Skidmore Student Conservation Core brings care to oft-overlooked North Woods: Environmentally conscious students participate in one of the newest independent study programs

Posted by Dylan Bronstein

Had students happened to be out in the North Woods during the week before school, they might have come across six students doing trail maintenance, removing invasive species, building water bars, and picking up litter with sustainability representatives. These six students are the members of the newest independent study at the College, the Skidmore Student Conservation Core.

North Woods, much to the surprise of many younger students, isn't just a collection of apartments that house upperclassmen. It's also the name that groups such as the Friends of North Woods and Sustainability Stewards use to refer to the 170 acres of woodland located north of campus.

Spearheaded by Sustainability Coordinator Riley Neugebauer, the Skidmore Student Conservation Core, or SSCC, will enter its first semester of existence since its theoretical inception almost a year ago as a group designed to provide students with a two credit independent study focused on sustainability and conservation.

"We were talking about ways to get students more involved in some of the on-campus hands activities related to land conservation and trail maintenance in the North Woods," Neugebauer said. "We have a living laboratory that is the North Woods, and I wanted to turn that into a learning opportunity as well as something practical. Students get practical skills and it supports the work that I do, which helps make the North Woods a more useable space."

Students registered for the SSCC independent study will learn conservation and sustainability techniques that they will use if they plan on pursuing any type of career in the environmental sciences.

Though the SSCC spends much of its time in the woods, the group demonstrates a fair amount of involvement on campus as well. Thomas Wessels, an ecologist and author, is scheduled to come to the College to give a lecture at 7 p.m. on Sept. 19 in Filene. This event will be co-sponsored by the SSCC along with the Environmental Studies Program and Sustainable Skidmore.

Lectures that bring ecologists and conservationists to Skidmore represent one of the many goals of the SSCC that enhance the group's own knowledge of conservation, as well as that of the campus community.

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