Enviromental Studies


The Finger Lakes Institute

The Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) at Hobart and William Smith Colleges is dedicated to the promotion of environmental research about the Finger Lakes and surrounding environments. The institute, located on campus, offers a variety of programs each semester. To learn more about the variety of ways students integrate FLI into their educational programs, visit the FLI's website.

finger lakes institute

Hanley Biological Field Preserve

The Henry Hanley Biological Field Preserve, located about 15 miles from campus, is a 108 acre site owned by the Colleges and operated by the Biology Department.

The gently sloping sanctuary has over 60 natural and man-made ponds. The major vegetation types include agricultural fields, deciduous forest, old field/scrub and a small stand of pines.

The preserve also hosts a wide diversity of plants and animals, including whitetail deer, coyotes, red fox, beaver, mink, muskrats, redtail hawks, greatblue herons, green herons, Canada geese and many species of ducks.

The Richard A. Ryan Field Station is located on the preserve and serves as a base for conducting ecological research and as a classroom during rainy weather.


Seneca Lake

Physical Characteristics of Seneca Lake:
Length 34.5 miles
Greatest width (Dresden) 3.7 miles
Greatest depth approx. 630 feet
Area of lake 66.6 square miles
Area of drainage basin 714 square mile
Length of shore 75.4 miles

The various characteristics of Seneca Lake have always attracted people's attention. At HWS, we have the privilege of using Seneca Lake and the other Finger Lakes as our natural laboratories.

Lake Seneca

The William Scandling

The William Scandling, Hobart and William Smith's steel heeled, 65 foot scientific research vessel, has access to various lakes, including Seneca, Cayuga and Ontario, for student and faculty classroom and research activities.

The vessel, berth in Seneca Lake, is used regularly by Biology, Geoscience and Chemistry students and is a fully equipped for sediment, water and biota studies. The equipment list includes radar, GPS, cellular phone, radios, depth finders, MicroBT, CTDs, high-resolution subbottom profiler, side-scan sonar, current meters, temperature loggers and computers.

the william scandling

Stern and Lansing Halls

Stern Hall, named for the lead donor, Herbert J. Stern '58, LL.D. '74, P '03, houses the departments of political science, anthropology/ sociology, environmental studies, economics and Asian languages and cultures. Stern Hall provides 27,000 square feet of new academic space, including classrooms, research and seminar rooms, Asian languages and culture laboratory, a large classroom and a lab.
Lansing Hall was built adjacent to Eaton and Rosenberg Halls and completes the boundary of the Quad. With its modern exterior, Lansing contains many of the architectural elements common in the older buildings on campus. The building was constructed to complete the renovation process of the College¹s science facilities.



Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.