Thoreau Foundation Supports Nature Up North

A faculty-staff team at St. Lawrence has earned the university's first grant from the Henry David Thoreau Foundation for a new environmental program entitled "Nature Up North." Led by Associate Professor of Biology Erika Barthelmess and Project Manager Erin Siracusa, Nature Up North is focused on training undergrads to be environmental educators; the creation of a virtual nature center and project website; and citizen science with specific attention to collecting data and information that captures the impact of climate change in the North Country. In conjunction with several community partners, such as the Ogdensburg Boys & Girls Club, the Indian Creek Nature Center, The Wild Center, the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Environment Division, Nature Up North will allow St. Lawrence undergraduates working in different disciplines to study and train as environmental educators/naturalists for the North Country community and employ technology to encourage participation in nature. Though this may seem counterintuitive at first, technology is considered an effective tool for engaging broad and non-traditional audiences and, thus, may greatly advance and expand the influence of Nature Up North. Using a web-based format offers virtually endless possibilities for participation-from entire K-12 classes, to hunters and hikers, to science faculty to senior citizens.

The Nature Up North website and virtual nature center will serve as a repository of reference material about the ecology and natural history of the North Country and provide a rich learning environment that can be accessed anytime, anywhere and by users of all ages.