Members of Robin Kinnel’s Environmental Studies 220 class, “The Cultural and Natural Histories of the Adirondacks,” took a whirlwind tour of the area they are studying when they visited the Adirondacks the weekend of Sept. 26-27.
The class was accompanied by Kinnel, the Silas D. Childs Professor of Chemistry emeritus and lecturer in chemistry, along with Visiting Assistant Professor of Geosciences Carolyn Dash and Todd Rayne, the J. W. Johnson Family Professor of Environmental Studies.
On Saturday, the class traveled to Speculator, N.Y., for a short nature walk to the west fork of the Sacandaga River. They continued on to Keene, N.Y., to visit with students in the Adirondack Program, enjoy the views of the High Peaks and have lunch.
Next, they visited the Sugarhouse Creamery, a dairy farm specializing in cheeses and raw milk, located in Upper Jay. One of the owners gave the class an extensive tour, which involved getting up close and personal with some of the farm’s Brown Swiss cows (a first for many of the students), and an explanation of how the creamery started and how the farm operates. After leaving the farm, the class drove up the Whiteface Veterans’ Memorial Highway and climbed to the top of the mountain.
The day’s tour finished with a stop at great Camp Wenonah, on Upper Saranac Lake, hosted by Jim ’68 and Anne Schoff. The group was joined by the Adirondack Program students for dinner and a seminar about a recent court case involving paddling rights and private property. Led by Glens Falls lawyer Dennis Phillips, both sides of the issue were presented, after which the students deliberated the case. Kinnel reported “they were evenly divided, accurately reflecting the expectations from the Appellate Court judges in January 2016.”
Sunday morning featured a visit to the Wild Center natural history center in Tupper Lake, N.Y. One of the center’s naturalists gave a behind-the-scenes tour of the technical workings of the facility, including the solar panels and green roof, the efficient wood chip heating unit, and the carefully regulated water supplies for all the exhibits. In the afternoon, the class made a stop at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake before returning to campus.
This was the 11th year that the Environmental Studies Adirondack class was hosted at Wenonah. Kinnel expressed the group’s appreciation for the Schoffs’ “continued generous hospitality.”