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Paul Smith’s College and Cornell University Launch New Initiative to Connect People and Planet

Nestled in the forests of the Adirondacks, Paul Smith’s College is known for setting the bar in environmentally-focused education. On Monday Paul Smith’s announced the launch of its newest project to enhance sustainability as a campus-wide initiative, a joint effort with the Cornell Cooperative Extension.

The new program will connect people with nature and local landscapes to promote positive environmentalism. Photo credit: Cornell University

“This collaborative project will enable our students at Paul Smith’s College to connect what they learn in the classroom with real world applications,” explained Brett McLeod, associate professor and program director.

The Adirondack Center for Working Landscapes (ACWL) is a multi-phase project that will link policy, education and practice through healthy land, healthy food and healthy communities. The program will connect people with the landscapes to promote positive environmentalism that establishes harmony between humans and the Earth. As a joint effort with Cornell Cooperative Extension, of Cornell University, the ACWL will invest in educational outreach and reframe environmental issues with a practical approach.

“Cornell has a reputation for its strengths in agriculture, and Paul Smith’s College has been the leader in forestry, tourism and natural resource management for nearly 70 years,” explained John W. Mills, PhD., President of Paul Smith’s College. “The ACWL partnership will enable the play-off of these strengths.”

The ACWL is the integration of education and economic reality—beyond sustainable agriculture and forestry—to related sectors such as agro-tourism, nutrition, lost arts, traditional skills, food systems and environmental education.

“Because humans are the chiefs of the ecological system, we have the environmental responsibility to integrate people with landscapes in a harmonious union,” said Mills. “This is essential for preserving our landscapes while fostering eco-tourism, agriculture and community development.”

The announcement was made by U.S. Representative Bill Owens of New York, followed by a discussion on the 2014 Farm Bill. Farmers and associated business owners were provided the opportunity to learn how to attain grants for their North Country businesses from the recently passed Farm Bill and other private and New York State sources.

“We at Cornell Cooperative Extension Franklin County are extremely pleased to be a founding partner of the ACWL,” said Rick LeVitre, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension. “Our educational mission as the outreach arm of the land grant institution of Cornell and tied to U.S. Department of Agriculture makes our programs in agriculture and natural resources, nutrition and youth development an excellent fit with those of Paul Smith’s College and the VIC [Visitor Interpretive Center].” 

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