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Alumni Spotlight: Mark Penhollow, ’92


Mark Penfollow poses for his yearbook superlative of "Most Passionate Teacher" at C.W. Baker High School

Mark Penhollow had a passion for nature from the time he was a boy.

"I spent as much time as I could outdoors exploring local creeks, ponds, forests, and fields. I really felt connected to nature," he said.

When it was time to look at colleges, he and his dad took a detour while on a motorcycle trip and visited ESF. After a walk around campus, he was ready to commit. At the time, ESF was a two-year school, so Mark went to SUNY Oswego before transferring to ESF in 1990.

His time at ESF allowed Mark to fully explore his passions. Upon graduation in 1992, Mark was poised for success. He served in wildlife roles at Colorado State University, the USDA Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station, the New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Cornell University, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. During this time, Mark earned a master's degree in wildlife sciences from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).

Things changed for Mark when he felt a calling to be a teacher and returned to school at SUNY Cortland. After graduation, he quickly found a job at C.W. Baker High School in Baldwinsville teaching biology. He hasn't looked back.

"I love working with high school students because it's like opening their minds to things they never really noticed or understood. Seeing their excitement, and their concern, is rewarding," said Mark.

Mark earned a yearbook superlative of Most Passionate Teacher at Baldwinsville High School and expanded the school's Field Biology Course with an interactive experience at the Beaver Lake Nature Center. His teaching career boomeranged back to ESF when he started teaching Global Environment and the Evolution of Human Culture (EFB 120) for ESF in the High School and as a visiting professor. "Teaching ESF in the High School students gives me hope for the future," he said.

Mark has no plans to stop teaching anytime soon, so future generations of Baldwinsville students will benefit from his passion and energy.

Keep up the great work, Mark!

Follow updates on all alumni like Mark by joining the ESF Alumni Association.