M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives


Finding Aid for the
RECORDS, 1980-2004

Environmental Clearinghouse, 1st newsletter
Environmental Clearinghouse of Schenectady News newsletter, Volume 1, Number 1, February 1972, Series 3
For reference queries contact Grenander Department Reference staff

Finding Aid Compiled by
Tim Bridgman
January 2006

Box and Folder List Assistance by
Kayla Misner

The arrangement and description of this collection was made possible through a New York State Archives Documentary Heritage Program Arrangement and Description Grant.


M. E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives 
University Libraries / University at Albany / State University of New York
1400 Washington Avenue / Albany, New York 12222 / (518) 437-3935

VOLUME: 3.66 cubic ft.

ACQUISITION: All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by Environmental Clearinghouse, Inc. in August 2004.

ACCESS: Access to this record group is unrestricted.

COPYRIGHT: The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.


Administrative History

Scope and Content Note

Series Descriptions

Box and Folder List:

Environmental Clearinghouse, Inc.
Administrative History

Back to table of contents

The Environmental Clearinghouse, Inc. (http://www.members.global2000.net/~ecos/home.html), also known as ECOS, is a regional environmental organization founded in Schenectady, New York in October 1971 by members of the Junior League of Schenectady, Inc. and supported since 1974 by membership contributions, donations, and volunteers. ECOS’ mission has been to provide environmental information and education opportunities that enhance the appreciation of the natural world, to organize a community of citizens who are aware and knowledgeable about environmental issues, and to advocate for informed action so as to preserve the area’s natural resources. From its inception, ECOS has concentrated its efforts on Schenectady County while cooperating closely with other environmental groups inside and outside New York State such as the Environmental Clearing House of Buffalo on which the organization seems to have been modeled.

Based upon the records in this collection, an environmental clearinghouse was first thought of by members of the Junior League of Schenectady when they were presenting an Environmental Forum – a one-day seminar on environmental concerns. The group, spearheaded by Mrs. Richard Lange, then presented a proposal to the Community Research Committee of the Junior League. The latter accepted the proposal by the membership in October of 1971. An Advisory Committee was then formed made up of eight league members, a representative from American Association of University Women (AAUW), one from League of University Women (LUW), a lawyer, a local assemblyperson, and three people from General Electric. The committee’s first meeting was held on November 1, 1971.

Helped by a Junior League grant in the amount of $15,700 to be dispersed over a three-year period, the committee began the search for an office, office equipment, hired a part-time administrator, initiated a monthly newsletter, and recruited volunteers. The First Reformed Church offered a room in the Stockade section of Schenectady for which the fledgling ECOS paid custodial services and utilities. A part-time director was hired to work four hours each weekday for nine months of the year. The committee then submitted the name of the organization (ECOS – Environmental Clearinghouse of Schenectady) to the New York State Attorney General accompanied by a request to be incorporated under state laws. Once the latter was achieved, the first Board of Directors was nominated. At a joint meeting on June 2, 1972, the Advisory Committee officially transferred the reins of power to the newly elected Board of Directors. ECOS was slated to become financially independent after three years and it had been decided that there would be an evaluation at that time to determine its future. This evaluation, in fact, was made earlier than anticipated.

At the October 1973 meeting, a report suggested that there was “a need to consider some facts and ask some questions about the future of ECOS.” ECOS’ director had resigned, the future funding on which the organization had counted had not proved viable and there was only a limited number of volunteers, as many of those available had already been recruited by existing environmental groups. ECOS had, however, already proven what it has intended to prove: a coordinating agency for environmental information and organizations could be extremely important in informing and educating the public on environmental concerns. The question then arose as to whether ECOS should be dissolved as a corporation and the funds returned to the Junior League. The Board, however, decided to continue the operation and it grew to 200 members in 1976 and to 400 members in 1982, its tenth anniversary. In addition to the Board of Directors, an Executive Committee was created as well as several activities and programs committees, including the Riverfront Committee in 1974.

