Paul Smith’s College Students and Faculty Embark on Research Trip to Nepal to Study Forestry and Natural Resources Conservation Practices

Jan 3, 2023 | News

PAUL SMITHS, NY–Today, thirteen Paul Smith’s College students, along with faculty, are traveling to Nepal for 15-days to study community forests, trek in the Annapurna Conservation Area, and explore the Chitwan National Park. Paul Smith’s students—ranging from second year students to seniors—and faculty will visit the municipalities of Kathmandu, Pokhara, as well as the Chitwan National Park.

Nepal is internationally recognized for its community forestry program, where villagers manage forest resources for their communal benefit. The purpose of this trip will be to provide Paul Smith’s College students with a unique opportunity to compare and contrast Nepali forestry and conservation practices with those they are familiar with in the United States, while also exposing the students to the culture and natural beauty of Nepal.

“This is what Paul Smith’s College is all about; it’s about the experience—providing real-world, hands-on learning to a broad cross-section of students,” said Dan Kelting, Interim President at Paul Smith’s College. “Students taking the journey to Nepal range from 20 to 35 years of age, showing that Paul Smith’s is for everyone. The Paul Smith’s community looks forward to hearing about the exciting experiences and research the students conduct.”

“From the high peaks of the Adirondacks to the foothills of the Himalayan mountains, this unique experiential learning will provide students with an expanded perspective on the world as they move out of their comfort zones and into that of someone else,” said Mel Johnson, Professor of Environmental Science, GIS and Remote Sensing and Trip Organizer.

Upon successful completion of this trip, Paul Smith’s students will be able to interpret, compare and contrast best practices, issues, challenges and opportunities arising from the community forestry program in Nepal; analyze forest practices in a historic context to trace the origins and evolution of diverse cultural values, ethics and perspectives; and examine the Nepali approach to landscape management in terms of natural resource and community sustainability in different regions of Nepal.

“We are all excited to take our world-class studies at Paul Smith’s College internationally to experience and learn from Nepali communities,” said Paul Smith’s College student, Tehya Kloster. “This trip will allow us to learn about important ways we can use better resource conservation management at home by studying best practices abroad.”

The trip is being funded, in part, through the Stirling Tomkins Endowed Forestry Fund and a successful fundraiser held on Thursday, October 20, 2022 at the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center. The VIC was transformed into a Nepali teahouse, and over 100 guests who were treated to a Nepali experience raised nearly $5,500.

The money from the fundraiser will be split between helping Paul Smith’s students cover the cost of the trip, and helping to fund the education of a cohort of Female Trekking Guides in Nepal through Empowering Women in Nepal, a Nepali non-profit organization that since 1999 is dedicated to empowering girls and women all over Nepal through adventure sports and tourism

“This is a once in a lifetime trip for many students and it wouldn’t be possible without the financial support from the Stirling Tomkins Endowed Forestry Fund,” said Brett McLeod, Professor & Chair of the Forestry Department. “Stirling Tomkins Jr. was a long-time and extremely generous supporter of Paul Smith’s College and its forestry, natural resources, and recreation division. His legacy lives on through the experiences of our students.”

The students will write about their experiences in real time at


At Paul Smith’s College, it’s about the experience. As the only four-year institution of higher education located in the Adirondack Park in upstate New York, Paul Smith’s provides real-world, hands-on learning in fields such as business and hospitality, culinary management, forestry, environmental sciences, and natural resources. We can draw on industries and resources available in our backyard while preparing students for successful careers anywhere. Our community of resourceful, enterprising, supportive, and adventurous individuals collectively provides experiential education, student support in the classroom and beyond, and meaningful opportunities for our alumni. We pride ourselves on research and advocacy on issues that improve our planet and the lives of the people who inhabit it. Learn more at



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