“The enduring benefit of my project will positively change the St. Lawrence University community and the larger Adirondack community,” says Maddy Wetterhahn ’15.
The recipient of a St. Lawrence Andrew W. Mellon Grant, an environmental education initiative for active learning, research and advocacy, Maddy investigated Ireland’s economically successful and environmentally protective modes of ecotourism to bring ideas back to the North Country and improve the sustainable tourism of the Adirondack region.
An Adams, N.Y., native, Maddy considered sustainable travel practices in an effort to reduce the carbon footprint and consumer waste. “While traveling abroad or domestically is a positive experience for many people, it is often detrimental to the environment,” she says.
Maddy observed tourists’ interactions with the environment, businesses, and governing agencies, and interviewed local workers to gain a new cultural perspective. Following her studies, she debriefed state and local officials, and compiled her experiences to educate others.
“This experience will influence how St. Lawrence students will travel and vacation after they have left St. Lawrence,” says Maddy, a biology and English double major. She plans to create a guide to green travel that will be provided to all St. Lawrence students traveling abroad.
"Offering those involved in sharing and maintaining the Adirondacks practical methods and techniques,” Maddy reflects, “will make Adirondack tourism more profitable, undamaging and sustainable.” --Danielle McBride ’14