ECOS has been active in a variety of activities including organizing environmental action programs such as recycling, dealing with toxic household waste, cleaning up sections of rivers, and advocating for restructuring programs such as creating walkways and cycling paths along naturally occurring environmental features. ECOS has also continuously organized courses, audiovisual presentations, workshops, and lectures by specialists in the field of environmentalism for access to the general public. The organization has provided environmentally-friendly activities to the general public such as nature walks, museum visits, and skiing trips. ECOS maintains a library of resources for those who are interested in environmental issues and careers. ECOS has also cooperated with the Schenectady County Environmental Advisory Council (SCEA) and eventually became their education subcommittee.

Major activities and programs for ECOS have included: improving recycling; reporting environmental infractions; publishing a newsletter which has provided a summary of environmental programs, progress, and problems in the Capital Region; creating a calendar which has been much valued for its listings of outdoor activities and indoor meetings of local environmental groups; supplying information concerning local and state environmental legislation and energy conservation; the Green-up Spruce-up phase of the Schenectady Bicentennial in 1975-1976; preparing an audiovisual presentation on Schenectady’s environment for use by clubs and school classes; publication of the book Environmental Trip Tips; sponsoring an environmental lecture series at the Schenectady Museum; support of the Riverfront Committee in its long-term goal of establishing a hike-bike trail along the Mohawk river across the county; and dump and river clean-up operations.

The Environmental Clearinghouse of Schenectady, now known as the Environmental Clearinghouse, Inc., but also known under the acronym ECOS, as of 2006, continues to be an ever-evolving ever-industrious organization. It is currently located in the Niskayuna Community Center. The staff and volunteers of ECOS still believe that educational outreach is the best way of building an informed community that will lead to an appreciation of the interdependence of natural and human systems, a recognition of the inherent value of natural ecosystems, as well as an understanding of the importance of community action to create ecological sustainability.

Environmental Clearinghouse, Inc.
Scope & Content Note

Back to table of contents

This collection documents the organization, evolution, thinking, activities and programs of the Environmental Clearinghouse, Inc. over a period of more than three decades. The earliest items date from 1971, but continuous records begin in 1972 and run up to 2004, with the largest portion of the records dating from the 1970s and 1980s. Preservation concerns in this collection include water damage to some of the records, documents that are stuck together and newspaper clippings, which are either glued or taped onto paper backing.

Topics that are documented in the collection include: advocating for riverside walkways and bikeways, environmentally-friendly art, biking, Camp Mohawk, canals, courses and lectures, river cruises, Earth Day/Week, Earth Month, ECOS exhibits, nature explorations, Grassroots Environmental Fair 1976, Gulf Oil Conservation Awards, hiking, household hazardous waste, ECOS library and resources, museum trips, picnics in the park, recycling, river clean-up, the Riverfront Committee, the Organization for Action for the Riverfront (O.A.R.), whose educational and informational services were coordinated by ECOS (both groups shared members and functioned as subcommittees of the Schenectady County Advisory Council), skiing, the 1990 ECOS Symposium, Thacher State Park trips, and nature walks.

Several collections in the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives provide further information on the environmental issues of concern to the Environmental Clearinghouse, Inc. For a complete list of related collections see the subject guide for Conservation and the Environment. Of particular note are the collections of Environmental Advocates of New York, Nancy Papish, and Vincent J. Schaefer.

Environmental Clearinghouse, Inc.
Series Descriptions

Back to table of contents

Series 1: Administrative Files, 1971-1997, 1.33 cubic ft., Arranged alphabetically

This series consists of materials relating directly to the operations of the Environmental Clearinghouse, Inc. There is one folder of correspondence covering 1971, but most of the series dates from 1972-1997. The records of the Board of Directors, Executive Committees and activities and programs committees are to be found here, as are some of their lists of participating members. Other items found in the series include financial reports, by-laws, fundraising materials, general correspondence, membership lists and materials, annual reports, program committee reports, program coordinator reports, director's reports, projects reports, annual meetings material, and records on all-member meetings.

