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Skidmore College
Environmental Studies and Sciences


Tour of the North Woods

Skidmore College will offer two educational tours of its North Woods. Open to the public, the 90-minute tours will depart from Falstaff's pavilion.  Skidmore's North Woods, a 250-acre tract extending north from the main campus, is home to numerous native species, including migrating songbirds and 33 types of ferns. With southern oak, hickory, and northern hardwoods as well as ponds and marshes, the woods support a biologically diverse animal and plant population that is important to faculty and student research. Much of the area is available for public use. Sue Van Hook will lead the first tour, and Kim Marsella will lead the second tour.

Will Ganga Die?
Julian Crandall Hollick

The Ganges River is central to the life and culture of north India. Hindus worship the river as the goddess Ganga who is pure and eternal, yet the river is so polluted that its very existence is threatened. Will the river die, and if so, will worship of the Goddess die? Julian Crandall Hollick will discuss some of the environmental, religious, and political issues involved, and illustrate his talk with images.

Mr. Hollick is an award-winning producer and writer of radio documentaries, which have aired on NPR, BBC Radio, and CBC. He has published articles in Smithsonian and The New Republic, as well as the book, Ganga: A Journey Down the Ganges River (2008).

Global Climate Change Meets Ecophobia
David Sobel

Most educators realize we have to start doing something about global climate change in schools. But how is this issue most effectively integrated into an already jam-packed curriculum? And are there any developmental parameters that we should attend to in figuring out how and where climate change education should go?  A reception will follow the lecture.

The Myth of Progress: Toward a Sustainable Future
and the Environmental Studies Annual Welcome Reception
Tom Wessels

Our guest speaker, Tom Wessels, is the author of "Reading the Forested Landscape," "The Granite Landscape," "Untamed Vermont," and "The Myth of Progress: Toward a Sustainable Future." Tom is an ecologist and founding director of the masters degree program in Conservation Biology at Antioch University New England. He is the former chair of the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation that fosters environmental leadership through graduate fellowships and orginizational grants. He serves as an ecological consultant to the Rain Forest Alliance's SmartWood Green Certification Program. In that capacity Tom helped to draft green certification assessment guidelines for forest operations in the northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. Tom's presentation will focus on his most recent book, "The Myth of Progress," and will offer a critical examination of our reigning notions of progress through the lens of complex systems science.

Following Tom's presentation, please join us for an informative dessert reception that will offer students an opportunity to meet members of the Environmental Studies (ES) faculty, ES majors who have studied abroad and participated in collaborative research projects, the new Eco-Reps and members of the Sustainable Skidmore team, and representatives from local organizations that offer student internships ranging from land-use planning to water monitoring. This is a great opportunity for new or potential ES majors to learn about the opportunities avaiable to them.

Adirondack Study Day Fun Hike

Faculty and students will participate in an easy but beautiful hike up Prospect Mountain.  An informal discussion of the history of the Adirondacks will take place.

Darrow School Field Trip

Faculty and students will visit the Darrow School in New Lebanon, New York to visit their Living Machine and Environmental Center.  Darrow's Living Machine uses natural ecosystems as a model to clean wastewater and sewage from nearly 20 school structures including dormitories, apartments, the dining hall, athletic facilities, and administrative and academic buildings, before returning it to the Hudson River watershed.  In this alternative system, nature's "processors" - a diversity of microogranisms, snails, oxygen, and basic plant life - are used to break down and digest organic pollutants.  The water is treated through this simple technology, which mimics nature's water filtration and bacterial processing systems, rather than through the application of chemicals and other high-tech tools.  The center also features solar photovoltaic energy panels.

Visit with an ES Alumni 

A visit with ES alumni Allison Stafford '07 to discuss opportunities at Skidmore, graduate schools, summer research projects, internships, Capstone projects, and more.