Olga Trushina

SEEDS (Sustainable Energy and Education Development Support) is pleased to announce Olga Trushina as its new Executive Director.

SEEDS is a non-profit environmental education organization based in Honesdale, and serving northeastern Pennsylvania, promoting sustainable energy and sustainable living.

Trushina, of Hawley, brings more than a decade of professional experience in energy and sustainability disciplines through the lens of accounting, ratemaking, policy, and communications.

Most recently, Trushina specialized in energy related consulting and content development for individual companies, highlighting their sustainability efforts, translating complex information into user-friendly materials and recommending policies and best practices for sustainability initiatives. Previously, she served as an auditor with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), ensuring compliance of jurisdictional companies in the wholesale electric power, natural gas pipeline, and oil pipeline industries.

“Olga’s background in the energy and sustainability sectors is a perfect fit for SEEDS as we embark on the goals recently set in our Strategic Plan,” said SEEDS Chair, Katharine Dodge. “Our Board of Directors is looking forward to working with Olga as we continue to empower sustainable communities.”

Trushina earned a Master’s degree in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Policy from Penn State and a B.A. in Public Accounting from The City University of New York. Her expertise and interests include energy and sustainability technologies, community resilience, and strengthening and empowering families. She also enjoys snowboarding, hiking and biking with her family and is an avid history buff.

 “I am so grateful for this opportunity to give back to our community—a place that’s rich in history, natural resources, wonderful people and big ideas,” said Trushina. “I am committed to strengthening our community’s resilience as the world moves toward automation and faces new environmental challenges. I truly believe small improvements add up to big progress.” 

For more information about SEEDS, visit www.SeedsGroup.net; email Olga@SeedsGroup.net or call (570) 245–1256.

SEEDS Annual DIY Solar Workshop

At the heart of every thriving community are the connections we make—among those who share our lives, our love of the beautiful region we call home, and who share our commitment to working together in support of a sustainable future here. 

SEEDS (Sustainable Energy Education and Development Support) has spent its first decade focused on providing people the tools to empower personal change. By continuing to expand such opportunities, the potential for positive choices and actions will multiply.

Our small but effective non-profit organization has done valuable work over the past decade in support of energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable living in our communities. But we haven’t done it alone.

We deeply appreciate having shared these good efforts with many individuals and community businesses, working side by side to empower others with the knowledge and tools to create the potential for truly transformative outcomes. In this once-a-year outreach, we are asking for your financial support to help us to continue this important work.

SEEDS has come a long way since its founding in 2008—and it could not have happened without people like you. For the past decade, our organization has sown and nurtured numerous projects in support of a more sustainable future for all who live here—the people, the plants and animals with whom we share our lives, as well as the natural resources that support us.

SEEDS Plans for Its Second Decade

As SEEDS entered its second decade in 2019, we launched a strategic planning process (http://seedsgroup.net/seeds-strategic-plan/) to sharpen the organization’s focus while exploring fresh projects to expand its outreach and to connect with new friends in the communities we serve. During this time, SEEDS maintained its established events while forging ahead with new initiatives to lay the groundwork for fresh growth.

Some 2019 SEEDS Highlights:

• The 8th Annual Free Book Swap received well-deserved recognition with a 2019 Environmental Partnership Award from the NEPA Environmental Partners in celebration of working together to get big jobs done for the benefit of the environment and our communities.

• SEEDS partnered with the Wayne Conservation District to host a highly successful Bus Tour of 5 Wayne County Farms, educating the public about the importance of local agriculture to our region’s sustainability. SEEDS also established a new Sustainable Food Circle to promote local foods and farming.

Calkins Creamery was one of the stops on the Wayne County Farm Tour

• SEEDS actively promoted an initiative that came to fruition when the Wayne County Commissioners adopted the C-PACE program (Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy) in support of our regional business community and its clean energy options. We also educated key officials about the benefits of Community Solar Legislation in collaboration with the Pike Wayne Conservation Partnership.

