Hobart and William Smith Colleges Receive $1 Million to Establish Finger Lakes Institute. The Center will provide environmental research, education and outreach to preserve, protect and promote the region.
September 30, 2002 Geneva, N.Y.— Citing the tremendous impact it will have on the entire Finger Lakes region, State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio (R-Fayette) today announced that he has secured a $1 million State grant for the creation of the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The funding was secured as part of this year’s State budget. Today’s announcement was made jointly by Senator Nozzolio and Hobart and William Smith Colleges President Mark Gearan.
“The Finger Lakes Institute, identified as a priority in the Colleges’ strategic plan, takes a major step forward with today's announcement of $1 million in state funding,” said Mark D. Gearan, president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. “Senator Nozzolio's efforts have ensured that an important part of the Colleges’ 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.”
“The goal of the Finger Lakes Institute will be to preserve, protect and promote the Finger Lakes. The development of this world-class Institute has the potential to transform the City of Geneva and the entire Finger Lakes region, and will help drive economic revitalization and ecotourism, improve our communities, protect our environment, and expand educational opportunities,” said Senator Nozzolio, at a news conference held Monday morning at the Geneva Ramada Inn.
The money provided by this grant will help to launch the institute. The Finger Lakes Institute will foster collaboration between the individuals and groups who are already dedicating themselves to preserving the Finger Lakes, and likewise increase the research of the Finger Lakes. “I expect the Institute to bring together key stakeholders in the area who are providing important environmental education. The Colleges are committed to Geneva and our neighbors. The creation of the Finger Lakes Institute is an important step forward,” Gearan said.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges will utilize the Finger Lakes Institute to carry out world-class research, education and community programs focused on the Finger Lakes. Environmental science students at the Colleges will gain hands-on experience, conducting research projects in conjunction with local environmental groups. The Colleges currently use a 65-foot research vessel, the William F. Scandling, for environmental monitoring of Seneca Lake. The Institute will also develop partnerships with other local colleges and universities to study aquatic ecology and lake issues and to further expand research and educational opportunities.
John Halfman, associate professor of geoscience and director of environmental studies program at the Colleges, will oversee much of the institute’s research. “The three-pronged mission of the FLI – research, education and community outreach throughout the Finger Lakes – will all be served through this generous grant. Our goal is to provide training and critical environmental information for the next generation of environmental researchers, educators and policy makers. “
Meredith Trainor, a William Smith sophomore from Glen Rock, N.J., also spoke at the press conference. Trainor, an environmental studies major and one of the leaders of Campus Green, an environmental group on campus, was enthused and excited to learn of the funding and of the additional opportunities the Institute will provide students.
The Finger Lakes Institute will help coordinate the efforts of local governments, lakeshore property owners’ organizations, grassroots watershed protection associations, and other environmental research groups in protecting the ecology of the Finger Lakes and overseeing development along the lakes. The Institute will also work with area tourism agencies to effectively market the appeal of the Finger Lakes region. Research conducted will be utilized to advance and support revitalization, restoration and protection projects across the Finger Lakes region.
Nozzolio noted that the Finger Lakes region accounts for over $2.3 billion of the State's $37.5 billion tourism industry.
The $1 million grant will also enable the City of Geneva to leverage additional funding, both public and private, to support the project.
The Finger Lakes Institute’s mission is to advance the economic, environmental, and tourism potential of the region through world-class research and education. It is a pleasure for me to work with President Mark Gearan and Hobart and William Smith Colleges to make the Finger Lakes Institute a reality,” Nozzolio concluded.