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Awards Ceremony on Monday, August 11 at Bethel Woods

August 4, 2008

[BETHEL] – A team of judges from outside SullivanCounty will review this year’s Sullivan Renaissance projects on Saturday, August 9 and Sunday, August 10 before selecting winners in three community beautification categories.  They will also recognize projects with 12 special awards for excellence for environmental stewardship, historical preservation, project maintenance and showings of flowers, made possible by business and corporate sponsors.


The 11 judges include individuals with horticultural, planning and community expertise: 

·         Ted Blowes – Communities in Bloom, Stratford, Ontario, Canada; National Chairman of the Communities in Bloom Program in Canada; has been a Renaissance judge since the program began in 2001. 

·         Birgitta Brophy – Assistant Professor in the Landscape Contracting Program at SUNY Delhi since 1997; and landscape architectural consultant to private clients and municipalities for public projects including "Main Street" revitalization studies/designs and landscape master plans.

·         Nicola Coddington – Executive Director of New York Interfaith Power & Light; serves on Governor Paterson's Renewable Energy Task Force; Deputy Mayor, Irvington; former Conservation Chair, Garden Club of Irvington.

·         Nicole Franzese – Director of Delaware County Planning Department since 2000 (with department since 1990); provides technical assistance on comprehensive plans, main street revitalization, zoning review, grant writing, SEQRA compliance, watershed management issues.

·         Manna Jo Greene Clearwater’s Environmental Action Director since 2000; formerly recycling coordinator/educator for Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency; lifelong environmental professional and community activist; serves on Rosendale Town Council.

·         Mary Lewis – Founder and principal of Barncroft, a garden design firm; Chair of Zone III 2008 Annual Meeting of the Garden Clubs of America; Past President of Orange and Dutchess Garden Club; a CornellUniversity graduate, she studies botanical art and illustration at New YorkBotanical Garden.

·         Mike Pogue – Senior forester for Region 3 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, where he manages state and public lands, and works on urban forestry; lives in Cornwall.

·         Karen Schneller-McDonald – Ecologist and wetland specialist; Hickory Creek Consulting LLC, Red Hook; provides natural resources planning, wetlands identification, and environmental impact assessment services to municipalities and on a project-specific basis.

·         Tim Stoddard – Has a design degree and lived in Western Europe for years where he pursued an interest in architecture and landscape design; works on projects for the federal government, corporations, community and private homes; lives on the JerseyShore and heads his community Beautification and Landscape Committee.

·         Deborah Sweeton – President and co-owner of Techni-Growers Greenhouses Inc.; published two books in the Common Sense Gardener series; past OFA board member; chairs Cornell Floriculture Advisory Committee; co-chaired Warwick in Bloom when it won America in Bloom in 2004; won 1st and 2nd prize in 2007 Kathy Puhfal container competition at Cornell University.

·         Michael Sweeton – General manager/marketing director for Techni-Growers with clientele that includes the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens; holds degrees in chemical engineering and marketing; NYS Certified Nursery Professional; is also Town of Warwick Supervisor, and serves on Orange County Citizens Foundation Board and the Orange County Planning Board.


Projects are judged for aesthetic improvement, collaboration, youth involvement, permanence and an ability to be maintained.  Twelve communities judged the most successful in completing their projects will receive second-round awards between $1000 and $10,000.  The Golden Feather Grant of $50,000, obtained by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, will go to one of five large community development projects.  All participants that finish will receive completion grants.


Major funding for community development projects comes through a $75,000 grant secured by NYS Senator John Bonacic.  Sponsorships have also been provided by WSUL/WVOS for Category A projects and by Bold Gold Media Group/Thunder 102 for Category B projects.


Winning projects will be announced at the Sullivan Renaissance Awards Ceremony on Monday, August 11.  Doors for the celebration at BethelWoodsCenter for the Arts in Bethel, NY open at 7:00 p.m.  Entertainment will be by Somerville.  Refreshments will be available.  Bottled water has been donated by Leisure Time Spring Water.  The awards program begins at 7:45 p.m.


Certificates will also be given to 15 communities that participated in the mini-grant effort and to 21 school groups as part of the “Spruce Up Your School” program.  Ten environmental demonstration projects, 25 municipal cleanup projects, and three seasonal demonstration grants will also be acknowledged.  And 25 young people will be recognized for participating in a gardening internship program where they learned horticulture while assisting Renaissance projects.  Scholarship awards for volunteers will be announced by SCCC Foundation and by Sullivan Renaissance.


Sullivan Renaissance is a beautification and community development program principally funded by the Gerry Foundation.  For information about Sullivan Renaissance, contact 845-295-2445 or