Hows The Water

9.5.12 Eric Swenson’s Retirement

Friends of Eric Swenson came from all over New York State, including from as far away as Oswego and Syracuse to wish Eric Swenson well in his retirement from his position as Supervisor of Environmental Control. He has touched many lives during the course of his long career and due to his involvement in many organizations.   His accomplishments are almost too many to list, (and I am sure there are many that I am not even aware of) but Eric was key in getting electronic waste recycling programs and a pharmaceutical collection program established in the Town. He also is Past President and current Treasurer of the New York State Association For Solid Waste Management; Founding Director and current Secretary of the Federation of New York Solid Waste Associations; member of the board of the New York Product Stewardship Council; member of the Board of Directors of the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District; member of the Long Island Sound Study Citizens Advisory Committee; current coordinator of the Town of Oyster Bay Green Energy Task Force; past member of the Village of Sea Cliff Recycling Task Force; past member of the Board of Directors of Support for People with Oral, Head and Neck Cancer, as well as serving as the Chair of the Oyster Bay Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee, and overseeing the operation the Animal Shelter.  Eric most recently said that the establishment of the Oyster Bay Cold Spring Harbor Protection committee was one of his proudest accomplishments during his career in public service.

Over the course of the years with Friends of the Bay, Eric has worked with our Executive Directors.  Rob Crafa  said  “Eric is one of the most dedicated and sincere individuals I have ever met. I first met Eric twenty years ago when I was Executive Director of Friends of the Bay but feel extremely fortunate to have gotten to work for him and to know his incredible sense of humor more recently as  coordinator for the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee. Eric’s leadership has been central to the organization’s initial success.”

“Eric expertly represented the Town of Oyster Bay on all things environmental and always had the public interest at heart,” says Kyle Rabin, program director with the GRACE Communications Foundation and former executive director of Friends of the Bay. “He will be missed. I am relieved to know that he will remain engaged in local and regional issues. I wish Eric the very best in his future endeavors.”

I have found Eric to have an incredible knowledge of the local environment.  He was a valued advisor to Friends of the Bay’s Watershed Action Plan.   His sense of humor became infamous – especially for those of us working with him on the CESSPOOL project.   I echo Jane Jackson of the North Shore Land Alliance, who characterized Eric as “a fountain of information about things that I don’t think anyone else knows!  So he’s been the idea go-to guy for all kinds of reasons, not least of which is his untiring support for us and so many local organizations working to preserve the beauty and quality of our natural areas.”

Fortunately, Eric will continue to be involved with the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee, which works closely with the Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor.  ‘Eric has been a hard-working public servant, dedicated to protecting the local environment. We’ve been fortunate to have Eric working in the Town of Oyster Bay all of these years. He has been eager to collaborate with others in finding ways to facilitate programs for environmental conservation.”  said Carol Di Paolo, the Coalition’s Executive Director.

True to his nature, Eric did not want a retirement party focused on him. Instead, he requested that the party serve as a fundraiser for the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District, which has seen its funding from Nassau County cut to unsustainable levels.  He asked that rather than having a gift, that all the money raised at the party go to the Soil and Water District. This shows his true nature – to think of the environment and others first.