Team Members

Permanent Staff Members

The Adirondack Watershed Institute has eight permanent staff members, several Paul Smith's College faculty affiliates, and numerous seasonal staff. Under the guidance of the Executive Director, each team member brings their expertise and energy to accomplish the mission and achieve the vision of the AWI.

Dan Kelting
Executive Director of Adirondack Watershed Institute
1999 Ph.D. Forest Soils, Virginia Tech

As Executive Director, Dan is an officer of Paul Smith's College and has primary responsibility for managing and coordinating AWI programs, for obtaining grants and contracts for AWI activities, for developing collaborations with external organizations, and for representing the Institute to various stakeholders. He also directs the research program and participates in most AWI research projects. Dan is also a Professor of Environmental Sciences and teaches Forest Soils and mentors students in undergraduate research. Learn more about Dan Kelting.

Eric Holmlund
Director of Watershed Stewardship Program
2010 Ph.D. Environmental Studies, Antioch University New England

Eric Holmlund is a Professor of Environmental Studies in the Environment and Society Department at Paul Smith's College. He is also the Director of the Adirondack Watershed Institute Stewardship Program, which works to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species on waterways across the Adirondack region. Holmlund also steers a multi-year sustainable development collaboration with the National Park of the Tuscan-Emilian Appenines in Italy. Holmlund has served as Interim Dean at Paul Smith's College, as the Director of the Outdoor Education Program at St. Lawrence University, as a senior instructor for the Wilderness Education Association (WEA) and as instructor and Course Director for the New York Outward Bound Center. Holmlund is the author, with Jack Drury, of The Camper's Guide to Outdoor Pursuits, a book published in 1997. Eric Holmlund holds a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature from Dartmouth College, a Master's Degree in Outdoor Recreation from Southern Illinois University, a Master's Degree in Secondary English Education from the State University of New York at Potsdam, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from Antioch University New England. His research interests include narratives of environmental attachment and socio-political conflict and aquatic invasive species spread networks via overland transport of recreational watercraft.

Corey Laxson
Senior Research Associate
2002 M.S. Aquatic Ecology, SUNY Brockport

Corey joined Paul Smith's College in 2002 and has been working with the AWI since 2005. He is a broadly trained limnologist with expertise in food web ecology, invasion biology, aquatic invertebrates, water quality analysis, aquatic plants, and taxonomy. As the senior research associate, Corey is responsible for developing and executing a diverse array of limnology and water quality research and monitoring projects across the Adirondacks. Corey also teaches a number of courses at Paul Smith's College such as Limnology, Aquatic Invertebrates, Aquatic Plants, and Mammalogy. Corey also serves as an advisor for students interested in thesis projects focused on limnology. View Corey's resume

Heather Coleates
Program Manager, Stewardship Program
2014 B.A. Environmental Studies, Paul Smith's College

Heather joined the team in 2015 to provide administrative support to the Adirondack Watershed Institute. She is currently performing the role of Program Manager. In her free time, she can be found hiking, skiing, and paddling - any excuse to get out and enjoy the Adirondacks.

Jeffrey Sann
Decontamination Services Program Manager
2011 B.S. Natural Resource Management and Policy, Paul Smith's College

Jeff started as the AWISP Program Manager in 2015. Prior to that, he worked as a Watershed Steward, and Regional Supervisor for the Stewardship Program. Jeff focuses his efforts on AIS spread prevention through work with decontamination sites and watershed stewards throughout the Adirondacks. He also enjoys training and educating steward staff, volunteers and waterway users. You can expect to find him at a boat decontamination site or helping out on a Water Shield Workshop. He enjoys spending time outside with his family, fishing, gardening and music.  

Eric Paul
Assistant Director, Stewardship Program
2012 B.S. Natural Resources Management and Policy, Paul Smith's College

Eric Paul started as a Watershed Steward in Cranberry Lake for AWI in 2010. He remained a steward in Cranberry Lake until 2013. In 2016 he returned to AWI as a Regional Supervisor in the Southwest Region. Eric has a prior degree from Clarkson University in Business and Technology Management. He enjoys combining his educational and work experience to manage staff in the environmental field.

Sue O'Reilly
Science & Data Manager
2009 B.S. Biological Sciences, University of New Orleans

Sue began as an AWI steward in 2014 and continued as weekend supervisor and science supervisor in 2015. She is a Saranac Inn native and a U.S. Air Force veteran. Since 2001 she has worked twelve seasons at research stations in Antarctica, so she is very happy to be back home and working to protect our beautiful Adirondacks.

