Since 2004, Gay Nicholson has led Sustainable Finger Lakes (formerly “Sustainable Tompkins”) in designing and implementing an integrated program to advance the creation of a more sustainable regional community. Gay emphasizes a systems approach to working with partners to build the infrastructure and social capacity for more sustainable ways of living and working. Gay participates in a number of local partnerships related to energy and climate, equity as an economic driver, and sustainable agriculture.
Gay left a career in sustainable agriculture to work in environmental advocacy and education with Cornell’s Program on Ethics and Public Life, and as executive director of the Finger Lakes Land Trust before leading the creation of Sustainable Tompkins. She has been an active volunteer in numerous community and environmental organizations, providing leadership from the local to the national level.
Gay’s undergraduate degree (with High Distinction) is in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia (1979), and her Master’s (1982) and Doctorate (1991) are in Crop Physiology and Integrated Pest Management from Cornell University. She currently serves on the boards of HeatSmart Tompkins and the Tompkins County Planning Advisory Board.