Environmentalists on Olana: Inspiring Partnerships to Protect Inspiring Views

Frederic Church designed Olana’s landscape to maximize his views of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains, an inspiration for many of his paintings. Join Scenic Hudson Director of Land Conservation Cari Watkins Bates and Director of Land Use Advocacy Jeffrey Anzevino to learn how Olana has inspired 50 years of collaborative — and ongoing — efforts to protect Olana’s integral viewshed and create exciting ways of connecting people with the region’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.

Cari Watkins-Bates’ 20+ year career in land conservation has been focused on the preservation, restoration, and access to both natural and cultural resources (including agricultural lands). She has a MA in Energy and Environmental Analysis from Boston University. Prior to joining Scenic Hudson, she was with The Nature Conservancy’s Nevada Field Office.

Jeffrey Anzevino, AICP, the Director of Land Use Advocacy at Scenic Hudson where he has worked for 30 years helping communities revitalize their riverfronts, protect views and expand river access. He has a BA in Geography from the University of Maryland.

Register here

$15 person, $10 members. Advanced registration required. For more information or to learn more about program discounts, please contact education@olana.org.

GIS Intern for Town of Gardiner Natural Resource Inventory

This opportunity is available during Fall 2022 semester. This opportunity can be conducted virtually and is only available for CEL credit.

The Gardiner Natural Resource Inventory Interactive Mapper was created in conjunction with a Vassar CEL student and completed in December 2021. In the winter and spring of 2022, additional action was taken by the Town to implement a Water Resources study and create new maps, while separately and concurrently developing a Community Preservation Plan with associated maps also created with a Vassar CEL student. These efforts were initiated through a multi-agency effort of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), representatives of the Town of Gardiner Boards and Commissions, representatives of the Public and the New York Rural Water Association. The current iteration of the webmap is accessible at  https://tognri.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.htmlappid=316635524fec43afa6367bb21c2c10c4

Position Description:

This project is proposed on behalf of the Gardiner Town Board, by the Gardiner Environmental Conservation Commission (ECC) together with the Gardiner Open Space Commission (GOSC). The ECC and GOSC are seeking continued support to revise and update our NRI interactive web map created in conjunction with the Vassar CEL in the Fall of 2021. The Town would like to update this set of web maps and layers allowing the ECC, GOSC, Planning Board, and other users, as well as the general public, to interact with the data more easily and to update some of the unfinished aspects in more depth.

As part of the learning experience provided by this project, at the completion of the project, the student may make a presentation to the Town Board, Planning Board, GOSC, and/or the ECC separately or jointly, to introduce the new features and functionality to potential users, the overall benefits and use of the Interactive Mapping as well as review the updated tutorial which will be completed as part of the project (see below.) Ideally this would be an in-person presentation, however, this can be completed virtually if conditions require. The deadline for completion of the project including presentations and tutorial is December 15, 2022.

Roberta Clements, former ECC Chair and present ECC member, will serve as the student’s mentor (SM) and liaison between the CEL student (the student) and the Town. Laura Rose, member of the GOSC, will provide support, review and back up for the project as needed. Neil Curri, of Vassar College, will be also be advising and supervising the student.


  • The online NRI interactive mapper updates will include of  adding a series of new web maps under an additional “Water Resources” tab using the ESRI ArcGIS Online Story Map tool and the maps provided by the Town’s Water Resources consultant. The maps will be developed under the supervision of the college’s supervising consultant (Neil Curri) using the town’s dedicated ESRI ArcGIS account.
    ● The student, under the supervision of Vassar College adjunct and GIS consultant, Neil Curri, will provide multiple updates and revisions to the existing mapper features
    ● In addition, the Town envisions a short (about 10 minutes) updated video tutorial overview to replace the existing outdated tutorial.
    ● Research feasibility of “parsing out” data layers from the 2014 “Sisson Habitats Map” and if possible create separate habitat layers as delineated in the data.
    ● Create two new maps related to the Community Preservation Plan data: one that highlights, in 5 layers, the parcels that score in the top 5% of “most important to preserve,” and one (also in 5 layers) for the top 20th percentile.

To Apply:  Please email a statement of interest and your resume to OCELapplication@Vassar.edu


“Growing Together” Intergenerational Community Garden with Evergreen Minds

This opportunity is available during the Fall 2022 semester. This is an in person opportunity and is only available for CEL credit.Evergreen MindsEvergreen Minds, Inc is a 501(C)(3) charitable organization based in the gorgeous Hudson River Valley region of New York. Evergreen Minds provides people living with dementia and their care partners, enjoyable opportunities for no-pressure experiences in nature and the expressive arts. We keep our group sessions small to ensure a safe, welcoming and personalized experience for all participants.

