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OFDIS C


CHARTING NEW


KNOWLEDGE ABOUT OUR OLDEST RESOURCE


BY SUSAN ROSENBERG AND PAUL DWYER ’83


“Critical issues warrant land policy institute” “Why land remains a political hot potato” “Renewable energy needs land, lots of land” “Food security outranks mining in land use policy” With thousands of such news headlines in recent years, it’s little wonder that classrooms and labs around campus are delving into the natural and built environment of the Hudson Valley, the geopolitical challenges of resource rights and borders, les- sons to be learned from ancient land and water chemistry, and more. Summer research and environmen- tal-studies senior projects have ranged from a business and econom- ics report on “green” hotels in the Saratoga region, to development of a children’s education guide about the Saratoga Lake watershed, to a survey of agricultural land protection and farm viability. As land use becomes an ever more urgent concern for the exploding human population, watch for Skidmore’s curriculum to engage further with these pressing prob- lems. Just three examples:


12 SCOPE SPRING 2011 Vantage points


A faded old photo shows Saratoga Lake—a low building in the trees, a long lone dock, a steamboat—before it dissolves slowly, turns blue and green, and reveals the same view in a modern photo, with a tall building on a cleared lot and three short docks with a motorboat moored at each. The 1905 and 2010 photos illustrate “a shift away from communal and collective access toward private and individual access to the lake,” accord- ing to Nick Liu-Sontag ’12 and Prof. Karen Kellogg.


The before-and-after video blends are part of a land-use archive they’re compiling for the Saratoga area. First they hunted for old aerial and landscape photos at regional museums and historical societies. With help from Alex Chaucer of Skidmore’s Geographical Informa- tion Systems lab, they georefer- enced them and scanned them into


TREE-HUGGED: JOSH NESS (TOP LEFT) AND HIS STUDENTS ENJOY THEIR FIELDWORK.


NICK LIU-SONTAG ‘12


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