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Local group aims to make Skaneateles more sustainable

Sustainable Skaneateles is holding a local event to observe Earth Hour on March 23, an international event for which people turn off their lights for 60 minutes to raise awareness of environmental issues.

Sustainable Skaneateles is holding a local event to observe Earth Hour on March 23, an international event for which people turn off their lights for 60 minutes to raise awareness of environmental issues.

For the event, Sustainable Skaneateles encourages the public to join them at Thayer Park at 8:30 p.m. where they will hand out candles. The High School Environmental Club will serve free hot chocolate to anyone, in the spirit of sustainability, who brings their own mug.

The program will include a time to share thoughts about why the environment is important and how people can be more sustainable.

The sanctuary at St. James Episcopal Church will also be open during the event for interfaith reflection, courtesy of Earthworks, the church’s environmental group

Sustainable Skaneateles will also be sponsoring an Energy Team Challenge with cooperation from the village of Skaneateles and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

The group will hold an information session about the challenge at 7 p.m. on March 23, before Earth Hour, at the Skaneateles Library. Bob Lotkowictz, village Director of Municipal Operations, and Sam Gordon, Senior Planner with the Central New York Planning and Development Board, will speak about what the energy challenge is and how it will work.

The goal of the event is to teach people how to conserve energy through limiting their electricity use in their homes, which is good for the environment and will save them money on their bills also.

Currently 90 percent of the electricity for Skaneateles comes from the hydroelectric power plant at Niagara Falls, a sustainable source of energy. The other 10 percent comes from coal burning power plants, which is not a sustainable source and pollutes the environment.

It is Sustainable Skaneateles’ goal to reduce the village energy consumption by 10 percent so they run off of only sustainable energy, through events like the Energy Team Challenge, Menapace said.

The official kickoff for the challenge will be on April 8. Participants will form teams of five to eight households and see who can reduce their energy consumption the most over a six-week period.

The winner of the challenge is usually awarded a prize, adding a competitive aspect to the event, but the prize has yet to be determined for this event.

These two events will serve as the kickoff for the group, though they already have ideas for future initiatives including partnering with local businesses in promoting environmentally-friendly products and holding film screenings in the village, Menapace said.

To get involved or to find out more information on Sustainable Skaneateles, visit their website at

sustainableskaneateles.wordpress.com.

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