• SEEDS supported our local waterways by assisting with the Lackawaxen River Cleanup hosted by Here and Now Brewing. Four dumpsters of trash were removed from our beautiful river.

• SEEDS awarded the fourth $1,000 annual scholarship in memory of Michael “Jake” Burkhardt to Phoebe Cykosky, a graduate of Wallenpaupack Area High School.

• In collaboration with the Chamber of the Northern Poconos, SEEDS selected The Car Wash on Rt 6, in Hawley, PA as the recipient of the 2019 Green Business Award honoring its green initiatives.

• SEEDS held its annual DIY solar workshop, a battery storage forum, promoted electric vehicles (EVs) and renewable energy at two public events, helped launch local EV charging stations, partnered in the second NEPA Green Fair, gave guided trail walks, organized local authors talks and more.

• SEEDS launched “SEEDS Reads,” a community outreach program promoting the joy of reading while educating people of all ages about the importance of care and stewardship of our natural resources. The program includes a book club focused on titles related to our mission as well as establishing Little Free Libraries in our local communities.

SEEDS Reads!

We hope all this inspires you to provide the financial support needed for continued growth.

Your gift is crucial to SEEDS. Our lean but mighty organization achieves its mission on a very conservative budget. With your donation, we can do even more to make a difference—here in OUR communities.

SEEDS raises more than half of its general operating budget with this one annual fundraising initiative. We don’t like to waste resources and burden you with lots of mail. Please help SEEDS to continue its history of efficient and effective action by making your donation today. Be assured that we’ll put your gift to good use toward creating the kind of future in which we can all thrive.

It’s not too late to lend your support! Please take a moment now to make an online donation by clicking on the DONATE TODAY button at top right on the SEEDS homepage at www.SeedsGroup.net . Or mail your check (made payable to “SEEDS”) to SEEDS, 1030 Main Street, Honesdale, PA 18431. Make a one-time donation or select a monthly sustaining amount. Thank you from all of us at SEEDS!!


It takes a large group of hard-working volunteers and generous support from the community to pull off the highly successful annual Free Book Swap–a collaborative effort providing a sustainable outlet for repurposing mass quantities of books. Now in its 8th year, the event was recognized with a 2019 Environmental Partnership Award from the Northeast PA Environmental Partners.

SEEDS (Sustainable Energy Education and Development Support) recently celebrated the most successful Free Book Swap in the event’s 8-year-history. Conducted at the Park Street Complex in Honesdale, PA, the cherished community event achieved its highest numbers ever.

More than 22,000 books were donated, sorted into multiple categories and made available—at no charge—to hundreds of readers who thronged the tables for treasures.

Over 12,000 books were rehomed and will be enjoyed by people of all ages from Wayne and Pike counties in Pennsylvania, and Sullivan County in New York. Books that were not taken home were shipped to Better World Books to be donated across the globe.

Many of those in attendance commented that it is one of their favorite events of the year and they look forward to it every fall.

The number of titles and genre of books was truly impressive and patrons left with overflowing bags. The event, coordinated by Jenna Wayne Mauder of NaturEd and SEEDS, promotes sustainability, recycling, literacy and a sense of community.

The popular event has grown every year and would not be possible without the outstanding support of many dedicated volunteers and community sponsors, including the Wayne County Bar Association, PPL Foundation, Brookfield Energy, Frey-Fetsock Funeral Home, Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, Honesdale National Bank, Farm Arts Collective, Cooperage Project, Platform Industries, Karen and Charles Lutz, Jeanne and Grant Genzlinger and Melissa Bell.

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Executive Director Search

SEEDS Seeks Part-time Executive Director for Environmental Non-Profit in Wayne County, PA

SEEDS (Sustainable Energy Education and Development Support) announces its search for an Executive Director to fill the position currently held by Sandy Long. Due to family medical needs that have escalated unexpectedly, Long has found it necessary to step down.

