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ESF Partners on Biofuels Education Grant

CenterState CeO, Center of Excellence join effort

The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), in partnership with CenterState CEO and the Syracuse Center of Excellence (CoE), has received a USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Higher Education Challenge grant.

As Dr. Timothy Volk, co-director of the SUNY Center for Sustainability and Renewable Energy and a senior research associate at ESF explains: "Development of renewable energy sources is a critical national and global issue due to concerns about the quality and quantity of fossil fuel resources, energy security, and potential human health and environmental impacts. In order to meet this growing demand for renewable fuels, educators must prepare students with an understanding of the complexities of production and conversion of different forms of bioenergy, current and future supplies and the associated environmental impacts."

The primary focus of this project is on woody biomass from forests and perennial energy crops grown on marginal agricultural land that is not being used for production of food crops.

Volk will lead this project, titled "From Farm and Forest to Fuel: An Integrative and Experiential Approach to Bioenergy, Biofuels and Bioproducts Education." Through this project, a series of systems-based case studies that portray the complex relationship among ecosystem services, bioenergy production, and energy markets will be developed and distributed. In addition, this project will enable students to participate in a collaborative internship program with bioenergy organizations throughout New York state.

Along with Volk, project leaders represent collaboration between ESF and its partners, including:

  • Frank Caliva, senior vice president, chief operating officer, and director of talent initiatives, CenterState CEO
  • Mark Lichtenstein, executive director, Syracuse CoE Center for Sustainable Community Solutions, Syracuse Center of Excellence
  • Michael Kelleher, director of renewable energy systems, SUNY-ESF
  • Dr. Richard Beal, assistant dean of educational outreach and credit programs, ESF Outreach
  • Dr. Charles Spuches, associate provost, ESF Outreach

The project team will include:

  • Tim Benson, information coordinator/building manager, SyracuseCoE
  • Tamara Rosanio, project manager/assistant to the executive director, SyracuseCoE
  • Carissa Matthews, outreach program manager, SyracuseCoE Center for Sustainable Community Solutions
  • Ana Fernandez, associate director of administration and project manager, SyracuseCoE
  • Linda Dickerson Hartsock, director of the Center for CleanTech Entrepreneurship, the Tech Garden, CenterState CEO
  • Virginia Williams, associate director for professional education and non-credit programs, ESF Outreach
  • Emily Gillis, project coordinator, ESF Outreach
  • Katherina Bendz Searing, graduate assistant, ESF Outreach
  • Paul Otteson, assistant director of communications and web coordinator, SUNY-ESF
  • Dr. Deborah Storrings, instructional specialist, Department of Landscape Architecture, SUNY-ESF