Monthly Archives: January 2012

Dan Phillips confirmed as NYS Green Building Conference Speaker

In anticipation of the 10th Annual New York State Green Building Conference to  be held in Syracuse on March 29—30, 2012, excitement has built around the announcement of Dan Phillips as a plenary speaker.

Although the NYS Green Building Conference routinely attracts nationally-recognized experts as speakers and workshop leaders, Mr. Phillips will offer a uniquely provocative, engaging, and inspiring story for this milestone conference event.

Mr. Phillips is a Texas-based designer and builder whose work embodies environmental, social, and economic passion.  The creative, inspiring nature of his work is indicated by his inclusion in the prestigious TED Talks video project:

TED describes The Phoenix Commotion, started by Mr. Phillips and his wife Marsha in 1998, as a building initiative that uses reclaimed and recycled materials to construct affordable housing. The company’s mission is to divert landfill waste while also creating sustainable housing for single mothers, artists, and families with low incomes. The Phoenix Commotion uses an apprentice program to teach sustainable building skills to individuals who volunteer or intern with The Phoenix Commotion Crew.

The New York State Green Building Conference will be held March 29—30 at the Oncenter in Syracuse, New York. The conference serves as a forum for green building research and development, and facilitates discussions on green building science, best practices, and operation and maintenance.  In addition, it is an excellent networking opportunity for green building experts, professionals, and advocates.

We invite you to visit the conference web page at for details on the conference, including how to register as a participant, sponsor, or exhibitor.

Out of the classroom, into the field!

Now that winter has finally arrived in Syracuse, we’re looking ahead with renewed enthusiasm to our warmer months and all the beauty they bring.  Even as we shovel and shiver, ESF faculty are working hard to prepare for an unprecedented and exciting summer session program.  ESF students, students at other colleges or universities, rising high school seniors, K-12 teachers, other professionals, and lifelong learners will find the following courses—and their favorable SUNY tuition rates (in state undergraduate: $220/credit; in state graduate: $370/credit*)—valuable and affordable opportunities.   In addition to classroom and online classes, this summer session also features several unique field experience courses, some of which are featured here:

National Park Service Field School at Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island, Maine (LSA 496/696), is offered in partnership with the National Park Service Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation ( This program provides in-depth experience and education in park management and preservation, and covers topics such as natural and cultural resource management, historic preservation, mapping techniques.  As part of the course, you will have the opportunity to complete an inventory of Acadia’s historic carriage road system.  In addition to academic credit, accepted participants will be eligible for stipends to offset living expenses, housing, and  transportation to and from the ESF campus. To learn more visit

Introduction to Fly Fishing (ESF 296) is an opportunity to learn how to fly fish and to preserve the habitats that make the sport possible.  You’ll learn fly fishing techniques, fish identification, the history of the sport, and how to enjoy it sustainably by preserving fish and aquatic habitat.

Interpreting Field Biology (EFB 418/618) will take place in a beautiful Adirondack setting where you will improve your natural history and interpretive skills and become familiar with Adirondack flora and fauna.

Flora of Central New York (EFB 496/796) will enable you to identify the plants you see when you’re out hiking, and understand the ecology of New York’s plant communities.  You’ll learn all this and more through field experiences in unique, high-quality natural areas in and around Onondaga County.

Living Willow Structures (LSA 496/696) will give you the opportunity to design, build, and install structures such as living fences, tunnels, arbors, and outdoor living rooms.

Please feel free to visit the Summer Session website frequently for updates, a full course list (including online and on-campus courses), and course descriptions:

*Tuition costs referenced here are based on currently published rates and are subject to change:

New Beginnings!

Outreach at ESF takes many forms, and as we begin a new calendar year, we are enthused about the exciting endeavors our on- and off-campus colleagues are pursuing!  Among them are numerous opportunities for our faculty to collaborate with colleges, universities, and organizations throughout our community and the U.S. on educational programs, workshops, symposia, and conferences.

Some upcoming programs have decades-long histories.  Others were initiated recently in response to emerging challenges and opportunities.  Still others are brand new and may occur in Central New York only once.  A quick scan of ESF’s outreach calendar – – illustrates the diversity of programs occurring over the next few months.

Our first program of 2012 is happening now- the annual Kiln Drying Workshop (January 9-12) led by Dr. Bill Smith and his team in association with the New England Kiln Drying Association.  Kiln drying is critical to the manufacturing of high quality lumber, furniture, and other important forest products. The controlled removal of water during the drying process requires skill, capability, and knowledge, and saw mills and furniture makers depend upon kiln dried lumber to remain productive and profitable.  For well over ten years Dr. Bill Smith has engaged a targeted group of participants from organizations located throughout the Northeast, including Maine, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York, as well as Canada, to provide high-quality training that helps meet these industry needs.

The SPARE (Solar Power As Renewable Energy; March 12 – 15) training program began nearly a decade ago with support from a Congressional earmark grant made available by former Congressman James Walsh, and continues today on a self-sustaining basis to serve solar (photovoltaic) practitioners, architects, green building professionals, entrepreneurs, and educators from throughout the Northeast.  SPARE is board-recognized through the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, and is led by two preeminent solar experts, Dr. Gay Canough (ETM Solar) and Dr. Neil Abrams (ESF’s Chemistry Department).

In March, we will host the 10th Annual New York State Green Building Conference (March 29 – 30) in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council New York Upstate Chapter.  Many of us had the opportunity to experience this program in its first year, and have watched it grow into a well-established and vital program that now serves people throughout the state and the Northeast.  Tremendous recognition goes to the innovators and leaders of the Green Building Conference Advisory Council, whose unyielding dedication has made this growth possible and promises to make this year’s program the largest and most exciting yet.  A highlight of this year’s program is the opportunity to meet and learn from Paul Anastas, Ph.D., who is recognized as the “Father of Green Chemistry”.

Programs such as the Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium (April 1 – 3) and the NYS Geographic Information Systems Conference (May 15 – 16) serve a wide range of practitioners, scholars, educators, and students in areas that relate to ESF’s academic and research missions.

In only its fourth year, the Biotechnology Research Symposium (May 21 and 22) is becoming “the” program of its kind in New York and the Northeast.  This powerful program, which will be held this spring, brings together industry representatives, scientists, academics, and other biotechnology professionals.  This year’s symposium will include an exciting special presentation on the final design and operating parameters of the CNY Biotechnology Research Center (CNY BRC), a Syracuse-based incubator facility for biotechnology companies.  ESF faculty Drs. Lee Newman and Tom Amidon co-chair the symposium advisory council and working group, and work closely with Dr. Art Stipanovich (ESF) and Cindy Dowd Green(SUNY Upstate Medical University), the Co-directors of the CNY BRC.

This summer, ESF and Central New York have a unique opportunity to host the 12th Annual American Ecological Engineering Society Meeting: Coupling Natural & Human Systems (June  7 – 9) , a national program that addresses compelling and timely environmental challenges.  The program is dedicated to fostering the development of sustainable ecosystems that integrate human society with the natural environment for the benefit of both.  By hosting this conference, ESF and our collaborators will play a key role in fostering education and outreach, professional development, and public awareness, and encouraging original research in ecological engineering. Congratulations to Dr. Stewart Diemont, Dr. Ted Endreny (both of ESF’s Department of Environmental Resources Engineering), and their collaborators for bringing this national opportunity to CNY!

We look forward to all of these programs that will happen over the next six months.  Please join us for one or more of our programs during one of our most exciting years yet!

Dr. Chuck Spuches, Associate Provost for Outreach