“SEEDS is a highly effective organization with a decade of inspiring results that have forged the path for a more sustainable future in the Upper Delaware region,” said Long. “While I truly regret having to make this decision, my family’s situation requires my increased attention.”

The Executive Director (ED) will support SEEDS and its mission of promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable living. “While we are deeply sorry about the family circumstances that are drawing Sandy away from this position” said SEEDS Chair Kathy Dodge, “we look forward to continued progress on the recently adopted strategic plan under a new ED. The new ED will benefit significantly from the excellent work that Sandy has done for SEEDS.”

The part-time ED is responsible for overseeing the administration of the non-profit organization and its fundraising, and reports directly to SEEDS’ volunteer Board of Directors. The ED engages in community programming and implementing the strategic direction of the organization.

Qualifications:

  • Transparent and high integrity leadership
  • Understanding and passion for sustainability, sustainable energy and energy efficiency
  • Experience managing and successfully completing projects
  • Experience working with a volunteer-driven organization
  • Experience budgeting, grant-writing, fundraising, and fiscal planning
  • Excellent written and verbal skills; strong public speaking skills
  • Experience with print, radio, online, and social media
  • Strong leadership and team-building skills; able to work independently
  • Experience collaborating with other organizations and inspiring and mobilizing volunteers
  • Degree in social sciences, environmental sciences, journalism, humanities or other related field is strongly preferred, as this position is the public face of a reputable community benefit organization.

The part-time position (20 hours per week) offers a salary range of $16,000 – $20,000, based on experience, flexible work hours, and some telecommuting hours. The SEEDS office is in Honesdale, PA, in The Cooperage.

To apply, please send cover letter, resume and concise writing sample by January 17, 2020, to Board Chair, Kathy Dodge, at kathy@seedsgroup.net. SEEDS is an equal opportunity employer.

For more information call 570-245-1256.

Let the sun shine! And learn how to store its energy!!

When you think of renewable energy, solar energy probably comes to mind. But once renewable energy is produced, we have to either use it immediately or save it for later. Batteries have become a great form of energy storage which can be installed at your home and work.

Come to hear industry professionals discuss and answer questions about how you can harness the sun at the SEEDS workshop, “How to Store the Sun for your Home or Business” on Tuesday, October 22, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, at the Park Street Complex, in Honesdale, PA.

During “How to Store the Sun for your Home or Business” three expert presenters will cover current and emerging technologies, and practical applications.

Daniel Friberg, Sr Vice President of Engineering at Eos Energy Storage, a Zinc-Hybrid battery manufacturer, will discuss different applications for energy storage, including battery energy storage, and advantages and disadvantages of the available technologies.

Friberg is Sr. Vice President of Engineering at Eos Energy Storage, a Zinc-Hybrid battery manufacturer headquartered in Edison, NJ. In this role he is responsible for system design, engineering and integration of Eos Aurora Battery System. He has a strong technical background in battery integration, inverter technology, control systems and electrical engineering, with more than 25 years of experience working for leading electrical engineering companies such as ABB and Parker-Hannifin prior to joining Eos in 2017. Friberg has been working in the power electronics and grid integration business for more than fifteen years with focus on Energy Storage, and power quality applications. His engineering teams have designed, integrated and successfully deployed more than 300 megawatts of battery storage systems worldwide.

Andrew Drewchin, Founder of Gincgo, a Wilkes-Barre, PA firm building software for the renewable energy industry, will discuss the role of microgrids in our current energy economy and how they will become more common in the near future. Microgrids are independent energy systems that can disconnect from their electric utility without losing power. They are used by hospitals, college campuses, and US military bases. Although microgrids still rely on fossil fuels to produce power, as the technology continues to develop, fully renewable microgrids are beginning to shake up the market.

Since 2014, Drewchin has been working deeply within the renewable energy industry. Starting in sales, he quickly found himself working in an administrative role for Level Solar, New York’s largest residential installer at the time. He advanced to Director of Business Development for Inhabit Solar, which specialized in electric vehicle charging solar carports. It is there that he gained a deep appreciation for how renewable energy can be used to create hyper- resilient energy systems, such as microgrids, for homes, businesses, and transportation. Andrew now runs his own company, Gincgo.

