Last month the University unexpectedly lost a valued member after 35 years of service. Peter Castronovo, senior sanitarian for Environmental Health and Safety, will be sorely missed by many as a dedicated colleague and friend. Among his many accomplishments, Castronovo was involved with sustainability related efforts including integrated pest management (IPM), waste management and waste reduction issues.
As an advocate for finding environmentally sound pest management solutions, Castronovo served on several advisory committees for the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYSIPM) of Cornell University. In a tribute to Castronovo from NYSIPM, Community Educator Lynn Braband remembers him as “a great collaborator over the years… bringing his expertise as a speaker in workshops that I organized to assisting in outreach concerning the use of yellowjacket container traps. And he was a good friend.” Environmental Health and Safety Director Mark Cavanaugh describes Castronovo as being a true leader in the IPM field who was proud of how little pesticides the University used. Cavanaugh said when faced with a problem, “Peter would literally get into the trenches to find the source and determine the resolution.”
Castronovo had a long history of prioritizing waste management issues across the University. He chaired a former committee at the Medical Center to ensure that the many waste streams were handled safely and effectively. He was a valued member of the Waste Minimization Steering Committee whose mission is to be a leader in cost effective management practices to reduce, repurpose, and reuse waste materials through innovation, education, and community based programs. Sustainability Coordinator Amy Kadrie worked closely with Castronovo on many waste management issues including a large food waste composting program on campus. “I always looked to Peter for his knowledge and ability to prioritize health and safety while valuing the commitment to waste reduction and environmental sustainability. I will miss him and our conversations.”
Castronovo is remembered by many as a great story teller with a sense of humor. NYSIPM Community IPM Extension Specialist Joellen Lampman said, “He loved sharing his experiences and solutions and was also open to new ideas and collaborations.” Mark Cavanaugh shared this sentiment and would joke with Castronovo about his love for writing. “He could write a novel on anything I asked him to give me a quick summary on,” said Cavanaugh fondly. Cavanaugh also appreciated Castronovo’s ability to help parents of students through difficult situations and said, “It made my life so much easier knowing Peter would resolve the complicated and emotional issue and I could focus on other issues.”
Flags will be lowered on Tuesday, August 4, to honor Peter Castronovo. As Castronovo was an avid outdoorsman and supporter of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, donations can be made in his name here.