Biodiversity center hopes to guide park-wide research

PAUL SMITHS - Paul Smith's College has launched the Center for Adirondack Biodiversity, an umbrella organization for park-wide environmental and social research.

David Patrick, a wildlife ecologist, has been named the center's executive director. The center will collaborate on research of plant and animal life in the Adirondacks, as well as help build links among the many groups focusing on ecological and social sustainability in the park.

Research done at the center will complement existing college resources, such as the Adirondack Watershed Institute.

"We want to make sure that people in the Adirondacks know what's around them," Patrick said. "To have that understanding of what's in the woods around your house. There's a sense of pride that develops out of that understanding."

Andrew Egan, dean of the college's Division of Forestry, Natural Resources and Recreation, said Patrick is a good fit to build the new center.

"We're excited to have someone with David's experience and energy to provide the leadership for our new Center for Adirondack Biodiversity," said Egan.

"The center will benefit our division, the college and the region through research, outreach and teaching," he added. "The idea of the center is consistent with Paul Smith's commitment to resource sustainability and experiential environmental education."

One of the center's most visible ongoing projects will be a project to index every living species, plant or animal, in the Adirondacks. The Adirondack All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventory relies both on professional input and citizen volunteers to carry out its mission; Patrick will help guide the project's research direction, as well as coordinate the work of the public with researchers.

The Adirondack Ecological Center in Newcomb, which is among many organizations participating in that project, expects Patrick's arrival to bolster that work.

"The Adirondack ATBI provides a mechanism for people to actively participate in science in a beautiful setting," said Stacy McNulty, a research associate with the Adirondack Ecological Center. "ATBI information will facilitate better park stewardship. We look forward to partnering with Dr. Patrick and the Center for Adirondack Biodiversity to create opportunities for citizens to understand and appreciate biodiversity in the Adirondacks."

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