Elizabeth W. Thorndike

Member of the NYSERDA Board
Appointed 04/28/1997

Work History

Elizabeth W Thorndike

Elizabeth Thorndike has spent her professional career in the nonprofit and education sectors, and in public policy positions concerned with the environment at the local, state, and federal levels.

Dr. Thorndike was founder, executive director, president, and member of the board of the Center for Environmental Information (CEI) in Rochester, NY from 1973 to 2007. She has held appointments as adjunct faculty at Cornell University since 1996, teaching an environmental policy course in the departments of Natural Resources and City and Regional Planning.

She has received awards and commendations from U.S. EPA (1975,1986); Environmental Law Section of the NYS Bar Association (1992); New York Parks and Conservation Association (2002); Association for Protection of the Adirondacks (2007); and Adirondack Research Consortium (2013).

She has served as a Commissioner of the Adirondack Park Agency where she chaired the Agency’s Park Policy and Planning Committee from 1980 to 1995, as a member of Governor Mario Cuomo’s Environmental Advisory Board from 1985 to 1994, and as a member of NYSERDA’s Board since 1997 where she chairs the Waste and Facilities Management Committee with oversight for cleanup of the West Valley nuclear waste site.

Nonprofit Boards

Her past and present board affiliations include the Girl Scouts of Genesee Valley, Association for Protection of the Adirondacks, Sierra Club (Rochester Regional Group), New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell (Advisory Council), Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, Adirondack Park Institute, Adirondack Research Consortium, Paul Smith’s College, and Finger Lakes Land Trust (Advisory Board).


Dr.Thorndike holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University and Harvard University and a doctorate in natural resource policy and planning from Cornell University.