Jim Sanders, a retired manufacturing manager who has a passion for renewable energy, will talk about the Tesla Powerwalls installed in his family’s 100% solar powered home. Sanders will present photos of the installation and a description of how the system works, as well as the reasons for choosing a battery backup instead of a generator.

Sanders and his wife, Pat, have installed geothermal heating in their home, and have grid tied solar panels powering all of their household needs, including their electric car. They have recently also installed two Tesla Powerwalls in lieu of a generator to serve as backup in case of power failure. Jim serves as a volunteer for SEEDS doing solar assessments and home energy consultations.

For more information, call (570) 245–1256 or email SEEDS Executive Director Sandy Long at Sandy@SeedsGroup.net. Suggested $10 donation at the door.

SEEDS Burkhardt Scholarship recipient, Phoebe Cykosky (front row center) stands surrounded by SEEDS Board members and Phoebe’s parents at the August board meeting.

SEEDS has issued its $1000 scholarship in memory of Michael “Jake” Burkhardt to Phoebe Cyckosky, a 2019 graduate of the Wallenpaupack Area High School District. The scholarship honors the memory of Jake, Western Wayne Class of 2015, who loved life, his family, his community and the environment and worked with SEEDS as a high school student.

Phoebe was selected for her winning essay on the following topic:

“In what ways does our consumption of non-renewable energy sources affect the health and well-being of the Earth and its lifeforms? How does developing “clean” energy alternatives contribute to a more sustainable future? What practices have you seen in your community that indicate we’re going in the right or wrong direction? What information would you provide to educate people? What tools and strategies would you employ to accomplish this, both locally and beyond?”

Entries were reviewed by a panel of SEEDS volunteers based on the responsiveness to the topic, the persuasiveness, logic, and cohesiveness of the ideas presented, and other criteria such as proper grammar.

Phoebe and her parents, Dawn and Ed Cykosky, attended a recent SEEDS board meeting to express their gratitude for the scholarship. Board members took great pleasure in meeting this promising young woman and wishing her well in her studies at Penn State University.

Phoebe’s essay can be read in full here:

“Even though we live in an increasingly environmentally-friendly world, there are still many practices that people across the globe continue to partake in that will affect the future. The use of non-renewable resources only emits harmful residue into the atmosphere and negatively impacts the local wildlife. However, if we take the initiative now to change our actions, we can take steps to not only creating a sustainable future but allowing one to exist. The initial step of progress is education because without it, people would not realize the severity of the problem. Through various sustainability methods, local and even, global practices can be altered to further preserve our environment.

Knowing the dangers and effects of nonrenewable resources can encourage many to alter their energy sources. Our atmosphere and ozone layer are being directly affected by fossil fuel processing. Without the ozone layer, our exposure to greater levels of the sun’s radiation would increase because of the greenhouse gases released into the air. After the fossil fuel to energy conversion, sulfur is given off into the air creating acid rain. Local ecosystems cannot handle this unnatural exposure and can begin to deteriorate (Stefan). On land, fossil fuel containment areas can malfunction and pollute their designated areas upon bursting. At the Kingston Fossil Plant in Tennessee in 2008, a containment area accidentally released 5.4 million cubic yards of sludge causing significant damage for local homeowners and again, the atmosphere (Stefan). Oil rigs are prone to the risk of spilling, which causes chaos to the ocean’s shores and wildlife. These spills kill or severely injure local animals and plants, and they fill the ocean with foreign chemicals the ecosystem cannot handle. Even locally, the issue of fracking has increased because of its negative effects on the environment. In places near our homes, drill sites are releasing hazardous chemicals into the air and waterways. Over time, all of these nonrenewable resources deteriorate the well-being of the ecosystems entirely. Air pollution leads to negative effects on our respiratory health, and one study expressed how that pollution shortens almost 24,000 lives per year in the United States, let alone the world as a whole (“Benefits of Renewable Energy Use.”). Neurological damage, heart attacks, cancer, premature death, and more problems are at the hands of nonrenewable energies (Healy, Noel, et al.). Without developing cleaner alternatives, this pattern will only increase, become “the norm”, and eventually, destroy our planet.