Series 2: Activities and Programs, 1971-1997, 1 cubic ft., Arranged alphabetically

This series consists of materials relating directly to the activities and programs of the Environmental Clearinghouse, Inc. Topics of interest include art, biking, Camp Mohawk, canals, river cruises, Earth Day/Week activities, Earth Month activities, ECOS exhibits, suggestions for explorations of natures by families, Grass Roots Environmental Fair 1976, Gulf Oil Conservation Award, household hazardous waste management, ECOS library and resources, museum trips, picnics in the park series, recycling, Riverfront Committee, Organization for Action for Riverfront (O.A.R.), 1990 ECOS Symposium, Thacher State Park trips, and nature walks.

Series 3: ECOS Publications, 1971-2004, 1 cubic ft., Arranged alphabetically

This series includes newsletters and books published by the Environmental Clearinghouse, Inc. Newsletters include ECOS News, the official newsletter of the Environmental Clearinghouse of Schenectady, (1972-2004, the majority of the issues date from 1971-1997). Books published by the Environmental Clearinghouse of Schenectady include Environmental Trip Tips and Natural Areas of Albany County. The former is a book for newcomers or long-time residents who enjoy planning outings to interesting natural places. It can be used to discover appealing sites in which to observe natural beauty, enjoy outdoor activities and learn about the environment. It includes places open to the public in a seven-county area. The latter features nearly seventy natural areas open to the public in Albany County. The descriptions include points of interest and contact information.

Series 4: Non-ECOS Publications, 1971-1989, 0.33 cubic ft., Arranged alphabetically

This series includes publications by organizations other than the Environmental Clearinghouse, Inc. Newsletters include Echo Issues published by the Environmental Clearing House Organization, Buffalo Museum of Science, Room 216, and issues of New York State Environment published by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The bulk of the latter concerns 1979-1984 with one part of an issue dating from 1976 and one whole issue dating from 1989.

Environmental Clearinghouse, Inc.
Box and Folder List

Back to table of contents

Series 1: Administrative Files, 1971-1997

Box 1

1. Administrative Committees, 1992-1993
2. All Member Meetings, 1980-1991
3. Annual Meetings, 1978-1992
4. Annual Reports, 1974-1997
5. Board Committee, 1982-1996
6. By-laws, 1972-1996
7. Correspondence, 1971-1972
8. Correspondence, 1973-1974
9. Correspondence, 1975-1976
10. Correspondence, 1977-1978
11. Correspondence, 1979-1980
12. Correspondence, 1981-1982
13. Correspondence, 1983-1984
14. Correspondence, 1985-1986
15. Correspondence, 1987
16. Correspondence, 1993-1997
17. Fund Drives, 1980-1993
18. Long-Range Planning Committee, 1995
19. Membership, 1973-1999
20. Membership, 1973-1999
21. Membership, 1973-1999
22. Membership, 1973-1999
23. Membership, 1973-1999
24. Board of Directors, Minutes, 1972-1973
25. Board of Directors, Minutes, 1974-1975
26. Board of Directors, Minutes, 1975-1977
27. Board of Directors, Minutes, 1978-1980
28. Board of Directors, Minutes, 1981-1983
29. Board of Directors, Minutes, 1984
30. Board of Directors, Minutes, 1985
31. Board of Directors, Minutes, 1986
32. Board of Directors, Minutes, 1987
33. Board of Directors, Minutes, 1988
34. Board of Directors, Minutes, 1989
35. Board of Directors, Minutes, 1990
36. Board of Directors, Minutes, 1991
37. Board of Directors, Minutes, 1992
38. Board of Directors, Minutes, 1993
39. Board of Directors, Minutes, 1994

Box 2

1. Board of Directors, Minutes, 1995
2. Board of Directors, Minutes, 1996
3. Board of Directors, Minutes, 1997
4. Board of Directors, Minutes, 1998
5. Director’s Reports, 1993-1998
6. Executive Committee, Minutes, 1978-1990
7. Financial Reports, 1984-1998
8. Nominating Committee, 1971-1994
9. Personnel Committee, 1986-1990
10. Program Committee, 1972-2000
11. Program Coordinator Reports, 1984-1987
12. Project Reports, 1972-1973
13. Slide Show Committee, 1979-1994

