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Summer Field School goes to the Adirondacks

By Upstate Institute on June 4, 2018

Field School Fellows conducting research in the Adirondacks this summer include Diana Flores, Madison Perez, Kayla Logar, Mackenzie Murphy, Revee Needham and Colleen Donlan.

The 2018 Summer Field School is well underway, and reaching further afield than ever before. This summer, in addition to the 20 projects being completed in the Madison, Chenango, Herkimer and Oneida county region, eight Colgate students will be conducting research in the Adirondack Park as a part of the Summer Field School.

As Field School Fellows do locally, these students will be conducting research that allows not-for-profit organizations to build capacity in some way. A recent gift to the Upstate Institute made possible the expansion of these Fellowships to the Adirondack region this summer.


Madison Perez ’19 will be conducting an assessment on visitor experiences at the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, a wildlife ecology and conservation agency based in Saranac Lake. This assessment will determine if visitors to new educational exhibits are obtaining a better understanding and awareness of loon ecology, and of conservation concerns affecting Adirondack ecosystems and wildlife.

Revee Needham ’18 will be working with the Adirondack Council in Elizabethtown on a project that will examine stewardship of the lands and waters in the Adirondack Park. By conducting surveys and collecting data on usage, Revee will help the agency to identify and articulate challenges of stewardship in a way that resonates with natural resource experts, recreational users, local citizens and government officials. She will also be researching best management practices currently in use in other large landscape protected areas like the Adirondack Park.

Kayla Logar ’20 will work with the Adirondack Foundation in Lake Placid and the Adirondack Funders’ Collaborative to explore areas where funders can collaborate for greater impact in the region. By conducting surveys, Kayla will help the collaborative understand the gaps and overlaps in philanthropic funding for nonprofit organizations (including schools and municipalities) that provide essential and enriching services to the residents of the Adirondack region.

Colleen Donlan ’18 will work with ADK Action on an innovative local foods project in Keeseville called the “Farmacy.” ADK Action has worked with the downtown Keeseville Pharmacy to transform a portion of the pharmacy space into a small grocery store in order to provide residents with access to fresh local foods. Colleen will be working with local recipients of SNAP benefits to learn how to best help them access and include local foods in their diet, and with ADK Action to help the Pharmacy become a viable model for doing so.

Mackenzie Murphy ’18 will work with the Hudson Headwaters Health Network’s Palliative Care team in Queensbury. Mackenzie is developing a survey to gauge patient and family satisfaction with palliative care services at the network’s clinics.

Diana Flores ’20 will work with Mountain Lake PBS to research the impact of a community-based historical opera called “Promised Land: An Adirondack Folk Opera” which tells the story of Lyman Epps, who brought his wife and children to the Adirondack settlement “Timbuctoo” in 1848.

Ashlea Raemer ’18 will work with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Saranac Lake on a project that will look at wildlife friendly farming practices in the Adirondack region, and throughout New York state.

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