The outreach mission of AWI is accomplished largely through our Stewardship Program. In addition to inspecting boats and other gear and to removing any foreign materials there from, our stewards educate boaters about invasive species. Through one-on-one to group encounters at launch sites and elsewhere our stewards work to increase boater awareness about the potential harm caused by these organisms and to train boaters on appropriate measures for preventing unintentional spread. The ability of our stewards to potentially change boater behavior through education is a critical aspect of prevention: our stewards interacted with over 120,000 boaters in 2016 alone.

We also use our investigative skills as scientists coupled with the findings from our research projects to inform policies so to improve our natural resources. For example, we authored a literature-based report on the effects and costs of road de-icing and presented it at a stakeholder forum at Paul Smith's College. We then followed up by using our water quality monitoring data to conduct a regional analysis of the effect of paved roads on sodium and chloride in lakes and published this in the journal Water Research, and then presented the results of this analysis at a second stakeholder forum at Paul Smith's College. This combination of outreach and science resulted in significant changes in road salt use in the Adirondack Park.

Like learning another language, changing behavior and building environmental awareness are most effectively done at younger ages. It was through a combination of this understanding and a need to reach a broader audience that we started our Water Shield Workshop in 2014. We are excited about offering this first-ever Park-wide environmental education program.

We also work closely with our partners on a diverse array of outreach activities, such as:

  • Hosting and participating in the Adirondack Watershed Steward training
  • Providing aquatic plant identification and mapping training
  • Providing water quality monitoring and sampling training
  • Hosting and participating in workshops and conferences
  • Speaking to groups about invasive species and/or water quality

Please contact us if your group/organization is interested a presentation or workshop.

Water Shield Workshop

2017 will be the fourth year that the Adirondack Watershed Institute implements our very own Water Shield Workshop! Based off of the many floating classrooms nation-wide the Water Shield Workshop will work with school-aged children as well as the public to educate them about the watersheds they live in. For our program specifically we will travel with our boat the Water Shield to the different lakes covered by our watershed stewards, rapid response team and plant monitoring team; to help the students make connections with the places they live in. The program will have 4 sections, which will come together to give a great overview of the place the program is being conducted at. On land, students will partake in a "how to be a steward" activity where they will get to work with an actual watershed steward to identify Aquatic Invasive Plants or Animals, inspect different types of watercrafts, and set up educational displays. Also on land, students will learn how watersheds work by using a watershed model and then seeing what things around them can impact the watershed they live in. All of this, along with "The Incredible Journey" activity to help participants better understand the water cycle and the movement of water through our environment. Then it's all aboard the Water Shield, where students will learn how to test water quality and conduct plankton tows to see what's living just below the water's surface. The hope of the Water Shield Workshop is to be able to create awareness about the importance of our water bodies and to instill the idea and action of stewardship for the natural environment.

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Paul Smith's College

The AWI will hold public steward training on May 22nd and 23rd at Paul Smith's College.  If your group is interested in...


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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