The Center For Discovery

At The Center for Discovery, people with disabilities work hard to find a way forward as they shape lives of meaning.

The supports we offer are grounded in the land and our community of care and education, which for many years has integrated food and farming, science and research, and health and wellness.

We are a vibrantly successful program that encourages people with intellectual and physical challenges to defy expectations, while simultaneously evolving new models for living.

What happens here matters everywhere.


Walter J. Scherr is a highly successful international businessman who overcame many obstacles through persistence, honor, and commitment. He grew up during the depression in Ozone Park, Queens, was diagnosed with tuberculosis at a young age and then quarantined at a large sanitarium for a number of years. Walter never forgot what it meant to be removed from society because of a disability nor the compassionate care that he received from his caregivers.

Walter was first introduced to The Center by his respected surgeon, Dr. George Todd, who invited him to tour the agency’s advanced programs and facilities. In response to what he witnessed and the high quality of care provided, Walter established the Vera and Walter Scherr Scholarship Program to provide financial assistance to Center staff looking to pursue an advanced degree or continuing professional education/certification. This innovative program not only served to assist The Center by enhancing its workforce, but also provided the means to honor caregivers and recognize those who committed themselves to the caring profession.

More recently, Walter and the Scherr Family have gone on to champion the development of a Maker’s Lab and Learning Center featuring the use of such technologies as 3-D printers, laser cutters and CNC routers. In this environment, the engineering, artistic and design talents of people in the larger community will be joined with the specialized skills of The Center’s long-established Advanced Rehabilitation Technology Design group. Their objective: to create and encourage new technologies and devices that assist people with special needs, disabilities and age-related conditions – and share them with the world.

Learn More About Walter’s Life Through His Book: Walter’s Way

See Article About Walter in the Wall Street Journal

hemp legislation (1)

By Daniel Axelrod
Times Herald-Record 

HURLEYVILLE – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday that he and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have introduced bipartisan legislation to remove roadblocks to industrial hemp growth and production.

Schumer made the announcement at the Center for Discovery’s Michael Ritchie Big Barn Center for Environmental Health and Education in Hurleyville, where the Center is in its second year of a three-year hemp-growing trial.

Working with SUNY Sullivan, which has a state-issued permit to grow small amounts of hemp, the Center experimented last year on less than an acre to find the best practices for hemp production.

The bi-partisan Senate bill, supported by Sens. McConnell and Rand Paul of Kentucky, Schumer, and Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Oregon, would:

* Remove industrial hemp as a federally classified Schedule 1 drug on par with heroin

* Empower states to choose whether to allow hemp growth and production

* Make states the principle regulators of hemp

* Permit hemp farmers to apply for crop insurance

* Allow hemp researchers to apply and compete for U.S. Department of Agriculture grants.

Little hemp is currently grown in New York, which also lacks production facilities, except for several dozen farms that have state exemptions to grow small amounts for research purposes, Schumer said.

Yet, there’s no reason for the prohibition, the senator added, given that hemp contains miniscule amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, marijuana’s principle psychoactive substance, and hemp can be used for a long list of industrial products from paper to bioplastics and fabric.

“It’s a crock,” said Schumer, who stressed the bipartisan nature of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which also has been introduced in the House. “It makes no sense that the DEA is the primary regulator, and that they stop farmers and investors from growing hemp.”

“Why are we buying hemp from other countries, when we have hundreds of acres that could be grown right here in our backyard?” Schumer said of the more than $600 million in hemp products the U.S. imports.

With hundreds of acres of hemp already authorized to be grown in the region for research purposes, Schumer thinks the mid-Hudson is poised for tremendous economic growth if the feds give New York the ability legalize hemp.

The state currently allows farmers in Sullivan County to grow more than 21 acres of hemp, 426 acres are permitted in Orange County, and seven acres are authorized in Ulster County.

“It couldn’t be a better product … and New York would benefit overnight” from growing hemp, said Patrick Dollard, the Center for Discovery’s president and CEO, who called on more study for the medicinal potential of cannabidiol, which comes from hemp oil.

SUNY Sullivan President Jay Quaintance agreed, adding that “the impact can be profound” for education and the economy if New York is allowed to legalize hemp.

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