Posts Tagged ‘SUNY-ESF’

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Join the Land Use and Ethics Conversation

You are invited to contribute to the discourse, re-interpret the topic and skew the pitch. Join in the process and take part in influencing the way we think about land use and ethics. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Northern Forest Institute invites submissions for its Symposium of Interdisciplinary Scholarship in Land Use and Ethics, to be held at the Adirondack Interpretive Center on Huntington Wildlife Forest in Newcomb. See full symposium details here.

On its best day, philosophy succeeds in sending “the conversation off in new directions.” With a free exchange of ideas and a commitment to inquiry, philosophy as both catalyst and conveyor ought to “engender new normal discourses, new sciences, new philosophical research and thus new objective truths.”

I envision this project as an opportunity to open up the dialog around issues of land use and ethics on local, national and global scales. This is the place for ideas in-process, unfinished research and to introduce work in its various stages of development. We’re welcoming research from across professions and disciplines on topics related to balancing individual and community priorities with respect to land use and the associated expectations for human and ecosystem stewardship and social and environmental ethics.

I hope to see independent scholars alongside industry and agency professionals and students from across the humanities and the sciences. Presentations are meant to generate conversation around a variety of approaches to land use, the moral implications of these approaches, as well as the ways that they influence the ongoing debate over how to achieve social and environmental justice.

Philosopher John Dewey referred to active discourse as “breaking the crust of convention” and I’d like us to use this symposium to get together and get on with it.

For information on how to join the conversation email mpatinellidubay@esf.edu

References from Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Richard Rorty

Photo of Arbutus Lodge, compliments of Huntington Wildlife Forest, Newcomb, NY.

Marianne Patinelli-Dubay is a philosopher living, writing and teaching in the Adirondacks.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Local College Enrollments On The Rise

Enrollment at the region’s educational institutions is growing. The number of new students at Paul Smith’s College gained for the second consecutive year toward a 30 year high set in 1981. SUNY ESF’s Ranger School in Wanakena saw a 50 percent enrollment increase, and Clarkson University welcomed the largest number of first-year students in the institution’s history this August, breaking a 1984 record. Plattsburgh State saw a rise this semester, especially among foreign students. Clinton County Community College enrollment went up almost 5 percent, 14 percent higher than 2008-09. SUNY Adirondack (formerly Adirondack Community College) saw a slight decrease in enrollment. Enrollment was expected to have risen slightly at North Country Community College.

At Paul Smith’s College a new $8 million 93-bed residence hall designed to LEED standards is accommodating the growth. Enrollment at the Ranger School was given a boost by a new AAS-degree program in Environmental and Natural Resources Conservation, according to longtime professor and Almanack contributor Jamie Savage.

At Clarkson some of the rise is attributed to increased enrollment in pre-physical therapy and engineering programs, including environmental engineering which has seen growth of more than 100 percent.

Photo: Students walk by Bertrand H. Snell Hall at Clarkson University (Courtesy Clarkson University).


Monday, September 19, 2011

Wanakena Ranger School’s Remarkable Growth

When classes started a few weeks ago at the Ranger School in Wanakena, NY, it was anything but ‘business as usual.’ A new curriculum in Environmental and Natural Resources Conservation is credited with increasing the School’s enrollment by nearly 50%. With additional programs, more students and new teaching staff, the Ranger School is poised to begin its second century (in 2012) on a very positive note.

It has been over 25 years since the Ranger School–a regional campus of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF)–has welcomed such a large class. After seeing stable enrollment of about 40-45 students each of the last several years, this year’s class of 59 represents a significant increase.

Much of the increase in enrollment is attributed to a brand new AAS-degree program in Environmental and Natural Resources Conservation (ENRC). The new program focuses less on timber production and traditional forest management and more on wildlife, forest recreation, soils and water conservation. It also includes an intriguing new class called “Adirondack Cultural Ecology,” wherein students learn about the ways that the natural resources of the Adirondacks have influenced human use and the general culture of the Park, and vice-versa.

The ENRC program is designed to prepare graduates for a shifting job market which, in turn, reflects a shift in the way Society values forests. It’s still important to grow trees to meet society’s demand for lumber, paper, firewood and other traditional products, but it’s increasingly important to understand, protect and sustainably manage forests for wilderness, wildlife, clean air, clean water, carbon storage, forest recreation, and aesthetics.

The Ranger School maintains two other AAS-degree programs, one in Forest Technology, and one in Land Surveying Technology. The former curriculum has been in place in one form or another since the School’s primitive beginnings in 1912. The Surveying program was first offered in 1995 and recently received ABET accreditation.

In August of 2012, the Ranger School celebrates 100 years of hands-on, technical forestry education. As such, it is the longest running program of its kind in North America. The School was formed one year after the birth of its parent institution, ESF (known then as the College of Forestry at Syracuse University), with a donation of 1,800 acres of land from the Rich Lumber Company. More information about the Ranger School and its upcoming Centennial Celebration can be found at the School’s website.

