Community Partners

Join us as we make the world a better place!
(credit: Joan Kerley & Mark Godleski)

Our faculties offer several service-learning courses a semester in which SUNY-ESF students assist the local community.  Depending on the project and course requirements, agencies are asked to identify a project that can be completed in one semester, orient the student to your site, fill out an evaluation form to certify the student has completed the required assignments successfully and/or meet with a group of students during the semester to consult about your individual project.


The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF), founded in 1911 and located adjacent to Syracuse University in Central New York, is a small, specialized public college with an enrollment of approximately 1,650 undergraduate and 600 graduate students.  The institution’s mission is "to advance the knowledge and skills of its students and to promote the leadership necessary for the stewardship of both the natural and designed environments." Students have the opportunity to study disciplines primarily grounded in the sciences including: Chemistry, Environmental and Forest Biology, Forest and Natural Resources Management, Landscape Architecture, Paper and Bioprocess Engineering, Environmental Studies, Environmental Science, Environmental Resources Engineering.

What types of projects are done?

ESF service-learning projects are limited only by the interests and needs of the community as they relate to the subject matters we teach.  While below we provide a sample of projects that have been completed in the past, you are encouraged to take a look at the actual course listing for a better understanding of what types of projects are done.

Previous projects have included:

  • Working with after-school programs on science-based activities
  • Devising bio-retention basins for treating storm water runoff in urban Syracuse environments
  • Constructing display materials for Onondaga county museums
  • Mapping hiking trails for local parks
  • Designing recreational uses for local waterfront areas
  • Tutoring youth weekly at local schools
  • Assisting a local township on land utilization projects
  • Providing nature programs for inner city youth

What does service-learning ask of me?

(Adapted from

  • You, or someone you designate, will be site coordinator or “client” in the collaboration with ESF’s Service-Learning Initiative. The site coordinator is your organization's liaison with the Program. This person must be informed about the goals of the collaboration and generally assumes responsibility for the points that follow.
  • Provide course-related service experiences. Our faculty will work with you in linking the service needs of your organization with course objectives.
  • At the beginning of each semester, give a site orientation, and basic training information to Service-Learners who will be working with you.
  • Provide basic supervision to Service-Learners.
  • Be accessible to answer students' questions, make referrals, or provide information if they seek your help in their learning process.
  • Keep current with Service-Learning. Our faculty will make contact with the site coordinator throughout the semester, to see how things are going, and if there are any questions, problems or agency changes that impact the collaboration. We want to maintain strong, open communication with you in order to keep current with your needs and address any issues that may arise.

Principles of Good Community Campus Partnerships

(From “Principles of Good Community Campus Partnerships” developed by Community-campus Partnerships for Health, San Francisco, CA)

  1. Partnerships have agreed upon mission, values, goals, and measurable outcomes for the partnership.
  2. The relationship between partners is characterized by mutual trust, respect, genuineness and commitment.
  3. The partnership builds upon identified strengths and assets, but also addresses areas that need improvement.
  4. The partnership balances power among partners and enables resources among partners to be shared.
  5. There is a clear, open and accessible communication between partners, making it an on-going priority to listen to each need, develop a common language, and validate/clarify the meaning of terms.
  6. Roles, norms, and processes for the partnership are established with the input and agreement of all partners.
  7. There is feedback to, among, and from all stakeholders in the partnership, with the goal of continuously improving the partnership and its outcomes.
  8. Partners share the credit for the partnership’s accomplishments.
  9. Partnerships take time to develop and evolve over time.

Helpful hints for success as “Co-educators”

(Adapted from

  • Be selective on where you place students. Place students in appropriate areas to meet course requirements as well as agency needs. Making sure that everyone's needs are satisfied as much as possible will save headaches later on.
  • You might institute an observation for the first day of service--after the site orientation--to help students feel more comfortable starting service.
  • Spend time at the beginning of the semester giving background information to students so they will be more equipped to deal with situations that may arise.
  • Invite students to sit in on staff or other meetings when applicable.
  • Suggest additional resources to service-learners (books, etc.).
  • Hold debriefing sessions/exit interviews at the end of the semester to talk about what has happened. (It was suggested that this take the place of service on the final day, but it could also work as a separate meeting.) This could be a more in-depth final reflection time.

Who do I contact to become a Community Partner?

Community Service and Service-Learning Office
14 Bray Hall
1 Forestry Drive
Syracuse, NY 13210
(315) 470-6658

"Don't Take Our Word For it!"
Service-Learning Testimonials

“Every visit has been a very positive one.  The students are always pleasant and are never unprepared for any task.  We always look forward to their coming.” (Sarah House)

“Thank you so much for such a delightful experience.  What a joy to see the youth so relaxed with our residents!!  They are still talking about the joy that made such a difference.” (Rosewood Heights Assisted Living Center)

“We learned so much in such a short time. I’m convinced the best way to learn is to be in the place you’re learning about. I will take these memories (with me) for the rest of my life.” (Student who traveled to Dominica with the FOR 523 class)

“This project has been the most satisfactory experience I have had at ESF.  The community garden we build has become the symbol of the bond between my student and me, between ESF and the middle school, and perhaps between two very different worlds that exist very close to each other.” ( Megan, ESF Student)

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Service-Learning and Community Service Partners

The links below connect to course projects in which these community partners were involved:

