Dr. Lisa Cleckner


Lisa Cleckner Phone: (315) 781-4381
E-mail: cleckner@hws.edu

Dr. Lisa B. Cleckner, an expert in collaborative aquatic research, community outreach, and administration, became the director of the FLI in 2011. She earned her PhD in environmental health sciences from the University of Michigan and worked as a post-doc and staff scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In these roles, Cleckner led a research group investigating mercury cycling in the Great Lakes and Everglades, and supervised a water chemistry laboratory. Subsequently, she earned an MBA from the Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester. Lisa was most recently assistant director of operations with the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems, in Syracuse, N.Y. There, she worked with academic institutions and industry partners on applied research and demonstration projects in water resources, clean and renewable energy, and indoor environmental quality. She was also a faculty member for a certificate of advanced study in Sustainable Enterprise at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management, and a member of the leadership team of the Sustainable Enterprise Partnership.

Throughout her career, Cleckner has been involved in education and outreach activities targeted to a wide range of audiences including the public, students, businesses, and professional scientists. She has also successfully pursued grant funding totaling more than $3.5 million from federal, state, and non-profit organizations. Most of these proposals have been collaborative efforts engaging different constituencies such as faculty, research scientists, federal agencies, community organizations, and outreach groups.

Since joining the FLI, Dr. Cleckner has secured new funding for the development of initiatives in aquatic invasive species including the FLI’s recently launched Watercraft Steward Program, sustainable community development, a video baseline of the Finger Lakes ecosystems, water quality of green infrastructure installations, and trace metals and mercury in the Seneca Lake watershed. Lisa also has a faculty appointment in the Environmental Studies Department at HWS.

Susan Cushman

Research Scientist

Susan Cushman Phone: (315) 781-3599
E-mail: cushman@hws.edu

Susan Flanders Cushman has worked at the Finger Lakes Institute as a Research Scientist since 2010. She studies various streams and their watersheds in the Finger Lakes, including those found around Owasco, Seneca, Cayuga, and Keuka Lakes. An expert in fish and stream ecology, she measures stream health by a suite of metrics and indices from water quality, benthic macroinvertebrate communities, and stream fish assemblages. Specifically, she has been monitoring stream communities in one of the major Keuka Lake tributaries, Cold Brook, since fish habitat restoration for Rainbow trout was completed in 2006. Her other projects include assisting in the Seneca Watershed Characterization report by surveying the major tributaries around Seneca Lake, contributing to knowledge of trout and other sensitive fish populations within the region, and studying Castle Creek (Geneva) intensely with her research students to better understand changes in stream health along a rural-urban, land-use gradient. In addition to conducting research, Cushman helped establish the FLI Stream Monitoring Program and plays an active role in training teachers involved with the program.

During the academic year, Cushman is the Director of Introductory Biology Laboratories in the Biology Department at Hobart & William Smith Colleges. She has worked at the Colleges since 2007, after completing her PhD at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in Fisheries Science in 2006. She received her Masters of Science in Environmental Science at The Johns Hopkins University (2001) and is an alumna of William Smith College (1998).

John Halfman

Professor of Geolimnology and Hydrogeochemistry, FLI Endowed Chair in Environmental Studies

John Halfman Phone: (315) 781-3918
E-mail: halfman@hws.edu

John Halfman teaches in the HWS Department of Geoscience and Environmental Studies Program. He is also intimately linked with creation and development of the Finger Lakes Institute at the Colleges, accumulating over $4.2 million in funding over the past four years from state, federal and private foundation sources. Building on Lake Superior and the East African Rift Lake research before coming to HWS, his current research interests focus on the Finger Lakes and include the collection of limnological and hydrogeochemical data to investigate records of environmental change. Current projects include the hydrogeochemical impact of zebra mussels on these lakes; the source and fate of non-point source pollutants within these watersheds; and water quality variability between watersheds. He also investigates the high-resolution records of climate change that is preserved in the Holocene sediments of the Finger Lakes.

Nadia Harvieux

Education Program Manager

Nadia Harvieux Phone: (315) 781-4386
E-Mail: harvieux@hws.edu

Nadia Harvieux joined FLI in 2013 as the Education Program Manager, bringing with her seven years of experience in developing K-12 educational programs and curriculum focused on watersheds, aquatic ecosystems, and water quality. Harvieux credits growing up on Canandaigua Lake for sparking her interest in stewardship, education, and protection of the Finger Lakes. After completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geology from Hamilton College, Harvieux worked as a field geologist in the Puget Sound region in Washington State and continued her education with a Masters in Teaching degree from Seattle University in Secondary Science and Earth Science. She taught 8th grade Earth Science until moving back to the Finger Lakes region in 2004. Harvieux has been a part of the Finger Lakes education community since 2006 when she co-founded a watershed-focused educational outreach program for the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association. Programs included curricular enrichment for Elementary and Middle School science students, stream monitoring, and service projects such as storm drain marking. In 2010, Harvieux joined Finger Lakes Community College’s Conservation Department as the K-12 Conservation Educator at Muller Field Station on Honeoye Lake and as an Environmental Science Adjunct Instructor, positions that she will continue in conjunction with the Education Program Manager role at FLI.

