Edit Page


Biodiversity Initiative

Inspired by the number of SUNY New Paltz students, faculty, and staff who are passionate about supporting and protecting different living organisms on our campus and across the region, the Office of Campus Sustainability formed a Biodiversity Initiative to bring these different interests together.  

To carry out the Biodiversity Initiative, the Office of Campus Sustainability hired New Paltz alum Laura Wyeth (Biology '18) to work during the 2018-19 academic year to meet the first objective of the group: meeting the requirements of Bee Campus USA.  Throughout this year, Laura and members of the Biodiversity Initiative:

  • Developed the Campus Pollinator Habitat Plan, which includes a listing of native plants to support pollinators
  • Trained the grounds department continuing education on the importance of protecting pollinators and specific plants they can choose to support pollinators
  • Worked with Facilities Management to establish the campus' largest pollinator-friendly meadow in the spring of 2019, which was immediately replicated in four other locations on campus
  • Developed educational signage for the pollinator-friendly meadow
  • Organized two interactive hands-on educational workshops about pollinators, a Seed Soiree and a meadow opening ceremony in the spring of 2019
  • Completed the application for Bee Campus USA

SUNY New Paltz became a Bee Campus USA in the summer of 2019!

Bee Campus USA

Our Bee Campus USA Committee is comprised of:

  • Laura Wyeth, Biology Department, Chair
  • Rick Drosdowich, Grounds Department
  • Lisa Mitten, Office of Campus Sustainability
  • Emily Puthoff, Art Department (Sculpture) and the Hudson Valley Bee Habitat
  • Joel Oppenheimer, Psychological Counseling Center
  • Andrea Frank, Art Department (Photography)

Tree Committee

Campus Tree Inventory & GIS Map

During the summer of 2014, biology student Dakota Snyder ’15 and Emerita Professor Carol Rietsma conducted a campus-wide tree inventory and GIS map.  Josh Simons of CRREO compiled the raw tree data and created a GIS map that is available for the public to view.  The project was administered by Professor Eric Keeling of Biology.  Professor Keeling uses the inventory on a weekly basis in his classes.  Search the inventory at http://crreo.newpaltz.edu/trees/

This project was funded by Campus Auxiliary Services with the support of the Sustainability Committee.  Over 2,000 trees in actively managed areas on campus (not the South Forest) were surveyed.  Data was collected about each tree including the species (both common and scientific name), GPS location, size, condition, photo, etc.  Biology classes are using the inventory for campus-as-a-living-lab-style teaching and learning and cross-disciplinary collaborations are being discussed.