The Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University includes 45 faculty and other academic staff who represent the social sciences, ecological sciences, and environmental philosophy. We have 130 undergraduate students and 76 graduate students. Our programs are headquartered in Fernow Hall, but we have staff and graduate students in five additional buildings on the Cornell campus. The Department has four field stations including the Uihlein Maple Field Station (Lake Placid, NY), Adirondack League Club (Old Forge, NY), Cornell Biological Field Station (Shackelton Pt., Oneida Lake, NY), and Arnot Research and Teaching Forest (Spencer, NY).
Since assuming the chair position in January 2007, I have provided leadership for a scholarly and practical discussion of how we can integrate our respective disciplines to address issues related to conservation biology and social-ecological systems sustainability. An outcome of this process is the Department of Natural Resources five-year strategic plan.
In addition to bridging a long-standing divide among social and ecological scientists, one of my goals as chair has been to raise the issue of our Department's responsibility to the 80% of NYS's population that lives in cities. The number of our faculty engaged in urban research and outreach is increasing, and we have added courses that focus on urban environments and environmental justice. I also have used my position as chair to put together a multi-disciplinary team of faculty from four colleges to address urban forestry and broader sustainability issues.
Thanks to an outstanding administrative team, including Sarah Gould, Erin Kelly, Joan Bartlett-Peck, and Ellen Harris, and to the Department's collegial and productive faculty, staff, and students, the Department of Natural Resources is moving forward in realizing our vision:
The Department of Natural Resources will be an innovator in applying and linking the social and ecological sciences to facilitate understanding and sustainable management of social-ecological systems, and of the biological diversity within those systems.