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Brendan Wiltse joins Paul Smith’s College faculty, Adirondack Watershed Institute

Brendan Wiltse works at his desk in January. (Enterprise photo — Elizabeth Izzo)

PAUL SMITHS — Adirondack scientist, photographer and conservation advocate Brendan Wiltse has joined Paul Smith’s College in two capacities: as visiting assistant professor with its new Master of Science program, and water quality director with the college’s Adirondack Watershed Institute.

Wiltse is a graduate of Paul Smith’s College and earned his Ph.D. from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

Wiltse comes to Paul Smith’s from the Ausable River Association (AsRA), where for six years as science and stewardship director he contributed to the group’s efforts to protect the AuSable River watershed through science and community engagement. Most notably he has led scientific research and monitoring on Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, wherein his findings contributed to a road salt reduction pilot program by the New York State Department of Transportation along state Route 86, as well as actions by businesses and local municipalities to reduce their salt use.

Wiltse also holds a national accreditation as a certified lake manager through the North American Lake Management Society and is a co-director with the Adirondack Lakes Alliance. His academic training focused on the ecological history of lakes and their historical response to climate change, and he has a long list of publications in scientific journals on a broad range of environmental topics.

He will teach classes in September in natural resource management for the college’s new graduate program. Starting this fall, students can earn a MS in Natural Resources Conservation at Paul Smith’s, where they can choose from three concentrations: Forest Resource Management, Sustainable Communities or Aquatic Resource Management. The program is designed to be completed in 12 months, mostly delivered online to accommodate students pursing their advanced degree while continuing their careers. Students are also required to participate in three immersive residencies in and around the campus.

“This accomplished scientist will contribute greatly to our new master’s program,” Paul Smith’s College Provost Nicholas Hunt-Bull said in a press release. “The students will benefit from his background and experience in the aquatic sciences. It is also great to have another Smitty on faculty.”

In addition, Wiltse will lead AWI’s water quality programming, including its water monitoring and inventory programs.

“I am excited to welcome Brendan to our team to lead our aquatic ecology and limnology programs,” said Dan Kelting, executive director of PSC AWI. “Brendan’s role with us also provides an important opportunity to strengthen our collaboration with AsRA to protect lakes and streams and inspire responsible stewardship.”

“AWI and AsRA’s efforts to protect water quality are closely aligned, and we have worked together for years,” says Kelley Tucker, executive director of AsRA. “Brendan’s transition to AWI allows AsRA to continue our field-science based approach in watershed communities, while benefitting from AWI’s regional scope and scientific and technical expertise. We look forward to exploring a long-term partnership with the college and AWI, giving our work a greater impact in the Adirondack region.”

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