Volunteer: Conservation Advisory Council

Term: Two years; one term.
Meeting frequency: Once per month.
Approximate meeting length: Two hours.
Establishment and charge: Village Code Chapter 21

What does the Conservation Advisory Council do?

The Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) advises the Scarsdale Village Board of Trustees on environmental and conservation issues of local interest. The CAC collaborates with staff to develop and recommend solutions to concerns associated with land, water, energy, waste, and other areas impacting sustainability; members may also have an opportunity to participate in implementation activities. Projects may require a significant amount of research, involvement in public education and engagement, and occasionally hands-on work. 

CAC projects may be large, involving staff, members of the public, and the Village Board, or relatively small, involving minimal coordination. Notable examples of projects at each end of the spectrum include developing and launching the first curbside food scrap recycling pickup service in Westchester County, and updating the Residential Recycling Guide.

What is expected of Council members?

Because CAC work necessarily involves public education and partnering with other individuals and groups to balance potentially competing interests, an ability to work collaboratively is essential.

The majority of the CAC’s work is completed between monthly meetings, with task assignments influenced by individual interests and availability. The amount of work for each member varies, depending on the nature and number of projects underway. Regular meetings provide the opportunity to discuss and balance member availability with project requirements.

Some initiatives may involve site visits, direct public outreach and public education at local events, or perhaps attending a Scarsdale Village Board of Trustees meeting. Other work, such as internet research and writing, may be conducted from home or any place one finds convenient.

What professional, volunteer, and/or personal experiences have been helpful to Council members?

An interest in sustainability and an action-oriented mindset are the most important requirements of volunteering with the CAC. Professional experience with environmental issues is not required; current and past members have come from diverse backgrounds within the private, public and nonprofit sectors. However, all share a commitment to addressing sustainability issues, preserving the environment, and collaboratively developing practical solutions to existing challenges.