Photos: Above, entrance to Ranger School campus in Wanakena, NY; below, Aerial view of Ranger School. Courtesy Jamie Savage.

Jamie Savage is a Professor at the SUNY-ESF Ranger School, Certified Forester, Licensed Outdoor Guide, and Adirondack singer-songwriter from Piercefield, NY.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Almanack Welcomes New Contributor Jamie Savage

The Adirondack Almanack has added a new contributor, Jamie Savage. Savage has been a Professor at the SUNY-ESF Ranger School in Wanakena, NY since 1991, and a Certified Forester since 1995. He teaches courses in Natural Resources Measurements, Entomology, Forest Recreation, Interpretive Techniques, Wildlife Conservation, and Adirondack Cultural Ecology.

Savage will be writing about the Adirondack forestry issues, a topic he is intimately familiar with. He is a past Chair and still active member of the New York Society of American Foresters, and currently serves as a board member of both the Five Ponds Partners, and the Adirondack Curriculum Project.

In his spare time, Savage shares his love of the Adirondacks as a singer-songwriter. He has released three CDs of original music and performs several times a year throughout central and northern New York. When he’s not teaching or singing, you can find Jamie hiking, running, biking, climbing, paddling, or skiing his way through the Adirondack Mountains.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Join the Land Use and Ethics Conversation

On its best day, philosophy succeeds in sending “the conversation off in new directions.” With a free exchange of ideas and a commitment to inquiry, philosophy as both catalyst and conveyor ought to “engender new normal discourses, new sciences, new philosophical research and thus new objective truths.”

In this spirit the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Northern Forest Institute invites submissions for its Symposium of Interdisciplinary Scholarship in Land Use and Ethics, to be held at the Adirondack Interpretive Center on Huntington Wildlife Forest in Newcomb.

I envision this project as an opportunity to open up the dialog around issues of land use and ethics on local, national and global scales. This is the place for ideas in-process, unfinished research and to introduce work in its various stages of development. We’re welcoming research from across professions and disciplines on topics related to balancing individual and community priorities with respect to land use and the associated expectations for human and ecosystem stewardship and social and environmental ethics.

I hope to see independent scholars alongside industry and agency professionals and students from across the humanities and the sciences. Presentations are meant to generate conversation around a variety of approaches to land use, the moral implications of these approaches, as well as the ways that they influence the ongoing debate over how to achieve social and environmental justice.

Philosopher John Dewey referred to active discourse as “breaking the crust of convention” and I’d like us to use this symposium to get together and get on with it.

For information on how to join the conversation email mpatinellidubay@esf.edu

References from Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Richard Rorty

Photo of Arbutus Lodge, compliments of Huntington Wildlife Forest, Newcomb, NY.

Marianne Patinelli-Dubay is a philosopher living, writing and teaching in the Adirondacks.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Philosophy at SUNY ESF’s Northern Forest Institute

This week I happily begin work as a public environmental philosopher at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Northern Forest Institute. Naturally I’ve been thinking quite a bit about how I can be of service to the Adirondack community in this position, so I thought this might be a good forum to explain a little bit about what it means to do philosophy followed by what we’re actually planning to do.

On thinking for a purpose
I see philosophy as an integrated practice of right-thinking and right-doing that has led to my decision to work as a philosopher in the Adirondacks. Years ago I became enlivened by an ecstatic pursuit of Philo Sophia and in the process, I became urgently aware that the subtext of my studies drew me towards philosophy as a lived intention that requires its practitioners to push to the outer edge where thinking becomes action and ideas have impact. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wetlands: Vernal Pools And Their Inhabitants

What follows is a guest essay from Stacy McNulty Associate Director and Research Associate at SUNY ESF’s Adirondack Ecological Center in Newcomb. Following last week’s story on the destruction of wetlands by ATVs at the 2011 SNIRT rally, the Almanack asked Stacy to provide some background on vernal pools, small intermittent wetlands that are important sources of Adirondack biodiversity.

On a proverbially dark and stormy night in mid-April I climb the hill, flashlight sweeping the ground for obstacles. The first warm, spring rain has been falling and snow piles lie here and there. Faintly I hear a quacking sound up ahead, signaling my target – but what I seek is not a duck, but a frog. Scores of wood frogs swim and call from the pool, their eyes shining in the beam of my light. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New Study: Who Uses The Forest Preserve?

Have you gone hiking recently in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness or canoed the Kunjamuk River? I’ve never met you, but I can guess a lot of things about you.

You probably live within fifty miles of the trailhead or put-in. You probably have a college degree. And you’re probably white.

