Adirondack Garden Club goes to D.C.
Every year, the Garden Club of America National Affairs and Legislative Committee holds a conference for delegates from the various clubs to attend advocacy training in Washington, D.C.
Two members, Lyn Flyn and Meredith Hanna, from the Adirondack Garden Club, attended this training.
The first day of the conference was spent learning how to advocate by working with representatives for legislation that supports the environment. The second day we learned about the proposed bills in Congress that the GCA is advocating and listened to scientific experts highlighting environmental threats, including the importance of those bills in protecting the environment.
Among the bills that the GCA was advocating were:
The Land and Water Conservation Fund which was passed overwhelmingly in both the House and the Senate, This bill permanently reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund and thus protects millions of acres of land and miles of wild rivers and as well establishes four new monuments.
The Botany Bill encourages the use of native plants in restoration of federal land projects and the hiring of more botanists in federal agencies to help combat invasive species and to improve water quality. Currently there is only one botanist for every 4 million acres of federal land.
The Reviving America Scenic Byways bill, which has passed in the House revives the dormant National Scenic Byways program designating roadways for protection, limiting billboards and creating scenic corridors. There is a New York state scenic byway in Keene Valley.
A fourth bill, restoring the Parks Act, would provide funds to address the backlog of maintenance for roads, trails, visitor centers and basic infrastructure which has been neglected and underfunded in our National Parks. This bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Stefanik, has not been passed by the house.
On the last day of the conference, garden met with our Congressional Representative Elise Stefanik of New York’s 21st District at her office in D.C. to apply our advocacy skills we had acquired. The group thanked Representative Stefanik for her support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund which had recently passed. They also discussed the importance of the Botany Bill and after discussion, asked her if she might consider being a co-sponsor of that bill. The group was pleased to learn that she has co-sponsored the bill. The group appreciated her taking the time to meet with them and encouraged her continued strong support of the environment.