About Gwendolyn Craig

Gwen is an award-winning journalist covering environmental policy for the Explorer since January 2020. She also takes photos and videos for the Explorer's magazine and website. She is a current member of the Legislative Correspondents Association of New York. Gwen has worked at various news outlets since 2015. Prior to moving to upstate New York, she worked for a D.C. Metro-area public relations firm, producing digital content for clients including the World Health Organization, the Low Income Investment Fund and Rights and Resources Initiative. She has a master's degree in journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She has bachelor's degrees in English and journalism, with a concentration in ecology and evolutionary biology, from the University of Connecticut. Gwen is also a part-time figure skating coach. Contact her at (518) 524-2902 or gwen@adirondackexplorer.org. Sign up for Gwen’s newsletter here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Shawn Typhair says

    Worked for health department as a dietitian. Wow. A non park resident with no environmental experience gets on the APA board. Time for towns and villages to start looking for ways to take their lands out of the park.

  2. louis curth says

    Congratulations to Benita Law-Diao on her nomination by Gov. Hochul to serve as a board member on the Adirondack Park Agency.

    Those of us who care about the Adirondack Park come from many different backgrounds, experiences and varying points of view. I have always considered that a strength rather than a weakness. Similarly, Ms. Law-Diao, the Agency’s first Black member, will help the APA focus on the Park’s needs in service to the more diverse population that will be our next generation of visitors, residents and lovers of this wonderful place.

  3. Doc says

    It seems that a day never goes by that one of our politicians isn’t jamming something else down our throats. No relevant qualifications here.

  4. Zephyr says

    Great choice! I welcome new blood at the APA. “The mission of the APA is to protect the public and private resources of the Park through the exercise of the powers and duties provided by law.” The Adirondack Park is a state park, meaning everyone in the state should have equal say on protecting it.

  5. Joan Grabe says

    Where is it written that members of the APA have to be born and be slated to die here in the Park ? There were the same snarky comments when John Ernst was nominated to be. Chair of the APA even tho the Ernsts were landowners, employers and utterly dedicated to this region.Ms.Law – Diao is a resident of the Albany region, has hiked here for years and is on the Board of John Brown Lives. A fresh perspective never hurt any organization especially the APA which is everyone’s favorite punching bag up here. I was amazed to read that she will be the first Black member – what century are you people living in ?

  6. Shawn Typhair says

    Go back and look at what was said about Mark Hall when he was appointed to the board . He was not qualified to be on the board even tho he was a town supervisor , environmental engineer , water district supervisor and was on the local planning board for towns and villages in the park. This lady is a dietitian with no experience in any sort of environmental issues . I dont care where she is from, she is NOT qualified to make decisions about my property.

  7. Joan Grabe says

    Dietitians follow a rigorous academic course of studies in college and usually have degrees beyond the Batchelor level. They are not the lunchroom “ ladies in hair nets “. Her outside interests may very well be environmental ! Why else would she even agree to be on this contentious board ? Although she may have second thoughts after reading some of these comments.

  8. Devin P says

    Great Job Benita! Do great things and block out the negativity! It’s obvious through reading some of the comments that we still live in a racist and prejudice society.

  9. Shawn Typhair says

    What comments are on this thread are racist ? If you are implying my comments are racist you are wrong. To me as a resident of the park it doesn’t matter what the color of the board members are just as long as they are qualified. The only credentials she has is that she has been to park and enjoys the outdoors. When mark hall was appointed many people said he wasn’t qualified . If mark was qualified then she most definitely is not

  10. Cheila says

    I wonder why more residents of the park don’t show interest for these positions until someone else gets it. The Adirondacks are for the residents as much as any other New Yorkers… For people who don’t personally know her, you really shouldn’t have much of an opinion based off of an excerpt written by someone else. Pay your taxes and mind your business.

  11. Susan says

    1.) This appointment reeks of politics.
    2.) I don’t care what color she is, I do not consider her qualified to make informed experienced decisions about my land owner rights.

  12. louis curth says

    Politics, racism, qualifications or lack thereof, public input or not; on and on it goes, as comments are registered about this historic nomination for a commissioner of the APA. The one thing that I think we can ALL agree upon is that the Adirondacks is a very special place that we ALL care deeply about.

    This is why I appreciate this space provided to us by the Explorer/Almanack. It invites any and all to share our stories, our opinions, and whatever else is on our minds in a moderated regional alternative to the fear-mongering social media platforms that are stirring up so much hatred and discord among us.

    The Explorer/Almanack forum is the closest thing I can find to times gone by when local folks used to get together at community meetings where we could voice opinions, disagree respectfully, and sometimes come away with ways to help each other and do things better. Thank you Gwen, Melissa, Tracy, Jim and the rest for all that you are giving us.

    in the final analysis, our democracy will succeed or fail based upon our ability to talk to each other and work together to find solutions to our problems. Hatred and silence in response to lies and hatred will only make things worse. Think about it…

    • Susan says

      Who said anything about “hatred”? Just because she is black, and some people express the opinion that they do not think that she is qualified for the job, why do some people automatically assume that there is “hatred” involved?

  13. Blaine Vann says

    Congratulation to Benita! I know Benita for over 40 years. The ones who say she is not qualified are only the ones who do not know her or her past environmental work. You are basing your comments off a news clipping. Get to know her. And you will find she is more passionate about people rights then you give her credit for. She is humble, brilliant and a gentle soul.
    And she’s also passionate and very formidable.
    She is an excellent choice, you just do not know it yet.

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