These are statistical probabilities based on a survey of Forest Preserve users in the southeastern Adirondacks. For a year, researchers from the New York State College of Environmental Science and Forestry staked out trailheads and put-ins and interviewed more than a thousand people. » 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.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Free Forestry Programs at New York Farm Show

The New York Forest Owners Association, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry will present a series of free forestry programs on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday February 24, 25, and 26 at the New York Farm Show annually held at the State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. The Farm Show has many exhibits displaying information, equipment, and items of interest to landowners as well as farmers. Landowners who own woodland as part of their property can get information on enhancing the value of their woodlots for timber, wildlife, and recreation.

Seminars consisting of nine different subjects during the three day farm show will be held in the Arts and Home Center Building in the Somerset Room. Subjects will include Wild Turkey, Conservation Easements, Deer Management Plan for NYS, Improving Practices, Woodlot Firewood, Selling Timber, Wildlife Habitat Improvement, Timber Value, and Wild Canines of New York. People are free to attend whichever seminar interests them and visit the Farm Show exhibits the rest of the time.

There will also be a joint New York Forest Owners Association, NYSDEC, CCE, and SUNY ESF Forestry Information Booth, I55, in the International Food Building each day of the Farm Show. Before or after the seminar presentations, attendees can go to the booth and talk with knowledgeable Forest Owners Association volunteers, DEC Service Foresters, CCE Extension Foresters and with Master Forest Owner volunteers. Free information (brochures, publications, people, organizations, and resources) will be available at the booth. Visitors can sign up for more information or for a free visit to their woodlot. The International Building has many forestry related exhibits for landowners.

For further information contact: Jamie Christensen 315-472-5323 kchriste@twcny.rr.com, John Druke 315-656-2313 jcdruke@twcny.rr.com, and Rich Taber rbt44@cornell.edu.


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.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Almanack Welcomes Naturalist, Educator Paul B. Hai

It’s been a busy week couple weeks for new contributors and today I’ve got some more good news for our readers who enjoy the Almanack‘s natural history side.

Please join me in welcoming Paul B. Hai as our newest contributor. Paul is the 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) and the leads the Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) in Newcomb, the former Newcomb VIC, and now the educational outreach venue of the NFI. He is co-founder of Children in Nature, New York and serves on the Grassroots Leadership Team of the Children & Nature Network.

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. He says that his commitment to using informal science education as a vehicle for reconnecting children to nature will form one of the key programmatic themes of the Adirondack Interpretive Center.

Paul first “visited” the Adirondacks at three-months old, returning with his family to camp on the islands of Lake George two weeks each summer for the next 14 years. He also spent eight summers attending Adirondack Swim and Trip Camp on Jones Pond, an experience that took him by foot and paddle all over the region.

Paul and his wife, ecologist Stacy McNulty, Associate Director of the Adirondack Ecological Center, live in Newcomb with their two daughters. Prior to moving to Newcomb, Paul spent four years living in Bolton Landing and working in Chestertown and Warrensburg before moving to Syracuse to attend graduate school at ESF.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Former Newcomb VIC Reopens Under SUNY-ESF

The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) will reopen the former Adirondack Park Agency (APA) Visitor Interpretive Center in Newcomb tomorrow after taking over programming at the facility January 1st. The APA closed the Newcomb and Paul Smiths VICs late last year as New York State’s fiscal crisis worsened.

According to a press release issued today, the facility’s name has been changed to Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) “to reflect both its location and its mission to serve regional residents as well as visitors from beyond the park’s boundaries.”

The AIC, located at ESF’s Huntington Wildlife Forest, will remain open all winter, with 3.6 miles of trails, open dawn to dusk daily, to snowshoe or cross-country ski. The interpretive center’s main building is scheduled to be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. “However, during this transitional period, the building might be closed occasionally during those hours,” ESF Director of Communications Claire Dunn told the press. “Visitors wishing to ensure the building is open when they arrive are advised to check in advance by calling 518-582-2000.”

“We want to carry forward the legacy of the Adirondack Park Agency’s interpretive program,” Paul Hai, an educator with ESF’s Adirondack Ecological Center, who is planning programs for the interpretive center, told the press. “We want the facility to be more than a nature center. We want to offer educational and recreational programs that are based on a foundation of natural history and science.”

Hai said he is finalizing plans for three programs that will be among those held next spring and summer and provided the following descriptions:

Fly-fishing: A series of workshops will explore the natural history of fish and the culture of fly fishing and teach fly-fishing techniques. Participants will have an opportunity to fish waters in the Huntington Wildlife Forest that are otherwise inaccessible to the public. Participants can choose to attend one session or all in the series, which will be held periodically through the spring and summer.

“Working Forests Working for You”: This series will bring experts to the center for programs and presentations on various aspects of forestry and the forest products industry, from silviculture to forest management and pulp and paper mill operation.

