SUNY Potsdam's WISER Center Receives Grant from Alcoa Foundation

Alcoa Foundation Supports Community Educational Programming at SUNY Potsdam's Wagner Institute for Sustainability and Ecological Research

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POTSDAM, NY (12/28/2018) SUNY Potsdam's Wagner Institute for Sustainability and Ecological Research (WISER) received a $38,000 grant from the Alcoa Foundation to support its educational and community programming this year.

The grant supports an agroecological initiative, engaging SUNY Potsdam students, North Country youth and community partners in creating sustainable solutions through hands-on, green technology applications and conservation efforts.

Faculty, staff and students from the College's Department of Biology and other academic backgrounds have been constructing pollinator gardens, a community food-security garden and vertical Tower Gardens® in the WISER Greenhouses and elsewhere, over the past year. Plans for rain gardens and raised-beds with high tunnels are planned for the coming months. The participants gained valuable STEM skills while also improving access to healthy food and teaching others about bioenergy and natural resource management.

The Alcoa Foundation grant also expanded WISER's partnerships with school districts across St. Lawrence County, teaming up with the non-profit Green Bronx Machine, to provide project-based learning curricula, aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core standards. The WISER Center offers workshops for area teachers to support their professional development, in partnership with SUNY Potsdam's School of Education and Professional Studies and St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES.

"Alcoa Foundation is committed to making a positive and long-lasting impact on our shared environment," said Chrissy Moody, HR Generalist at Alcoa Massena Operations. "WISER provides educational opportunities to SUNY Potsdam college students, and also expands the learning opportunity to educators and students across the North Country. Through this partnership, students of all ages are learning about the benefits of green technologies and how to grow nutritious food through various types of gardens and urban farming."

For more information about the Wagner Institute for Sustainability and Ecological Research at SUNY Potsdam, visit

About Alcoa:

Alcoa Foundation invests where Alcoa has a presence, partnering with communities to address local needs in a sustainable manner. With its non-profit partners, the foundation contributes to environmental excellence, economic success and social responsibility around the globe. For more information, visit

About SUNY Potsdam:

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America's first 50 colleges-and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit