Paul Smith's College transforms Adirondacks into classroom for high school students

Adirondack Field Ecology program offers college credit, field experience

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Prof. Joe Orefice, right, teaches a group of high school students about forest ecology during the Adirondack Field Ecology program at Paul Smith’s College.

PAUL SMITHS, NY (06/17/2015)(readMedia)-- Go birding, explore the St. Regis Wilderness Area, track wildlife and discover the mysteries of Adirondack forests: These are some of the hands-on experiences waiting for high school students in the Adirondack Field Ecology program at Paul Smith's College.

The program, aimed at students interested in biodiversity conservation and wilderness ecology, will run from July 26 to Aug. 8. It will be taught by Paul Smith's College faculty members and is open to students who have completed their junior or senior year of high school.

"This field school not only teaches students real-world knowledge, skills and techniques, but also lets them interact with Paul Smith's faculty who are experts in their fields," said Melanie Johnson, an assistant professor at Paul Smith's who is the program's organizer. "It's also a terrific introduction to college life before you start your college career."

The $1,995 cost includes room and board; students who complete the class will earn four college credits. They do not need to enroll at Paul Smith's for college.

The class will start with an exploration of basic concepts of ecology, and then delve into specialized, one-to-two-day modules that take advantage of Paul Smith's location amidst the mountains, lakes and forests of the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park. Topics include:

· Ecology of fish, mammals, birds, invertebrates and plants

· Sampling techniques including bog coring, live-trapping and radio-tracking

· Terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems

· Understanding historical ecological patterns using paleoecology

· Sampling water quality

· How ecology researchers use geographic information systems (GIS)

The Adirondacks are the classroom for the course, but students will also take advantage of it in their down time, whether they're swimming, hiking, fishing or relaxing on the college's campus, adjacent to Lower St. Regis Lake.

For more information, visit or contact the college's Admissions Office at or (800) 421-2605.

About Paul Smith's College

At Paul Smith's College, it's about the experience. Paul Smith's, which was founded in 1946, is the only bachelor's degree-granting institution of higher education in the Adirondacks. Our programs, in fields including hospitality, culinary arts, forestry, natural resources, the sciences, sustainability, and more, draw on industries and resources available in our own backyard while preparing students for successful careers anywhere. For more information: