April 2024 Newsletter

April 2, 2024

April 2024 Newsletter

Empowering Sustainable Communities

Message from the Chair

Maria Cohen is the New Chairperson of SEEDS Board

Hello, my name is Maria Cohen.  I have been a resident of Northeast Pennsylvania in Monroe County for about 31 years. It is a beautiful area full of caring people. I am a part-time adjunct physics professor at East Stroudsburg University and I have a strong interest in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Because of my interests I ran into SEEDS online in 2022, while I was looking for a group that would help the community and have similar interests as mine. I was so lucky to find this wonderful organization! I feel like I have found “my people.”

Since finding SEEDS, I have volunteered for the Energy Assessment Team. After training with them, I participated in several Home Energy Assessments with the TEAAM. I then volunteered to join the Energy Circle and learned there of the many projects and educational events that they support. Shortly after joining both of these groups, I was excited to volunteer to serve SEEDS as a Board Member-at-large, and I was able to attend the meetings via Zoom. I have learned so much about the history and heart of SEEDS. Because of these experiences, when asked, I accepted to be the present Chair for SEEDS. I know that the board members will help me navigate this new role as we all work together to keep SEEDS moving forward.

I am always impressed with the knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm of the SEEDS board and volunteers. We care about each other and about the communities we live in. Any project is teamwork. I am impressed by the breadth of the projects that SEEDS presents and works within, and all with volunteers who are the life blood of the organization.  I sought SEEDS out to find other people dedicated to promoting sustainability within the community, and I found an amazing network of people dedicated to supporting the principles of sustainability in local, accessible ways.

If you have not yet had the opportunity, please consider volunteering with SEEDS, we know that our membership is full of talents, knowledge, experiences, and ideas. SEEDS volunteers are the heart and treasure of this organization.  We would love to connect with you and continue to help our neighbors and our environment be the beautiful place we call home.  Visit our website and or find us on Facebook or Instagram to explore projects, learning opportunities, and other events.  Contact  info@seedsgroup.net or call (570) 245–1256 to learn more, and to share with us your interests or areas of expertise so we can connect you with a volunteer experience that can expand our organization and maybe provide the kind of experience that I had the privilege of accessing when I found SEEDS.

Upcoming Event

Do-It-Yourself Solar Installation Workshop
April 30th & May 1st, 6:30-8:30

In-person at the auditorium at the 648 Park Street complex in Honesdale, PA.

Learn all about solar power, how it works and how to DIY! See if your roof is well positioned to generate solar electricity.  Hear how much it costs and how much money you could save.  Walkthrough the installation steps, including the paperwork.  This event includes hands-on demonstrations and practice with equipment in the classroom.  Participants can also order solar panels if you choose, but there is no obligation at all.

The Presenters
Blair Buselli co-owner of Buselli Solutions a local business that provides renewable and energy efficient installations for residential home owners such as solar panels, ductless mini splits, and generators. Blair is a PA and NY licensed contractor, electrician and a North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Certified Solar Installer.

Jack Barnett who after nearly a 30-year career in the telecommunications industry, is a local advocate and volunteer for sustainability, solar energy, small-scale farming and locally grown food. He and his wife, Mary Anne Carletta, live in a super-insulated, net-positive solar home and eat mostly from their orchard and vegetable garden near Hawley, PA. Jack has served as a past chair of a chapter of the American Solar Energy Society, and is a co-founder and treasurer of the Clean Energy Co-op Inc. (which spun out from SEEDS in 2014). Jack holds Electrical and Computer Engineering degrees from Clemson University and Carnegie Mellon University.

Attendees of this event are invited to volunteer to participate in a solar panel installation in Equinunk, PA on May 4th and 5th, 9:00am-5:00pm, though seating is limited. Rain date for this portion is May 11th and 12th.  Please be advised that attendance at the April 30th and May 1st workshop, or attendance at a previous SEEDS DIY Solar Workshop, is prerequisite to attending the installation event.  Email kathy@seedsgoup.net to sign up for the installation.

Call for Volunteers

Can you lend us a hand?

We need people to donate goodies for our Solar Do-it-Yourself Workshops on Tuesday, April 30 at 6:30 PM and Wednesday, May 1 same time. Any kind of finger foods are welcome: brownies, pretzels, veggies and dip, cookies, fruit, crackers and cheese…etc. Kindly make note if your contribution is gluten-free.

If you can help, please reply to kathy@seedsgroup.net with your offering by April 15. 

Thank you so much!

Upcoming Event

Ramps U-Pick Fundraising Event

Delaware Valley Ramps of Equinunk, PA has been harvesting sustainably for 17 years with sales to restaurants and wholesalers in the Upper Delaware River Watershed and New York City. In 2024 SEEDS invites you to come and learn what it is all about for the second annual Ramps U-Pick.

