Water Resources Initiative

Winter sunset on Saratoga Lake


WRI builds on existing water-related courses at Skidmore College, including one of the foundational Environmental Studies Program courses, ES 105 Field Studies in Environmental Science. Community-based water research is the heart of our Environmental Studies capstone course, ES 375 Case Studies in Environmental Sustainability, and is used as a catalyst for understanding the complex and interdisciplinary nature of water issues on a local and global scale.   

ES 105: Field Studies in Environmental Science

ES 105 Field Studies in Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary natural science course that focuses on Loughberry Lake, the current, primary drinking water source for Saratoga Springs. The sources of the lake's water supply, chemical characteristics of the lake, and the nature of the land surrounding the lake, including Skidmore's North Woods, are considered from a biological, chemical, and geological perspective. Students conduct field and laboratory water analyses in the winter and spring, including pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, temperature and nitrate. 


Students monitoring water quality on Loughberry Lake, the current drinking water source for Saratoga.

Students monitoring water quality on Loughberry Lake in ES 105Students monitoring water quality on Loughberry Lake in ES 105

ES 375: Case Study in Sustainability

ES 375 Case Studies in Environmental Sustainability is the capstone course for Environmental Studies majors at Skidmore College. The focus of ES 375 is interdisciplinary, community-based research. Student research teams are currently investigating aspects of our local water issues as part of WRI. Through the research process, students solidify their research and communication skills, become better integrated with the Saratoga Springs community and make valuable contributions to our understanding of local water issues. The course culminates every spring with the Environmental Studies Capstone Event, during which students make conference-quality presentations of their research to faculty, students and community members (see Student Projects).

Skidmore students, faculty and local community members at presentations

 ES 375 capstone presentations ES 375 capstone presentations