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.

ADK Semester Curriculum

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 314 Adirondack Integrated Research Project: Aquatic Connectivity & Restoration in the Adirondacks

Knowledge Areas: CGI, STS Communication Points: 2

Engineering Design Credits (1-2)

The Fall 2021 ADK Semester will tackle aquatic habitat fragmentation in the Adirondack State Park. The student cohort will examine constructed barriers in ADK waterways such as dams, culvert, train corridors, and highways. They will  investigate engineering and policy solutions for restoring aquatic habitat in the region, determining how to come up with successful solutions that balance economic costs, environmental policy protections, and ecological and community priorities.

This problem-based learning course will task students to analyze and suggest solutions to a complex problem relevant to the economic, social and environmental welfare of the Adirondack Park. The course is intended to reinforce what they have learned in other Adirondack courses.

One important way that governments, businesses, academic researchers, and NGOs investigate and attempt to solve complex technological, environmental and social problems is by forming task-force groups. The groups are comprised of individuals with diverse skills and interests, who are tasked to analyze the many facets of a problem and then provide a consensus document on their findings. The document, often referred to as a white paper, is designed to objectively inform the reader about the problem, and then make some considered recommendations about policy or directions of further study.

There are five objectives for this course: Students will (1) Develop skills at evaluating diverse sources of information (written texts, oral interviews) to produce a considered opinion about a complex problem. (2) Hone skills at collaboratively working in a group toward a common goal. (3) Learn how to write an objective but thought-provoking white paper which will be useful to decision makers and concerned citizens. (4) Acquire an understanding of the challenges that are faced when trying to develop landscape-level plans for sustainable development in the Park, and how the lessons learned here might be profitable applied in other regions of North America.

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.

ADK Semester Curriculum



ADK Semester Curriculum