At the Ramps-U-Pick event you will have the opportunity to learn more about the plant, management and sustainability and harvesting. You can pick up to 3 lbs. of ramps per adult for your own non-commercial use. Tools and support will be provided on site. They will have recipes for you to use at home to cook your ramps and make some of our favorite dishes. They will also have tastes available of some dishes such as ramp hummus, pickled ramps and ramp quiche.

Individual tickets are available as are family tickets for two adults and up to 3 children under 18 years of age. Up to 8 individual tickets and one family ticket are available for each session.

Please use this link to buy your tickets:


In the News

Improve Your Recycling Stats with Outside Online

Whether you separate it in your kitchen, garage or outside, we’ve all looked at something we thought would probably not break down in a landfill and hoped instead it could be recycled.  According to this Outside Online article, that kind of “wishcycling” can cause serious detriment to the recycle process as a whole, by endangering machinery or causing problems at facilities.  While we all hope for a completely sustainable and waste-free future, in the meantime being accurate with your recycling sorting can maintain a smooth operation that contributes to an ever growing recycling practice.  Read the full article here, and find out which devious little interlopers might be finding their way into your recycling bin.


From our Friends at Solar United Neighbors 

Community Solar is when people can subscribe to a portion of power generated from an off-site solar installation, and receive credit on their electric bills. Good Community Solar helps residents save money even if they can’t put solar panels on their own homes. It’s a great way for people with limited sunlight access, renters, or low-income homeowners to benefit from solar.

On Tuesday, March 26th House Bill 1842 to enable Community Solar was passed in the Pennsylvania House with 111 yes votes and 90 no votes. This is incredible progress for Community Solar in PA! HB 1842 is very good, but it could be even better. We support including guaranteed savings so that subscribers realize the benefits of solar immediately.

To support Community Solar in Pennsylvania, email your PA Senator and urge them to vote for Community Solar with guaranteed savings. Personalize it and tell them why YOU care about Community Solar. You can also thank your House Representative if they voted to pass HB 1842 last week (see how they voted here).

In the News

Agrivoltaics: Trends in Solar and Farming
by Jamie Reeger
First appeared in Connections Magazine, Home and Garden, April 2024

On March 6, Chelsea Hill, a Penn State Extension Livestock Educator, delivered an insightful webinar as part of the SEEDS Solar Forum series, shedding light on the burgeoning industry of agrivoltaics in Pennsylvania and beyond. Agrivoltaics, the integration of agriculture and solar photovoltaic energy generation on the same land, is gaining traction as a more acceptable alternative to traditional solar farms. While facing challenges like permitting, agrivoltaics offers dual benefits that outweigh these hurdles.

Research conducted by various universities, including Penn State, highlights the advantages of agrivoltaics. Elevated solar panels provide shelter for crops, protecting them from adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain, drought, and excessive sun exposure. Moreover, these panels help retain moisture in the soil, enhancing vegetable and fruit production. In times of severe drought, vegetables grown under solar arrays have demonstrated higher yields compared to control groups. During periods of intense sunlight, many plant species thrive in the shade provided by the panels, benefiting both crop yields and farmer comfort.

Additionally, agrivoltaics can foster a symbiotic relationship with native pollinator plants and support beekeeping, leading to increased solar output as solar panels can be more densely concentrated. Unlike traditional agricultural practices, agrivoltaics require minimal land management and offer opportunities for agro-grazing, where livestock, particularly sheep, can graze beneath the solar arrays.

Agriculture currently utilizes 52% of U.S. land surface, and projections indicate a need for roughly 0.5% of U.S. land for solar production to meet 100% sustainable energy goals; agrivoltaics present a compelling solution by combining food and energy production in the same space. Despite challenges, ongoing research and growing momentum promise a bright future for agrivoltaics.

SEEDS, through its educational efforts, is actively engaging the Northeast Pennsylvania community in building climate resilience and promoting sustainable land use practices, emphasizing the importance of agrivoltaics in this endeavor. As the world moves towards a more climate-resilient future, agrivoltaics emerge as a promising pathway to address the dual challenges of food and energy production.

Jamie Reeger, Development Director
Email: jamie@seedsgroup.net

If you are not a member of SEEDS, please consider joining us today!
You can use this link to share our membership page with others:
You will continue to receive our newsletters, invitations to our educational forums and other events. Members are eligible for free solar evaluations, have voting rights at our annual meeting, and help shape our programs and initiatives.  For more information visit our website at www.seedsgroup.net.