About

Steering Committee

Jasena S.

Mother of 2 school-aged children, passionate about conservation and protection of biodiversity. Jasena joined GPTF in 2019 and is a member of the Communications Subcommittee and the Invasives Removal Squad (IRS). Loves hands-on activities such as cleanups, planting of native plants, and non-native invasives removal events. Jasena believes that solutions offered by the Drawdown Framework can reverse the climate crisis. In her opinion, reconnecting with nature is the key for sustainability. 

Anne Jaffe Holmes

Currently working as Program Manager for the Federated Conservationists of Westchester County, Anne Jaffe Holmes seeks to build community around protecting our environment, especially by bringing forward the voices of those who bear the heaviest burdens of environmental damage and climate change. Earlier in her career as an environmental educator first for Westchester County and then for the Greenburgh Nature Center, Anne came to understand that the disconnect between people and Nature so pervasive in our culture creates disease in our bodies and souls, just as surely as it poisons our world and harms other species. Anne is grateful for the great well of faith in people and optimism about the future she absorbed in her early years as a college campus organizer for the United Farmers of America and other justice causes. In her words: “I’ve been fortunate throughout my 45 years of community organizing and environmental education to see repeatedly that while change usually takes longer than we wish, and specific goals are often somewhat adjusted, ‘the people united’ eventually prevail.” Anne is grateful for the enriching partnership of her husband and fellow climate-activist, Gaylord in all her endeavors. When not on the phone or zooming for FCWC, Anne can be found mixing her backyard compost or collecting food scraps at the Farmers Market with her friends in the Irvington Compost Crew.

Leola Specht 

Goofy GPTF'r with hand-me-down mismatched clothing and messy hair. Serious about regenerating the earth through native plants, leaving leaves, hand mow/no blow and removing non-native invasive plants; picking up trash; food scrap composting; zero waste "refuse-reuse-repurpose-repair-recycle" practices (no need to buy trash bags when trash fits in a chip or cereal bag!); no or low emission transportation, safe walking and biking advocate - in a friendly, community-oriented way.

Judy Klein Frimer

Proud resident of Irvington, NY for 32 years with two exceptional daughters, amazing physician husband and two grand dogs. Joined GPTF 6 years ago to engage in local sustainable activities as part of a Masters Program at Miami University and helped develop Irvington School’s Waste Reduction Program along with a remarkable group of volunteers. Passionate about leaving our planet in better shape for future generations and was trained at Climate Reality Project, worked on animal conservation initiatives at the Wildlife Conservation Society (including 96 Elephants) and Climate Smart Community CertificationTask Force Coordinator.  We just received Bronze Certification this year (Woohoo!).

Nikki C.

Resident of Irvington since 1992, founding member of GPTF. Member of Irvington's Climate Smart Communities Task Force. Passions include tree stewardship and regenerative gardening with native plants to support biodiversity and healthy local ecosystems. Advocate for clean energy; solar homeowner and EV owner, happy to answer questions about same.

Charlotte Binns

Village of Irvington Sustainability Director. 

A resident since 2019  with kids at Main St and IMS. Charlotte is a member of the Irvington Woods Committee, the school Wellness and Sustainability committee, Irvington's Climate Smart Communities Task Force and the GPTF Communications subcommittee (she built this website). Charlotte is trained as a Climate Reality Project leader and has been an active environmental leader in previous communities, raising funds and passing local legislation. For a living, Charlotte has organized municipalities across NY for clean community energy programs and is currently focused on regenerative land stewardship work. 

Lisa Antonelli

Irvington resident since 2010, Lisa loves animals and walks dogs with her husband at Paws Crossed Animal Rescue in Elmsford.  She is also a Waste Warrier for Hudson Compost Service and a mechanical/electrical fixer for Repair Cafe Hudson Valley.  It's perhaps not surprising that one of her favorite hangouts is Irvington Hardware!