We strongly believe that people are meant to regularly experience fresh air and nature and this innate connection should not end because we grow older or develop cognitive changes. We also believe fresh air, nature, self-expression and laughter are vital for our mental, physical and emotional well-being.

The objective of ‘Growing Together’ is to join people of various ages and cognitive abilities to create a community garden where ALL are welcome as they ARE. The focus is on abilities not disabilities, and to promote intergenerational relationships and understanding that people living with dementia are able to continue to contribute to society and live a life of purpose and meaning. The garden will be planted at the Environmental Cooperative.

Location: Vassar Farm & Ecological Preserve

Position Description:

  • Gardening tasks such as weeding, watering, pruning, harvesting
  • Collaborate with community organizations in the area
  • Work with people living with dementia
  • Community outreach

Desired Skills:

  • Students interested in working with people living with dementia
  • Students interested in hands-on gardening work

Hours: Students can register for either 0.5 unit or 1.0 unit of credit ( min. 40 hrs with org over the semester for + 30 hrs of academic work OR min. 80 hr over the semester with org  + 60 hours of academic work)

To Apply:  Please email a statement of interest and your resume to OCELapplication@Vassar.edu

Various Positions with the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve

These opportunities are available during the Fall 2022. These positions are in person.

The Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve is located to the south of Vassar’s campus, across Hooker Avenue. The northeastern portion of the property is designated as a multiple use area. It is home to a number of organizations including the Environmental Cooperative at the Vassar Barns, the Hudson Valley Corps of the Student Conservation Association, Community Gardens, and the Poughkeepsie Farm Project. This area is also used for athletics with both the Vassar Rugby and Cross Country team calling the farm home.

Campus Natural Areas Steward – Help to maintain and monitor natural areas on campus, including pollinator gardens and tree plantings.

Ecological Preserve Invasive Species intern – Help to implement an array of invasive species management strategies and restoration plans. Work to educate the community about invasive species.  

Hours: Students can register for either 0.5 unit or 1.0 unit of credit ( min. 40 hrs with org over the semester for + 30 hrs of academic work OR min. 80 hr over the semester with org  + 60 hours of academic work)

To Apply:  Please email a statement of interest and your resume to OCELapplication@Vassar.edu

Residential Department Intern for Sustainable Westchester

This opportunity is available during the Fall 2022. This opportunity can be conducted virtually and is only available for CEL credit.

Sustainable Westchester is a nonprofit, consortium of Westchester County local governments that facilitates effective collaboration on sustainability initiatives. Our goal is to bring socially responsible, environmentally sound, and economically viable solutions that create healthy, resilient, sustainable communities.

At Sustainable Westchester, interns will have the opportunity to learn about the clean energy landscape, gain marketable skills and experiences working with elected officials and community members. Our internships are designed to be a valuable and worthwhile experience for the student. The interns will help research, plan and create materials. Intern will also have the option
to participate in a series of outreach activities aimed at transitioning Westchester homeowners toward clean heating and cooling options and energy efficiency upgrades to support New York State’s Climate Reduction Goals. Interns will become familiar with NYSERDA, the utilities, the CLPCLA and Sustainable Westchester’s energy efficiency, electrification and renewable energy campaigns.

Position Description:

Within the Residential Department, the intern will be involved with:

  • Community Outreach: Represent our campaign at local community events,
    engage community members in conversation and provide program information.
  • Homeowner Helper: Create newsletters and contact homeowners via phone and email
  • Graphic Design and Video Editing: Optional assignments focused on content
    creation to spread the home energy message.
  • Data Analysis and Research
  • Policy
  • Self-Directed Project: Have a skill you want to improve or build upon? Past interns have designed their own responsibilities and tasks based on their interests and skills.

Desired Skills:

  • Experience or interest working on community projects is preferred
  • Experience driving projects to completion
  • Must be highly organized and able to track and analyze data and information
  • Must be committed to protecting the environment
  • A self-starter with a high energy level and a strong work ethic
  • A person of sound judgment who is innovative and strategic in their thinking
  • Strong time management skills

Hours: Flexible based on students needs. Hours could fall between 10am-6pm on weekdays and for in-person work on the weekends and evenings; Students can register for either 0.5 unit or 1.0 unit of credit ( min. 40 hrs with org over the semester for + 30 hrs of academic work OR min. 80 hr over the semester with org + 60 hours of academic work)

To Apply:  Please email a statement of interest and your resume to OCELapplication@Vassar.edu