Environmental Clearinghouse, Inc.
Box and Folder List

Back to table of contents

Series 2: Activities and Programs, 1971-1997

Box 1

1. Art, 1994
2. Biking, 1981-1986
3. Camp Mohawk, 1998-1999
4. Canals, undated
5. Courses, 1973-1987
6. Courses, 1975-1993
7. Courses, 1975-1993
8. Courses, 1975-1993
9. Courses, 1991-1999
10. Cruises, 1982-1985
11. Cruises, 1982-1985
12. Earth Day/Week, 1972-1975
13. Earth Day/Week, 1980-1992
14. Earth Month, 1993-2000
15. ECOS History, 1970-1983
16. ECOS History, 1971-1994
17. ECOS Library and Resources, 1992
18. Environment, 1992-2001
19. Exhibits, undated
20. Family Nature Explorations, undated
21. Grassroots Environment Fair, 1976
22. Gulf Oil Conservation Award, 1982-1983
23. Household Hazardous Waste, 1997
24. Museums, undated
25. Picnics in the Park Series, 1990-1993
26. Press Releases, 1972-1981
27. Press Releases, 1983-1984
28. Press Releases, 1984-1985
29. Press Releases, 1985-1986
30. Press Releases, 1987
31. Press Releases, 1988-1990
32. Programs, 1985-1998
33. Programs, 1985-1998
34. Recycling, undated
35. Riverfront Committee, 1974-1978
36. Organization for Action for Riverfront, 1962-1985
37. Organization for Action for Riverfront, 1962-1985
38. Organization for Action for Riverfront, 1962-1985
39. Skiing, 1977-1982
40. Skiing, 1983-1991
41. Skiing, 1984-2000
42. Symposium, 1990
43. Tenth Anniversary, June 3, 1983
44. Thatcher State Park Trips, 1991-1992
45. Twentieth Anniversary, 1991
46. Walks, 1976-1982
47. Walks, 1983-1985
48. Walks, 1986-1989
49. Walks, 1990-1995
50. Walks, 1995-2000

Environmental Clearinghouse, Inc.
Box and Folder List

Back to table of contents

Series 3: ECOS Publications, 1971-2004

Box 1

1. ECOS News, 1972,1973
2. ECOS News, 1974
3. ECOS News, 1975
4. ECOS News, 1976
5. ECOS News, 1977
6. ECOS News, 1978
7. ECOS News, 1979
8. ECOS News, 1980
9. ECOS News, 1981
10. ECOS News, 1982
11. ECOS News, 1983
12. ECOS News, 1984
13. ECOS News, 1985
14. ECOS News, 1986
15. ECOS News, 1987
16. ECOS News, 1988
17. ECOS News, 1989
18. ECOS News, 1990
19. ECOS News, 1991
20. ECOS News, 1992
21. ECOS News, 1993
22. ECOS News, 1994
23. ECOS News, 1995
24. ECOS News, 1996
25. ECOS News, 1997
26. ECOS News, 1998
27. ECOS News, 1999, 2002, 2004
28. Trip Tips, 1976, 1982
29. Natural Areas of Albany County, 1981-1994
30. Publications Reports, 1983-1985

Environmental Clearinghouse, Inc.
Box and Folder List

Back to table of contents

Series 4: Non-ECOS Publications, 1976-1989

Box 1

1. ECHO Issues, 1971
2. New York State Environment, 1976-1979
3. New York State Environment, 1980
4. New York State Environment, 1981
5. New York State Environment, 1982
6. New York State Environment, 1983
7. New York State Environment, 1984-1989

Reference E-mail | Find Collections | Find Other Historical Resources
About the Department | Department Services and Policies
View Exhibits | View Blog
Department Home Page

Last updated August 9, 2006