Members

Gwen Merkin

Nature mentor passionate about waking up our connections with the earth.  Advocates for and practices sustainability at home, works with commercial real estate to address climate change, and leads community-based nature connection programs. Working to resurrect the tradition of being outside to rediscover that we are all connected. I live in Irvington with my husband and two daughters and we are dreaming up plans to regenerate our land and create a suburban homestead. 

Abby Diamond

A lifelong New Yorker and city-dweller, Abby moved to Irvington in 2020 and lives with her husband, 2 sons (1 at IMS and 1 at IHS), and 2 dogs.  Since volunteering at Earth Day 1990 as a middle schooler, Abby has been interested in sustainability and protecting our environment.  She has embraced Electric Vehicles and is trying desperately to learn how to garden--researching and learning about native plants and pollinators.  For her day job she works as a learning specialist for middle and high school students at an independent school in New York City.

Josie Bloom

Josie Bloom is an enthusiastic food scrap ambassador and composter. She loves pollinator plants and gardening - although please don't look at her front yard since this is a beginning skill! As a social worker, Josie understands the intersections of environmental  / climate justice and is proud to volunteer with the Irvington Green Policy Task Force. 

Vera Ball

Left the NE in the 80’s, gardened through a few states and even more countries -thrilled to be back in Irvington since 2018.  Mother of 3 grown sons and so fortunate the youngest is passionate about regenerative ag. "He made sure I purchased a compost kit first time at the Farmer’s Market!" Now a proud member of the Compost Crew - continually looking for ways to further excite the community about composting!

Melanie Solomon

Melanie Solomon moved to Irvington in 2020 from San Francisco, where they have municipal composting! She is passionate about that, as well as other aspects of waste management (recycling and upcycling) and electric vehicles. Melanie has been composting since she lived in New York City after college, via a small pile at her parents house on Long Island which once caught fire (and so ended that venture). Melanie and her husband have 2 young, school-aged children who also love composting and EVs. Melanie attended Cornell University and works in Investor Relations. She also spent time in the wine industry, working at Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard in the Finger Lakes of western New York, which is an organic and biodynamic vineyard.

Suzie Fromer

Suzie Fromer has spent the last 18 years living in Westchester, first in Tarrytown and then in Irvington. The daughter of vegetable gardening antique dealers, Suzie grew up steeped in the twin cultures of environmentalism and repair. She is mom to two teenaged boys with food allergies and is an advocate for OIT food allergy treatments. She volunteered for years with the Irvington PTSA and chaired the board of the Irvington Farmer’s Market for several seasons before stepping down to open a jewelry making and repair business. She started volunteering as a jewelry repair coach for the Hastings Repair Cafe in 2019 and fell in love with the repair cafe concept. In 2022 she went to work for Sustainable Hudson Valley as the coordinator for Repair Café Hudson Valley, a consortium of almost 60 Repair cafes throughout the Hudson Valley, Catskills and Capital Region. She can be found fixing jewelry at a Repair Café throughout the area almost every weekend.

Student Member: Joanna Paul

Joanna is an IHS Senior and a member of the National Honor Society, which recognizes students who demonstrate outstanding scholarship, service, leadership, and character. The NHS works as an organization to give back to the community. 

Joanna has been enrolled in a 3-year program with Rutgers University, where she focuses on plant genetics, specifically on how elevated temperatures affect the plants genome, which is very relevant to the climate crisis. 

Joanna is a co-leader of the IHS Marine Club (a.k.a.-O.C.E.A.N Club), which focuses on educating students and the broader community on how to protect local rivers and ecosystems in general. The Club has organized for example river cleanups and also organized sessions with guest speakers such as Michael Forte.

Community Environmental Advisors

Chet Kerr

Chet Kerr and his wife Heather Thomas have lived in Irvington for 25 years.   After practicing law as a litigator in New York City for over 30 years, he left his firm in 2016 to do new and different things.  He  currently teaches, serves on several Not-for-Profit Boards, including the Irvington Historical Society, the Greater Irvington Land Trust, and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, leads the Irvington Pollinator Pathway Project and works on a wide array of civil rights, criminal justice and arts management issues.