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For Release: Thursday, November 29, 2018

50-Year DEC Veteran Patti Bolton Retires

Popular Employee Has Been Part of DEC since before the Agency's Beginning

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that after 50 years of service to New York State, Patti Bolton is retiring from her post as Secretary for the Bureau of Environmental Education. Patti's remarkable career began in 1968 with the New York State Conservation Department prior to becoming the Department of Environmental Conservation in 1970 during the State's first-ever Earth Day celebration.

Commissioner Basil Seggos and Patti Bolton upon her retirement standing with pictures in the background
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos and Patti Bolton

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Patti has been a part of DEC from the very beginning. Her tenure has spanned more than five decades, 10 U.S. Presidents, eight New York Governors, 15 DEC Commissioners, and the last Conservation Department Commissioner. In that time, besides processing millions of dollars in invoices and answering thousands of questions from the public, Patti registered more than 35,000 campers for the agency's popular summer youth camp program. Her years of hard work, care, and devotion have helped connect tens of thousands of New Yorkers to nature, inspiring future generations of environmental stewards. Patti will be sorely missed by everyone fortunate enough to have worked with her and her legacy at DEC will live on in everything she touched along the way."

Bolton began her career in the Conservation Department's payroll office located at 855 Central Avenue. Over the years, she worked in the Division of Fish and Wildlife and the Division of Education Services, which oversaw agency publications, DEC's popular Conservationist magazine, environmental education, and public outreach. She retires as Secretary for the Bureau of Environmental Education in the Division of Operations.

"I will miss DEC and everyone who works here. DEC has been my extended home and everyone my extended family. I have truly loved my job for the past 50 years," said Bolton.

Among her most significant contributions is the critical role she played supporting DEC's four summer youth camps and eight Camp Administrators. From 1981 to 2011, parents submitted handwritten camp registrations on a first-come, first-served basis. Often, information was missing, or handwriting was difficult to decipher, so Bolton made thousands of calls to ensure campers were placed in their requested camps and weeks. She also served as liaison to the many sportsmen clubs that sponsored campers, and continued to provide outstanding customer service to sponsors, parents, and guardians after DEC adopted its online registration system in 2012.

A group of DEC employees posing for a group picture
Left to Right: Doug Bernhard, Harold Evans, Mark Malinoski,
Ann Harrison, Bill Agresta, Patti Bolton, Cathy Molloy,
Jim Suozzo, George Steele, Mike Matthews

"So happy, so sad. Protectors of Pine Oak Woods from Staten Island has been sponsoring teens for more than 20 years. Patti has been instrumental each year in assisting our registrations," said Cliff Hagen, Protectors of Pine Oak Woods.

"Patti was our port in the storm. We will definitely miss her reassuring voice on the phone and her ability to work with us to solve camper problems," said Merrie and Bob Pierce, Otsego County Federation of Sportsmen Clubs.

"Patti was one of the nicest people I ever interacted with at DEC in my years on the 5th floor at 50 Wolf Road. Wish her all the best," said Dan Capuano, former DEC Camps Administrator and current Professor at Hudson Valley Community College.

Throughout the years, Bolton's contribution to creating pathways for young adults to become environmental stewards is notable.

"Camps made me who I am today and I know that Patti did a lot of behind the scenes work to keep these camps running smoothly. So, Patti, thank you for helping me become the person I am today," said Brad Kittle, college student and Camps Program camper, volunteer and staff, 2012-present.

"I work for the Bureau of Environmental Education today because of the amazing experiences I had at Colby and Rushford. Thank you for helping me and so many other children have amazing experiences at DEC camp," said Sarah Conley, DEC Environmental Educator and camper at Camp Colby 1992 and Camp Rushford 1993-94.

"Wow, Patti Bolton was one the first work colleagues I met when I took my first job at DEC in the camps program in the summer of 1971, probably during the interview. It's great to know she has been so dedicated to the agency for 50 years. I wish her well," said Darwin Roosa, retired DEC Public Participation Specialist and Environmental Educator.

In addition, each of DEC's four environmental education centers' citizen support groups offers internships for students and entry-level professionals in collaboration with DEC. Bolton has assisted these groups throughout the years by processing invoices and answering questions.

Paul Adams, President of the Stony Kill Foundation, said "Congratulations on your retirement! Thank you for your excellent service and help through the years. You certainly have left a long legacy at the DEC."

Bolton lives in Rotterdam and is looking forward to spending time with her three children, Amanda, Cheryl and Bobby, and her five grandchildren, Giovanni, Marissa, Lorenzo, Giuliano, and Isabella.

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