Sustainable Tompkins grew out of a feasibility study led by Dr. Gay Nicholson to determine whether residents of our county were interested in forming a coalition to pursue sustainable community development.  Community leaders and citizens participated in study circles and “sustainability salons” and identified key projects that would help our community make the transition to more sustainable living.

Since then, Sustainable Tompkins has played a central role in the local sustainability movement. Below is a timeline highlighting some of our activity in the community. As you look through the list, you will likely notice the many ways in which we have connected citizens with resources, catalyzed new organizations, and convened gatherings to discuss (and act on!) the important topics of the day. Click on any hyperlinked item to learn more about it.

Program Summaries, 2004-2019:

Feasibility Study with Circles and Sustainability Salons, Circle Summit organized by Gay Nicholson – Jan-April
Monthly Gatherings begun and conducted through Spring 2009
Wendy Skinner is first chair of the ST Coordinating Committee
Working groups established: Green Resource Hub, PLUS (Planning for Land Use Sustainability), Healthy Generations, Art and Sustainability
Sustainability Master Classes
Welcome Salons

Sustainable Technology Showcase – January
Sustainability Master Classes
Welcome Salons
Health Practitioners Study Circle – May-August
Give Your Business a Sustainability Makeover Workshop – November
Green Purchasing Collaborative started

Green Resource Hub Design Charrette – April
Green Resource Hub incorporated and board of directors recruited
Cayuga Inlet Sustainability Corridor proposed
Finger Lakes Buy Green developed in partnership with Tompkins County Solid Waste
Kendal Sustainability Study Circle – Jan-June
First Sustainability Fair as part of Ithaca Festival
Signs of Sustainability recognition program started – December
Just Sustainability Initiative

Tompkins Weekly Signs of Sustainability Series started – February
Energy Efficiency Community Outreach – DIY home energy learning circles
Tompkins Sustainability Map created
Sustainable Design Workshop – June
Health and Sustainability Conference – September
Cayuga Sustainability Council launched in October
Connect Ithaca grant for projector, screen, portable speaker system

Equity & Sustainability Monthly Gatherings
Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program launched
Green Collar Pipeline Outreach
Green Collar Career Fair – November
Focus groups on potential for SEEN – August
Second round of ECCO circles
Community Picnic – June

Sustainable Enterprise Network (SEN) meetings started
Green Job Development in Tompkins County Roundtables – Feb
R&D on Finger Lakes Climate Fund
Finger Lakes Bioneers launched
Marcellus Challenge launched
Downtown office established – August

Finger Lakes Climate Fund launched
Sustainable Enterprise and Entrepreneur Network (SEEN) officially launched — September
Energy Teach-In for Shaleshock Activists  – January
Awakening the Dreamer Symposium  – June
Gay Nicholson becomes first employee, President and Director of Programs – April
Nicole Pion hired as Director of Operations in September
Finger Lakes Bioneers II  – October
ST membership program launched

Partner in the Building Bridges initiative
Finger Lakes Bioneers regional film series
Second annual Energy Fair, video clips of which are featured in the film Empowered: Power from the People
First two Finger Lakes Climate Fund grants awarded

Partner in launching Get Your GreenBack Tompkins
Co-founded the Sustainability Center, which opened in 2013
First hosted Earth Day Ithaca 

Coordinated the regional Climate Smart & Climate Ready Conference — April

“The Climate, the Market, and the Commons” community conversation salons
“Disruption” film screening

First People’s Choice Signs of Sustainability Awards

Earth Day Community Teach-In on Ithaca’s housing shortage

Sustainable Finger Lakes Map launched
People’s March for Climate, Jobs, and Justice, part of Earth Day Ithaca

Youth Climate Challenge launched

Sustainable Finger Lakes website launched