Legislator Davidson Recognizes Local Climate Champions

Rockland County Legislator Beth Davidson recognized two local “Climate Champions” – Marcy Denker and Steven Cea – for their work to address the climate crisis through advocacy and action.

Legislator Davidson, who chairs the Environmental Committee, presented the Distinguished Service Award, the Legislature’s highest honor, to each honoree.

“While the climate crisis is a global one, it requires a local response,” Legislator Davidson said. “As the Climate Smart Committee Co-Chairs behind Nyack 2030—the village’s Climate Action Plan—Marcy Denker and Steven Cea are addressing the climate crisis locally, and modeling how each of us can contribute to a resilient and sustainable future.”

Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, trap heat in the atmosphere, leading to rising global temperatures. We now recognize the impacts of climate change in more intense, prolonged heat waves, droughts, violent storms, floods and rising sea levels. The vast majority of the world’s reputable scientists say it is crucial to take action to reduce greenhouse gases by adopting sustainable practices and transitioning to renewable sources of energy.

“Marcy and Steve, along with a number of community partners, have helped create a blueprint to substantially reduce local climate pollution,” Davidson said. “And they both walk the walk. From Marcy’s decades-long work to plant trees – which not only beautify Nyack but store carbon, reducing the amount of greenhouse cases in the atmosphere – to Steve’s efforts to embrace clean vehicles, their leadership on both conservation and climate action should inspire us all to take part.”

Marcy Denker is a landscape designer and consultant who focuses on ecological design. She earned a Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Since 2013 she has led the Village of Nyack’s sustainability efforts as a volunteer and paid consultant, helping Nyack become the first Bronze-certified Climate Smart Community and first designated Clean Energy Community in Rockland.

Marcy co-founded the Nyack Tree Committee in 2014 and then created the Nyack Tree Project, a successful volunteer-led program that has organized the planting and maintenance of hundreds of trees along Nyack streets over the past eight years.

In 2023, Marcy completed the Nyack 2030 Climate Action Plan with funding from the NYS Climate Smart Communities Grant program. The first climate action plan to be completed in Rockland, the plan lays out a detailed roadmap for reducing Nyack’s community and local government greenhouse gas emissions at least 75 percent over 2018 levels by 2030.

Steven Cea retired in 2018 after 25 years as a School Business Administrator for various New Jersey public school districts. Since then, he has focused on climate and sustainability issues as a member of the Nyack Tree Committee and Co-Chair of Nyack’s Climate Smart Committee.  He is leading two community campaigns to promote the purchase of electric vehicles and the installation of clean heating and cooling systems.

Steve is also an Energy Navigator volunteer trained by Cornell Cooperative Extension to assist residents in reducing their energy consumption and accessing state incentive programs. In his effort to reduce his carbon footprint, Steve has replaced a gas vehicle with an electric vehicle and home charger, switched to an induction stove, added insulation to his home, installed solar panels with battery backup, and switched to a heat pump hot-water heater and a heat pump for heating and cooling.

His education includes a Master of Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University. He has lived in Nyack since 1992 with his wife and two children.

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