Vivian Beatrice, Webmaster for Sustainable Hudson Valley. Graduated from Antioch College as an independent major in Social Ecology. Vivian has been active in the founding of many local environmental groups: Frack Free Catskills, Sustainable Saugerties, Indivisible Saugerties, Coalition against Pilgrim Pipelines and Climate Smart Saugerties.
Vivian is self-taught in html, web design and the graphic arts. She is putting her artistic skills and social media skills to use by spreading the word and working to save our ‘common home’ on earth.
Dave Conover is SHV’s Program Coordinator. He grew up in the Catskills and began his career as an educator with the Ashokan Center. Dave has an extensive environmental background, including working as Clearwater’s education director for nine years, where he managed and developed Hudson River programs. Dave later served as Clearwater’s interim executive director, overseeing the restoration of the historic sloop. He serves as a part-time faculty member at Marist College teaching environmental science. He has participated in international programs to Russia, the Netherlands, Syria and Greenland. Dave is a graduate of SUNY ESF with a BS in forest biology and Antioch University New England with an MS in environmental studies including a science teaching certification.
Ben Eckstein is one of SHV’s newest interns, and is a current graduate student in Sustainable Communities and Public Administration at Binghamton University. A native of the Berkshires, Ben first found an interest in sustainability early in high school, and pursued an undergraduate degree in Sustainable Energy Management at SUNY ESF. He was previously an Associate Account Manager at CLEAResult, and has interned for the Energy in the 21st Century Symposium. Ben’s interests in sustainability include urban development and walkable cities.
Melissa Everett, Ph.D.
Melissa Everett, Ph.D., Executive Director is an outreach and communications strategist working at the intersection of climate action, green industry and community development. Since 2004, she has helped to build a movement of local innovators who are reducing their communities’ carbon footprints and building the market for clean energy industries. Her accomplishments with SHV include convening eight influential regional summits and conferences and bringing the Solarize model for community education and solar group purchasing to the Hudson Valley on a three-year funding award from NYSERDA. Trained in counseling and group facilitation through the Concord Institute in Massachusetts, Melissa has taught innovative courses in leadership and community service at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and in sustainability at SUNY Dutchess. She received her Ph.D. in 2006 from the International, Off-Campus Program of Erasmus University’s Centre for Environmental Management and Sustainable Development in the Netherlands, a pioneering program for mid-career professionals worldwide. Her thesis research focuses on the dynamics of community turnarounds and the role of social networks. She was one of the original 1,000 prominent citizens trained by The Climate Project. The author of three books and many articles, Melissa has given lectures and workshops on three continents. Her Making a Living While Making a Difference was honored with the Bronze medal for Best Book in Foreword Magazine’s annual rankings. She was named one of nine “People to Watch in 2012” by Hudson Valley Magazine.
Scott Lang, Accountant is a Certified Public Accountant with Kimball and O’Brien in Kingston who has managed SHV’s finances for six years. He lives in Saugerties with his wife and three children, and finds time to act in community theatre.
Cynthia Nikitin, Resilient Places Consultant
Cynthia Nikitin has led numerous large-scale multi-sectoral place-based community-led projects during her twenty eight years with Project for Public Spaces (pps.org) and since. She has facilitated over one hundred placemaking training workshops and seminars around the world. Cynthia’s technical expertise stretches from the development of downtown master plans to the creation of corridor-wide transportation and land use strategies, and development of creative placemaking initiatives to create safer and healthier cities and upgrade informal settlements in the developing world.
From 2012-2018, she directed the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design™, a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts serving rural communities with multi-day trainings. www.rural-design.org/where-we-work. She managed the Heart of the Community program, a five year partnership with Southwest Airlines to create transformative public spaces. She provides technical assistance to ThinkCity, an urban regeneration organization based in four cities in Malaysia. Cynthia is lead facilitator of the Georgia Placemaking Collaborative, a three year, 9 community placemaking training program.
Currently, she is the Resilient Places Strategist and a Senior Fellow with Sustainable Hudson Valley, advocating for a place-based people-centered approach to disaster recovery and mitigation. Cynthia and her husband Eugene co-founded the Friends of Brunel Park, a non-profit organization that stewards, preserves, and interprets the Emile Brunel Studio and Sculpture Garden in Boiceville, NY: www.brunelpark.org.
Chloe Rychcik, EnergyCorps Intern
Chloe Rychcik has always called the Hudson Valley home, but a move to the Rocky Mountains following completion of her undergraduate degree gave Chloe a special appreciation for all the Hudson Valley has to offer. After a move back east and many jobs in veterinary medicine (from kittens to lions and tigers and polar bears!) Chloe joined the SHV team as Program Outreach Intern in July 2021 while pursuing her Master’s degree in Public Health. She believes environmental health and public health are inherently intertwined and a collaborative approach to both is necessary to address the social, environmental, and economic conditions that affect health and health equity in the Hudson Valley community.
Chloe currently resides in Catskill with her two cats, Pete and Dan. When she finds free time between her professional and scholarly life and promoting her cats as the next social media influencers, Chloe enjoys creating delicious vegan dishes, getting responsibly lost in the mountains, and learning to roller skate!
Rev. Gregory Simpson, Environmental Justice Consultant
Gregory Simpson, Ordained in the Presbyterian Church USA, Rev. Dr. Simpson serves as Pastor of Nauraushaun Presbyterian Church in Pearl River, NY. He is the Treasurer of the Presbytery of Hudson River and Chairman of the Mission Responsibility Through Investments, Environment and Climate Change sub-committee, a shareholder advocacy group of the PCUSA. Rev.Simpson is co-founder of the Hudson Valley Environmental Justice Coalition, an informal coalition of thirty not-for-profit and faith organizations focused on uplifting the voices of people of color working in environmental and climate justice advocacy. He chairs the board of TransArt, Inc., and was recently appointed as co-chair of the Center for Earth Ethics Advisory board and currently serves on the board of Hudson River SloopClearwater.
Rev. Simpson holds a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of the West Indies, post-doctoral training in molecular biology and genomic physiology from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and two master’s degrees in New Testament bible from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He brings a wealth of experience and skills in developing innovative Science, Technology, Engineering and Math programs for students in high school and higher learning institutions as founder of Learning for Life, LLC. Rev. Simpson has trained and mentored students using individualized project learning approaches that cut across ethnic, racial, gender, and religious divides, equipping students with the skills to become exceptional leaders in STEM fields, with a sensitivity toward environmental and climate justice issues. Sharing a passion for cooking, the arts, reading, and nature, Rev. Simpson and his wife Suzanne live in Ulster County, NY, along with their two cats, Luther and Calvin.
Barbara Todd, Program Coordinator;
Barbara Todd had a productive career in software quality assurance and management before setting herself free to pursue a career in photography and the arts. She is a force behind the Hyde Park Artists Collective and a talented photographer who hit the ground running organizing SHV’s inner workings and nurturing our network.