Northern Forest Institute

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Institution: State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF)

Sites: Huntington Wildlife Forest (HWF) & Cranberry Lake Biological Station (CLBS)

Statement of Intent:

1. NFI’s formal professional educational initiatives in environmental philosophy are dedicated to understanding the impacts of SUNY-ESF’s relationship between scientific research and the policy it advances. This program, a vital compliment of the Northern Forest Institute, was established to bridge humanities content with HWF-specific field knowledge and experience. This series of original projects with an interdisciplinary reach are brought about in collaboration with institutions and organizations throughout NYS for the benefit of the general public, primary and secondary school children along with State and regional agency and government personnel at organizations with an environmental mission. This is accomplished through programs that 1) foster an understanding of the relationships between nature, culture, science and ethics 2) by linking ethical concepts with their application to real-world problems to forge a connection between theoretical philosophy/ ethics and community relationships and 3) developing a sphere of participation devoted to the resolution of regional issues that arise from the impact of science on community and humans on non-human communities.

2. NFI’s informal and professional educational initiatives integrating informal science education with the arts are designed to 1) use the ongoing and long-term core scientific research at HWF as well as the natural history of the region in order to highlight both local and distant cultures and 2) to use art, music, literature and history as tools to translate the scientific information generated at the HWF in a meaningful way to a wide range of audiences.

Brief description of ongoing programs/projects aligned with the aims of the Ecological Reflections Network:

  1. Environmental Philosophy
  • Interdisciplinary Scholarship in Land Use and Ethics, now in its fourth year includes scholars from across academic disciplines and professional fields.
  • Credit-bearing courses in environmental philosophy and ethics at ESF’s two biological field stations encourages students to think through their scientific work towards the human dimensions and impacts of their applied work in the field and lab sciences.
  • Practical Ethics for Science and Forestry Professionals is a Society of American Foresters-accredited seminar designed for New York State Department of Environmental Conservation professionals and working foresters.
  • The Age of Reason is a series of classroom units developed for primary and secondary school students. Lessons including Ethics of the Environment and the Virtues of Happiness are designed to run alongside primary content in natural history and science based on work done on the Huntington Wildlife Forest.
  • Commitment and contribution to collaborative student and faculty publications
    • The Knothole, a monthly newspaper dedicated to environmental journalism
    • Ecologue, an literary journal published annually
  1. Integrating Informal Science Education with the Arts:
  • Fly-way Across the Americas is an interdisciplinary project linking the study of Spanish and the natural sciences in the high school with college and career choices in the fields of biology, recreation, adventure travel, and eco-tourism. It involves students and faculty and staff from Newcomb Central School and SUNY-ESF.
  • Artist-in-residence program provides space for a local artist to work and display art ideally inspired by philosophy, physics, belief, and the environment.
  • Music in the Woods is a public program that invites musicians along the trails and the public is encouraged to join in.
  • Rockwell Kent Day is an annual public event showcasing the life and work of artist, adventurer and activist Rockwell Kent.
  • Adirondack Guideboats is a program designed using authentic Adirondack guideboats as a vehicle to explore the history of local human communities and how they relate to technology, natural history, and natural resource use.
  • The Natural History of Literature introduces students to the importance of understanding natural history to articulate a sense of place. This program uses excerpts from well-known literature and image-based descriptive writing exercises to highlight the process of creating an accurate and rich sense of place.

System for sharing and archiving outcomes:


Contact person:

Marianne Patinelli-Dubay

Environmental Philosophy Program Coordinator

State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Mpatinelli (at)