2023 ADK Integrated Research Project: LEED for Cities in the Lake Placid Olympic Region (EV 314)
The New York Olympic Region (NYOR) is seeking to re-certify their community using the US Green Building Council's LEED for Communities rating system. ADK semester students will be integral to this effort while also supporting research in the area of Sustainable Holistic Planning Systems.

The NYOR consists of the Village of Lake Placid, the Town of North Elba, the Lake Placid Central School District, and the Olympic Regional Development Authority.  This effort will follow from the 2018 ADK Semester effort that resulted in a gold level certification of the community in the fall of 2019.

To accomplish recertification, NYOR will need to track where it has been on the numerous metrics established from the first certification, and then develop plans and additional metrics that align with the updated version of the LEED for Communities rating system as well as the desires of the community.  

Overview of Courses

Course TitleCredits/KAs
EV 314: Adirondack Integrated Research Project: Aquatic ConnectivityTwo communication units, Contemporary and Global Issues Science, Technology and Society, University Course
EV 322: A sense of Place of the Adirondacks Cultures and Societies, Imaginative Arts, University Course
EV/SS 320: Social and Political Issues in the AdirondacksTwo communication units, Cultures and Societies
CE301: ADK Geographical Information SystemsTechnology Credit
EV/BY 312: Adirondack  Ecology and Environmental ScienceScience technology credit, Lab Credit


Offered in fall semesters: A small group of up to 12 students will be in session with a diverse group of Clarkson faculty with specific interests, experience and scholarly work directly related to the Adirondack Park. Our mission is to deliver a dynamic blend of traditional and experiential education in an intimate and community-based learning environment. Students strive to answer broad questions concerning the relationship of social, economic and environmental impacts on the Adirondack Park. They are absorbed in interdisciplinary courses in the natural and social sciences and emerge with critical thinking and collaborative skills that prepare them to analyze complex problems and provide solutions related to environmental, social and economic sustainability.

Faculty involved in chemistry, biology, environmental science, political science, philosophy, literature, economics and entrepreneurship use our Adirondack base and professional network to provide students with a direct experience with the people and agencies that shape policy, conduct business and lobby at local and state levels. Students are engaged through conversations in the classroom with their peers, professors and guest lecturers and in the community with local citizens, all while conducting scientific research in the field.

The curriculum consists of five 3-credit courses providing students with 15 transferable 300-level credits. The courses are set up in a block schedule. This reduces the fragmentation of time and focus throughout each day, allowing students to be more immersed in whatever they are focused on. The Integrated Research Project is the only course that runs through the entire semester. It is the common theme and focus that ties the program together.

EV/SS 320 Social and Political Issues in the Adirondacks

Knowledge Area: CSO, Communication Points: 1

The historical, social, political and environmental factors contributing to the fabric of the Adirondack Park is an evolving social experiment. The course readings will focus upon the New York State constitutional provisions that engendered the park, the policies that shaped the park along with the political actions that influence the park today. ADK is extraordinary for its history, and because it is a place where human residents live and recreate in sustainable ways that conserve resources and “forever wild” regions of the park. It is a critical laboratory for political decisions designed to limit development for the sake of ecosystems and habitats, yet to still reconcile public and private interests.

EV/BY 312 Adirondack Ecology and Environmental Science

Science Technology Credit, lab credit

This course introduces ecological and environmental science concepts relevant for understanding the structure and function of terrestrial, aquatic and human systems in the Adirondack Park. Students will learn to identify important plant and animal species representative of the Adirondack Mountains, and learn major features of ecological systems in the park. The course will also provide the students and assessment of human impacts on the ecology of ADK Park including but not limited to air and water pollution as well as energy systems. Mass and energy balance concepts will be introduced to aid the students in understanding how systems are impacted by activities in the park.

EV 322 Adirondack Park: A Sense of Place

Knowledge Areas: IA, CSO Communication Points: 1

To understand a place, one must often understand the views of nature and the environment as seen by writers, and essayists. Students will explore the Adirondacks through the literature while experiencing the lakes, rivers, streams and mountains. The readings, discussions and written assignments will explore the aesthetics, the social and political climate and the prevailing attitudes toward the environment that helped create the ADK Park. In addition, many forms of outdoor recreation will be explored as an aid to understanding the value of nature and the impact humans can impose upon our natural world. This course will provide students with an opportunity to participate in seasonal outdoor activities to learn how recreational activities have impacted the social, cultural, economic and physical aspects of the Park.

Students will review historical and contemporary land use policies and become familiar with the Park’s agencies that govern and enforce regulations. Leave No Trace traveling and camping skills will be taught in order to facilitate sustainable practices to preserve natural and man-made areas.

CE301 ADK Geographical Information Systems

Science Technology Credit

An introductory course in the concepts and uses of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) including analysis of GIS-based local and global geographic datasets. Provides basic knowledge of GIS theory and applications using existing state-of-the-art GIS software and current spatial data resources. Applications include: overlay analysis, spatial data query, map generation and terrain surface analysis. Students will also learn the basics of GPS data collection, remote sensing, 3D visualization, probability, statistics, and error analysis.

Additional Benefits

Professional Experience

With your department’s approval, the Integrated Research Project (IRP) may count towards your professional experience. The Fall 2023 cohort will be interfacing with municipal and state government leaders from the Lake Placid region to deliver specific objectives. As an example of how a department may allow professional experience, the CEE department will allow the ADK Semester research project to count towards professional experience requirements if a student forgoes the 3 credits associated with the project. In this case the students will earn 12 credits + professional experience instead of 15 credits.

Earn a Minor - Almost! - in One Semester

After the ADK Semester, you will have fulfilled 5 out of the 7 courses that are required for either an Environmental Science minor or an Environmental Policy minor. Two additional science courses are needed for an Environmental Science minor and two policy courses for environmental policy.

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