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New directory aims to unite Rochester's environmental efforts

Canada geese dot the water at the Ringneck Marsh Overlook in the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. Environmentalists are concerned that the STAP project will effect one of the largest wetland complexes in the state. (photo by Max Schulte)
Max Schulte
photo by Max Schulte

In an ambitious move to fortify the environmental movement within Rochester, various organizations are coming together under a new initiative spearheaded by Rochester Ecology Partners. That is a nonprofit organization that helps people connect with nature.

The aim of the new initiative is to create a cohesive strategy for sustainability efforts in the area, addressing a wide range of environmental challenges.

Erin Turpin, the Community Engagement Specialist with Rochester Ecology Partners, highlighted the necessity of this collaborative effort.

"What it looks like to be considered an environmental movement is shifting nationally—everywhere, really," she said. "All the problems that intersect with climate change—the larger community problems of food injustice and housing and those kinds of things—are all intersecting. And so we saw a need to broaden the definition of what an environmental organization is."

Launching this week, the Greater Rochester Environmental Community Directory will serve as a central hub for these efforts. It is designed to make it easier for the public and local nonprofits to engage in conservation and community health initiatives.

The directory offers a user-friendly interface for those looking to contribute to or learn about local environmental actions.

"Organizations and groups and people can filter based on different things like conservation work or volunteering around nature," said Turpin. "Or even larger community health things—like, there are community gardens in there, there are shelters and food pantries in there as well."

This initiative comes as a response to a report completed by Rochester Ecology Partners, which revealed a fragmented approach to environmental efforts within the community. The report, entitled The Greater Rochester Environmental Community Analysis, called for increased collaboration among organizations to effectively address the multi-faceted nature of environmental issues.

Rochester Ecology Partners is hosting an open meeting at the Phillis Wheatley Library this Thursday afternoon to discuss the findings and strategies for future environmental efforts. The event will allow community members to connect and learn how to participate in local sustainability initiatives.

Turpin says this initiative marks a significant step towards creating a unified and effective environmental movement in Rochester, aiming to address the broader community challenges through a collective and inclusive approach.

Jasmin Singer is the host of WXXI’s Weekend Edition and Environmental Connections, as well as a guest host for Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Connections.