Rockland Youth and Professionals Come Together to Plan for Sustainable Communities in Rockland

PRESS RELEASE
How do we create a future of economically and socially vibrant communities that we want to live and work in? How can we plan for development that addresses the critical need to conserve water, save energy, and reduce fossil fuel emissions? How can you make a difference today and into the future?

These are the questions that over 150 high school students participating in Rockland P.L.U.S. (Planning Land Use with Students) will address when they gather for the program’s culminating symposium at the HNA Palisades Premier Conference Center on Thursday, March 23, 2017. Rockland P.L.U.S. is a partnership of Columbia University Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Keep Rockland Beautiful, and Rockland Conservation & Service Corps. It is made possible with funding from lead sponsor, Suez Foundation, as well as generous support from Old York Foundation, Peoples United Community Foundation, Orange & Rockland, the Rockland Municipal Planning Federation, Rockland County, and this year’s venue host, HNA Palisades Premier Conference Center.

At the Rockland P.L.U.S Symposium, students from nine participating high schools – Albertus Magnus, Clarkstown North, Nanuet, North Rockland, Nyack, Pearl River, P-TECH, Spring Valley, Suffern – will present their visions for the redevelopment of 13 different local sites in the Rockland County-area.

Their redevelopment plans were mapped out during several classroom workshops in which the students explored the perspectives and needs of community members at different ages and stages of life. Students weighed and considered a variety of specific smart building and green infrastructure design features, while looking for ways to promote a community balance of Social Connections, Economic Opportunity and Environmental Sensitivity (S.E.E.) – to S.E.E. their community in a whole new way.

On March 23, students will gather input from more than 40 local professionals who are volunteering as mentors to provide feedback and help students consider improvements to their plans. Following these poster presentations, the students will work collaboratively in mixed school teams to apply what they’ve learned to a new redevelopment site – portions of the IRG property on the former Pfizer campus in Pearl River.

Rockland P.L.U.S. is a unique and valuable hands-on program that enhances and applies school curriculum to real-world issues in our communities. Students are given an opportunity to gain perspective from peers from across the county and a sense of empowerment after working with their mentors. The mentors benefit from hearing the perspective and ideas of the youth.

The program opens the door to a wide range of academic disciplines and professions. To learn more: http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/edu/plus/Rockland.html.