Lee Ann Sporn
Professor of Biology eDNA method development
1987 Ph.D. , University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry Toxicology

Lee Ann joined the faculty at Paul Smith's in 2003 as an associate professor in the Biology Program. Her interests include the development of non-invasive methods for molecular analyses of environmental samples and wildlife samples. Lee Ann is also an avid painter and has contributed several pieces of aquatic themed artwork to the Adirondack Watershed Institute. She had been published in several peer reviewed sources including Microbial Pathogenesis (2000), The Journal of Biological Chemistry (1999), and Infection and Immunity (1999).

Jon Nielsen
Decontamination Services Program Assistant
2012 B.A. Environmental Science, SUNY Plattsburgh

Jon started as a Watershed Steward in the Paul Smiths region for AWI in 2015. He remained a steward, decontamination technician,and as an assistant supervisor in the Tri lakes region until 2017. Jon has a degree from Plattsburgh State University in Environmental Science. Jon brings his education, work, and passion for the outdoors to the AWI Staff.

Jake Sporn
Marketing, Communications & Graphic Design
2014 B.S. Business Management & Entrepreneurial Studies, Paul Smith's College

Jake attended Paul Smith's college and is a self-taught photographer/videographer. He started working for the Stewardship Program of the AWI in 2014 and now provides assistance with digital design and marketing efforts, among other things. When not working, you could find Jake tending to his honeybees, skiing, or out in the woods somewhere.

Seasonal Staff Members

The Adirondack Watershed Institute employs numerous seasonal personnel to assist with aquatic invasive species management, water quality monitoring, and related science projects.

Watershed Stewards

Over 114 indivuduals comprise the 2018 team of Watershed Stewards and Decontamination Stewards. The stewards will work to educate the public about aquatic invasive species (AIS) issues pertaining to specific watersheds. In addition, they will interact with visitors at boat ramps and perform watercraft inspections intended to prevent the transport of AIS.

AWI Research Technician

The primary duties of the AWI Research Technician are to assist with field and laboratory work in support of AWI research and monitoring projects throughout the Adirondack region. Technicians may also assist with aquatic plant surveys and mapping, gathering stream hydrologic data, collecting, processing and chemical analysis of water samples, data entry, and equipment maintenance. They are also responsible for the day-to-day logistics of Adirondack Lakes Assessment Program, which includes coordinating sample pickup and delivery, and arranging for and conducting lake visits for sample collection and volunteer training, among other duties.

The following individuals comprise the 2018 team of AWI Research Technicians:

Hunter Favreau

AWI Aquatic Plant Management Team

Members of the Aquatic Plany Mangagement Team are primarily involved in the removal and suppression of Eurasian water milfoil. Major duties include staging, deployment, and removal of benthic barrier mats, hand harvesting via SCUBA, collection, transport and disposal of invasive plants, equipment maintenance, record keeping, and maintaining professional relationships with clientele.

Five individuals comprise the 2018 Aquatic Plant Management Team, one team leader and four aquatic plant management technicians.

Paul Smith's College undergraduate students discuss working for the AWI.
Stewardship Program Report

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) continue to be a great concern all across the Adirondack region, demanding increasing attention and resources from communities and agencies far and wide. The Adirondack Watershed Institute Stewardship Program is part of coordinated efforts at the local, regional and statewide levels to arrest the spread of AIS. The AWI works year-round with partner organizations, communities and government agencies to understand and manage a range of environmental quality issues through research and education. 2017 was the eighteenth field season for the AWI's Stewardship Program. View our 2017 report for program highlights, accomplishments, and future plans.

2017 Program Report
News & Events

Paul Smiths, NY (06/12/2018) — The Paul Smith's College Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI) has been awarded a five-...



Grand Isle, VT – Researchers confirmed the presence of fishhook waterflea (...

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The mission of the Adirondack Watershed Institute of Paul Smith's College is to create scientifically-sound knowledge about terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and human relationships with the environment, enhance the educational opportunities available for undergraduate students and to engage the Adirondack Community in ways that facilitate the stewardship of our natural resources.

Adirondack Watershed Institute
Paul Smith's College
P.O. Box 265, Paul Smiths, NY 12970-0244
Tel: 518-327-6213
Fax: 518-327-6369