Environmental Science


SUNY New Paltz and the surrounding region are rich in resources that can support this program.

» Internal Resources
» External Resources
» Web Sites of Interest


Internal Resources

The Department of Geological Sciences and the Environmental Science program have physical geology, sedimentology, hydrogeology, paleontology, mineralogy, geochemistry and petrographic laboratories. All laboratories are well equipped for undergraduate research and located in the brand new Science Hall (2017). These include Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), Ion Chromatograph (IC), Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), Particle Size analyzer, X-ray diffraction, petrographic microscopes, thin section preparation equipment, ro-taps, etc. In addition, the geomorphology laboratory includes a USGS topographic map repository, facilities for sedimentary core and microfossil analysis (wet sieves, balances, drying ovens, muffle furnace, cold core and sample storage, dissecting microscopes, etc.) and a station for tree ring research.  In addition, SUNY New Paltz has procured two new dissecting microscopes with illuminators and microscopy ID tools (probes, keys, etc.) for the aquatic biology study.

Field equipment includes hydrogeochemical probes (Temperature pH and Conductivity), instruments and test kits (HACH, YSI, HANNA). Soil and groundwater sampling equipment includes a Keck pump, bailers, and augers. Vadose zone monitoring equipment includes lysimeters, tensiometers and neutron soil moisture probes. Groundwater and surface water monitoring equipment available to use are piezometers, water level recorders (automatic and manual), automatic data loggers, flow meters, digital camera and a laptop computer for field data collection and download. Custom made permeameters and Darcy columns are available to teach the concepts of GW flow and hydraulic conductivity in the laboratory setting. Sediment sampling equipment includes vibracore and Russian coring devices.  Several increment tree ring borers are also available for dendrochronology analysis in riparian zones.

The Department of Chemistry is equipped with a full complement of wet chemistry supplies.  Relevant instrumentation for this research includes a GC-MS (Thermo-Fisher), pH meters, ion-selective electrodes, FTIR (Nicolet), FAAS (Thermo-Fisher), AFM (Asylum Research), 400 MHz NMR (Jeol), one temperature-controlled UV-visible spectrophotometer (Cary), and multiple other UV-visible spectrophotometers.

We have a first-rate computer lab (20 workstations) facility equipped with GIS (ArcGISTM and Idrisi), groundwater-modeling, hydrogeochemical, and statistical software. We also have a Hewlett-Packard large-format plotter. All computers are equipped with CD, DVD ROM, and USB ports and are networked with scanners, color laser printers, poster printer, and a large Dell server that provides substantial memory capacity for GIS data and project storage. Our local area network (LAN) provides very fast access to these devices and to the Internet.

External Resources

SUNY New Paltz is located in a region offering students many possible options to pursue senior research projects that relate to environmental concerns. The Mohonk Preserve and the Ashokan Reservoir are within reasonable driving distance. Important local and regional organizations and agencies dedicated to environmental work include the Region 3 Office of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Estuaries and River Institute, the Hudson Basin River Watch, the Phillies Bridge Farm Project, the Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Clearwater, Scenic Hudson and the Ulster County Environmental Management Council.

Web Sites of Interest

* Mohonk Preserve
* United States Environmental Protection Agency
* New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
* Environmental Notices Bulletin (Information on Pending Actions Potentially Affecting the Environment)
* Environmental News and Commentary
* Images: National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Photo Library
http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/index.html and http://terraserver.com
* Weather Forecasts
http://cirrus.sprl.umich.edu/nxnet and http://www.atmos.albany.edu/deas/wx.html
* Climate Data and Outlooks
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov and http://grads.iges.org/pix/clim.html
* American Meteorological Society