Albany—State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio (R-Fayette) today announced that he has secured $100,000 for the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The funding will help to cover educational programming costs at the Institute.
“Preserving and protecting the quality of the Finger Lakes and promoting their appeal are the key to revitalizing our communities and creating new opportunities for the future,” said Senator Nozzolio. “It was a pleasure to secure this funding for the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. This funding will allow the Institute to provide educational programs that will not only offer students a unique educational opportunity, but will advance the research that is being done at the Institute.”
Senator Nozzolio previously secured $1 million in State assistance for the creation of the Finger Lakes Institute, a research and education center located on the campus of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The Institute’s mission is to preserve, protect and promote the Finger Lakes and advance the economic, environmental, and tourism potential of the region through world-class research and education.
“The Finger Lakes Institute takes another step forward thanks to this funding,” said Mark D. Gearan, President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. “Senator Nozzolio’s continued efforts on the behalf of the Institute have ensured that an important part of our academic mission will be served by promoting and preserving our greatest natural resource – the Finger Lakes. We greatly appreciate all of his efforts on our behalf.”
John Halfman, Associate Professor and Director of the Environmental Studies Program at the Colleges said, “We are deeply grateful to Senator Nozzolio for securing these funds. The three-pronged mission of the Finger Lakes Insitute – research, education and community outreach throughout the Finger Lakes – will all be served through this generous grant.”
Today’s announced funding will allow the Finger Lakes Institute to hire one full-time Outreach Education Coordinator, expand the Science on Seneca program to students from kindergarten to twelfth grade, run a summer symposium for teachers, and hold a regional economical development summit.
Environmental science students at the Institute gain valuable hands-on experience, conducting research projects in conjunction with local environmental groups. The Colleges currently own a 65 foot research vessel, the William F. Scandling, for environmental monitoring of Seneca Lake, and a 25 foot pontoon boat, the JB Snow, which can be used for research on all of the Finger Lakes. The Institute also develops partnerships with other local colleges and universities to study aquatic ecology and lake issues and further expand research and educational opportunities.
The funding secured by Senator Nozzolio will help expand the Science on Seneca (SOS) program. Each year, this program involves more than 500 students from 40 schools across the Finger Lakes region in environmental study. The SOS program’s main goals are to enhance the teaching of environmental science in area high schools, introduce students to environmental field studies using Seneca Lake as a laboratory, and expand the Seneca Lake database using long-term monitoring of the lake.
The Finger Lakes Institute helps coordinate the efforts of local governments, lakeshore property owners, organizations, grassroots watershed protection groups, and other regional environmental research centers in protecting the ecology of the Finger Lakes and overseeing development along the lakes. Senator Nozzolio has also been a strong supporter of establishing links between the Finger Lakes Institute and other regional environmental research centers, such as the newly created Center of Excellence in Environmental Systems at Syracuse University, to ensure the effective utilization of this research.
The Finger Lakes Institute also works with area tourism agencies to effectively market the appeal of the Finger Lakes region. Research conducted at the Institute advances and supports revitalization, restoration and protection projects across the Finger Lakes region. The Finger Lakes region accounts for over $2 billion of the State's $37 billion tourism industry.
“The Finger Lakes region is just beginning to tap its economic potential as one of the nation’s top tourism destinations. The Finger Lakes Institute will provide valuable research that will help enhance local tourism efforts and attract more visitors to our region, thereby driving greater investment into our communities,” continued Senator Nozzolio.
“The development of the Finger Lakes Institute has the potential to transform the entire Finger Lakes region, and will help drive economic revitalization and tourism, improve our communities, protect our environment, and expand educational opportunities for area students, from middle school, to high school, to college,” concluded Nozzolio.