Using renewable resources such as wind turbines and solar panels can aid in creating a more sustainable future. Our future is dependent on our actions because it is predicted that we only have twelve years before our actions become irreversible. Wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and biomass are all renewable energy resources that can be used instead of fossil fuels. These resources help decrease the spread of global warming because they do not produce the high amount of global warming emissions that coal and natural gas do. Twenty-nine percent of the world’s global warming emissions are generated from the United States’ electricity sector; however, a study from the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory predicts that eighty percent of the country’s electricity could be from renewable resources by 2050 which would reduce the global warming emissions by eighty-one percent (Stefan). By reducing our carbon footprint, we have a better chance of creating a sustainable future.

Within my own community and region, I have seen various indications that show that we are going in both the right and wrong directions. For example, a few years ago, Wallenpaupack Area School District made the switch to the use of geothermal energy throughout its campus in Hawley. Even though it was expensive, the district prioritized benefiting the environment especially in a lake region. On the contrary, throughout Pennsylvania, fracking sites for the extraction of natural gas have increased. There are now 7,788 active wells throughout the state even though the extraction impacts not only the land at the drill site, but many other things within a sixty mile radius such as ecosystems and overall health (Amico, Chris, et al.). Several years ago, a decision was made to eliminate the free recycling bins in the parking lot at one of our local grocery stores. Since then, recycling prices were raised, which caused a significant decrease in the amount of recycling in our local areas. These signs are red flags for trying to create a sustainable future at the local level.

Without the knowledge of where our planet is going, people would be unaware that they need to make changes within their own lives. Through the use of local television and radio advertisements, people should be informed of what global warming is doing to the planet and  what they can do to do their part. The mass media outlets have the largest impact on lives today; therefore, partnering with at least one station could spread the message of making environmentally-friendly decisions. If people are given an ultimatum of if they do not make progressive changes in their life, the planet will deteriorate, they will begin to make adjustments. It does not take a lot of effort to reduce your own carbon footprint, but we cannot do it alone. Our goal will be impossible to accomplish without the support of lawmakers at the local level and up. Many environmental protection organizations are hidden in the shadows of big corporations who have better control of what laws are passed. If enough people unite with one common goal and make a petition to the regulations such as on fracking, then our voice will be heard. Increased funding to the Environmental Protection Agency and more organizations with similar goals is a necessity to providing the best possible chance of a sustainable future.

In conclusion, the planet is indisposed and needs us. Nonrenewable energies are one of the leading causes of our planet’s deterioration. Even our health is at risk because of these dangerous resources being blatantly used in everyday life. By making a positive change to reducing our carbon footprint, we will be able to sustain life on our planet. By implementing laws and restrictions on corporations that put our planet at risk, we will impact the environment at not only the local level but even the world. We all know the phrase “it’s a small world after all”, but if we do not take the right steps toward environmental protection, there will be no world after all.”

SEEDS entered its second decade in 2019 with a Strategic Planning process launched in January. Attend the Annual Membership Meeting on September 17 to learn more and to check out our Electric Vehicle and Solar Device Displays!

SEEDS to Reveal New Initiatives and More at Annual Membership Meeting on Tuesday • September 17 • 5:30 pm • The Cooperage, 1030 Main Street, Honesdale PA.

Have you been wondering what SEEDS has been up to since entering its second decade in 2019? Find out at the upcoming Annual Membership Meeting! All are welcome, from current members to the curious. Come and learn the latest as SEEDS embraces its own sustainability.

