Deborah Meyer DeWan is a regional environmental professional who has worked throughout the Catskills and Hudson Valley since 1989 assisting not-for-profits, government agencies and others with policy formation, environmental planning and preservation projects, as well as fundraising, communications, and strategic planning. Firmly rooted in environmental principles, at the heart of Deborah’s work is an abiding commitment to building bridges, to meaningful public participation and inclusiveness, and reaching through controversy to bring together previously contentious groups to find common cause. While serving as Scenic Hudson’s Riverfront Communities Director she co-founded the first regional alliance between environmentalists and builders known as the Hudson Valley Smart Growth Alliance. As an environmental advocate, Deborah has navigated political waterways and tenaciously protected the Hudson Valley and Catskill regions most precious assets — whether saving historic buildings on Catskill’s Main Street, stopping St. Lawrence Cement in its tracks, shaping redevelopment of riverfronts in such places as Sleepy Hollow and Kingston, or protecting the drinking water for 9 million New Yorkers while fostering environmentally sound development in upstate watershed communities.
Deborah has a longstanding involvement in water issues in the Hudson River Valley and the Catskills, and in the NYC watershed in particular. She has worked with numerous Hudson River communities promoting waterfront protection planning and was instrumental in the Esopus Creek and Schoharie Creek Inland Waterways designations. From the earliest days Deborah played a leading role in the watershed negotiations that resulted in the historic Memorandum of Agreement protecting New York City’s drinking water. She helped to design and build the Upstate-Downstate Water Quality Partnership that was foundational to that agreement, and to this day she remains involved in its implementation as the Governor’s appointee to the environmental seat on Catskill Watershed Corporation.
She currently serves as Deputy Director of the Ashokan Foundation and Director of Development & Community relations of the Ashokan Center an environmental education center whose mission it is to teach, inspire and build community through shared experience in nature, history and the arts. She has served on numerous review boards with state agencies and the Boards of several nonprofit organizations in the Catskills and Hudson Valley. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from SUNY Stony Brook and an M.S. in Environmental Studies from Bard College. A nature enthusiast, Deborah resides with her family in Ulster County at the nexus of the Catskill Park and Hudson River Valley.