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Sleepy Hollow Woman to Make History as New Riverkeeper Leader

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September 30, 2021

By Rick Pezzullo

A Sleepy Hollow resident has been chosen to be the first woman to lead Riverkeeper, the non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection of the Hudson River and its tributaries, as well as the watersheds that provide New York City with its drinking water.

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Tracy Brown, co-founder of the Peabody Preserve Outdoor Classroom, a nature preserve for hands-on outdoor education for the students of the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns, will take over as President and Hudson Riverkeeper on November 1.

“I am excited to be returning to Riverkeeper as the next President and Hudson Riverkeeper. The formidable skills and passion of the Riverkeeper team, and the communities they partner with, give me hope for our future,” Brown said. “I have deep roots in the Hudson Valley, where I raised my children on and in the river, and I’m very concerned about the toll our changing climate is having on our ecosystems and quality of life. In my new role, I plan to lean into this moment of more widespread climate crisis awareness to mobilize the energy of the wider Riverkeeper community, to join our fight for clean renewable energy and sustainable, nature-based infrastructure.”

Brown is no stranger to Riverkeeper, having worked for the Ossining-based group for seven years before joining Save the Sound, an environmental advocacy group dedicated to protecting the land, air and water of Long Island Sound. There, she established Save the Sound’s New York office and currently serves as regional director of water protection. In this role, Brown integrated water quality monitoring, public engagement, lobbying, pollution enforcement, environmental justice, and ecological restoration projects into a holistic program for preserving and restoring Long Island Sound’s coastal ecology.

During her previous time with Riverkeeper, Brown was instrumental in developing its water quality monitoring programs between 2009 and 2014 and in its communications efforts between 2007 and 2009. Among other achievements, she was a leader of the campaign that resulted in the enactment of New York’s Sewage Pollution Right to Know Law in 2013.

In assuming the roles of President and Hudson Riverkeeper, Brown will succeed Paul Gallay, who successfully guided Riverkeeper for 11 years before stepping down on June 30, 2021 at the close of Riverkeeper’s fiscal year.

“Our board and staff are thrilled to welcome Tracy back to Riverkeeper,” said Ernest Tollerson, chair of Riverkeeper’s Board of Directors. “Her experience across so many domains – from advocacy campaigns to water quality monitoring to strategic communications to fundraising – means that she is perfectly positioned to guide us in the 21st century. We could not have asked for a more passionate, dedicated and skilled advocate for the Hudson, its tributaries, ecosystems and communities. Tracy will be the first woman to lead Riverkeeper. Her tenure marks an exciting milestone for our environmental NGO and the watershed.”

Brown is also co-chair of the Water Committee on the Westchester County Climate Crisis Task Force, and a volunteer water quality monitor for Riverkeeper since 2014.


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