Syracuse — The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), one of the most distinguished institutions in the nation that focuses on the study of the environment, recently honored community stewards Steve Breen and Kenneth Lynch with the 2022 Sol Feinstone Environmental Award.

Breen currently serves as the chief financial officer of the Diocese of Syracuse and has been part of the ESF Foundation board of directors for nine years, acting as board president for the last three years. 

One of the oldest and most-respected award programs in the environmental field, the Sol Feinstone Environmental Award recognizes leaders who care for the environment, encourage volunteerism, and add to society’s understanding of environmental issues and their solutions.

“Sol Feinstone believed the best insurance for a free society lay in people’s desire to voluntarily do the things that need to be done for the good of all,” said ESF President Joanie Mahoney. “Steve Breen and Ken Lynch exemplify this ideal and we appreciate their contributions to ESF and to the environment. Steve and Ken not only lift people up but inspire others to get involved.”

Breen joined the Diocese in 2018 after serving as chief financial officer and holding various business-leadership positions for The Cortland Companies. He is a certified public accountant and previously worked with Baasch, Winters & Breen and Coopers & Lybrand.

Breen’s current role with the Diocese, and as a board chair of Clear Path for Veterans, emphasizes his commitment to serving the community. Breen is nearing completion of his nine-year term as foundation director and also currently serves on the Abby Lane Housing Corporation Board of Directors. He is a longtime member of the ESF 1911 Society. He is a graduate of C.W. Post College.

A friend engaged Breen with the ESF board “some time ago,” he says. “When you get exposed to the great work that the school is doing relative to the environment, as well as wildlife preservation, it really engages you.” He adds that he has “become acquainted with students over the years and they are just so passionate and hardworking that it really deepens your engagement and commitment to helping the college.”

The Foundation board is instrumental in supporting the college, raising significant funds each year for scholarships for students “that really put that money to good use.” Breen adds that many report they wouldn’t be able to attend the school without such assistance. 

Lynch is the director of strategic growth initiatives at Ramboll, where he works on several environmental projects including climate adaptation, sustainability and flood resilience. He joined Ramboll in 2019 after a long career at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), where he most recently served as executive deputy commissioner.

The annual Feinstone Awards dinner took place Oct. 20 at ESF’s Gateway Center.

The Feinstone program has made more than 100 awards, honoring individuals from across the United States for their significant contributions to protecting the environment, promoting the wise use  and management of our country’s natural resources, and promoting the spirit of volunteerism.

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