Clarkson University’s Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries is a multidisciplinary resource for collaboration, academic programs, public education and scientific research, helping to advance science, motivate environmental literacy and inform long-term public policy.
In January 2000, former Governor George Pataki announced his idea to establish a one-of-a-kind research and education institute on the banks of the Hudson River, dedicated to the study of rivers and estuaries worldwide. He established a commission of more than sixty experts and practitioners, including both regional and national leaders in science and education, plus representation from five state agencies, to develop a detailed strategic plan for the Institute.
Following the release of the strategic plan in 2001, the Institute solicited site nominations from Hudson Valley municipalities, as well as interested private individuals and organizations. An intensive review process of an initial list of over twenty proposed sites led to the 2003 announcement that Beacon, New York would become home to the Institute’s headquarters.
Denning's Point is a 64-acre peninsula jutting into the Hudson River and part of the Hudson Highlands State Park of the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). Since 2003, OPRHP and the Beacon Institute have maintained a unique and valuable partnership on Denning's Point.
In 2006, Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries (formerly known as the Rivers and Estuaries Center) adopted its present name, affirming its commitment to Beacon and the surrounding region.
In 2007, on Denning's Point, OPRHP and Beacon Institute completed the first step towards creating an educational campus on Denning's Point, renovating a remnant of the former Denning's Point Brickworks into a 4,000 square foot multipurpose educational facility that:
- Was awarded a LEED Gold certification for its high level of sustainability
- Offers wide-ranging environmental education and programming for all ages
- Hosts conferences and panels on germane environmental issues
- Supports investigative environmental research
- Acts as an interpretive visitors' center for the park
In 2011, Beacon Institute became part of Clarkson University.