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students in stream

Cranberry Lake

The Cranberry Lake Biological Station

Located in the Great Adirondack region of New York State, Cranberry Lake Biological Station (CLBS) is surrounded by Adirondack Wild Forest and Wilderness lands. It is isolated by the absence of roads, and can only be accessed by boat, which adds to the experience of the great wilderness adventure.

View "A Semester at Cranberry Lake" - an amazing video created by Brad Winckelmann

Cranberry Lake is the third largest body of water in the Adirondacks. Its environs are ideally suited for a biology summer program. The surrounding topography is rolling hill and lake country dotted with numerous small ponds, bogs and stream drainages. Because 80 percent of the shoreline is in state ownership, the lake remains pristine, unspoiled by recreational developments and pollution problems.

Much of the original forest cover in the region was harvested a century ago; today a rich variety of community types occupies those sites as the vegetation reverts to mature forests. The remaining old-growth forests nearby also provide students with many examples of climax ecosystems, each type reflecting the particular environmental conditions controlling forest development. A wealth of wildlife parallels the variety of cover types. The area provides easy access to a wide range of additional ecosystems, ranging from bog to alpine vegetation.

Facilities include a wireless campus, four classroom-laboratories; a computer cluster; field and laboratory equipment; a dozen power boats; dining facilities for 120; faculty quarters and cabins; an administration building; 12 cabins housing six to eight students each; a recreation hall; and several smaller, supporting buildings.

The program extends from early June through mid-August, divided into two sessions. Courses are designed to emphasize and effectively utilize the unique nature of this Adirondack setting, and typically involve daily field trips into the surrounding forest, wetland, and aquatic ecosystems.

Information about the summer program, including courses and fees, may be obtained from the Director, Cranberry Lake Biological Station, SUNY ESF, Syracuse, NY 13210.

Support the Cranberry Lake Biological Station

Student Research

Ecological Monitoring and Biodiversity Assessment (EFB202) is the one of the keystone courses in the Environmental and Forest Biology curriculum. Students enrolled in this immersive course live at the Cranberry Lake Biological Station for three weeks. During the first two weeks of the course, students study a wide variety of taxonomic groups of organisms, and are introduced to a broad range of field, laboratory and analytical methods. Students then complete a group research project during the third and final week of the course. The research projects require proficiency in field sampling methods, basic experimental design and statistical analysis, and the ability to cooperatively solve problems.

The course culminates in a research symposium during which groups present their findings to their peers and a panel of judges.


Our mission is to provide undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional field experience in biology.

trees and sign at night

Image above and banner image by John Wesley Mannion