• Learn about the status of the Draft Strategic Plan launched in January

• Hear about new initiatives from the folks spearheading fresh organizational growth

• Talk to SEEDS volunteers to find your fit with the region’s decade-long leader of sustainability initiatives

• Check out our Electric Vehicle Display and talk to the owners

• Explore an array of interesting items in our Solar Device Display

• Win one of several great door prizes, ranging from energy efficiency kits and solar devices to locally grown and prepared food items!

Healthy and delicious food from the Mustard Seed Café will be available for purchase.

Doors, Electric Vehicle Display and Cafe open at 5:30 p.m.

Program begins at 6:00 pm. and will include a brief business session.

Please RSVP at https://forms.gle/A8HjDBzxDcy3BvEs9  (to help determine food quantities) or call (570) 245–1256 or email Sandy@SeedsGroup.net. (Food purchase not required).

Local authors Doug Bill and John Harvey will participate in a panel discussion moderated by SEEDS Executive Director, Sandy Long at the Milford Readers and Writers Festival on September 22 at Grey Towers National Historic Site.

Experience the beauty and healing that can be found within the natural world at the program, “Seeing the Forest Through the Trees: Finding Deeper Meaning in Nature,” on Sunday, September 22, from 1-3 pm, at Grey Towers National Historic Site, Milford, PA.

This free panel discussion and optional field excursion with authors John Harvey and Doug Bill is part of the Milford Readers & Writers Festival. Co-sponsored by Pike/Wayne Conservation Partnership and the US Forest Service at Grey Towers, with support from the Grey Towers Heritage Association, the program will be moderated by Sandy Long, Executive Director of SEEDS.

Grey Towers hosts public programs that help carry forward the conservation legacy of Gifford Pinchot, founder of the US Forest Service and two-term Governor of Pennsylvania.

John Harvey, author of The Stillness of the Living Forest: A Year of Listening and Learning, is a naturalist and consulting psychologist whose years of experience helped him to appreciate the healing potential of a nature connection. He completed a year-long commitment to sit an hour each week in the same spot in the woods. As he settled into his routine of visiting his “sit spot” and fully engaging his senses, rich and illuminating experiences began to unfold.

Doug Bill’s work is focused on bringing a profound, spiritual truth into a hectic world. During the early 1970s, he traveled to India and Nepal, where deeply moving experiences in overcrowded villages, along with later advanced studies in psychology and spirituality, awakened him to the oneness of all life. Those experiences planted the seeds for his book Living the Namaste Principle, which outlines his quest to awaken, access, and embody the awareness of the divinity within.

Following the panel discussion, Harvey and Bill will lead an optional field excursion that will include a brief sensory-based meditative experience and a Wander Walk. It is a unique opportunity for festival goers to interact with the authors and gain new insights into what informs their writing.

The program will be held rain or shine; dress for the weather and with appropriate footwear for uneven terrain. Light refreshments will be served and pre-registration is appreciated at 570-296- 9630 or greytowers.org.

For more information about the Milford Readers & Writers Festival
visit milfordreadersandwriters.com.

Discover the NEW Habitat Room at the Wayne Conservation District Office, when the 3D mural is revealed!  This is an experience to be seen, touched and enjoyed by all! See the exquisite beauty of the four seasons in our region. Special points if you can spot the solar panels!

SEEDS Board Member (and former Chairperson) Kathy Dodge has given generously of her time and talents with fellow artist Helena Guindon to make this display unforgettable! Both artists will be present to talk about the project.

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Come Check It Out!

Date: January 13, 2017
Time: 4:00 PM  7:00 PM EST
Event Description:
Visit our NEW habitat room and take a journey through the seasons! Discover the native plants and animals throughout the hand painted mural! Meet the talented artists – Kathy Dodge and Helena Guindon.
Enjoy – Refreshments, Kid’s Crafts and Fun Activities
Location:
Park Street Complex
648 Park Street Honesdale
570-253-0930
Date/Time Information:
Friday, January 13th 4-7pm