levels. A number of committees were established, chaired by local experts, to develop education and advocacy around various environmental themes. In 2009, the group successfully advocated for the City of Saratoga Springs to join the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. Numerous other achievements occurred during the first two years including the Farming and Open Space committee’s work to help launch the Stonequist Apartments community garden, and the Energy Efficiency committee’s “Biggest Energy Loser” campaign, to help homeowners reduce their energy waste.
In 2011, Sustainable Saratoga was awarded official 501(c)(3) charity status by the U.S. Treasury Department, and undertook a reorganization process that would support greater action on sustainability issues. In 2012, the organization successfully advocated for the City to become New York’s 100th Climate Smart community. In the same year, the Urban Forestry Project mobilized several dozen volunteers to inventory the city’s street trees. In 2013, Sustainable Saratoga spearheaded a proposal to create a solar park on the Weibel Avenue landfill, which was adopted by the City (pending funding). The organization also organized well attended public forums about the City’s comprehensive plan update, and developed a campaign to raise awareness of the effects of plastic bag waste and encourage the use of reusable bags.
Previous Chairpersons of Sustainable Saratoga:
Rayna Caldwell (chair, 2012-2013)
Celeste Caruso (co-chair, 2010-2012)
Bill Sprengnether (co-chair, 2010-2011)
Amy Stock (chair, 2008-2010)
Jim Zack (co-chair, 2011-2012)
Original Task Force Executive Committee and Co-Chairs who were instrumental in establishing the organization include:
Task Force Chair – Amy Stock
Local Government Liaison – Supervisor Joanne Yepsen
Community Relations Liaison – Ruth Fein Wallens, Cathi Anne Cameron
Energy Efficiency and Resources – Jeff DeWeese and Celeste Caruso
Farming, Open Space, Natural Resources and Local Products – Casey Holzworth
Organizational Structure – Ray Patterson
Outreach, PR & Education – Bill Sprengnether and Dawn Dawson
Mobility & Transportation – Georgeanna Nugent Lussier and Doug Haller
Recycling, Waste and Composting – Steve Lefebvre
Local Economy – David Levesque and Jim Zack