TREES participants creating ecological transects.

Summer 2013 Earth Institute’s Professional Development Program in Environmental Sustainability

New York City

A refreshing examination of urban ecology in New York City is the driving focus of the 2013 program as well as the inspiration for the faculty-guided projects developed by the students. Students will explore many of the resources available with site visits and workshops taking place in and around the city. Columbia University’s Morningside Campus will act as the central location for coursework.

Previous Programs

Black Rock Forest, Lower Hudson River Valley & Highlands, New York

Black Rock Forest is a preserve situated at the junction of the Hudson Highlands and Hudson River Basin. The forest features dramatic topography, numerous lakes and streams, and high habitat and species diversity. Located near the town of Cornwall, NY (about an hour north of NYC), this 4,000-acre, temperate deciduous forest is dedicated to scientific research, education and conservation.

Black Rock Forest Consortium is a unique alliance of colleges and universities, public and independent K-12 schools, and leading scientific and cultural institutions that operate the forest. Current research at the consortium spans a broad range of disciplines such as: forest ecology, wildlife biology, ecophysiology, biogeochemistry and paleoecology. Black Rock Forest has served as the Institute’s central field location for studies of the Lower Hudson River Valley and Highland ecosystems.

The Caribbean, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Sites in the Caribbean offer a unique opportunity to experience firsthand the integration of environmental protection with economic development.
For instance, the Dominican Republic is home to a beautiful coastal Caribbean biome which for years has welcomed the Institute’s students to study a variety of terrestrial and intertidal organisms and their habitats.

The PUNTACANA Ecological Foundation and sustainable tourism has been a core focus of past Institutes, with the effect of human impact on this fragile ecosystem providing an excellent learning opportunity. The foundation’s mission is to protect and restore the natural resources of the region and contribute to the sustainable development of the Dominican Republic. It is located in a rural, costal setting near the town of Veron and the landscape around it includes Indigenous Eyes Preserve (Ojos Indigenas) –an area of mostly tropical shrub forest– and freshwater lagoons, home to an array of marine and coastal life. Additional surrounding areas include former sugar plantations, botanical and agricultural gardens, backcountry roads and coastal areas with beaches, sea grass beds and off shore coral reefs.