Northwood School and Paul Smith’s College announce collaboration in environmental education

LAKE PLACID — Northwood School and Paul Smith’s College have entered discussions aimed at capitalizing on the assets of both institutions, with initial conversations centering around environmental education.

On the environmental front, Paul Smith’s operates the Adirondack Watershed Institute, while Northwood now has its 9,000 square-foot Innovation Hub on Main Street in the Lake Placid village. The AWI’s goal is to protect clean water, conserve habitats and support the health and well being of people in the Adirondacks through scientific inquiry, stewardship, and real-world experiences for students.

AWI’s student stewards are highly visible around the Adirondacks, primarily at boat launch sites educating and assisting boaters to prevent the spread of invasive species. The Innovation Hub at Northwood School, meanwhile, is focused on providing a central location for modern-day STEM- learning (science, technology, engineering, math) in a flexible, open classroom.

Northwood’s Head of School Michael Maher, in conjunction with the college, envisions his students aiding the institute’s mission. “We see lots of synergy with our new Innovation Hub and Paul Smith’s AWI,” said Maher. “We see the AWI as a perfect platform for our students to advance their environmental education and get some experience out in the field testing water samples and learning first-hand about invasive species in the Adirondacks.”

The proposed partnership fits neatly into the plans of the AWI moving forward, where students of the local, private boarding and day school will receive advanced STEM education experiences. In exchange, the college will provide an AWI display at the Innovation Hub.

“We hire 120 college-aged students in the summer to staff boat launch sites so it would be great to involve Northwood students, giving them live, in-the-field training,” stated Dan Kelting, who created and heads the AWI’s efforts. “We also envision providing some college-based teaching for Northwood students and will include them on campus in our environmental labs.”

“It’s a win-win for both institutions,” stated Northwood alumnus Mark Driscoll, a new Paul Smith’s College Trustee, “and in this day and age, sharing resources is the key to sustainability.”


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