The Peconic Institute — a spiritual successor to the sustainability studies program at Stony Brook Southampton — has elected its founding board of directors, bringing to fruition an idea at a forum where 50 organizations concerned with the future of the East End were represented.
Stony Brook University moved the sustainability undergraduate program from the Shinnecock Hills satellite campus to its main campus after the 2009-10 academic year, despite protests of students and elected officials. The Peconic Institute was designed to carry on the study of environmentally sustainable practices in the Peconic region and foster policy development and education.
"The Peconic Institute, functioning as an innovative laboratory that uses learning, research, and consensus building techniques, will help tackle regional education, healthcare, environment, transportation, and housing policy issues, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that all sectors remain independently and collectively sustainable," reads a statement from State Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr.'s office.
Thiele, I-Sag Harbor, and State Senator Kenneth LaValle, R-Port Jefferson, both advocates for , have worked to get the new institute off the ground.
"It was clear from the beginning that there was widespread support for the creation of a regional think-tank where community leaders could work together to reach consensus on regional policies," Thiele is quoted as saying in a statement from his office. "I am grateful to the numerous individuals who have contributed their time and energy to help us build and refine this concept over the past 10 months.
"Our elected Board of Directors is an impressive showing of dedicated, highly motivated, knowledgeable and impassioned people who truly represent the East End."
LaValle added, "I believe housing the Institute at Stony Brook University will create a symbiotic synergy that will allow the Institute to tap into the university's diverse and extensive knowledge bank."
Stony Brook Southampton's School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences also recently announced major news toward sustainability on the East End: .
Board members listed below. Elected officials are members by virtue of their office.
Nay Htun, Co-Chair, Stony Brook University
Kevin McDonald, Co-Chair,
Peri Grandone, Vice-Chair,
Marguerite Smith, Secretary,
Frank Dalene, Treasurer, Telemark, Inc.
J. Philip Perna, Montauk School District
The Rev. Mike Smith,
Robert F. McAlevy, III
Jack McGreevy, Southold Conservation Advisory Committee
Steve Bate, Long Island Wine Council
Lars Clemensen, Hampton Bays School District
Joseph Gergela, III, Long Island Farm Bureau
Vito Minei, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County
Bradley Peterson, Stony Brook University
Isabela Scanlon, Organización Latino-Americana of Eastern Long Island
Robert Reeves, Stony Brook University
Gordian Raacke, Renewable Energy Long Island
Mel Morris, Brookhaven National Lab
Bonnie Brady, Long Island Commercial Fishing Association
John Botos, Acting Executive Director
Anna Throne-Holst, Town of Southampton, Supervisor
Sean Walters, Town of Riverhead, Supervisor
Scott Russell, Town of Southold, Supervisor
Jim Dougherty, Town of Shelter Island, Supervisor
Bill Wilkinson, Town of East Hampton, Supervisor
Senator Kenneth LaValle
Congressman Tim Bishop