Reaching for Audubon Sustainability in Red Hook
A series of special housings for art installations is planned along the network of paths that links villages and the Annandale campus. These structures are being crafted locally and feature rotating works of art, signage, and informational brochures. They are the start of a storytelling tradition that will bind the values of the area with sustainability as part of a plan by community members to certify Red Hook as an Audubon Sustainable Community.
The Audubon International Sustainable Communities Program is an international, science-based, third-party certification program in which communities work to align their sustainability efforts with Audubon’s themes: healthy environment, quality of life, and economic vitality.
The Audubon Committee is a group of volunteers from Red Hook Together, a community group that includes representatives from nonprofits, businesses, educational institutions, and sustainability committees, as well as members of Bard CCE and the Office of Sustainability. The committee works to coordinate outreach activities with the goal of realizing sustainability goals that honor Red Hook’s unique character. For two years, and through the pandemic, the Audubon Committee has listened, interviewed, brainstormed, and surveyed community members to identify community needs, like housing, safety, resources, public health, and more.
Members of the working group include Laurie Husted of the Red Hook Conservation Advisory Council, Dawn Jardine of the Red Hook Library, Sara Ugolini of the Red Hook Community Center, Nick Ascienzo of the Ascienzo Family Foundation, Kim McGrath Gomez of the Red Hook Chamber of Commerce, Erin Cannan and Sarah deVeer of the Bard Center for Civic Engagement, Sarah Imboden (volunteer, Tivoli), and Anna Dolen (volunteer, Red Hook High School alumna). The group has met on a weekly basis as it moves through the various phases of the Audubon certification.
“As a student studying the environment, community and international development, and green building and community design,” said Anna Dolen, “working with Audubon International and this inspiring group of volunteers has been an incredible peek into each of these topics within the community that I grew up in... I’ve grown an understanding of how complex and interconnected Red Hook truly is.”
For the final step in the certification process, the Audubon committee focused on two major economic drivers for the town of Red Hook: agriculture and education, set within the values that represent Red Hook’s history, such as the preservation of green space; preservation of historic sites as public spaces; and the close relationship between the Hudson Valley and the arts.
Enter the Art Box Project, which combines reverence for the sanctity of the local environment with an appreciation for the artisanship and creativity of community members, including those from the Bard College community.
“This project has provided a real opportunity for learning about all the ways Red Hook -- including the villages of Red Hook and Tivoli, and Bard, all the parts of the town -- has worked to build a sustainable community,” said Sarah Imboden. “Not just environmental policies and projects, but a variety of community-building work.
“[T]here is still a lot to work on,” Imboden said, “and that's exciting.”
Post Date: 04-13-2021