“Northern Lights”: This series on luminaries in the Adirondacks will include presentations on famous people whose work had a relationship with the Adirondacks. Subjects will include John Burroughs, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Winslow Homer.

Hai said that he’s also hoping to host professional development workshops, a series exploring the role the Adirondacks in modern philosophy, a book club, and canoe skills training.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Dave Gibson: Naturalists Help Keep the Lights On

It’s certainly getting frosty out there, and that’s particularly true for the state’s environmental centers, educators and interpreters.

I first wrote about the closing of the two Adirondack Park Visitor Interpretive Centers and the loss of their naturalist staff last June, and the good news that the State College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY) would run programs at the Newcomb facility in 2011.

Comments back to me said, to summarize, “it’s nice, but get real. In this recession, we have no time to worry about frills and luxuries like environmental education.” I thought I could make a better effort at stating my case.

Most of these “retired” state naturalists are skilled environmental interpreters – meaning that they, to quote a classic definition of interpretation, are skilled at “revealing meanings and relationships through the use of original objects, first hand experiences and illustrative media, rather than simply conveying factual information” (Interpreting our Heritage, by Freeman Tilden).

In essence, these professionals relate parts of the natural world (or the historic or cultural worlds) to something deep within the personality or experience of the visitor, resident or student. What they reveal provokes people to respond, not to yawn. This provocation, in turn, causes visitors to the VICs, Wild Center, Adirondack Museum, or Five Rivers Center to appreciate what they are seeing or experiencing more intensely.

That intensity of appreciation can lead to a desire to understand the details, or a whole ecosystems. These people may develop into aware, informed, understanding, active environmental managers, conservationists, or historians. These activities can and do change the world in ways large and small, and it often begins through good interpretation at a State Park, Visitor Center, or Museum.

Like all layoffs, these at Christmastide are bad enough for the individuals and families involved, like the forced departure of naturalist Ellen Rathbone from the Newcomb VIC, from her park community and from Adirondack Almanack as she seeks new opportunities beyond New York State. We hope New York’s loss will be Ohio’s gain. But the loss of veteran naturalists and educators in NYS is felt statewide.

For instance, a veteran educator at NYS Parks was just laid off after 26 years of successful efforts to link environmental education to improved stewardship of all 150 State Parks. The response of officials in Albany is predictable. “It’s too bad, but we have to cut these naturalist jobs just to keep most Parks open next year.” Keeping the lights on, the golf courses open, the bathrooms plumbed, the roads cleared are a priority. So is keeping the lights on in our eyes, hearts and minds. What these educators do can have real-world, stewardship implications.

For example, this particular naturalist developed a Bird Checklist system for all State Parks back in the late 1980’s. That was considered a “nice” thing to do. A decade later, the awareness those checklists created helped activists to fight off a proposal to construct a large trucking haul road through breeding bird habitats and wetlands of Saratoga Spa State Park. Fifteen years later, these intact wetlands still feed Great Blue Herons, and Kayaderroseras Creek, which in turn has developed into a premier canoeing and kayaking destination.

Thinking ahead, the opportunities for future environmental education employment – and the services those people provide – are shrinking. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation is closing two of their three Environmental Education Centers – Stony Kill Farm in Dutchess County, and Rogers EE Center in Sherburne, Chenango County.

The closing of these facilities is big deal for many families for whom these centers and their professional staffs represented learning opportunities, career advancement, family fun and happy memories – to say nothing of community meeting space – at no expense just miles from their front doors. As far as I can tell, the electric lights are still on at Five Rivers EE Center in the Capital District, but I’m not sure about the learning lights, meaning the staffing.

Who will provide those “provocational,” interpretive services to our young people and families in 2011, or 2021? More and more, we hear of the crisis of “wired” kids staying indoors, who are not exposed to the confidence-building, skills-building that outdoor experiences and unstructured playtime provide. We need more adults to share our outdoor heritage, not fewer.

The system of centers supporting this activity around the State is frayed. But there is hope. My hope is founded on the efforts of people who have picked up the fallen baton, such as SUNY’s Paul Hai, who is committed to keeping the Newcomb Interpretive Center open for continuing cultural and environmental interpretation under the auspices of the College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

It will take time for that facility and others in Newcomb and elsewhere to gain their footing after the loss of so many experienced staff. But there are people like Paul and institutions like ESF out in their communities who are determined not to lose a chance to change someone’s life, or to turn them on to the Adirondacks, or anywhere else with the potential to reveal both our landscapes and parts of ourselves. Let’s work with SUNY’s Paul Hai, or Paul Smith’s College and many others to keep the “lights on” for the fragile network of Adirondack learning centers, museums and interpretive facilities.

Photo: Paul Hai, right, of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry with Tom Cobb, left, retired Preserve Manager with NYS Parks, former staff with the Commission on the Adirondacks in the 21st Century, and a director of Adirondack Wild: Friend of the Forest Preserve.