County Executive’s Corner “Protecting Rockland’s Beauty”

By County Executive Ed Day

Here in Rockland County we are surrounded by natural beauty; from the flowers, trees, streams and rivers to the mountains and valleys that always defined this County. This week I had the pleasure of presenting the 22nd annual Rockland County Outstanding Environmental Volunteer Award.

The County Executive’s Outstanding Environmental Volunteer Award recognizes exceptional volunteers who care for our parks, champion our watershed programs, encourage recycling and work every day to enhance the natural beauty of our county’s open spaces.

But our natural environment doesn’t always stay pristine by itself. It needs our help. Thankfully Rockland has a powerful advocate looking out for it; Margie Turrin. Margie has led the fight to protect our environment through her work on the Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance and is helping prepare for the future as a member of the Rockland County Water Task Force.

Margie joined the Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance when it was first founded in 2010. Aside from volunteering her time to literally pull garbage out of our local waterways, Margie helped initiate a Creekside education program and regularly participates in monitoring the health of our streams. She’s been the recipient of other environmental awards; clearly acknowledging her effort and involvement.

Her knowledge of science, education, community and communication have been critical elements to the success of the Watershed Alliance. In every task she takes on you can see just how much she cares about the health of our environment and protecting it for generations to come.

Margie currently serves as the Chair of the Conservation Committee for the Water Task Force. In that role, she’s created printed materials and organized outreach campaigns on water usage and methods to conserve water during the summer months when we experience peak demand.

It is only through the efforts of people like Margie that Rockland County remains the beautiful place that we all cherish.

When a proposed desalination plant threatened the health of the Hudson River it was Margie who took the lead. Researching, reaching out to others and going to hearing after hearing; Margie and other dedicated citizens stopped that plant from ever being built.

What makes her accomplishments, even more, impressive is the amount of time she spends on her day job dealing with many of these same issues.

She is the Director of Educational Field Programs at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University. Her work there focuses on climate change education and outreach along with research efforts.

She is, without a doubt, one of the best advocates for our waterways and for the conservation of water and our environment.

For all of her efforts, we named Margie Turrin the 2019 Rockland County Outstanding Environmental Volunteer. A serviceberry tree was planted in Kennedy Dells County Park in New City in her honor.

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