College celebrates Wilderness Act with a series of fall events

wilderness_50_logoThis year marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act, one of the most important federal environmental policy acts of the 20th century. The State University of New York at New Paltz has joined a statewide effort to commemorate this act and its legacy of land protection and conservation.

The College, in partnership with the Mohonk Preserve, the Wallkill Valley Land Trust, Adirondack Wild, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government and other colleges and universities across New York, will host a series of events with the goal of invigorating/reinvigorating conservation values and understanding of the natural world.

In addition to faculty incorporating the Wilderness Act into their class discussions, assignments, and activities, a series of events will take place on campus this fall, which tie to the spirit of this groundbreaking act.

Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 10:30 a.m. – Honors Center – Faculty Forum with Mohonk Preserve
Learn about the partnership between SUNY New Paltz and Mohonk Preserve, a non-profit anchor institution in New Paltz that focuses on conservation science, environmental education, land protection, and land stewardship. Faculty from across disciplines can utilize Mohonk Preserve for field experiences with their classes and can work with the preserve on independent research projects. This forum will feature leaders from both institutions, as well as biology professors Dave Richardson, Carol Rietsma, and Eric Keeling, who will discuss their ongoing research. Biology major and conversation intern James Byam, will also share his summer experiences at the preserve.

Friday, Sept. 12 (rain dates: 9/13, 9/19, 9/26), from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. – Mohonk Preserve – Stargazing at Spring Farm
Join Raj Pandya, lecturer (physics & astronomy), for an evening of stargazing at beautiful Mohonk Preserve. Please see the following webpage for further information:

Monday, Sept.22, at 7 p.m. – Lecture Center 104 – Faculty Lecture
Professor Kerry Dean Carso (art history) will give a lecture titled: “Landscapes of Nationalism and the Root of Conservation in Nineteenth-Century America.” Learn about American landscape paintings of the period and how they relate to both the formation of national identity and the roots of the conservation movement.

Saturday, Oct. 4 (rain date: 10/5), at 10 a.m. – Mohonk Preserve – Hike and Discussion
Professor Eric Keeling (biology) will lead a hike and discussion about contemporary issues in wilderness, and readings will be available for participants in advance of the event. The preserve has generously agreed to make this event free to students/faculty/staff of SUNY New Paltz, with a $12 charge to community members. There is a limit of 22 participants and sign-up to follow online.

Tuesday, Oct.7, at 7 p.m. – Honors Center – Panel Discussion
Professors’ Glenn Geher (psychology), Brian Obach (sociology), Kate McCoy (educational studies), and Alisha Mai McNamara from Wild Earth, will host a panel discussion on the work of Richard Louv, who will address the College at this fall’s Distinguished Speaker Series. Wild Earth runs nature-connection programming throughout the year for children, teens, adults, and families. The panel is titled: “Perspectives on Richard Louv’s Nature Deficit Disorder.”

Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m. – Lecture Center 100 – Richard Louv, Distinguished Speaker
Come to the Distinguished Speaker Series to hear from Richard Louv, a journalist and author of eight books about the connections between family, nature and community. His book, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder,” has stimulated an international conversation about the relationship between children and nature.

“SUNY New Paltz is proud to celebrate such a noteworthy occasion. This fall’s educational programming will provide our campus and regional community with a better understanding of the profound impact and relevance the Wilderness Act has in today’s world,” said President Donald P. Christian.

For updated information on additional campus events, please visit: