GENESEO – Letchworth State Park and SUNY Geneseo announced the formation of a formal partnership on Thursday, aimed at providing greater hands-on educational experiences for students and developing programs and research at Letchworth’s cutting-edge new nature center, construction for which is set to begin this spring.
According to a press release from David Irwin, Director of Media Relations for SUNY Geneseo, the college has always enjoyed an informal relationship with the park but now can help develop and identify educational opportunities, research and environmental restoration projects, programming, and exhibits at Letchworth’s new nature center as part of their 5-year cooperative agreement.
“The partnership between Letchworth State Park and SUNY Geneseo underscores the significance of this remarkable natural landscape,” said said Peter Humphrey, chair of the Letchworth Nature Center Campaign Committee. “The Nature Center will encourage the public to learn about and fully appreciate this park’s resources and history, and ultimately lead to a renewed commitment to environmental stewardship and education.”
As part of the new partnership agreed upon in a Memorandum of Understanding, SUNY Geneseo will provide up to $75,000 in teaching, display, and research equipment to be used in the Nature Center and in research projects undertaken by students at the college and Letchworth State Park staff. An advisory committee will oversee design elements and contributions from SUNY Geneseo as construction plans for the center move forward.
The new state-of-the-art Letchworth Nature Center is a centerpiece project of Governor Cuomo’s NY Parks 2020 initiative. With construction set to begin this spring, the Letchworth Nature Center will serve as a welcoming gateway and educate visitors to the park’s natural offerings, rich geological history and diverse ecosystems.
The advisory committee will include Richard Parker, Genesee Regional Director; Roland Beck, Letchworth State Park Manager; Brian Scriven, Historic Site Manager, Douglass Bassett, Environmental Educator, Jim Kernan, Assistant Professor of Geography, SUNY Geneseo, Kristi Hannam, Assoc. Professor of Biology, SUNY Geneseo, Nicholas Warner, Assist. Professor Planetary Geology, SUNY Geneseo, Russell Judkins , Associate Professor of Anthropology, SUNY Geneseo, Dennis Showers, Distinguished Service Professor / School of Education, SUNY Geneseo, Jordan Kleiman, Associate Professor of History, SUNY Geneseo, Dan DeZarn, Director of Sustainability, SUNY Geneseo, Sue Ann Brainard, Reference and Instruction Librarian, SUNY Geneseo, Erica Leicht, Student, SUNY Geneseo.
To date, approximately $1.7 million has been raised toward a $2 million private fundraising goal for the project thanks to the efforts of the Campaign for the Letchworth Nature Center and the many generous donors who have given to the project. State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said that the landscape and history of Letchworth offers a diverse set of learning opportunities for SUNY students.
“In all seasons and settings, parks can be the greatest classrooms facilitating hands-on connections and a deeper appreciation for our valuable natural resources,” said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. “With spectacular scenery, magnificent waterfalls, and rich geological and cultural history, Letchworth State Park offers infinite opportunities for exploring diverse interests. I’m so pleased this partnership will encourage students to enhance their education through studying and experiencing New York’s natural world.”
PHOTO CAPTION: The landscape of Letchworth State Park. (File Photo)
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