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Our Work:  The ADI Difference

ADI, through its affiliates, core team and advisory board, distinguishes itself and prospers from the "in-house" talent and expertise we offer in multiple sectors that directly impact the region.  ADI’s collective expertise touches upon many key social, cultural, and economic drivers that not only sustain the Park, but are vital components of the Park's livelihood and future trajectory. For example, as diversity training continues to be an educational model of choice for many industries, especially those with high interpersonal contact (like hospitality and tourism), ADI is able to offer workshops by some of its nationally renowned members in this area. As local governments discuss what measures can be taken to make their villages and towns a more welcoming community, ADI is able to consult local lawmakers through its nationally regarded, in-house experts in government, public policy, and diversity.  While these are just two examples, ADI's talent pool is far reaching, able to assist and consult in areas like education, non-profits, philanthropy, small businesses, conservation, and others.  


In addition to ADI's continued success and impact in the region, ADI's ability to address many local issues pertaining to inclusiveness, and its overall ability to design, implement, and guide strategic plans are what really makes ADI an invaluable contributor to the Park.

Upcoming Events

ADI supports and sponsors a number of events, programs, and initiatives with our partners within the Park, that focus on increasing inclusivity and diversity.  To learn more about these programs and events, click on the photos below.  For other great events in the area, visit our Facebook page.

Recent Events

2017 Forum: Envisioning Our Future

The Adirondack Diversity Initiative (ADI) held its 2017 Forum:  Envisioning Our Future on Saturday, December 2nd at Heaven Hill Farm in Lake Placid, NY 

The forum  engaged attendees  from throughout the Adirondacks and New York State in a conversation about ADI's direction, strategic plan, and initiatives.  Special guest Keynote will be Samara Swanston, Legislative counsel to the Environmental Protection Committee of the New York City Council, shared her personal journey with us through her keynote- How I came to do the work in the Environmental Justice movement from "Dumping in Dixie" to NYC Environmental Justice Bills.  

​The forum began at 9:30 a.m. with coffee and registration. The proceedings kicked off at 10:00 a.m. with a panel discussion on ADI's new business plan. The afternoon was a hands-on workshop conducted by the Adirondack Center for Writing led by poets Adam Falkner and Sofia Snow about recognizing your identity, looking critically at diversity, communicating difference and understanding belonging within our community.  

Reception was hosted by John Brown Lives! and Adirondack Diversity Initiative to welcome Keynote Samara Swanston and new ADI staff Melanie Reding.

Samara F. Swanston Bio:

Samara Swanston is currently the legislative counsel to the Environmental Protection Committee of the New York City Council and a Visiting Professor at the Pratt Institute Graduate School for Urban Planning and the Environment.  She has been engaged in the practice of Environmental Law for more than twenty-five years. She served a two-year clerkship in the New York Court of Appeals where she worked on environmental cases.  She worked as environmental counsel to the Town of Babylon and the County of Suffolk where she litigated Long Island Pine Barrens Society v. Town of Brookhaven et al., the largest environmental lawsuit in state history.  She was the first drafter of Article 57 of the Environmental Conservation Law creating the Long Island Pine Barrens Maritime Reserve Act and saving a globally rare dwarf pine forest.  She went to work for the Environmental Protection Agency as a Superfund attorney and her work led to the creation of the Region 2 Environmental Justice Workgroup; she helped draft the 1992 EPA Environmental Equity Report and she received the EPA Gold Medal, the highest agency honor. She spent three years working as a manager for the Superfund program of the Department of Environmental Conservation, ten years working as the Executive Director and the General Counsel of the Watchperson Project of Greenpoint-Williamsburg, a non-governmental environmental advocacy organization located in Brooklyn, and nine years working as an Administrative Law Judge for the New York City Environmental Control Board.  Ms. Swanston was the first drafter of the local law to require coordination between the state and city for construction projects that require coastal erosion hazard area permits, first drafter of the New York City in-conduit hydropower law, first drafter of the local law to protect city wetlands and the New York City local laws to promote the use of geothermal energy and solar thermal energy.  Ms. Swanston was also the first drafter of the local law to require solar photovoltaic systems on city owned buildings, the New York City environmental justice laws, several local laws to promote the use of biofuels and wind power and forty-five other local laws.  Ms. Swanston was the recipient of a City Council Proclamation for her environmental work in 2016, an award by the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, an award by West Harlem Environmental Action and numerous environmental awards.  Ms. Swanston can be reached at 

Poet Bios:

Sofía Snow is a Boston-raised spoken word artist, educator, and community organizer.  Her work has been featured in a range of literary publications, as well as in The Boston Globe, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Generation Progress, and elsewhere. Prior to her arrival in New York, Sofía was the Outreach Coordinator for the University of Wisconsin’s pioneering First Wave program, the world’s first and only full-tuition scholarship program for hip hop and urban arts. Sofia oversees all of Urban Word NYC’s day-to-day operations, including key program development, staffing, and organizational growth & strategy.


Adam Falkner is a writer, educator and consultant.  His work has appeared in a range of literary and academic journals, and has also been featured on HBO, NBC, NPR, TED, in the New York Times, and elsewhere. A former high school English teacher in New York City’s public schools, Adam is the Founder and Executive Director of the pioneering diversity consulting initiative, the Dialogue Arts Project, and an Arthur Zankel Fellow and PhD candidate in the English Education program at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Adam helps manage all of Urban Word NYC’s day-to-day operations, and supports Deputy Director’s vision for organizational growth & strategy.


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