About us

For questions about Permaculture or to get involved, email permaculture@oswego.edu.

The Permaculture Committee

We're a group of highly enthusiastic faculty, students, community members and staff working together to realize their dream of creating a model of regenerative living and education at SUNY Oswego. We have been inspired a great deal by the U-Mass Amherst Permaculture Initiative. Check out their energizing journey to create the permaculture garden on their campus that inspired SUNY Oswego's lab through their three-part documentary. Take a look at our vision for our own Permaculture Living Lab in this presentation.

At our core, SUNY Oswego's permaculturists are committed to increasing the quality of life for all Oswego community members and anyone this lab reaches.

Valerie DawnStar, '07, has long been interested in alternative systems of creation.  An ordained minister, she also holds licenses as Registered Nurse, Licensed Massage Therapist and Permaculture Designer and Teacher.  She created and managed a natural products store and was store manager for a fiber studio in central New York.  Her creative designs have won awards at the NY State Fair and have been accepted into juried art shows.  She has taught parenting, permaculture and massage classes as well as led counseling and moderated environmental studies groups.  Organizationally, she helped develop a statewide permaculture gathering that occurred in Syracuse, NY on March 13, 2010.  She also helped start up a new community garden in Oswego, NY and has contributed to the Oswego Tree Stewards in active tree care as well as formulating a new city ordinance to develop the urban forest. She manages a small farm in the town of Sterling, NY where she is working at regenerating abused farm land. Email: valeriedawnstar@gmail.com

Mike Lotito is the campus' Sustainability Engineering Coordinator and Chair of the President's Environmental Sustainability Team. He has been actively involved with construction projects through the Facilities Services group over the past two years. In addition to helping the College's physical presence meet the needs of tomorrow's students, he is largely focused on energy and water conservation projects that will reduce the carbon footprint of the institution and help preserve both the natural and built environments. Email: michael.lotito@oswego.edu

Grace Maxon-Clarke, '11, '14, is an Academic Planning Counselor for the EOP program at SUNY Oswego. During her undergraduate career,  Grace was active with the student-led green initiatives for the College and surrounding Oswego Community. These projects included Composting on Campus, ZIP Cars, lake shore clean up, the Oswego City Hall Rain Garden and participation with the Oswego Tree Stewards. Grace's interest in permaculture stemmed from participating in the Women in Sustainable Development Global Exchange program in Cuba in 2012. Grace received her Permaculture Design Certification from the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute in Ithaca, NY in 2013. Email: grace.maxon@oswego.edu

Kate Spector is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics. On campus, Kate has designed a sustainability curriculum for the Educational Opportunity Summer Program and also served as a math instructor for the program. She is a proud graduate of the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute and holds a Permaculture Design Certification. She has a background in landscaping and carpentry and enjoys both urban and community gardening with her family and friends. Her current research interests include ways in which students can utilize mathematical tools to analyze sustainability related issues. Email: katherine.spector@oswego.edu

Laura Shaddak  is a local Landscape Designer based here in Oswego, NY. She is the lead designer for the Permaculture Living Lab's site on the Lee Hall Quad. Laura has a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from SUNY ESF and a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Clarkson University. She has five years of landscaping and design experience and has studied permaculture extensively. Laura is passionate about implementing and furthering sustainable landscape design for the benefit of people and nature. Her design philosophy focuses on creating beautiful landscapes that support ecological health and biodiversity with native plants and human needs and health with organic edible and medicinal plants. Website: LShaddakLandDesign.com Email: shaddaklab@gmail.com