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Introducing Riverkeeper’s new Community Partnerships Program

Rebecca Pryor

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Over the past six months, we have been working diligently to reimagine our service to the Hudson River and its 13,400 square miles of watershed – with grassroots partners at the forefront.

The brand-new Community Partnership program sets out to focus its efforts geographically. With partners in New York City, the Lower and Mid-Hudson Valley and the Upriver and Mohawk regions, our team is geared up to:

  • Identify, activate and support collectives of environmental organizers and watershed wide coalitions;
  • Foster the development of local and watershed-wide visions for remediation, restoration, recreation and resilience, through planning, visioning and policy work;
  • Support legislation, budgetary and regulatory policies for drinking water protection, to reduce pollution and to support wildlife and habitat restoration within the Hudson River watershed.

Civics is a unique and key component of our work in order to support communities in developing strategies using state and local protections, from SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act) and NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) to local comprehensive plans and zoning, and wherever possible, developing or reforming legislation from the ground on up to state and federal levels.

In the midst of great challenges throughout the Hudson River watershed, now is an important time to connect. We look forward to meeting you and to sharing our progress as we grow.

Director of the Community Partnerships Program
Rebecca Martin

Contact: rmartin (at) riverkeeper (dot) org

Captain John Lipscomb and Rebecca Martin

As a seasoned community organizer, Rebecca is the Director of Community Partnerships providing leadership and support for Riverkeeper’s campaigns throughout the Hudson River watershed. She is skilled at managing a team of advocates, and collaborating with numerous partners, including community members, environmental and community organizations, legislative bodies, and government agencies. Through these efforts, Rebecca plays an important role in achieving Riverkeeper’s goals related to justice, equity, diversity, inclusion and the long-term sustainability of Hudson River Watershed communities, the environment and economy. In addition, Rebecca currently covers advocacy work throughout the Lower & Mid-Hudson Valley region.

“I have been honored to be a part of Riverkeeper’s 55-year history when I came to the organization in 2017,” Martin said. “In my new role with a team of talented advocates, I look forward to nurturing our relationships and building new ones and developing systems to protect the Hudson River and drinking water supplies.”

Hudson River Watershed Project Manager
Chrissy Remein

Contact: cremein (at) riverkeeper (dot) org

Chrissy Remein

Through visioning and science, the Hudson River Watershed Project Manager is charged with developing, stewarding, and managing Hudson River watershed grant funded projects and policy advocacy. The work involves pilot, restoration, community and space planning and vision projects, and specific policy solutions that support communities and Riverkeeper’s mission to protect and restore the Hudson River.

“Working to foster environmental resilience in NYC with Riverkeeper has been a joy. I am thrilled to expand this work to the Hudson River Watershed.”

Senior Manager of Government Affairs
Jeremy Cherson

Contact: jcherson (at) riverkeeper (dot) org
Twitter: @jeremycherson1

Jeremy Cherson

The Senior Manager of Government Affairs is responsible for Riverkeeper’s legislative agenda, strategy and relationships with New York State state and federal elected officials to further Riverkeeper’s advocacy priorities that protect the Hudson River and its watershed communities.

“I’m thrilled to serve in this new role in the Community Partnerships program at Riverkeeper.” said Cherson. “Our partners in the state and federal government have a responsibility to protect the Hudson River and communities’ drinking water. My new role as Senior Manager of Government Affairs will help ensure the government is engaged and officials are held accountable.”

NYC Civics & Community Stewardship Manager
Rebecca Pryor

Contact: rpryor (at) riverkeeper (dot) org

Photo by Walter Wlodarczyk

The NYC Civics and Community Stewardship Manager will identify grassroots stewardship partners, historic and emerging environmental injustices, policies that correct these injustices and coalitions that will further these policies. The manager will develop strategic solutions in collaboration with grassroots stewards and environmental organizers that include, but are not limited to, civic engagement, policy strategy, land use visioning, coalition building, grant writing and organizational development in an effort to sustain their work and advance Riverkeeper’s goals.

“It’s rewarding to be able to build off of Riverkeeper’s NYC-based work with a greater focus on community organizing and civic engagement,” said Pryor. “Modeled after our approach to supporting Guardians of Flushing Bay, my new role will continue to sustain and develop environmental justice-focused grassroots advocacy and community stewardship throughout NYC.”

Upriver / Mohawk Civics & Community Stewardship Coordinator
Jen Benson

Contact: jbenson (at) riverkeeper (dot) org

Jen Benson

For the first time in its history, Riverkeeper is investing in an Upriver/Mohawk River Civics and Community Stewardship Coordinator to advance Riverkeeper’s campaign and policy work, and provide support to a broad range of grassroots community advocates and municipal leaders, particularly in communities that are historically disempowered or overburdened by environmental harms, to organize and convene to address issues in the upper Hudson River watershed.

[Read: Reflecting on Riverkeeper Sweep – and its model for community partnership by Jen Benson]

“I’m looking forward to spending time listening to communities in the upper and Mohawk rivers,” said Benson, “in order to learn about the current and historic threats to the watershed and municipalities, and working together to advocate for restoration, preservation, and access.”

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