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Skidmore College

Roohans donate second parcel of Greenfield property

April 28, 2015

The gift to Skidmore College of a 120-acre parcel of land in Greenfield by Michael and Margaret Roohan, owners of Granite & Marble Works Inc. of Wilton, has substantially increased the College’s holdings of undeveloped property available for teaching and research.

The parcel is northeast of the Van Lennep Riding Center and abuts the northern edge of a 200-acre parcel donated to the College by the Roohans in 2011.  This donation brings the College’s total forested acreage close to 1,000, including the Skidmore North Woods that are immediately adjacent to campus.

Roohans in 2011
Margaret and Michael Roohan on the property
donated in 2011 to the College.

“Few colleges in the Northeast have holdings of woodland properties that are as substantial as Skidmore’s,” said Philip A. Glotzbach, Skidmore president. “This new site is in close proximity to the College and will be of great interest to our faculty and students. We very much appreciate the generosity of Mike and Margaret in donating this property to the College. It will greatly enhance the learning and recreational opportunities for our community.”

In a joint statement, Michael and Margaret Roohan said that — in donating the land to Skidmore — they feel they are putting it to its "highest and best use." 

"Skidmore has long been an important contributor to our local community and a leader in higher education nationwide," they said. "The College is a model steward of its developed and undeveloped property. Skidmore's creative, multidisciplinary approach to using this land for teaching, research and recreation assures the most valuable use for the greatest number of participants, and most importantly assures the education of future generations in the care of our natural surroundings."

More than 30 courses ranging from English to environmental studies already make use of the College’s woods, said Karen Kellogg, associate dean for infrastructure, sustainability and civic engagement. “The substantial wetlands on the new parcel will increase the biodiversity of Skidmore's woodland properties and will be of particular interest to students, staff, and faculty.”

Research projects have focused on everything from the impact of invasive species to the relationship between art and nature. In one project, Robert Jones, associate professor of economics, and a team of four students created an online atlas of Skidmore's undeveloped lands, including detailed information about the 200-acre parcel donated by the Roohans.

The Roohans' gifts will also play a big role in teaching Skidmore students about land conservation, Kellogg said. A stewardship plan for the College’s undeveloped lands and grounds is currently under development by the College’s Campus Sustainability Subcommittee. “That will tell us how we can best approach such matters as use, maintenance, and signage, and how we can think about our wooded areas more comprehensively.”

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