Learn about plants, animals and ecosystems from expert instructors in the heart of the Adirondacks.

Select one course per session and earn six college credits in just six weeks, or choose a single course and earn three college credits in three weeks.

The pre-requisite for these upper-division college courses is BIO 101 or equivalent (foundational organismal biology course)

Session One

Bio 399 Field Herpetology – Field Herpetology is focused on the biology and ecology of the amphibians and reptiles of New York State.The emphases include: aspects of their evolutionary history, physiology, ecology, behavior, conservation, and natural history.  Field experiences, independent research, and laboratory exercises will complement and expand upon topics introduced in lecture.  Instructor: Eric Simandle, PhD

Bio 399 Field Ornithology – This course is designed as a field-based course. The course will address bird morphology, behavior and vocalizations as it relates to bird identification and will include many field trips to local birding areas. Students investigate the evolutionary history, ecology, behavior and conservation of these amazing animals and learn to identify individuals to species by sight and sound. The field laboratories give practical experience with the techniques used in the study of ornithology and focus on identification of species breeding in the Adirondacks. Instructor: Brian McAllister

ENV 399 Ecological Restoration of Aquatic Terrestrial Transition Zones – Lakes, wetlands, and streams do not exist in isolation from the rest of the landscape and are integral components in a functioning watersheds.  Under most natural conditions these aquatic ecosystems typically have a highly dynamic aquatic terrestrial transition zone that supports a high diversity of plants and animals, serve as refuge or corridors to migratory species, attenuates the flow of soil and water downslope, promotes recharge of groundwater and summer base stream flows, and maintains organic matter production and retention (sequestration).  However, aquatic terrestrial transition zones (ATTZ) of lakes, wetlands, and streams have been degraded, altered and eliminated to a large extent.   This course focuses on the skills needed to define benchmark conditions, identify the degree to which ecosystem structure and function of ATTZs have been lost, define vision and goals for restoration of ATTZs, and develop a short- and long-term management plan.  Instructor: Melanie Johnson, PhD. (First week of coursework is online – save on cost of room and board!)

Session Two

Bio 399 Field Entomology – Students will learn about the biology and classification of insects. Topics covered in the classroom portion of the course include insect diversity, morphology, and physiology. For the field portion of the course, students will collect, observe, and classify insects based on morphological characteristics. The field laboratories give practical experience with the techniques used in the study of entomology and focus on identification of species in the Adirondacks. Instructor: Janet Mihuc

Bio 299 Field botany –  In this course, students will explore and develop skills in classifying the flora of the region. Students will learn the anatomy and features used to identify plants, will work with dichotomous keys and will learn some ethnobotany (plant uses), and will learn how to use plant communities as indicators of soil nutrient and moisture status. This course will help train those interested in conducting botanical surveys, research and leading interpretive walks for the public. Classes will be held in the field and in the classroom. Prior knowledge of botanical nomenclature is beneficial. Instructor: Celia Evans

Bio 399 Wetlands of the Adirondacks – This field based course will survey the broad array of wetlands found in the Adirondack Park. Students will become familiar with the 3 factors used to make wetland determinations and delineations: hydrophytic vegetation, hydric soils and wetland hydrology. Wetland delineation techniques found in the NYS Wetland Delineation Manual will be studied.   Although the focus will primarily be on plant identification, students will dig soil pits and use the Munsell Soil Color chart, and seek field evidence of wetland hydrology. Instructor: Daniel Spada, MS

BIO 399 Human and Wildlife Interactions in Emerging Wildlife Diseases – This course introduces students to the field of One Health. Students will investigate and analyze how interactions between human, wildlife, and domestic animals influence the emergence and spread of diseases in animal (domestic and wild) and human populations throughout the world. Students will acquire an understanding of the growing field of One Health. Each student will conduct a project to study at least one emerging disease and the roles humans, domestic animals, and wildlife have had in its spread. Students will present their findings to the class and in a written report, including a description of the diagnostic, preventative, and treatment procedures to address the disease in the different populations. Instructors: Nina Schoch, DVM and Lynn Miller, PhD

Classes are subject to minimum enrollment. At least one class per session will run.

Tuition is $495 per credit hour. Room and board are $330 per week.

Course Highlights

  • classify the flora of the Adirondack region
  • use plant communities as indicators of soil conditions
  • study insect diversity, morphology, and physiology
  • collect, observe, and classify insects
  • focus on the biology and ecology of amphibians and reptiles
  • investigate the evolutionary history, ecology, behavior and conservation of birds
  • make wetland determinations and delineations based on hydrophytic vegetation, hydric soils and wetland hydrology
  • define benchmark conditions and study the ecosystem structure and function aquatic terrestrial transition zones
  • develop short- and long-term management plans
  • discover the field of One Health
  • study emerging diseases and the roles of humans, domestic animals, and wildlife in causing them to spread