received the 15th Annual Outstanding Environmental Volunteer Award from Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef on Wednesday. Potanovic who said he has been involved in environmental issues for more than 20 years thanked his fellow environmentalists and elected officials who attended the ceremony for standing together for a better future for Rockland that was sustainable and conservation oriented.
“I think what we’ve learned possibly over the years is the environment and our economy are not at odds with one other,” said Potanovic, a Stony Point resident. “In fact a good plan for our environment is good for our economy. And I think people are realizing that more now.”
Vanderhoef spoke about Potanovic’s key roles in the Stony Point Action Committee for the Environment and RockNet and also about his character.
“When you talk to George which I think is the most important of it, it’s the absolute sincerity,” said Vanderhoef. “He’s one of the sincerest and straightforward guys you’ll find and he believes in Rockland County and he believes in the environment and he’s well deserving of this very special award.”
Potanovic founded the Stony Point Action Committee for the Environment in 1990 and serves as its president. He is also founder and administrator of "RockNet," an environmental newsgroup for Rockland County and beyond. RockNet was formed in 1996 and is an information network for environmental activities and issues.
He is a wonderful example of steadfastness,” said one speaker about Potanovic. “You’re totally worthy.”
Potanovic reflected on his years as an environmentalist.
“It means a lot to me to receive this award from the county because I’ve been involved in environmental issues for 22 years,” he said. “It also shows that we’re really all standing on the same side here in terms of trying to protect our environment and use more sustainable means for land development and conservation because it’s really for the betterment of Rockland County.”
The county planted a Cornelian Cherry tree in Potanovic’s honor at in New City. R. Allan Beers, coordinator of the county’s Division of Environmental Resources, said originally the county planted Eastern Redbud trees to recognize the environmental award winners but they were not hardy enough and so the switch was made to the cherry trees.
“We alternate every other year between a Cornelian Cherry and a Yoshino Cherry,” explained Beers. “We switched to these two species because as they get older they flower and produce berries.”
Potanovic’s name was added to a plaque that lists all the environmental award winners. He received a Distinguished Service Award from Harriet Cornell, chair of the Rockland County Legislature and will be receiving a Certificate of Appreciation from the State Assembly.