The mission of the SUNY ESF Ranger School is to develop leaders in the application of forestry, natural resources, and land surveying technology by providing highly respected educational programs and opportunities in a unique environment.
The SUNY-ESF Ranger School in Wanakena, N.Y., offers students a unique educational experience in a spectacular natural setting. The school confers the associate in applied science degree. The A.A.S. degree can open doors to forest, natural resources conservation or land surveying technology careers, or it can serve as a hands-on, experience-based step toward a bachelor of science degree.
The Ranger School curriculum educates students for careers in the areas of environmental conservation, forestry and surveying, while also providing preparation for continued education in related bachelor's degree programs. Within the curriculum there are three areas of study: forest technology, land surveying technology, and environmental and natural resources conservation.
The Ranger School's one-plus-one plan allows students to complete their first year of higher education at the college of their choice, then spend their second year at The Ranger School. Students wishing to continue on for their bachelor's degree can do so at SUNY-ESF's main campus in Syracuse, N.Y.
The 2,800-acre campus, located in the heart of the six million–acre Adirondack Park, supports the field-based education which is a hallmark of The Ranger School experience. The main campus building houses state-of-the-art facilities, including classrooms, a conference room, and a dining facility. Additional facilities include a 20-station drafting lab, a computer lab with 24 stations, student residence rooms, and entertainment and recreation areas.
Since it was established in 1912, The Ranger School has trained nearly 4,000 students and earned a national reputation for excellence. The program is administered by and is an integral part of the SUNY-ESF Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management. This unique model of a single professional faculty offering all levels of study from technical through postdoctoral emphasizes the teamwork approach to forest resource science and management espoused by the faculty.
Because The Ranger School is situated within a forest, some applicants may mistakenly believe the experience is one of forest lore and wilderness survival. We emphasize that the curricula demand high-quality academic achievement. Program completion requires concentrated and consistent study. Classes are scheduled from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday with classroom and laboratory or field time equally divided. The intensity of the program normally requires a minimum of 70 hours a week of evening and weekend study, daily classes, and laboratory/field exercises. Several short trips are made during the year in connection with courses in dendrology, silviculture, forest management, forest recreation, wildlife ecology and surveying.
The excellent reputation that the graduates of The Ranger School at Wanakena have developed in all types of conservation, forestry and surveying jobs greatly assists today’s graduates to find employment. Employment is common with local, state and federal forestry and land resource agencies, private forestry enterprises, and surveying firms. Positions most frequently filled by recent graduates include state forest ranger, state forest technician, forest aide, industrial forest district supervisor, timber inventory specialist, timber sales supervisor, forest surveyor, forest engineering aide, survey technician, forest protection technician, forest research technician, forest equipment salesman, tree service technician, and urban park ranger.
With funding from the State University of New York Construction Fund, SUNY-ESF ushered in the new millenium with a $6 million renovation of The Ranger School.
Phase one of this project provided a new addition to the existing building that includes a 92 seat distance learning lecture hall, a 40 seat smart classroom and a 96 seat dining hall, kitchen and food service and conference room. Phases 2 and 3 involved renovation of the existing main building.