Adam Maurer

Sustainability Manager

Adam Maurer Phone: (315) 781-4380
E-mail: maurer@hws.edu

Maurer joined the FLI Staff to oversee the Sustainable Community Development Program in 2011 and then became Sustainability Manager of the Colleges in July 2013. Maurer grew up in a small rural town in northern New York where he gained an appreciation for community, nature, and food production as he spent his summers helping his grandfather and father on their family dairy farm. From there, he earned a B.S. degree in management with a concentration in marketing from St. John Fisher College. After earning his undergraduate degree, Maurer began his professional career as a production supervisor in Syracuse, N.Y., for a national homebuilder. He spent four years supervising the construction of new homes before moving on to earn a Master’s of professional studies in environmental studies from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. His graduate work focused on the implementation of local sustainable infrastructure and processes. He also received a certificate of advanced study in sustainable enterprise from Syracuse University and is a LEED Green Associate. During Maurer's graduate work, he was engaged as an intern at the Syracuse Center of Excellence to assess the state of deconstruction in Central New York and make recommendations for overcoming barriers of implementation. Although much of his background has been associated with construction, his current and projected professional and personal interests are diverse within the sustainability spectrum, from community development to biofuels.

Sarah Meyer

Community Outreach Coordinator

Sarah Meyer Phone: (315) 781-4382
E-mail: smeyer@hws.edu

A native of Geneva, N.Y., Meyer earned bachelor of science (2000) and master's of professional studies (2003) degrees from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, N.Y. Her higher education concentrated on information and technology, environmental science, and water and wetland resource studies. Since 2004, Meyer has served as the Finger Lakes Institute's community outreach coordinator. As such, she provides leadership and direction for the FLI community outreach and public service program and multiple FLI projects. Meyer provides on going lecture series, publications, educational exhibits, and internships for college students. Projects in which she has actively participated and assisted include the compilation of the Seneca Lake Watershed Management Plan, FLI Watercraft Steward Program, Owasco Lake Asian Clam Task Force, Seneca Lake State Park Enhancement Project, FLI Green Infrastructure Project, FLI Sustainable Agriculture Development Project, HWS Urban Forestry Project, HWS Readers College class, and the HWS Greens House and Sustainable Foods Club. In addition to outreach, Meyer coordinates public service projects that include Finger Lakes beach cleanups, water quality monitoring days, field trips to regional natural areas, and the annual HWS Alternative Spring Break Trip. She often presents to area interest groups, such as research groups, garden clubs, schools, and national conferences on topics relating to the Finger Lakes. While at the Finger Lakes Institute, Sarah has been responsible for applying for and successfully receiving, on behalf of the Colleges and the FLI, the following:

  • EPA ENERGY STAR Green Small Business Award 2009;
  • United Way 2010 Gold Award;
  • Sustainable Tompkins Board of Directors Sign of Sustainability 2011;
  • EPA Green Power Partnership Leadership Club Membership 2011;
  • Living Lands and Waters Alternative Spring Break Scholarships (2) 2011;
  • Arbor Day Foundation Tree Campus USA Designation and Tree Planting Event Award 2012; and
  • Inclusion in the National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology 2011 Case Studies.

Meyer credits her early interest in the environment and protecting our natural resources to her participation in the Hobart and William Smith Science on Seneca (SOS) Educational Program, Girl Scouts of America, and the Student Conservation Association. Since receiving her degrees, she has been employed by the Federation of New York State Solid Waste Associations, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, The Great Lakes Research Consortium, and the United States Forest Service Wrangell Ranger District in Wrangell, Alaska. Through her experiences, Sarah has gained skills in and knowledge of environmental education, information design and watershed hydrology.

Cari Varner

Program Manager for the Finger Lakes Institute Community Design Center and the Sustainable Community Development Program

Cari Varner Phone: (315) 781-4559
E-Mail: varner@hws.edu

Cari Varner serves as Program Manager for the Finger Lakes Institute Community Design Center and the Sustainable Community Development Program.

Her work and research has been presented and published at several national and international planning and design conferences, featured extensively by local media and has been exhibited at the National Building Museum, the Architecture Biennale and the Maryland Institute College of Art. In 2009, she was selected by the Design Futures Council as an Emerging Leader in Sustainable Design. In the past, she has been recognized by the Small Town and Rural Planning division of American Planning Association, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and has received an Edna Bailey Sussman Internship Award, among others.

From 2007 - 2010, Cari served as Assistant Director of the Carl Small Town Center (CSTC) at Mississippi State University's School of Architecture. While at the CSTC, Cari lead student design team efforts working throughout the state of Mississippi with various community organizations and municipalities on downtown revitalization, urban design and planning efforts. Cari also taught architecture studio and community design electives within the School of Architecture. Her professional experience includes tenures with private architecture and planning firms, as well as experience with public outreach at the Great Lakes and Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, MI and research at Cornell University, University of Michigan, University of Maryland’s Center for the Use of Sustainable Practices (CUSP), Morgan State University and the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR).

In 2001, Cari Varner received a Bachelor of Science with Highest Honors in Design and Environmental Analysis from Cornell University. Beginning in 2003, she attended the University of Michigan where she graduated with a M.S. in Resource Policy and Behavior from the School of Natural Resources and Environment and a Masters of Urban Planning with a focus on community development. Cari's thesis work at UM was on the impact of further industrial development on an Arab-American community's health and well-being in Dearborn, Michigan, and their efforts for environmental justice. In 2009, Cari began her doctoral studies in Urban and Regional Planning and Design at the University of Maryland. Presently, Cari is ABD and is continuing her dissertation research focuses on the latent meanings about culture and identity communicated through architecture and the built environment.

Affiliated Faculty

The Finger Lakes Institute collaborates closely with a number of HWS Academic Departments, specifically Environmental Studies, Biology, Economic, Geoscience, and Architectural Studies.

More Info

Phone: (315) 781-4390

E-Mail: fli@hws.edu


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