Service Learning and Community Service Partners

Adapt CNY
Adirondack Ecological Center
Adirondack Mountain Club
Albany Pine Bush Preserve
Alibrandi Catholic Center
Alzheimer’s Association
American Cancer Society
American Heart Association
American Red Cross
Animal Care Council
Apple Orchards, Binghamton
Archbold Tropical Research & Education
Atonement Day Care Center
Baltimore Woods Nature Center
Beard Alternate School/Community Garden
Beaver Lake Nature Center
Big Brothers/ Big Sisters
Binghamton Waterfront Community
Bishop Ludden High School
Boy Scouts of America
Boys and Girls Club
Breast Cancer Research Foundation
Bronx Economic Development Corp
Burnet Park
Camp Demolay
Campfire USA
Carpenters Brook Fish Hatchery
Cayuga County New Visions Program
Cayuga Lake Watershed Structure
Cazenovia Library
Centers for Nature Education
Central New York Community Foundation
Christ the King Elementary School
City of Syracuse
City of Syracuse Parks and Recreation
Clary Middle School
Commonwealth of Dominica
Community Garden
Corcoran High School
Corcoran PTSO
Cornell Cooperative Extension Service
Council for Community Design Research
Crop Walk for Hunger
Crouse Hospital
Developmental Services Office
DeWitt Rotary
Director of Volunteer Initiatives
Dominica Division of Forestry & Wildlife
Dorothy Day House
Ducks Unlimited
East Hill Elementary School
Eastside Neighbors in Partnership
Ed Smith Elementary School
Elmwood Presbyterian Church
Emerson Museum of Art
Enable/Festival of Races
ESF in the High School
Fair Housing Council of CNY
Fairmount Animal Hospital
Farm Museum in Town of Eden
Farm Sanctuary
Faust Nature Trail
First English Lutheran Church
Food Bank of CNY
Fort Stanwix Visitor Center/National Park
Franciscan Ministries

Girls Inc.
Great Swamp Conservancy, Inc.
Green Lakes State Park
Green Team
Grindstone Organic Farm
Guppy Farm Nature Trail
Habitat for Humanity
Heifer International
Henniger High School
Highland Forest
Hillbrook Detention Center
Home Headquarters
Huntington Family Center
Int. Fund for Animal Welfare
Inter-Religious Council
Jefferson Towers
Jubilee Homes of Syracuse, Inc.
Junior Achievement
Katy Christian Ministries, TX
Kirk Park
Labrador Hollow
Lexington Park
Liverpool High School
Lutheran Day Care Center
Madison County
Make-A-Wish Foundation
Manlius Environmental Council
Meals on Wheels
Montezuma Audubon Society
NAACP Mentoring Program
National Park Service
Near Eastside Adventures
New Environment Institute
Newell Street Community
Nurturing World Day Care
NY Coalition of Great Lakes Legislators
NY State Museum in Albany
NYS Department of State
NYS Department of Transportation
Oakwood Cemetery
Oneida Community Mansion House
Oneida Shores
Onondaga Council for a Cleaner Lake
Onondaga County
Onondaga County Museums
Onondaga County Parks
Onondaga Creek
Onondaga Creek Corridor
Onondaga Creek Restoration Project
Onondaga Historical Association
Onondaga Housing Authority
Onondaga Lake Partnership
Onondaga Lake State Park
Onondaga Nation School
Onondaga Nation School
Open Hand Theatre
Ophelia’s Place
Our Lady of Lourdes School
Paige Wildlife Society
Partners in Learning
Peace Inc./Project Connection
Plymouth Congressional Church
Poison Control Center
Prince George’s County
Refugee Resettlement of CNY
Rescue Mission

Rescue Mission, Thrifty Shopper
Rochester Comm. Design Center
Rockwell Elementary School
Ronald McDonald House
Rosamond Gifford Foundation
Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Rosewood Heights
Sacred Heart Church Community
Salsibury State Park
Salvation Army
Samaritan Center
Sarah House
Saratoga Center for the Disabled
Save the County
Sedgwick Heights Nursing Home
Shea Middle School
Sierra Club
Sodus Point
Southside Charter Academy
Spay and Neuter Society
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church
St. Francis Adult Day Care
Student Conservation Association
SU Ambulance
SU Center for Public and Community Service
SU Child Day Care
Sugar Hill State Forest
Susan J. Komen Cancer Found.
SYR Community Development
Syracuse City School District
Syracuse Department of Parks
Syracuse Dept of Community Development
Syracuse Food Bank
Syracuse Libraries
Syracuse Neighborhood Initiative
Syracuse Real Food Cooperative, Inc.
Syracuse Stage
TAP Tutoring Program
Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center
Thornden Park
Town of Camillus Dept. of Parks and Rec.
Town of Cazenovia
Town of DeWitt Parks and Recreation
Town of Eden
Town of Fine
Town of Minerva
Town of Palmyra
Town of Volney
Tully Central Schools/ Volunteer Manager
Tully Volunteer Fire Department
U.S. Forest Service
Unity Kitchen
Upstate Medical
US Forest Service
US/NYS Voter Registration
Utica Zoo
VA Hospital
Village of Hancock
Village of Solvey
Village of Tully
Virtual Intoxication Golf Cart Navigation Program
Vivian Teal Nursing Home
Wanderer’s Rest
Westcott Community Center
Wildlife Rehabilitators
Willow Patch in Cazenovia, NY
Wilson Park
Women’s Information Center

Service Links

Log Your Hours!

After you complete any volunteer work, whether it’s one-time, ongoing or in a group, make sure to document your hours by submitting a tracking form:


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