Almanack Contributor Paul Hai

Paul Hai

Paul B. Hai is Program Coordinator for the Northern Forest Institute for Conservation Education and Leadership Training of the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF).

Paul is passionate about creating interdisciplinary programs using natural history, inquiry-based activities and outdoor experiences as the foundations for teaching the process of science, exploring the Adirondack experience, and for getting children outside. This commitment to using informal science education as a vehicle for reconnecting children to nature is a key programmatic theme of programming at ESF’s Adirondack Interpretive Center.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Paul Hai: Conversations About Diversity Matter

TMDA LogoThere are some things better left unsaid. On-going conversations about diversity, more accurately perhaps, about acceptance, is not one of them. Why do conversations about diversity and acceptance matter? Because if we ignore these conversations the consequences are myriad and pervasive, affecting our families, our professions, our region, and our future.

As a starting point, this conversation is important because if we do not engage it then the passive and active discrimination, disrespect, and simple ignorance of this generation will be passed on to the next. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Paul Hai: Admonition or Aspiration?

Sunset over PolpisWe generally want to know the answer; it’s instilled in us from our earliest educational experiences: give the correct answer and gain the approbation of your teacher, sometimes your classmates, and through good performance on your report card, your parents. That process encourages some of us to embrace being the teacher’s pet while others of us shy away from the potential embarrassment of being publicly wrong.

More significantly, and generally, that process creates individuals reluctant to explore potential answers and explanations when presented with a question. Well after our school-age years we have a continued unease or fear of being wrong in front of others, be them colleagues, friends or family. No one likes to be wrong, it can be supremely uncomfortable, especially in front of those we respect and admire. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

How Do We Make The Adirondacks More Relevant?

getting ready by the riverRecently, Pete Nelson opened a conversation on a social level many of us have been thinking about and working on a professional level.   This conversation about the challenges facing a park whose population of residents and visitors does not reflect the shifting demographics of our larger society is keenly felt in the conservation, education and resource management professions.  There is a famous quote, paraphrased, that says you will only commit yourself to what you know and love, and you will only come to know and love that which you feel is relevant to your life.

So the question Peter opened for conversation – and if you check out the comments on his January 11th post you will see he stimulated quite a conversation – is how do we make the Adirondacks more relevant in the lives of those who do not currently find it so.  » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The State of Nature-Based Education

Uncle Sam Green smlRecently Governor Cuomo gave his first State of the State address and President Obama delivered his third “State of the Union.” New endeavors, or a new year, are popular times to “take stock and look forward”. As we begin to build programmatic structure for the Adirondack Interpretive Center, where natural history and ecology are a foundation of our content, it seems appropriate to consider the State of Nature-based Education.

Nationally, nature-based experience – formal and informal, rural and urban – is increasingly recognized for the critical role it plays in the healthy physical and mental development of children and the on-going health of adults. This role is being supported by peer-reviewed research from diverse academic fields, including medicine, education and ecology. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Naming The Adirondack Interpretive Center

Newcomb VICThe interpretive center in Newcomb is now officially the Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC), owned and managed by the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).

ESF did not take lightly renaming the former APA Visitor Interpretive Center. We respect what the APA and its staff created and want to honor the history of the center. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Newcomb Interpretive Center Transition

newcombtrails2It is easy during a transition to focus on the work ahead to the exclusion of the past. As the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry assumes control of the Adirondack Park Agency’s Newcomb Visitor Interpretive Center the college does not want that to happen.

The Newcomb center and her sibling center at Paul Smiths are both fabulous year-round facilities with beautiful trails through diverse and wonderful habitats. But they are beloved by visitors and park residents alike not just because of what they are, but because of “who” they are. » Continue Reading.