President’s Message – Fall 2014

President’s Fall 2014 Letterby Cliff Hagen

Our Members Are Active Participants in Our Work.  There’s muscle to your membership in Protectors.

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods proudly speaks for our membership before Community Boards,  City Council and in the court of public opinion. Protectors understands that not everyone has the time or energy to advocate for the preservation of open space. Not everyone has the wherewithal to argue for the enforcement of environmental protections afforded by law. Not everyone can parse the language of zoning laws and regulations to make sense of proposed developments. But everyone can recommit to their membership in Protectors of Pine Oak Woods. Each of us,  whether encumbered by work,  childcare or issues of health and wellness, can share our pride in Protectors and encourage others to join our organization.
Protectors’ members can take ownership of our participation in Borough President Oddo’s Island in Motion campaign. This summer, members of Protectors’ Board of Directors met with the Borough President and his staff. We acknowledged our common goals and agreed to encourage our members and neighbors to venture outdoors. For a listing of outdoor activities, you can find Protectors’ free walk schedule listed on the Borough President’s web site (http://www.statenislandusa.com/events.html ) as well as in our newsletter and on our web site (http://siprotectors.org/events.html ).

You, as a member of Protectors of Pine Oak Woods, have worked to influence the West Shore Business Improvement District (WS-BID), the cornerstone of the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation’s (SIEDC) plan to redevelop the open, vacant lands along our west shore. With plans to widen roads, dig sewers and “restore” healthy tidal marshes, SIEDC has collaborated with the NYC Department of City Planning, Staten Island Chamber of Commerce and City Council to design a West Shore Business Improvement District with little consideration for environmental impacts. SIEDC refused to involve NYC Department of Parks and Recreation in the planning. But you, as a member of Protectors, have pushed SIEDC into a working relationship with NYC Parks regarding the WS-BID.
As a member of Protectors of Pine Oak Woods, you will be with us as we struggle against government efforts to use mapped wetlands and State Park Preserve property to construct service roads for the West Shore Expressway. Protectors questions the paving of West Shore service roads through wetlands and State Park Preserve property on the heels of a $15 million ramp improvement project designed to alleviate pressures on local traffic in the area.

Lastly, as a member of Protectors of Pine Oak Woods, you have been sponsoring Island teenagers attending the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Camps for more than twenty years. You have continued working to relieve local trees of strangling vines for nearly seventeen years. You help to offer free walks nearly every weekend of the year. You, as a member of Protectors of Pine Oak Woods, put thought into action. You take part in making Staten Island a better, safer, healthier place to live. You are a member of Protectors of Pine Oak Woods.

—Cliff Hagen